EVER taken a Christmas tree fishing with you?
Christmas sessions have been a feature of my fishing for 20 years now with most of those trips taking place at Cassien, but with no night fishing there anymore Rainbow Lake seemed to be a natural alternative.
We had Christmas and New Year booked in swim 18, which has been one of my favourites over the years and a swim I’ve probably spent the most time in at Rainbow. But things have certainly changed in recent times there, for several years the hotspots in the swim were as reliable as they could be but the news was that the old spots were drying up and anglers were having to think a little bit harder – that’s the nature of carp and pressure I guess.
I’d found a similar situation in other swims this year and the answer seemed to be to fish either much shallower than normal or much deeper. In swim 18 there are a couple of shallow options but for the most part the water is deeper than the rest of the lake. I did try a couple of the old spots just in case but one rod I placed in just 3 feet of water right in the margins of the main island 90 metres out, while my fourth rod I placed on the peak of a deepish plateau in 19 feet which had the reputation for being slow but producing the odd big fish – indeed I’d previously fished the same spot for about three weeks in total and had yet to receive a take from it.
Next morning it was the shallow rod that ripped off! It took me a bit by surprise as I’d never really fished that shallow at Rainbow before. But after a good scrap I was looking down at my first carp of the trip – and a good one too at 50lb 12oz. The take had come in the bright mid-morning sunshine, which is quite common for swim 18 and sure enough at the same time the next day one of the old banker spots came up with an even harder scrapping and slightly bigger common of 53lb 12oz! Two days and two 50s was a great start and in the exceptionally warm sunshine everything was very enjoyable!
Tactics were the same on all four rods, I was using a mixture of 4G Squid and Coconut Crème, I’d brought the white wonders along as they have proved to be such a good winter bait for me in the past and although it was hardly winter conditions the baits were working just fine anyway. I wasn’t using any great amounts, aftere the successes of light baiting on my last trip maybe 40 boilies around each rod along with a few scoops of hemp. Rig were quite simple affairs with about 35cm of 35lb Combilink with all of the coating intact (apart from the hair), size 2 Fang Twisters and a large home-rolled 4G Squid hook bait.
Two or three quiet days followed and the next action was on Christmas Day itself with a 27lb 8oz common, which was particularly pleasing as that is the one day I’d choose to catch one on if I could. But for about three days after that the whole lake switched off and all was quiet. There were no noticeable changes in conditions but thankfully days later news filtered through that a couple had been caught and sure enough my next run wasn’t far behind. The great news was that at last it came from the deep 19ft plateau and my knees trembled knowing that it could well be something big! Sure enough a long, slow battle followed and it was a relief when a big common rolled in to the net. My first thoughts were 70lb+ but it fell just short at 69lb 4oz – but there were no complaints from me.
I had one more bit of action before the end and it was literally left until the last seconds. We were invited by Pascal and family for some New Year’s Eve celebrations and I was just about to reel in when the alarm sounded and one of my lucky Christmas bauble bobbins jumped about with a 41lb mirror on the end. It was a nice way to finish the fishing – and indeed to finish up 2015, which was a great year all in all. The champagne tasted a little sweeter that night! Happy New Year to everyone out there and here’s wishing that 2016 is a great year for all of us!!