I'd been in the area the week before and had popped out with the kids for a look round. It looked like the water level issues had been sorted out as the island margin banks were covered and the plant growth in the margins was healthy. The water is a really rich red colour due to the iron oxide in the ground which makes spotting the fish a real challenge and none were showing themselves... You get the odd swirl or clouding up in the margins, but apart from that it's guess work!
We got out to the lake at 7am on the nose and set up in a couple of swims on the car park side of the lake. Dad opted for a spot next to one of the water inflow pipes and I headed down to the far end aiming for a swim I fished last year that had produced really well.
Boyd Valley is a tricky lake. There are plenty of fish but finding and catching them requires some thought... The main thing I learnt on previous trips is that they're very light biters, they're adept at getting rid of hooks and there's no favourite bait - in fact, it seems that once you've caught on a bait, the swim'll go dead! The only method I'd constantly caught on was floating baits namely bread and chum mixers.
So a mixed approach seemed like a good idea: I started with a feeder rod in the right margin loaded with method mix and fake corn on the hair and a bottom bait rod tight to the island with code red boilies scattered around in a tight circle. The plan was to be quite mean with bait but cast regularly to try and locate the fish and then ring the changes.
Over the next couple of hours I worked my way through luncheon meat, sweet corn (fake and real), halibut pellets and peperami with the only bait producing any bites being red maggots. A small pristine common of around 1lb.
The weather was supposed to be shocking but as the morning wore on, it got warmer and warmer. As the sun hit the water, some fish started to show in the bay to my left so I fired some chum mixers in to see what would happen...
Sure enough, carp started to gingerly take the mixers - so a bit of stalking was in order! I spent a good hour in the bay but had nothing to show for it. It didn't seem to mater where I placed a bait or free offerings, the fish were always in the next part of the swim! It was if they knew where I was going to target next...
But when I wandered back to my swim (the bay was only one swim round so the ledger rod wasn't unmanned) the bobbin started to twitch up and down! I struck into the bite but there wasn't an angry carp on the end, instead a chub of around 2lb sat was in the landing net! This is the 2nd chub I've had out of the lake, but it's still a surprise to catch them on carp gear ;)
After that, the predicted rain started and it chucked it down on and off for a good hour or so which pretty much killed the water dead.
By the time the sun came out again, it must've been around 1ish meaning only 4 or so hours of light were left - time to get stalking. So I headed out with a floater rod baited with a freelined fake mini chum mixer, a feeder rod, a bucket of real mixers and a bag of bread ends.
I spent the next hours hopping from swim to swim prebaiting and then working my way back through. As previously mentioned, they are very adept at spitting the hook out. As all the fish were in the margins, I was baiting, creeping back 6 or 7 foot and literally dropping the bait in over the edge. If the fish spotted me, they were off light a shot. I must've had at least 10 different carp suck the bait in and then casually spit it out! Frustrating but also loads of fun (more fun than sitting behind motionless rods in any case!).
In the end, I managed to have 2 runs on the feeder and 4 on the floaters! All the carp where in good condition and only around 4 to 6lb but loads of fun on light gear.
I'd been regularly checking in with dad as I did circuits of the lake and his swim had really picked up with a fair amount of silvers, carp and even a crucian carp coming in - not bad!
Getting back into my original swim at 4ish, I cast the rods back out and set about packing up. As a last resort, I'd rigged the ledger rod up with a maggot ball rig and hooked on a massive bag of red maggots (I had a good 1/2 pint left). I was rewarded with a cracking single toner bite just minutes before the rod came in for the last time and probably the biggest fish of the session, a common carp of around 8lb came in - result!
Boyd Valley Lake is by no means an easy water. The fish are a real challenge and I still don't think we've got a handle on them yet, even with this being our 3rd trip. But that's fishing - sometimes it's better to be pushed than just chuck and hope?!