Acton top lake!
Right where do I start with this masterpiece?? (Or maybe a bit of a scribble; if the truth was known about how I think!!)
I’ve been busy to be fare; so, I’m trying to think back the best I can, of what happened during my last trip to Acton….
This trip started on a warm Sunday afternoon; I rushed around like a headless chicken trying to get the truck loaded and get my arse down the lake (as quick as I could I may add) With rain coming in for the night, I soon got stuck into picking a swim and getting home sorted for the next couple of days. Swim wise I set up halfway down the lake, there was a good reason for this to be honest; weather cooling would push some of the carp from the shallows and put me in a better position for some night time action!!
Fishing my normal dead snowman (Blow-back rig) with a bag of chops to flatten any silt-weed; I’d found a nice depth of water that I was happy with, and a noticeably different depth to the shallows a couple of swims away. Being very warm at 23 degrees and soon to be dropping to a cooler 17 degrees with some expected rain (helping push the carp down in the layers, or moving them to deeper areas of the lake) this was one of the reasons I’d chose the swim I did. Rods out with a generous kilo of Shropshire Gold peppered around the area, baiting up with a stick I do like from time to time; I always feel I’m fishing for big girls for some reason, round shaped feed and round matching hook-baits (set a few feet apart, to keep those big girls moving!)
Sat on my bed-chair/coffee in hand with a cooling wind blowing in, I did feel this is the life as my rod burst into life… jumping up and noticing the tuffty ducks scattering from my baited area; there could only be one culprit?? After an half-hearted battle and a screaming mother duck just yards away, I was the proud owner of a little baby duck, let’s have an arrrrrrr! To be honest it was cute and I’d wished I’d taken a picture now; all warm and its little heart going ten to the dozen, I soon let him go back to mom (A bites a bite and I’m counting it too lol! Nick 1… Duck 0… Carp 0) With all this disturbance at bite time and baiting up too, I was soon settling in for an early night; like the session before I was setting a trap and letting it come good. Confidence is a massive key and I’ll be happy to sit behind the rods till I have to go home; the less disturbance I make… the better my chances!
Welcome to the ‘Quiet Zone!’
As the night pulled in, I sat and watched other anglers bait and bait again, rigs going out and a little bit more bait on top for good measure… My area would stay quiet for the rest of the trip, as its seems to be the sort of lake that fish move from any disturbance at all; come to my deadly quiet area, nobody here honest (we went home yesterday!! Ha Ha!!)
With just the odd liner through the night, I sat confident that all my bait hadn’t been eaten, and they hadn’t just left without paying the bill. Dawn broke with a slight warm breeze blowing in, just sipping the top off my first coffee of the day… Beep! I looked and what seemed like an eternity a second Beep! This was like watching somebody trying to start an old car!! As I walked slowly to the rods, it finery made its mind up to lift the bobbin and start taking line. I’m sure it was kiting on me, as soon as I picked the rod up, I found the fish 30 odd yards away from where I’d cast it in?? (Starting to think a running set-up may be worth thinking about soon?) Now all woken up and putting a good bend in the rod, I made my way (Croc’s no socks) out into the clear/shallow margins. Still going left, she found a bed of weed which she held tight in for a few seconds; now with the nodding feeling back in in the rod she almost swam straight towards me. What I first thought was the fish breaking the surface, seemed to be a ball of weed stuck on my line; with the fish rolling some 4 feet behind. This was a bit of a problem; but lucky for me I guided the weed to my side and at the second attempt, I got the fish safely in the net, wasn’t a text book fish landing but she was mine! At 32lb 12oz she was worth getting wet for, a great start to the session and on the first morning too… with fish safely returned, then at last the stones and silt washed out my shoes; it’s a bit painful sometimes I might even use my waders one day soon??
Considering I’d used what I’d call a good bit of bait, it’s not much really for some anglers though; on some lakes, you would never get away with dropping say; a kilo straight out, unless you have a week in time anyway… It’s a balancing act really, from the time of year, size of fish, weather and even the bait your using on that session! The Shropshire Gold as we called it (and no it has no alcohol content at all lol) came about as I knew what I wanted a bait to be/do and even look like; let me explain more….
