Like most of you reading this my fishing is secondary to both work and family. Fishing is a passion, an obsession but other things simply have to take priority. That doesn't mean I am unsuccessful though, maybe my photo album is not bursting but I do ok. I have learned over time, to make the most of the opportunities I have, whether time on the bank, extra preparation, or making a little bit more effort than other anglers. Quite often when reading the angling press, books or social media you would be forgiven for thinking that unless you are a full time angler that you have no chance of catching the fish of your dreams. Nothing could be further from the truth and by simply making the most of what you have, you have the chance to cradle those dreams I promise you.
Just do it
Moon phases, low pressure, fresh south westerly winds, 100% days on fishing calendar apps, all of these things we know mean that we should be on the bank, but in the real world if you have a night to go fishing then the truth is you just have to go and you should go full of confidence that you have every chance of catching. By stacking the odds in your favour before you go as well as when you get there you can have a result. Be it by keeping in touch with the lake, the locals or even dare I say it on Facebook, by prebaiting if you can, by making rigs in advance, by preparing bait or by ensuring that your kit is as organised as possible, just be ready for when you get the chance to go.
Just recently I had a sniff of an opportunity, one I just had to take, a chance to fish for five nights, albeit after work overnighters. I normally work 8am until 7pm but for one week I had to cover a member of staff who only worked until 5pm. I buttered the wife up as best I could, luckily for me Louise understands the itch and I managed to get permission to do 5 overnight sessions on the bounce, something I have only done once before in my life. Of course I’ve fished week sessions before, but five straight work nights on the bank is always going to be hard graft. With a bit of effort and a load of Red Bull I thought I could maybe maximise the opportunity. And so the plan began.
I needed to find a swim on the syndicate that was rarely fished, therefore hopefully giving me the chance to get in the same swim each night. I grabbed an hour on the Sunday to get down to the lake for a good walk around. I was taking a big and expensive gamble having brought twelve kilos of boilies with me as well as two catapults! I chose a swim with a much less worn appearance, looking like it was not hard fished, hopefully one I could get in each night. It was quite central but heavy with weed, probably why it was left alone. I cast a lead around into a reasonably sized clear area, although the bottom was far from totally clear it was fishable. In for a penny in for a pound I thought as I let rip with twelve kilos of 15mm baits, a mixture of both TG Active and The Key. I left the lake having made sure I had picked up any baits laying around, trying to keep my plan to myself and also wondering if I had overdone it. The truth was I had no idea, but it was worth the gamble. The weather was far from ideal, high pressure, sunny days and clear nights. It was also mid moon phase, not part of the plan! I had to take the chance when I could though. Back at home I organised my tackle, cutting it down as best I could with the bare essentials that would get me through one night at a time. It was all or nothing.
I arrived at the lake at 6.30pm on the Monday and nervously made my way along the bank praying that the pre-baited swim was free, I was in luck and phase one was complete. Brolly up, rods out and again another gamble in that I put five kilos of the same baits out straight away. I settled under the brolly shaking my head at myself really. Still I had five overnighters to adjust the tactics if I needed. Were the carp on the bait, particularly given the far from ideal weather conditions? A bream after half an hour was a surprise, particularly given the fact that there aren’t loads in the lake and the amount of bait I had put out over the last twenty four hours. Another bream, then another had me worried. Had I made an enormous mistake, ploughing hard earned money into bream fodder? I put another kilo of bait out and hit the sack, I had to be up for work in just a few hours. The next bite though met with a much stronger resistance and after an epic battle in and out of the weed I landed a cracking mid twenty pound carp. That first fish is such a relief when you’ve gambled a lot on heavy baiting. Maybe it would pay off? It was too early to say but I packed up at 6am and deposited another five kilos of baits in the swim, keeping to the plan.
A Team time
Night two was quiet, I blanked this time but again baited heavily before I left. At least I didn't catch any bream and had caught up on some sleep. I wanted to create a meal table and to keep the bait going in, hopefully the big fish would be visiting regularly by now. It was very tiring, it was very hard work but the nights got better and better. Night three saw me land a carp after just an hour’s fishing, another an hour later and this time a very special mid thirty mirror, then just two hours later again a very special and hugely desired thirty seven pound mirror found its way into my net, the action was unreal that night with just a few hours at my disposal. Suddenly I was in the zone.
I followed the routine, bait heavy, fish hard and I gradually reaped the rewards. By the end of the five overnighters I’d had fifteen bream, nine carp bites with nothing under twenty pounds and two of the lake’s A Team. I was shattered but the carp kept me motivated, big dark warriors kept me going and kept giving themselves up. Despite far from ideal weather the effort had been more than worthwhile.
The big baiting decision is always a gamble but it's something that I try and do every year on a venue if the opportunity is there, and with the other anglers putting 40-50 baits in and there being a lot of big carp to go for it was a real chance. Baiting when you leave brings the fish in again on the bait and without any lines in the water the feeding activity just builds and builds. The area I fished is still being visited several weeks later even with no further introductions of boilies - which shows what an impact you can have on a water in a very short time. Get it right and you can have a season's worth of sport in a week.
It's always hard work and always there's an element of taking a gamble. I wouldn’t want to do it every week, but I’m very glad I did it that week!