I was keen to get back after getting to grips with the place and catching bream over 7lb, tench over 6lb 8oz and the icing on the cake, a lovely mirror carp just over 16lb.

Another car greeted me as I made my way down the track, the first person I had seen at the lake since I started fishing there in mid March. I had a short chat and the chap was surprised that I was catching as he expected all to be quiet until the warmer weather came. He knew the lake well having fished there for a few years mainly after the big tench. Round at the swim he hovered and chatted for a couple of hours, no way was he leaving in a hurry. So I decided to make the best of the situation and got all the information about the lake that I could from him.

He told me what to expect when the lily pads showed and from what he said it seemed if a large proportion of the open water would be covered in pads. This was good as the margin features were few and far between and I desperately needed other features to fish and bait up to, as the bottom of the lake is completely bowl-shaped, there are no bars or humps whatsoever. He told me of fish caught and seen over the years and, reading between the lines and getting the true picture of fish caught, it seemed I had done well on the tench front catching the 6lber as 4 or 5lbers were the real average size.

I find this hard to believe given the length of the tench I have caught and their lack of gut. However I have seen this on another pit that I fished in spring that had a lot of pads in summer. All the bigger tench, 6 and 7lbers, were caught in the spring, by summer the average size was 4 or 5lb. Not because of spawn, it is just that the big tench in summer stay in the pads or if they are hooked they are often lost in the pads. I hope therefore to find a way on this pit to find a way to get those big tench with summer guts on the bank.

The carp too, it seems, I may have got the best of, as looking at the photos of my 16lber it seemed I have been lucky enough to get the only known carp, a fish known as the Ghost Carp due to its very pale flanks. However as no one fished for the carp properly I hope bigger ones are in there. Although my hoped-for big perch seemed to be a bit of a myth, there seemed to be truth in the stories of big rudd, several witnessed captured of 3lbers have occurred in the last couple of years with the biggest a specimen of 3lb 10oz. I made a mental note of switching to sweetcorn when the weather warms up.

Finally my companion left me in peace and I sat in the evening sunshine looking out across the lake. A couple of fish rolled around dusk over what I knew now were the central set of pads. I had in fact put one rod on the edge of the still-invisible pads where I had been told. Line bites started just after dusk and I expected a take from under the bush to my left before long, but nothing happened and apart from a couple of vicious line bites all was quiet.

Finally I had a decent take, but it was to the rod cast to the pads that was away. A solid strike connected with something decent 30 yards out and the rod bent over nicely in the darkness. The fish thudded away quite well so it was with a little disappointment that I found it was a bream. In the net it was a fish not much bigger than 5lb. It was hooked well but it was, again, not the best looking bream. I unhooked it in the net and released it without it needing a visit to the bank as such. I quickly recast to the same area but the rest of the night was quiet and cold and before long daylight was showing and it was time to go.

I was back at the lake a few days later, the day after a sharp frost. Again cars were there and the same chap was now there fishing. It seems I may now have a companion on the lake, not the situation I want, I like fishing these small waters all alone, especially at night, but I can not be selfish I guess. He was not staying the night but as I chatted to him a lad on a pushbike turned up and went to the bottom end of the lake, in the calm water away from the cold northerly wind that was hacking in across the fields.

I set up in the same swim as before and cast out. As the evening drew on I sheltered under cover from the cold wind coming in from behind me, just before dusk the young lad came up to report he had taken a 4lb tench on float fished maggot, he was well pleased and thinking about it so would I have been at that moment. The night was wet and cold and apart from some very vicious line bites that almost got me striking on the rod near the pads I did not receive any kind of decent takes.

I was surprised but then the frost was a shock to all wildlife, fauna and flora, so I guess it was to the fish as well. The following night was even colder. Winter was back again; there really is no end to it. I actually felt sorry for the swans who had made their nest in a swim that faced the cold wind, the female looked frozen sitting there. Of course the survival of the cygnets would mean trouble for me later on when stalking the tench and carp on top and below.

More next week…

Have fun!