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Manor Madness Exclusive
(Above) A big common caught on
lightly baiting the spot
(Below) The business end
keep using it, and this can only be
gained by captures as I’m sure you
will agree, so even if I didn’t catch on
the new rigs for a while I wouldn’t
discard them; I would stick to my
plan and use them, as you couldn’t
argue with Jon’s captures over the
years can you?
My first baiting trip was one morning midway through February on my
way to the Secret Lake that I had
been targeting over the winter. I
arrived very early in darkness on a
Monday morning; there was no one
on the lake. It had been fishing very
slowly over the winter, with just the
odd fish coming out to those who
persevered. I remember giggling as I
drove out of the car park after
depositing a few kilos around the
lake – the plan had started and there
was no turning back now; I just
hoped come that all the hard work
would bear fruit. I continued baiting
through February and March, not
being able to get down to fish until
the end of March due to work, family,
and finishing off at the Secret Lake,
so my first trip down I was buzzing.
I had been baiting for a month or
so, and I felt really confident that this
spring would be my chance to bank
one of my target fish. As I drove
through the gates early one Tuesday
morning I could see that the lake
was fairly busy this time, but not
packed as it can get in the spring. I
stepped out of the van, took in the
early morning air, started walking
round with water bottle in hand, and
stopped in a swim called The Pump,
which gave me a good view of the
whole of the lake. There were various
brollies and bivvies dotted around
the lake, but no one was in The Middle Pads where I felt I had to target
for a chance at Stella. I wandered
down, placed my bottle in the swim,
and sat and rolled up a fag as you do,
and watched intently for signs of
fish. A fish head-and-shouldered
across the pond in The Garden, an
area I also hoped to get in at some
time, but on closer inspection I saw
that Jon Mac was in there. I walked
round, drank his tea, and we chatted.
This had been his first night on the
water, and he had managed to land a
lovely mid-30mirror that hadn’t been
out for a few years. I didn’t really see
very much for the next couple of
hours so decided to stay put in The
Middle Pads – I was sticking to the
plan. I sorted myself out, positioned
the rods with pop-ups on all three
rods, and baited each spot with a
mix of different size baits with my
catapult. There wasn’t a spod in
sight; I had left them at home, so I
didn’t feel tempted to use them.
The night passed uneventfully, but
around 10am the following morning I
saw that Jon Mac was into a fish. I
reeled in and wandered round, as it
seemed like he was into a good’un,
and after a hardy battle I pushed the
net under a long, dark mirror. It had
hardly any scales on its flanks, and
on closer inspection I could see that
it was indeed Stella. I had been right
in my location; she had come from
The Garden. Whilst I was as happy
as punch for my mate Jon, it was one
of my target fish, and seeing as she
only visited the bank a couple of
times a year, I felt a bit deflated; it
was as if my plan was over before I
had even had chance to put it into
practice. We hoisted her up onto the
scales and from memory she went
45lb 10oz. She looked so impressive
with drops of water glistening in the
morning sun as we clicked away for
a very happy Jon.
This was only his second night on
the lake, and he had bagged one of
the biggest fish in the lake – good
angling, mate. After we had chatted
and I had drunk more of his tea I
wandered back to my swim. I sat
there for a while contemplating what
had happened, but I had to stick to
my plan. After all, I had put a lot of
effort into baiting and working out
the plan, so I wasn’t going to give up
now, and I also had The Northern to
go for. I managed a couple more
nights in the swim, and was
r e w a r d e d w i t h a l o w - 3 0 m i r r o r,
which boosted my confidence in my
approach and the new rig. I’d been
stealthily baiting a few spots in the
dead of night with the bait when no
one could see what I was doing. I
just had to keep on keeping on I told
myself, as I catapulted a few more
baits out in the darkness while all


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