Well I have been working a fair bit recently including weekends so I haven’t been able to do a great deal of fishing, bar the odd overnighter. I’ve started my carp fishing properly (again) and to be honest the last 12 months has been hard work with little reward. The odd 20 has graced my net on occasion and it’s these fish that help to keep the passion alive. After working on father’s day I decided that I would take my dad fishing the following weekend. He is not a seasoned angler and a he freely admits to being fair weather fishermen, but he does enjoy it and that’s what fishing is about (although this is easily forgotten by many).
So I told my wife that I was going to go to Norfolk to take my dad fishing, I say told you all know that I mean asked, begged and pleaded.
So I had a plan, I would fish the whole weekend including nights and dad would join me during the day for a bit of roach bashing (weather dependant obviously).
Choosing a venue was probably the hardest decision having grown up in Norfolk and starting my first serious fishing in this angling haven some ummmm 15 years ago I knew that the choice was going to be vast. I had to narrow it down somehow or I would never have chosen somewhere. I already new that ideally the venue had to have a specimen lake with carp to over thirty but I also wanted a pleasure lake close to one of the swims so that we could both enjoy our different angling requirements while having a chat. The list was still far too extensive to make a Decision. But on trawling the net I did notice that a quite a few lakes contained catfish, I'd never caught a cat so decided that my 3 night pass was going to be the best opportunity to accomplish this goal as well as narrowing down the venue choice. After a little further research I found a fishery called cobbleacres that boasted a series of lakes including a specimen lake which was stocked with Carp to 35 and Cats to 50, and also two of the swims backed on to two separate pleasure lakes. Purrrrrfect!
The week prior to the trip it was time to plan my attack and the knowledge I had gained from an old work colleague’s stories who loved his catfish gave me a great starting point. I had read a fair bit about the lakes and it didn’t make good reading with endless reports of it being really hard and a mostly negative picture from all that had visited. A lot of people saying not to use a lot of bait, I decided that I was going to fish it how I wanted to so the attack would be 2 rods set for the carp and 1 rod for the cats, I tied a few rigs up the same rigs I always use but I have recently moved on to the korda curveshanks from Drennen continentals which I had used for 15 years after losing a couple of fish and missing a couple of takes. The only difference between my cat rigs and carp rigs was the length of hair was a little longer to allow the use of 2 or 3 14mm baits. The bait I chose was Carp Company Ice red as I felt this. Would have more appeal to the cats than my newly arrived Stock.
The day had finally come and I started the 200 mile trip. Although the heavy traffic did its best to delay my arrival I arrived at the caravan park and with the shop/reception closed I made my way towards Mario's the specimen lake. I could see that there were already 4 bivvies erected and one of them was in the swim with one of the pleasure lakes behind. The other swim with this feature was empty it was the first swim you came to and due to its convenience it was aptly named "Lazymans".
There was a very strong warm wind blowing into the swim and I couldn’t believe it was free, there was an Island to the left for the carp I thought and open water in front for the Cats. I dropped my bait bucket in the swim and made my way around the lake, I spoke to everyone and was informed again that the lake was solid and all had blanked up to now. I didn’t let that phase me and as I scattered a few baits into some likely carp holding areas. I set up camp first while watching the water and at around 7-30pm I cast the baited rods. I had decided on 5 likely locations that included left hand margin to a small patch of lily’s, the point of the island, a small whole in the Island, open water and the right hand margin reed bed. This would mean I could rest 2 of the areas at various moments of my trip. The first rod was tight to the whole in the island and I also introduced around 60 baits. The second rod was cast to open water around 40 yards out I marked my line clip with a piece of Insulation tape to ensure accurate baiting this was sent out with a double Icelandic red with a large pva stocking filled with pellets. The third rod was dropped off the reed bed to my right with a handful of baits around. I continued to watch the water and saw no signs of fish so at 930pm I decided to head off to bed.
I had barely sat on my bed when the left hand rod screamed off, instantly I knew it wasn’t a monster and it was soon in the net. This small 7lb common was welcomed and I was off the mark.
It was starting to get dark but I managed an accurate cast back the whole. And scattered another 30 or so baits around the hookbait.
I hadn’t fell asleep when I was alerted to my. Middle rod that had gone off like a rocket, the scrap was fast but with very little weight on the end. As the fish came to the surface the tell tale slap confirmed my suspicions and I had captured my target a small kitten that weighed 4lb. The rod was replaced precisely using the clip marker with the same tactics. I was chuffed to of had two fish on this hard new water but I couldn’t help but think I want another one. As my day dreams of big carp and cats was interrupted with a belting run and my left hand reel went into melt down, On picking up the rod I knew that this was a good fish I managed to get it in close when it tried every trick in the book including running through my other lines and through the small patch of lily’s to my left, eventually beaten as she wallowed across the drawstring I thought now that’s a kipper. It was a yellow common/ghostie/fully scaled I wasn’t exactly sure what it was but I knew that for that small moment it was mine. I raised the scales and they settled on a very respectable 27lb exactly.
Now I was truly chuffed.
The angler in the next swim did the piccies and as she swam off to the deep it was time for a well earned cuppa and ciggie. But before I could finish my brew the middle rod shot off. Another cat I hoped and this one put up a great account for a small fish of 6lb it scrapped like a carp of three times its size.
It was now getting light so I decided to stay up and watch the water over another brew. The next few hours were fairly uneventful apart from me finding that roach like the Carp Company Icelandic Red boilies as much as the carp and cats. My Dad turned up and started catching a few roach on the pole, and at around 1-30pm our chatting was interrupted by a violent take from the island rod, a powerful 17lb 2oz old mirror that couldn’t resist the Ice Red. The afternoon remained quiet and as early evening approached I moved a couple of the rods to rest the open water and right hand margin.
The afternoon passed with plenty of brews, and a further handful of roach to my dad including a few good ones around the pound mark.
After Sorting out a bit of grub, at 8-30pm the left hand rod was away, screaming from the baitrunner, I connected with a decent fish the gave a good battle under the rod tip darting deep into the margins, eventually she gave in and surrendered to the green mesh of my waiting landing net, resulting in this cracking common of 17lb 8oz
It was a great session and nice to have a change of scenery and land one of the named big ghosties.