A face only a mother could love...!

  On my last trip up to Acton top lake, I was greeted by a rather busy lake to say the least; 8 anglers on and anywhere I saw fish seemed to have angler’s traps set patiently in place.

After a trip round the lake, I soon found out the guy in first bay was soon leaving, to be honest this style of fishing normally isn't my thing; much preferring a walk round a quiet lake as far away from other angling pressure as I can get!! Dropping in a swim straight after another angler, is part of today’s angling, so this time it had to be....

Not a bad result really as he was well on the fish (even though the fish had been playing hard ball for him, shown by his bite-less quiet night!) He soon said his goodbyes as I barrowed my gear round to the swim; I'm still learning the top lake and this swim was a new adventure to me, so not wanting to waste any time I started watching the water as I entered the spacious swim!

Wanting to let the fish settle I first set up camp, wanting to wait a while I thought I’d see where the carp wanted to be before I committed to any areas. With a pleasant wind blowing straight into me from time to time, I was pleasantly surprised how computable the swim was; well after the heat of the day melted everyone else (the carp seem to be thinking the same that’s for sure)

Looking in the margins and a quick trial cast later (away from the main fishy area) it was very evident that the silt weed had taken hold in this shallow area I was planning to fish! The weed was dark in colour almost dead in fact, which tells me the lake dye was doing its job. In my mind the soft silt weed wouldn't be sat up anymore than two inches maximum in its dying state. So the next plan was which rigs to use.... my blowback in a bag and a lazy Chod will do nicely I thought (keeping things simple is the name of my game!)

Billy at retro had given me the go ahead of coming up with my very own bait; can't say much here as its still on test, but it's a bit special and it's caught fish since this trip for Billy too!

All I can say is; it was to be aimed at the long term anglers out there, who want a quality food bait the fish love! (No artificial ingredients at all; a proper food bait!! that's all I can say for now on that subject… sorry!)

So with that said, it's back to the trip in hand...

After watching the carp give away small signs and the odd wave, I soon hatched a plan of fishing their patrol routes; from their mood some looked very catch-able, where others didn’t as they sat motionless just below the surface??

With camp set up and vents open in back of bivvy with the breeze blowing through, I soon sorted the rods out ready to cast. The quietest area out to the right was a prime area to drop some bait in; 4 foot 6 inches deep (or there abouts) would keep it just out of reach of the swans, after one the single cast soon saw my match catty plopping two baits at a time over the rig (I didn’t want to drop a baited area where the fish were, as I felt the disturbance may be too much for them to bare!) Working my way back towards the fish, a small bag was cast with a few crushed new baits inside; only 20 yards or so and right on their route. The final rod was a single lazy chod to be cast right on the fish, but as you can see by the way I put the rods out…. If this one spooked them a few yards away I already had a rig in place ready and waiting (how many would cast the first rod at the fish?? And then cast again eventually scaring the fish right out the area!) I always do it this way; more time watching and learning will sometimes make bites come easy.

With my Lazy Chod in hand I waited and waited until at least half the fish were elsewhere in the swim, I thought my chance had come as the sun dropped behind the clouds and a controlled cast letting the lead dive straight in, pushing the Chod up the line to sit lightly on top of the shallow weed; as it hit the water the area erupted with no less than six large carp spook on the surface, so much for well laid plans ha ha ha!  With the water only being 3 feet deep I fished a dull Meaty G hook bait; I’ve unhooked a Swan before, it’s not for the fait hearted let me tell ya, so a stand out hook bait wasn’t the one in this area.

As the evening pulled in I watched the water and by 8pm a few blows started to show (feeding fish pushing air up from lake bed) , itching to see more I sat on the logs that made up the front of the swim right next to my rods. I watched a blow travel through the swim and as soon as I thought to myself ‘I have a rig there!’ A fish boiled and swirled like crazy as my rod tip pulled down into the water…. Quickly picking the rod up I swallowed as I remembered my chest waders were 20 yards behind me; too late I went into the shallow water crocks, socks and all. Running left to right and back again, she felt a good heavy fish; keeping her head down massive plumbs of bubbles hit the surface as she tried to shed the hook and win her freedom! Five minuets in and she slowed a little and became more predictable, with my heart in my mouth and silt in my socks, I soon had her on a short line in the shallow water. Each crossing of my other two lines gave out a bleep, with her back out the water and fins flicking my other lines; she spat a little water and drifted into the waiting net.

With her sat in the net all I could see was a large dark back; securing the net I gave punk rocker Mark a shout from two swims away, buzzing like a kid in a sweetshop I still didn’t have a clue which one it was?? Fag later and Mark turned up for some pictures, we weighed her and the scales sang a happy tune of 35lb 12oz of common carp!! A proper old character fish called the Car Crash common (yeah with a face like that I can see why!)

With a face only a mother could love, we slipped her back to her watery home to scare the neighbours again! Really pleased I almost fell into chill out mode till the last night, but that also gave another bite to my rods, only small in comparison but on a lake that nothing else came off all weekend it gave me great confidence in my new bait from the start; it had been in the pipeline for a long time but its like most things getting round to doing it…. But I’m glad I did now as you can tell!

Acton top lake has some stunning fish present, after only ever fishing it twice, so far it’s treating me very well.

 I will have to see if she gives me another prize next week; even after all these years I’m still buzzing with a fish in the net (keep it real!)

I will keep you informed on my progress, not to mention the new baits progress over the coming months.


Be lucky