The lake was pretty quiet when I arrived at around 8.30am with only two anglers along the road bank. It was sunny and surprisingly warm, with the wind pushing into the far corner so I decided to set up on the left end of the car park bank in one of my favourite swims. On my last trip to the lake, I'd tried a 'big carp fishing' approach spodding loads of bait in and fishing over the top of an area around 3 metres square. As it resulted in me catching some of the smallest fish I've ever pulled out of the lake, a different plan was needed!
Most of my sessions on the lake have been in the evenings over the summer when I'd found that the fish move into the margins or are up on the surface. But during the day when there's pressure on the water, they seemed to favour the open water spots with the weather dictating the layer they want to feed in. The day was going to be warm and sunny (I found out later the hottest Halloween on record?!) so this time I'd brought chum mixers, maggots and boilies. The plan was to fish single boilies with a scattering of around 20 or so baits out towards and around the island in the middle of the lake and then float fish with maggots and pellets in front of me to see if I could find where the fish were swimming - and also to try and pick up some silvers! There's been some great perch coming out of late...
So rod one went out with a hair rigged Mainline Cell boilie and a scattering of baits and I got settled into some float fishing. The action was very slow... There were fishing showing out in open water but no takers and the float rod was producing exactly nothing!
As there wasn't a whole lot of anything going on, I had a play with the camera managing to snap a huge dragon fly and a really colourful duck who was being chased round the lake by the horny mallards!
The first bite came around an hour or so later when the bobbin on the boilie rod slammed up against the blank and the line went solid! A fish at last - but it wasn't to be... I managed to get the fish in as far as the bank and the hook pulled! Bugger. That wasn't the plan.
By this time, the wind had got a real chop on the water and 5 or so anglers had arrived all setting up on the carp park bank. I'd been eyeing up my 2nd favourite swim on the lake on the furthest corner near an oak tree and right next to a nice margin with lots of cover. The increased angling pressure, lack of fish and the fact that it seemed to be the only area of water that was calm (the float fishing was becoming challenging!) prompted a move.
I got settled into my new swim and this time decided to chuck a method feeder in front of the reeds to my right while I sorted out the the boilie rod. It was really warm by now but as I'd not seen any fish cruising on the surface, the open water out towards the island still felt like a good spot to try. While I was in the process of getting a PVA bag tied, bang, off the feeder rod went - the move had paid off! But again, a bloody hook pull...
This was not going at all well! So I took a deep breath and got the rods out again... While I was lamenting my failure on Facebook, the boile rod screamed off - that was quick! This fish was going to come in even if I had to wade out into the lake to get it...
The result was a short but fat common, quite unusual for this lake as most of the fish I've had are longer and leaner. Banking a fish and getting 2 runs in the space of 20 minutes from the new swim was just the confidence boost I needed and I got the rods out onto the spots asap.
Over the next 4 hours I had fish after fish from out towards the island - all on the cell boilies with the only change being alternating topping with a bit of fake corn, mainly to see if it resulted in a quicker take!
Thanks to Jake Alden for being on hand to take this snap of probably the biggest fish of the session ;)
Things started to slow down towards last knockings. The light starts to fade so quickly at this time of year... I really miss summer! But I was in luck: Terry Smith (the manager) wandered over with a handful of some of the new 'special' baits he's been rolling, handily just as I was rebating one of the rods (I'd swapped both over the bottom baits out by the island as this was where all the runs had come from).
So this time I chucked out a double stack consisting of a single 'Tangy Tangerine' and a 'Pineapple +' mini dumbbell. This was to be my last cast of the day as the misses was picking me up at 5pm by which time it'd be well and truly dark! Marcus was also fishing the new baits, over in the corner of the car park bank and hooked into a stunner on the pole:
And then at 4.45pm on the nose (I know 'cos I was clock watching and packing down!) the rod with the new 'special' bait ripped off!
So a brilliant end to another great day on the bank. If you've not been to Bitterwell Lake, give it a go. I've a feeling it'll be a great winter venue this year ;)
I'm back up for a morning session next week and can't wait!