Finally a Window
It was a strange start to 2021 for everyone, what with all the lockdowns and everything that went along with it and fishing wasn't always first on the agenda. I'd also been that busy on the bait front with all the new influx of anglers to the banks and the old guard regulars all chomping at the bit to get there spring campaigns under way. I must admit that the 60 plus hour weeks were hard going but when your self employed the work has to come first..
Now my first batch of The Stage 1 Amino Liver was still lost in my freezer space, but with a bit of a sort out could soon be ready to go. While I was itching to get out, it was great to be getting good feedback from the few lads that had used there first batches of the prototype with some tidy results in various conditions and differing venues, this was actually nice to not only take a back seat but to let some of the others loose with the baits first..
I'd finally got a window coming up to get the rods out so I was mooching as regularly as I could down at the syndicate, climbing and peaking in all the usual spots and also sitting frequently in the long undergrowth that covers the marginal slopes, all in anticipation of getting an early spring first glimpse at a chunk or two hitting the margins for that direct hit of sunlight. A few mooches in and I've found a few creeping real close in to the edge and moving very cagey and as usual covered in clay. The lake had been fishing really hard with only one capture so far in 2021 but I was now seeing a fair few more of the lakes jewels and the characters on a regular basis turning up in all the nooks and crannies around the lake so I was confident that it was the right time to finally get The Stage 1 into the lake for the first time.
This for me is what its all about and is a massive buzz as all the hard work starts from the moment I release the first handfuls onto those shallow slopes. My intention on the syndicate was to just prime a few margin spots to gage the fishes reactions to the bait, it was never in my plans to fish the spring on here as I'd got somewhere else I'd wanted to be. But this place has the ability to draw you in and with a real oldskool vibe to it and like minded anglers, it is always hard to keep the rods tucked away in the van and not get them out. I had resisted this though on two or three occasions as I'd watched The A team one by one over the space of a week consistently hitting hard the patches of The Stage 1 Amino Liver and also turning full circles for a free feed then disappearing from view only to return at different angles for more of the signal that had been left behind by other feeding carp. Wow what a first reaction and a real buzz, that's hard to top. The early signs could not have been better and it was also great to see that the black and the brown baits were both met with the same response, and just for a brief moment I got the feeling that when the black and brown baits were mixed together on one spot that the fish were throwing more caution to the wind and having a real go as I'm sure it was throwing them off guard.
On regular mooching missions as I'd like to call them, I would also get ahead of the small pack fish and lie in, wait and watch the other primed marginal spots around the lake. The anticipation is pretty electrifying, especially when you see them come ghosting in like an armada. Its special to watch them first hand and also the first time clearing the bait from the spots but to see them repeat it a second and third time on various ambush points around the edges without caution is just priceless. It also showed me that digestively, they were having no problem at all such was the content they were feeding with on impact. Early Spring is one of the best times for introducing a new bait and I couldn't ask for any more from it. Its funny how time flies when your watching carp and as always at the end of a mooching mission work was calling me back so as usual I deposited the rest of the bait in some likely looking margin spots and resumed duties at the unit with that wry smile on my face.
The next week soon came around and I was down whenever time allowed to prime some more spots to keep gaging the reactions but not every time could I actually see what was going on with the baits on the deck as the conditions and clarity can vary daily on the syndicate, but when the visibility had been good the bait had always been cleared and even better the spots around them...
I'd still resisted the temptation to fish as I was still undecided on whether to do a bit as I intended on my spring target water, but as the politics were getting well underway on there again (as is the norm down there), plus The A team was clearly loving The stage 1 in front of my very eyes, I just thought hey ho, I'll give it at least an overnighter. So I finally managed to sneak out midweek at short notice and normally I would have been down a few days prior to the session to prep some spots but with a heavy work schedule it was just an off the cuff flier which was fine and to be honest a refreshing change. I knew the lake inside out anyway so it was just a case of getting there, ideally mid afternoon. This I've
always found down there a real help as it gets all the commotion out of the way early and gives the areas plenty of time to settle down and gets the fish back on the move and a bit more active usually at first light. I made my way down the track and bingo lake to myself which was nice and a quick look about soon had me opting for the paddock swim which commands a lot of water and countless interception points. The shallows to the right steeped in cover and pads and the long cut through channel to the left were where they creep in real close. This acts as a roadway, not only to the shallows but to the open water areas between the small island on the right, the furthest far margin point straight ahead and back to the large island on the left. Of the swims, these three landmarks are the perimeters to what has now been named The infamous Bermuda Triangle. The carp always show actively out there and often in numbers too but can be very
hard to catch in that zone. I'm sure they know you are in The Paddock and use The shallows margin and the cut through channel to almost take a peek at you to check its safe to graze in the triangle, this is why I favour getting the rods out early and then getting right back out of the way to calm everything down. As can be the way in the triangle, night bites are rare and its all about that morning chance.
