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I promise I'll stop when everything is up to date...

Posted by tomhaggett , 27 November 2014 · 161 views

The next date in my photobucket account seems to be this, though I think I'd sneaked a quick overnighter in on the target water and drawn a blank.  I had managed a take at first light that session but unfortunately it shed the hook very early on in the battle.  You win some you loose some.
22nd June - Vale Farm
With the warm weather well and truly upon us a mate and I had decided to start venturing over to Vale Farm for a few hours fly fishing after work.  It is great fun, if a little tiring...  The place is so heavily stocked you could walk over to the islands on the backs of fish, I'm sure of it.  After a couple of evenings we started getting a bit bored of catching 30 + fish in a few hours so concentrated our efforts on trying to single out the bigger fish by feeding them in a lot closer to the bank.  That way we could pick out the bigger mouths and try and place our flies almost inside them.
It seemed to work as the average stamp soon became far more impressive... another old mate from college had a fish of around 25lb while we were there but I think ours topped out at 18 or so.  This was one of my fav's... Stevie Wonder eat your heart out ;).
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26th June - Berkshire Stillwater
Another quick overnighter post work, though this time on the other specimen water that the ticket offers.  I cut my teeth on this lake 10 years or so ago, back when the stock was far more impressive.  It's a shadow of it's former self now to be honest, hence why I only fish it a handful of times a year.  All that said it is ideal for overnighters because of the easy access, short walks etc.  
Anyway, I'd set up in the smaller of the two bays after finding plenty of fish moving in and out of the out of bounds area the evening before whilst having a recce.  I'd hatched a plan, one that I was sure would give me a bit of an edge.  
The swim is quite a popular one as the fish spend a fair amount of time in the out of bounds corner and this swim allows casting access towards it.  The problem is that your line tends to stretch across the entrance which can instantly put the fish on edge.  My plan was to cast over onto the far bank, walk my rig down a little towards the out of bounds and drop it by hand, without compromising the fish's safety of course.  I'd then stick a storm pole in the far bank, tightly wrap an elastic band around it and slip my line under this.  I could then go back to the swim and carefully tighten the line up to the elastic band until it pulled completely clear of the water, resembling a washing line and leaving nothing for the fish to be wary of.  
Much to my surprise I got the rig in fine and baited with a few handfuls of pellet that I'd got from work before sneaking quitely back around to my swim, happy that I'd done something well for once.  Within half an hour the odd telltale bubble started to pop over the spot and over the next half an hour it really intensified.  How I didn't receive a take I'll never know but they fizzed like mad all over it for over an hour before it went dead and upon walking around to check that entire end of the bay was churned up as they'd been feeding so hard!  Anyway, I re-positioned the rig and re-baited but they never came back!!
I'd got everything set up by then and there were obviously a few fish about so I settled down into the evening, leaving the rods fishing on their respective spots and kept my eyes on the water for any signs.  That was until I started feeling rough... really rough.  For once it wasn't alcohol to blame and I went from fine to being doubled over in the bushes, hurling my ring up, in no time.  I was shaking, sweating, the full works and even contemplated packing up and going home, despite it being 10pm.  Somehow, through determination or more likely stupidity, I convinced myself to stay and I'm glad that I did because a rod that I'd just re-positioned after seeing some consistent fizzing along one line screamed off half an hour after I'd laid down in what I was sure at the time would be my death bed.  Miraculously, as soon as I picked up the rod, I felt far better and following a really drawn out fight I slipped the net under a chunky looking mirror.  
25lb 10oz it went and a nice welcome back to my old stomping ground.  Those red marks have always been present on this fish... odd as they looked fairly fresh.  A mate dug out a picture from 3 years ago of the same fish looking exactly the same though.  
I think the picture shows how rough I was feeling... I look like a miserable umpa lumpa!
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The next day it was terribly quiet in the little bay, so I'd gone around to the other bay and baited a couple of spots, right in the edge with my mix of pellet.  An hour or so later I was bored again so decided to check it just in case and low and behold both spots were fizzing like a good'un.  I quickly nipped round and grabbed as little gear as possible and came back around full of enthusiasm.  While I got the rods prepared the fizzing had abated so I took that opportunity to swing the rigs in before sprinkling a couple of handfuls of pellet over each and laying back quietly on my mat.  It didn't take long for the fizzing to start again and the right hand rod screamed at me briefly before falling slack again... I'd be done.  This was a trend that was to continue.  8 hours I sat on that mat while patches of fizz the size of my bivvy erupted over my hookbaits.  Twice more I was sussed before finally one of the rods twitched off and stayed there.  Not much resistance was forthcoming to be honest but a quick roll under the tip revealed it to be a small carp, probably one of the stockies from the previous year... I'll never know because the hook came whizzing past my head a couple of seconds later!!!!!  
Incredibly frustrated I packed up the rest of the gear, gave the lake the middle finger and made my way home to contemplate over what I could/should have done differently.  

September 2018

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