A work party had taken place during the weekend and they had made good progress clearing fallen trees and the like, though no great modifications to swims etc; perfect, leave the lake alone. I can not see why clubs insist on members turning up at work parties when there is little to do. All that happens is that jobs are created for the members which usually means the butchering of bank side vegetation, simply because it is there. Off the soapbox and on with the session!

There was a nice south-westerly wind blowing into the overhanging bush and things looked good. I dropped a few handfuls of trout pellets in on the edge of the bush followed by a few halved boilies. The rig went out with a three bait stringer and single 12mm boilies on a size 8 hook.

The evening passed pleasantly enough and as dusk fell a few fish started rolling. I noticed a spot a third of the way across the lake where a fish showed a few times, I logged that for further inspection. Nothing showed by the bush but soon the line bites started, just a few short sharp lifts on the indicators but it showed the tench were there.

Around 10pm I received a good fast take that took a bit of line off the baitrunner and then stopped. I struck into nothing. The same thing happened a couple of hours later, fast take, strike, nothing. I knew what was happening, tench were responsible. They were picking up the boilie but the hair was too long and they were not being pricked by the hook. It was raining by then though and I could not be bothered to change the rig there and then, so I just put the bait out again. Back on the bedchair I played it through my mind and knew what I needed to do and even considered changing to baits such as meat or corn but with the April nights still long I did not want the constant re-baiting and casting that these baits entail. I decided to stick with the boilies but shorten the hair, for the next session.

Just after 1am I received a series of bleeps that took the indicator erratically upwards and stayed there. I struck into a solid weight that did not fight and sure enough, in the gloom, the flank of a good bream showed. Soon in the net I could see it was a good one for the lake, although quite possibly some really big ones are in there. On the scales it went 7lb 2oz and was well hooked in its bottom lip. It was in superb condition and I was actually very pleased with the result. After that though, all action ceased and I packed up without even another line bite.

Before the next session I changed the rigs to short hairs and changed down to size 10 hooks, that should sort them out, I hoped.

The day for once was dry with some good sunny spells and with a strong gusty westerly wind. The lake looked good with the leaves just beginning to show on the trees and bushes and soon I was sitting back in the sun with the baits out, confident in my new set up. Before dusk the line bites started by the bush and a good tench rolled a bit further out. A few minutes later the indicator was in the butt and the rod tip was bent round as line was ripped off the reel. I struck into a good fighting fish and in the dark green water I saw a nice tench twisting and turning deep down. I soon tamed it though and netted a nice female tench of 5lb 3oz. It was nice to see one in daylight, the first I had seen so far this spring. As usual it was in perfect condition, probably uncaught and soon it was back in its home. The hook was well in and the bite positive, the rig had worked.

No more action until after dark when the liners started again. At 10pm I had another typical bream bite and connected with another of those slabs. A bit smaller this time and in less than perfect condition. This one had lumpy scales, I have seen this before when I used to fish for big bream on purpose and it seemed a condition the males got as they prepared for spawning, a bit early for that though surely? It spun the scales round to 5lb 5oz and again I was happy with the result.

Things went a little quieter after that. A lot of the liners I realised now are caused by the bream feeding over the trout pellets. I managed to get some sleep when I was woken by a screaming one-tone bite. Striking into a strong running fish, I applied side strain as it thudded away under the bush. When I got it under control and it was under the rod tip my first thought was, it was a carp as it was very long. (My only carp from the lake the week before was a long common). However I was pleased to find in the net, a long big tench. I knew I had cracked the six pound barrier but still reflected on its length and lack of stomach. It weighed 6lb 9oz but could so easily have been nearer 8lb with a stomach, again I looked forward to meeting it again in spawn. After a few photos it charged back out into the lake and I cast out again, it was still early in the night.

The hook was again well in and the bite un-missable. Why had I not changed the rig before? I was in fact running out of bait, such was the action and liners but it was not until after 4am when the rod tore off again. This fish was well under the bush and I felt the line twang off a couple of underwater branches. Soon though the fish was under the rod tip and I glimpsed a deep pale flank. My mind said bream but bream do not fight as hard as this one was fighting, after all I had to give line a few times. No, this was a carp for sure. Finally I netted it and eagerly looked into the net to find a pale deep flanked mirror carp.

I got everything ready as far as scales and sling goes and hauled the carp in the net onto the bank. It really was a fat little carp, quick set for its size. It was a lot nearer 20lb than I had thought and spun the scales round to an ounce over 16lb. I was not sure how big the carp went in the lake but I guessed this was certainly one of the bigger ones. But who knows, carp, like a lot of species, thrive on neglect and these carp are completely ignored. The flanks of the carp were completely scaleless with just the line of scales under the dorsal, typical of a lot of stock fish these days but I knew that nothing over 5lb had been stocked so it had grown on well in the lake.

I was well pleased with the fish and spent time admiring its perfection; its mouth had never seen a hook before and even still had the curtain in the roof of its mouth intact, a real peach.

I recast, not expecting more action and just lay there reflecting on a great session, before I knew it, it was time to pack up. I could not wait to get back.

Have fun!