I'd struggled at first to find decent bottom as it was really manky in places and I was looking for those little sweet spots that are always tiny on here at the start of the year. Those little rough areas are no bigger than a newspaper and I've found are down to pure clay in parts. They are the fishes first port of call early spring for getting rid of those winter parasites. Unfortunately, this caused a bit of disturbance but I felt it was more than worth it and eventually I'd sorted three spots in the triangle. A B and C, as is the way I like to fish that area. I'd linked all three spots together, not in patches but in straight lines accurately with all the free bait. On this occasion, spot A was the lightest, spot B had about a kilo over it and the closer I got to spot C, that had geared up to about 2.5k.
I'd chose to fish light from A to C for this session as the wind was blowing southerly. I prefer the the heavier signal coming from the heavier baited right hand side to drift over the lightly bait left A spot. This seems to get the fish going from a far and by the time they have worked the line, they can be really on it over the heavy baited spots which in turn seems to keep them more pre occupied in the swim for longer periods. Its just been a thing that has worked for me over many years, I just think its a real edge to use the signals in the water columns to your advantage and not against you. The rigs were placed bang on where they needed to be, to the left of spot A, this would be any carps first encounter with the bait from left to right. The middle spot B, the rig was placed to
the right of the kilo of stage 1, and finally the heavier baited spot C had the rig dead centre of the area, all fished on my faithful shockers. This situation is always my go to when using any prototype baits as I can now gage what's happening more in the swim and obviously if I'm lucky enough that the fish play ball, either picking at the left hand spot or going gusto on the right. I'd also purposely left alone the popular shallows to the right and the cut through to the left as I feel in this swim, its better to let the fish move freely down both margins without coming into contact with any lines. This I've seen in the past and it almost herds the fish together with more confidence and in more numbers to graze un molested in the open area Bermuda triangle. Even though I'd done my prepping and mooching missions in the edge and had gained the fishes confidence there, open water was where the real first test was for The stage 1 and if I could draw them fish from the warmer spring margins to the cooler open areas that would be a massive plus..
It was soon time to start getting things tucked away as the light was fading and with it any remaining heat from the afternoon sunshine. I'd resisted the temptation to drop a rod short even though a few of The A team had been creeping under my rod tips late afternoon no doubt trying to take a peek to see if there was anyone still about. But, I sat on my hands in anticipation of that morning chance such is the timing pattern when fishing the triangle. I was sure I was quiet enough and that the small armada of fish had navigated there way around to where they wanted to be for the long night ahead.. I sat back with a brew trying to adjust my eyes to the ever fading light when a single bleep on the left hand rod had the blood pumping and the small swim lit up momentarily. Come on I muttered to my self, much to the annoyance of the resident wood mouse that was still begging on his hind legs for my broken up jammie dodgers. With nothing else materialising and the air temperature dropping fast I took one last water temperature check on what was now a mill pond surface. I was just about ok with the 9 degrees it showed, although to the touch it felt much cooler..
His patience had run out once the jammie dodgers had stopped coming...
I'd kicked back under the brolley with just the DAB on real low and must have drifted off pretty quick, when that all to familiar high pitched squeal had me sitting up and reaching for the night vision and once I'd focused in on that distinctive annoying black and white visual, it had me fearing the worst. the dreaded tuffties, one of gods worst ever creations bar the wasp. I knew then it was going to be a long night..
As the mist rolled onto the drooped lines off the tips...
Fast forward six or seven hours and they had pushed there luck relentlessly every 30 minutes or so but bleary eyed and shattered I'd managed to stave them off from diving. Although it may sound mad to some, I knew the importance of having those rigs fishing at first light and all the hard work that had gone into getting them traps set right so I made a brew and sat on the stump to clear my head just has the first blackbirds were starting there dawn chorus. As the mist rolled onto the drooped lines off the tips I was greeted by a fantastic sunrise, which in turn had me checking the time as I knew I hadn't got a great deal of it left before work. Then right on cue over spot 3 one nutted out and broke the silence before sheeting up the bottom then again out it came to the wrist of the tail before falling backwards back over the heavy baited spot. It was a chunk alright and I was sure it was The King Common. As it descended backwards I could only describe it as a space hopper with fins. I just sat there saying to myself come on come on, yet another jacuzzi came up mid spot this time and I'd figured that there was a few about grazing the area and the confidence was rising. Another acrobatic display from the space hopper had the moorhens fleeing for cover in all directions, as I stayed like a statue stuck to the stump. The alarm gave out two bleeps, I was still on high alert and ready to pounce when the hanger hit the butt at speed and the rod bounced over. I was on it real quick, knocking my brew over in the process and was soon feeling shocked and deflated to see the rig come bouncing back to me engulfed in blanket weed. I was surprised in particular that the King common was capable of getting away with the shocker rig, lead clips yes as its really clued up but to do the shocker was another level and a learning curve.
