The plan was to try and catch some of the bigger carp. I've had some fantastic evening sessions over the summer but as time was always a factor I tended to stick with what I knew would work: method feeder in the margins and a floater rod with chum mixers to nick them off the surface.
So with this session I decided to employ some 'big carp' tactics! 1st job was to get a feeder rod in the margins (I didn't want to blank after all!) with a bit of fake maise on the hook and then it was out with the marker rod. After 10 minutes leading around the results were kinda what I expected: the lake has a silty bottom and is a fairly uniform 5 to 7 ft deep from midwater to the middle. There's a dummy island and an aerator right in the middle a couple of rod lengths apart so I decided to fish in the middle of these features. The line went in the clip, a couple of bank sticks went in the bank a rod length apart and the spod and fishing rod were clipped up at exactly 7.5 rod lengths.
The next job was to get a bed of spod mix out consisting of hemp, sweet corn, a mix of pellets and split Code Red boilies. I'd managed to get 3 loads in before the feeder rod ripped off ;)
The fish went back and I got back to spodding - must've chucked 10 or so out in the end in (what I'm hoping!) was an area around 6ft square. The idea was to fish Code Red boiles and stacks of 2x fake corn over the top of the mix, with the spod mix drawing the fish into the area. The margins are such a feature on this lake but I was banking on the fish moving to open water once the bulk of anglers arrived around 9ish...
I left the baited spot for an hour or so and had both rods in the margins. There were a couple more runs on the feeder but I was keeping my eyes on the baited spot and could see fizzing and swirls... Around 9ish the margins started to slow down so the 'baited spot' rod went out with a 2.5oz lead in a lead clip, short hook link and a Code Red boilie tipped off with a bit of fake corn.
I didn't have to wait long, around 20 mins and the alarm started to beep! But the moment I picked up the rod I realised this wasn't going to be the monster I was after... In fact, as I got it closer to the net it looked like it could be the smallest carp in the lake... and then to add insult to injury, it came off!
Ah well, the concept was sound, there were defiantly fish over the spot as the bubbles and fizzing continued so a couple of top up spods went out and the rod was rebaited with a with a new rig, this time with a stack of fake corn.
Over the next couple of hours the bites came to both rods with the open water spot finally outdoing the feeder. The fish had definitely left the margins the moment the lake started filling up so the baited spot idea was a winner! In the end I must've had 6 or so fish with 2 lost - not bad!
I love fishing at Bitterwell, there's some cracking fish in there and the lake has a really friendly community feel to it. I'm not 100% sure the big fish tactics are the best approach but it was fun to try! I'm going to give it another go, I reckon hitting bite o'clock (7am through 9am and just on darkness) is critical as is choice of bait. They don't really seem to respond to boiles (I don't think a lot go in) and I've had much more success on corn. There's some beasties in there though that I'd love to catch ;)
And with winter well and truely setting in, maybe it's time to change targets and try to get some of the monster perch in there... Watch this space!