freeline-29 - Page 48

Exclusive Nirvana Lost And Found
tleman, and I will never forget that
day. Thank you John… RIP, mate.
Lots of articles have been written
about this now famous water. As a
rough guide, it’s around 35 acres in
size with an average depth of around
4ft, which clearly means water temperatures can rise/drop rapidly within
hours of big weather changes. It’s
made up of large open areas of water,
bays, islands, tree-lined snaggy bays
and shadowy canopies. Just how
these canopies transform from winter
to spring/summer is truly a sight to
The lake now holds approximately
100-120 carp with a good proportion
of them being over 40lb! The stock
includes a dozen or so 50lb-plus fish,
with the current King of the Pond
being a carp named Scruffy Bob that
recently turned the scales round to a
new lake record 61lb 12oz (Oi oi,
Finny). They are all home-grown
monsters, which is simply amazing
and quite astonishing in the context
of English carp lakes. Some swims are
perfect for a stealthy down-the-edge
approach, but in others you could
easily need to cast 120-plus yards to
get near the holding areas.
The big historic carp are clearly a
huge draw, but there is also the
appeal of being marooned in 350
acres of coniferous and deciduous
A typical sunset – stunning.
46 Big Carp
woodlands. In fact, from the moment
you drive through the main gate, the
abundance of wildlife and the smell in
the air ensures it is like another world,
just a few minutes from the suburban
hustle and bustle of downtown Reading.
Sunrise in the east lifts from behind
the Cold Swim, and during sunset the
big, glowy thing drifts away across
behind Goose Point and finally drops
down behind the Little Lake. The
panoramic photo opportunities, with
no need for filters, are endless. When
the sun rises, the early dawn chorus
of songbirds is just insane. Although
largely irritating, even the cockerel in
the kids’ petting farm (set next to the
productive southern bay) cock-a-doodle-doodling at the top of its lungs
from 3:30am onwards, has periods of
even being almost bearable!
After dark, the silence is a stark
contrast to the hustle and bustle of
the park in full swing. At times, apart
from the bloody Canadian geese, you
could hear a pin drop. This is when
you sleep with one eye open. The
sound of a huge carp crashing in any
part of the lake echoes throughout
the park. It really is something that
pricks up the ears of all anglers on the
complex at the time.
It’s a lake that really does offer
everything, but due to the pressure
these fish have faced for years now
using distance sticks, avoiding
unnecessary leading and spod rockets crashing around, and feeling for
the drop are almost mandatory.
Developing confidence when landing
on what is a predominantly silty chod
lakebed was the key. It was also a bit
of an art to feel a heavy lead down in
a very shallow lake when casting at
range. Knowing you are presenting a
rig as well as you could to fish that
have seen it all, and to know it has the
maximum hooking and resets correctly increased my confidence to
leave rigs out for longer periods.
My arrival coincided with the Ronnie revolution, and as I was already a
huge advocate of the 360-rig, being
introduced to the Ronnie rig seemed
like a very logical transition for me to
take, so with a very slight change, I
had a presentation that I knew was
working amazingly well.
My results in the opening ten
months were steady, even slow in
periods, but the learning process
never stopped. June and July were
very slow months for everyone on the
syndicate, largely because the spring
had been very productive following
the very mild winter. I started trickling a few captures out from August,
including the much sought after
‘Pretty Sutton’ at 38lb 10oz. Sadly
though, I lost two very big fish. The
first one in the infamous Snags Swim,
and then painfully, I lost one of the big
50lb-plus fish at the net on a 12-hour
work night in October whilst angling
in a swim known as The Wides. It was
to be one of those losses that would
sit uncomfortably with me for a while.
However, I took solace in the fact that
I must be doing something right,
although it was very hard to stomach
at the time. I felt no pressure, as my
approach was to move swim to swim
and learn the lake with a much
longer-term plan in mind.
As a syndicate member, we are all
entitled to a five-night session per
season. After considering a few dates,
and checking with home and work,
my first choice of dates for my inaugural five-nighter thankfully didn’t
clash with anyone else’s that had
already booked (only one person can
have a five-day session at a time), and
I booked in the first week of April
2017, which historically had a good
track record with being warm, and it
was also the run up to a full moon.

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