Shropshire Gold came from my problem solving as much as anything else really; I can’t go into too much detail of its make-up, or I’d have to kill you all! (Joking)
This day and age many companies seemed to follow the route of high attract bait; meaning high visual and high flavour, with very little in the way of food content; then the anglers sit for days on end, waiting for the bait to become a washed-out version sat at the bottom of the lake, this is usually when the carp except it as a food and come to dine! Both the above; high flavour and colour can be toned right down really, as SG has no added flavour as such; just the taste of natural ingredients (which is all top end I should say) With all food items being very digestible and good for Mr carp; colour is also natural and soon washes to what looks like a bait that’s been sat out in the lake longer than it has! Even though the finely balanced ingredients will of-course catch carp, we carefully sort after some proven ‘no expense spared carp attractors’ and ‘feeding stimulators’ to go in the mix at a very precise rate. Leaving us with a top end carp food (not so much a bait even) that the carp feel good eating and will keep coming back for more and more… Quality from one end to the other, then rounded off nicely with another natural ingredient. We soon found we came across something special as a big fish bait; I’ve landed eight 30lb plus carp, in my last 5 trips to my syndicate water; not to mention the others this year from elsewhere…
An awesome carp food!!
Getting back to the session… I’d just released the stunning 32lb 12oz carp back to her watery home; kicking up soft silt as she went. Sat grinning away (as you do!) the next few hours drifted away quite nicely if the truth was known; the rods were left quiet from the day before, even the rod that needed to be cast back out was a single cast with a small lead (just in case there was more carp still about) With no more bait going out at all, my swim returned to the ‘Quiet Zone’ again; watching other anglers redoing their spots/rods throughout the day, all at different times too! My plan was falling back into place yet again; I was sat watching the shoal of carp move from one area to the next (small tell tail signs gave their position away) It’s surprising how far a shoal of carp will move on the drop of a lead, when a few anglers are casting at them. My mind told me there would be one place they would end up… My 4pm cup of coffee was almost finished, time for a bit of Facebook then…... Beeeeeeep!!
With bites normally coming an hour before dark, this shocked the hell out of me for sure! Losing a Croc in the silt I had a right game on; rod in hand and trying to pull a croc out the silt with the other; I would have happily lost the croc than the fish to be honest. But soon enough I bent into a heavy resistance with my foot wear back in place… Edging towards a slightly deeper area, just to make sure the fish had enough water to be landed safely; reeling a little then dragging my net at any given chance. Behaving herself she plodded nicely towards me and after a textbook plod around in front of me, she soon rolled almost silently into the net! Another mirror and another 32lber at that… what a great session this was turning out to be for sure.
She soon went on her way, not quite as happy as myself if the truth was known?? Dead snowman was soon back drowning in the lake; this time I felt a couple of free baits were needed, just to keep things ticking along as it were! Just six baits plopped out with a good few seconds in-between, deliberately done one at a time so not to scare the swim to death; or the carp anyway. Sat thinking Shall I go home now; well I had to be at work for 8am to roll some bait for a customer… Sat talking myself out of going home, and weighing up the pros and cons of packing up at 6am?? If I went home now I’d be rushing around sorting my gear, shower and then bed for 11 ish… Or stay and sod the shower and head straight for work in the morning!! Yeah I decided to go to work smelly as you do lol!
With the light fading, well if I hadn’t had enough surprises this trip already; Beeeeeeeeeep! Yeah off she went again!! Not to bore you stupid with the battle, an ugly common soon came to say hello again! Yes it was the Car Crash common, the one I’d landed only a few weeks earlier in fact. Not wanting to mess her around too much, she’s a 34lber as a rule so a quick picture later and off she went. Repeat captures on the same bait, always tells a story on how good your bait is as a rule; the daft creatures just can’t keep away!
Lay in bed listening to the coots scream after a carp rolled near them, this was always my evening pass time, and could you believe it; I couldn’t either… Just before midnight a 22lb common decided to give my dead snowman CPR and away it went. Approach is simple as you can see, but being deliberate with baiting and keeping quiet is a massive edge.
Will be a few weeks before I’m aloud out to play again, but with Autumn creeping in fast I can’t wait; this must be one of my favorite times of the year… Well that and winter of course!
Time to get the old temp gauge out!
So till next time, be lucky.