I just nodded my respect to the lake in appreciation as I always do and at what Tom and myself have created, its a rare thing indeed. I slowly got sorted, stubbornly leaving A and B rods on the deck but I knew the chance had gone and before I knew it, I was at the unit thinking of what might have been. Although dejected, on one hand I was more than satisfied and on the other, not only had the fish responded to the bait well in open water, the big common too had spent a good amount of time in and around the baited area, so overall a great start for The Stage 1 Amino Liver..
It would be a fortnight until my next opportunity to get out and once again I had thought I would be on The Deep pit with The early Spring being a great time to be on there. But with not much at all coming out of the syndicate and it was proving very difficult fishing at the time with only 2 fish coming out since October, the temptation again got the better of me and I soon found myself running
the barrow into the paddock. With the lake again to myself my sights were firmly on the same approach as before and my eyes firmly fixed on The Bermuda Triangle area. Again no prep had been done previously, but I was well armed with the black and brown Stage 1 Livers and my faithful razor tuned shocker rigs.
The lake looked devoid of any life but very moody in appearance...
I was again fishing in good time by mid afternoon. To let the hole disturbances settle down, I'd once again ignored the margins and concentrated all my efforts as before on zones A B and C. I kicked back with the DAB on low but to be honest the lake looked devoid of any life, in fact the only thing up for a feed was The Wood mouse. I'd gave him his evening nibble and off he went contented. I thought to myself, he ain't daft neither. As the temperature started dropping very quickly, I heard an oi oi from behind me. As Mitch was waving his mug at me down the paddock path, I clocked one off spot B sneakily just roll over. Although this was early for The triangle, it does lift you up, especially after such a lifeless afternoon. If they are showing loads in the triangle it never fairs well for a chance, but a small subtle show is a good sign and I was wondering if the earlier temperature drop was getting them down. With Mitch now departing after discussing at length the ins and outs of the lake and life in general, it was chill out time, quiet literally. So I topped up the spots and settled down under the brolly with Absolute 80s and the tuftie torch for company. Shortly into dark and the flying black and white rats had once again turned up on mass to test my resolve, but on limited bank time I was never going to let them have me over and once again after a very long night I'd found myself barely awake and stuck to the stump not really able to keep my eyes open as the dawn chorus began playing. My thoughts were on how the hell was I going to get through my working day and how I must be mad doing the work nights. Its hard work at times this carp fishing and as the light began to come through I looked around to see everything around me white as a sheet all over. A real sharp frost had dropped the water temps back down to 9 degrees and the air temperature down to minus 2 brr.
I'd slowly started to get my things together in readiness for work when a two bleep salute from the middle rod grabbed my attention and in true shocker rig style zipped off like a good un. This time there was no mistaking and I was on it straight away, the fish gave a great account of itself and eventually it slid into the well frozen arms of the net.
The fish waited patiently for me in the mist covered margins..
A long fit lightly scaled mirror sulked in the bottom of the folds and it was one I recognised instantly. The fish waited patiently for me retained in the mist covered margins to sort my shit out and I was really over the moon, not only to sneak one but my body felt momentarily revived, again the hard work in keeping the spots fishing from the birds payed me back. I got some quick footage of one of the younger fish we call The Saint; a lovely thing with a big future and one that only usually sees the bank about every 18mths or so. But the biggest buzz by far for me was getting my first fish on the Amino Liver. What a start on a lake that was, fishing hard and over a nice amount of free offerings too from B spot and on top of that open water again. A bait that still had the pulling power after 14 hours in the water. One thing I wasn't sure of though was the hookbait colour as I picked out a mixed black and brown hooker out of the pot to match both the black and brown livers already mixed in the swim. You do get a good feelings for a bait after all these years and this one is just that and the scary thing is, its only the first stage 1 prototype..
Thanks for reading...
Cracking read, Scott – in a way it took me back to your Northern Monkeys writings.