A return to the estate lake this week. This is becoming a bit of a habit, bordering on obsessive. I can't recall doing so many stillwater sessions on the bounce during the main season.
The truth is that time is against me on the lake and within a few weeks it won't get much of a look in if the rivers are half fishable. Of course there's a likelihood that the lake contains pike and I'll probably have a speculative dabble at some point.
I had good intentions of varying my tactics but once again the wind was blowing strongly across the lake. I went for a straight lead approach again, but on a braid mainline to improve bite registration.
I opted for a different peg with a few extra reeds to help provide shelter from the wind. It didn't make life easy in terms of watching the quiver though. The tip blended into the ever moving background. Time to think outside the box.
I was using my short 8ft TFG all rounder rod anyway, as I needed a short rod for my choice of swim. I moved back a yard or so from where I'd normally sit and that allowed me to place a large bankstick directly behind the tip to give me a static reference point.
It was better, but still not good enough. Then the solution dawned on me. In my holdall was a rod tube for my travel float rod. Dispense with the rod, place the empty tube over the bankstick and voilà - problem solved. OK, so it would be a whole lot easier if I just dug out my target board, but that's no fun is it?!
The fishing proved reasonably predictable and a double handful of 6oz stamp roach were the result. I had one eye on trying a tight and snaggy little swim to my left though.
With an hour or so to go I gave it a shot and on arrival I spooked a fish that displaced a fair amount of water. I had a carp rod set up so I gave it a shot with floating crust.
Time after time I saw swirls in the water, but nothing took my bait. I went into overtime and fished well into dusk, but still nothing could be tempted. I packed up, locked the gate behind me and vowed to return the following evening to break the carp duck.
A day on and I was back to find an almost completely calm lake and loads of fish topping. Like taking candy off a baby I thought. I had the place to myself again so the options were plentiful. The only barrier was time. Just a couple of hours to crack it.
Again, most fish of any size were operating at distance. Now I'm not really geared up or used to long range fishing. 30-40 yards is extreme for a self confessed margin plunderer like me. I now found myself chucking the lead probably 60-70 yards and in truth I felt like I needed more. I still seemed to be short of the main zone and the only close call came from an inquisitive gull.
I gave it an hour before switching to a different bank which the fish seemed to have moved closer to during the session. I felt much happier and I got the bait bang on the money. I thought my number was coming up when a fish swirled by the bait and others were close by. Surely the threat of competition would trigger one of the fish into action.
Sadly it seemed spooked by either the bait or my set up and it bolted a little, causing the rest to back off. And that was that. Apart from a daft moment where in the reducing light I managed to spend about 10 minutes watching the wrong bait, very little else happened!
A very brief foray with a float rod and some leftover maggots in the margins, threw up a roach and a perch of the usual stamp.
A failed effort really, but it's all useful knowledge. It's not an easy nut to crack and the carp will certainly be shelved next time.
Having seen the whole lake in a calm state, it allowed me to see exactly where the fish were feeding. I was actually quite surprised to see plenty of bubbles within comfortable float fishing range on most pegs. I'd like to think some of it was tench related.
The lake is shallow across its whole expanse. So, although I was concerned about fishing the float in shallow water (2.5ft max), I don't think I need to worry. I haven't even found 3ft of depth when venturing out to around 70 yards. The lake isn't pressurised in any way and sees very little bank traffic on my preferred swims. Maybe I don't need to fish at long range after all? A close in swim with a bit of cover might be better after all if the depth is so uniform.
More to ponder over for the week ahead...