Autumn is when the annual drain off of water takes place so the local authorities can carry out any necessary repairs to the dam. As the water recedes, the banks become a quagmire of mud and weed, making it a very daunting water to fish.
You not only need to be of a sound mind to deal with these conditions, you also need to be physically fit. The constant wading through mud up to your shins really does take it out of you, especially when setting up and packing down, in some cases seeing you hauling your gear 100 yards or so from boat to bank.
If you take into account that the Orient isn’t the most heavily stocked water either, you can see why it is widely regarded as one of the hardest carp waters on the planet. The rewards are there, however, and I set myself the target of just catching a fish during the eleven nights I had ahead of me.
I was accompanied by my good friend Jim Lightfoot for the trip, a very seasoned Orient angler who has fished the lake on several occasions over the last five years. Prior to the trip he was in touch with lads on the lake and the news was it wasn’t fishing well at all. Lots of anglers were blanking for weeks on end and it was very busy too. The majority of the fish were in the deeper water closest to the dam and it was the two swims either side of here that were the only ones doing fish.
It was therefore of no surprise to either of us that we ended up fishless for the first seven nights of the trip. It was at this point we decided to move from the famous Michelin Point where we were bivvied up and go and try some boat fishing up by the dam wall. This was only allowed during the day, and because most of the Orient carp get caught at night, the odds were really stacked against us.
The conditions were flat calm and quite warm and the boat fishing started really well when I found a shoal of fish close to a large weedbed. There were fish rolling nearby and cruising in the shallow water, although they went very quiet once we put rods to them.
The first couple of days produced nothing, then in one hectic short spell just before dark on our penultimate day I landed three fish on the ever-faithful 4G Squid! It was the culmination of lots of hard graft and I couldn’t have asked for a better way to end. I wasn’t bothered that none of them were monster carp: just to catch from the awesome lake was enough for me as no image or amount of words will paint the true picture of how much effort we put into the fishing.