The rain was holding off but I could feel it in the air and I knew heavy rain was forecast. The air was cold and the day before several inches of snow had fallen in areas across the south; and this in what was now spring. I was just pleased to be fishing though, aware of how lucky I was to have a club water to fish when so many other clubs had shut their waters because of Foot and Mouth.
The banks were still muddy. I had made up some mud feet for the bedchair after the session before when I found the legs had sunk deep into the grassy banks. I quickly cast a single small liver boilie on a small stringer to the edge of the bush where I had caught from before and liberally sprinkled trout pellets over it. The other rod went out to the bottom of the marginal shelf as before. Again, loads of trout pellets followed it.
The wind was in the east and it was cold despite the heavy cloudy skies. The loss of the perch had shown something was willing to feed so I was confident. As darkness fell a few fish showed on the surface, mostly just roach but it gave me hope. It was not until after midnight though that I had the first good bite. The rod by the tree again produced a good bite. The indicator lifted into the butt and a quick strike met with a solid resistance before, unfortunately, the hook pulled. Recast and rebaited I settled back under the shelter, the rain falling quite hard by now and the swim becoming muddy and waterlogged.
Two hours later I received another good bite on the rod by the bush. This time, after a fast take, line was taken off the baitrunner but when I struck there was nothing there. The night now was very cold, the wind and cold rain were getting into my bones and I found it very difficult to keep warm. I had fished all winter and had never felt this cold. When will this incessant cold rainy weather ever end? There was no more action and I packed up with the rain still falling - a bit fed up after loosing the perch and probably a good tench. At least the car was on firm ground so I could get out easily.
The following week the weather was not much better but for once a dry night was forecast. This time I parked the car just inside the gate and walked the other way around the lake to the same swim. The mud had reduced a bit due to two days of dry weather but I knew that with me traipsing about on it for the night would make things bad again - but the lure of that bush meant I had to have another go.
First of all though, I had another go for the perch but after an hour trying every perchy looking spot all I caught was a tiny jack pike. Back at the main swim I cast out once more to the bush and this time I flicked the other bait up the bank, under a tree where the new signs of some reeds were just showing above the water. Both areas I baited heavily with trout pellets. The male swan was not there for some reason and his mate was obviously getting a bit worried. It constantly made strangled noises calling for him, as only swans can.
As dusk fell, some sizeable fish rolled in the centre of the lake. I think this area is a set of pads but having never seen the lake in summer I was not sure; another month would have them showing. I can't wait to have other options to try.
Line bites started around 8 pm, one of which, by the bush, I struck at. I quickly recast and just fifteen minutes later this rod tore off very fast. As soon as I connected with the fish I knew it was not a tench. The fight was hard and dogged, out in front of me in deep water I had to give line, this at last was a carp. I knew the carp would not be big so I enjoyed the battle on the light line and soon a carp showed on top. It looked quite small but most welcome. In the net though it was a long common carp in mint condition, the size 8 hook firmly in the corner of its mouth.
On the scales it made just over 9lb, not big but about average I believe for the lake and exactly what I was expecting, so I was very pleased. In the torchlight I admired it lying on the mat in the mud. As I put it back, it powered way, it's long ghostly shape shooting off down the margins.
Delighted with that, I recast and settled back under the shelter and blankets with a smile on my face. The carp obviously upset the swim, as I received not a bleep until well after midnight when a few liners started, again on the rod by the bush. None of them resulted in strikeable bites though until just before 4am. The bush rod was off with a fast run again, line pouring off the baitrunner. I was off the bedchair in a flash and struck into what I was convinced was another carp such was the speed of the take.
The fight was good but there was not the power of a carp, but when it rolled on top I thought it was a small carp. On the bank though I found it was a very long big-finned female tench. It had no stomach, if it had had one, it would have been over 7lb at least. As it was, this winter-starved beast weighed 5lb 10oz. Again it was in perfect condition and as I slipped it back I hoped I would catch it or one of her size when they were fatter in May or June. The rest of the session was quiet and I packed up looking forward to the next session a couple of days later.
As it was, the two days between the sessions were one long rainstorm, so when I did arrive again it was to very heavy frequent showers. Round at the swim I found it waterlogged, with one footstep causing mud to spill up around my boots. With more heavy rain forecast I decided to leave it alone for this session and fish further down the bank by a tree that was in the water. I needed the rod pod for this swim, which was the first time I had used it for a few years but the depth of water seemed good. I baited up by the tree and further out and flicked a couple of baits out just in time before the heavens opened once more.
By the time the shower had passed it was dark but a couple of nice fish had rolled over the baits so I was confident. However an hour later, once more the heavens opened and this time the rain fell as hailstones and thunder roared for a full hour. The hailstones fell so heavily that they lay half an inch thick on the banks. There was still hail there many hours later. The night turned very cold and all action ceased in the lake. The cold hail and rain had stopped the action before it had started, the water level even rose an inch over night. Not surprisingly I received not even a line bite.
On the way back to work the forecast promised spring weather with warm sun, how I and the lake need it, fingers crossed.