FL02 PDF (212pp) - Page 69



Chester Lake Session
W
ith winter
upon me it
wasn’t the
best time of
year to be
changing
waters. I had missed the optimal
times to see fish, watch their patrol
routes and really get my head into
locating the fish. What made this so
much harder was the fact my new
lake had a very low stock, circa 20
fish, was nine acres in size and with
depths down to 25ft, so this was
going to be a real challenge – just
what I was after. Up until now most
all of my fishing had been done on
day ticket waters open to anyone. I’d
had a run of good success including
landing Dave from Bluebell’s Swan
lake at 54lb 8oz, its biggest ever
weight, on my first ever session!
My first approach was to seek
advice from the regulars, and here
w a s m y f i r s t i s s u e. D u e t o t h e
extremely low catch rate (some going
seasons without so much as a bleep)
on the water, hardly anyone fished it,
and toughs that did were extremely
tight-lipped, however the bailiff and
water keeper gave me a few pointers,
which was all I had to go on.
Mid November saw me at the
water for my first session. With temps
below freezing and the bitter wind
biting, I wasn’t feeling at all confident.
My plan was to spend most of the day
with the marker rod in the next
swims, but they were occupied
shortly after I arrived, so I sat for three
days and watched. I didn’t see a single sign of a fish; there was nothing to
go at. For me it’s pointless being sat
fishing in a swim with no fish, but lap
after lap I couldn’t see a thing, not
even a roach. Things became more
alarming when the bailiff informed
me he had over 40 hours of underwater footage and had not seen a thing
either! This was going to be harder
than I thought!
The next few sessions went pretty
much the same, not seeing a thing. I
sat up morning, noon and night
watching and waiting, but nothing, I
was pulling my hair out and starting
to fish badly. I was changing things
that I knew worked, losing confidence
in my rigs, my ability and above all
else I was doubting that there were
even any fish in the lake at all! It was
mid-February when it became clear
to me I needed a break from the place.
I needed a bend in the rod to get my
confidence back. With a pending first
round for the BCAC at Barston Hall, I
decided, along with my teammate
Neil Golden that a practice session
was in order. I won’t talk too much
about that session at Barston Hall, but
what I will say is I was fed up with
catching fish, so much so I had to
bring my rods in. If you need a runs
water, look no further than Barston
Hall.
On my return I became very ill and
did not get back to the lake for around
three or four weeks, but my head was
well and truly focused, and above all
my confidence was at an all-time
high. I’d gone back to basics – my rigs
were simple and my bait was getting
lots of great reports up and down the
country. Rig wise I was fishing a size
7 Nash Fang Twister tied knotless
knot with 8 inches of Nash 15lb
Armourlink uncoated braid, no silicone, no shrink tube, just a simple rig
that has served me well over the
years. This was mounted directly to a
Nash Safety Bolt bead Diffusion camo
leader. This in itself was an edge, as
most others on the lake were not
bothering to use a marker rod and
simply chucking out a chod rig with a
fluoro pop-up on to the areas they had
been baiting.
My first session back and I finally
had a pickup. Unfortunately I pulled
out of the fish, and the next few
nights were uneventful, but I knew
what I was doing worked. Unfortunately I again had to pull off the lake
to prep for BCAC. Until you actually
fish one of these events you don’t
realise just how much prep goes into
it. It took me two days just to make up
2kg of four-bait stingers! We came
out pretty much last in the draw, and
with hardly anywhere left to fish, we
chose our swim based on the fact is
was not next to the island! My heart
sank even further when I saw how lit-
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