Well having read Adam Roots recent blog (Short Day Success) I was inspired to visit a local water. One of several deep-water quarries along the old route of the A30 in West Devon. Although generally considered a difficult water due to the considerable depths of up to 50 plus feet in places.
First a plan; A couple of quick overnighters, in an attempt to find the odd fish or two. As local knowledge is thin on the ground, it was considered to use tried and tested methods, small PVA bags using RR 10mm pellets , and the infamous and ever reliable Cell pop-up hook baits.
The traps were set, in relatively shallow water where depths varied from 5 to 12 feet, not much more than a rod length out from the bank. A scattering of sweet corn and a couple of handful of loose fed pellets finished off the preparations. Rigs were then swung out into position.
As the late March evenings were beginning to draw out it was nice to be back on the bank side, in the relatively tranquil setting. As the evening light dwindled, there was a crescendo of noise, as the evening chorus from the local birdlife burst into song. With spring in the air, a number of drake Mallards were attempting to win the affections of a couple of hen ducks, with considerable commotion at the other end of the lake. As darkness fell with no signs of any fish activity, whilst I watched the water, I turned my attention to getting a brew on and a spot of supper.
Retiring early with a view to wakening early to continue the vigil.
Dawn came and I decided to reposition one rod. Just as I wound one rod in my right-hand rod experienced a dramatic knock on the line; A line bite! Definitely, something had moved in the vicinity of the baited spot.
No sooner had I recast the other rod, the right-hand rod had a run. I was standing right beside my pod as the line melted off the reel.
Picking up I could feel the line was around some underwater obstruction, and by moving to my right to re-direct the angle of attack, the line sprung free and for a brief moment, I lost contact with the fish, always a worry when using barbless hooks. Rapidly gaining control a moment later a spritely immaculate 11lb Common graced the landing net. Result!
The rod was repositioned; Kettle on, for early morning coffee, while the fish languished safely in the net in the margins, while I fumbled with my new mobile phone in order to set things up for a capture “Selfie”. Perhaps too many fingers in the shot…. However, I was learning the merits of self-takes, note to self, I need to download a good App for a self-take timer.
A couple of hours with no more activity, it was pack down time.
A second bout of snow late March curtailed my next planned visit, but as soon as the thaw set in, I headed back again for another short overnight session. Same swim, same method and approach.
With the rods back on their spots, as the evening light dwindled, this evening saw a few bats flitting low over the water. On a couple of occasions, they collided with my lines giving a short buzz on the rod alarms. After a couple of hours of darkness, I retired to the relative warmth of my sleeping bag.
About 3 AM my right-hand rod burst into life as I was rudely awakened by a one toner alarm…. Fish on!
After a protracted fight, although on this occasion no underwater snags were encountered, and lovely looking scaly mirror graced the net. I think I was in total shock, 2 sessions 2 fish; this is really unusual for this venue, as many a blank can often be experienced.
I emailed my son, who was due to finish a night shift, so he could come and take a photo for me. I wasn’t going to chance it again that my fumbling “selfie” would be up to the mark for such a magnificent creature. Zeroing the weigh sling, the scales went around to a respectable 22lb although I was convinced it should have weighed more. Out with 2nd set of scales although they too confirmed it was not quite as big as I thought. I put this down to the fact it was the first 20lb plus fish of the year, and I was obviously a little rusty at estimating a good weight.
Several friends have commented that this is a rare capture as the majority of residents don’t have such good scaly features. Now nearly 2 years since my 1st contribution, Adam also inspired me to go into print with this.
I wish all readers the best of luck for their early season campaigns, I obviously need more practice estimating the weight of a fish and will be on the bank again soon…. let’s hope the next one is a “Thirty”.