Our next session and we're back at the new water. Going round the lake and plonking ourselves down the side of the spit that protudes out from the far bank.
Gary's seen a few carp moving about, and as we're choosing our swims, one rolls right at the end of the spit. That makes up Gary's mind for him, and he sets up nearby, while I move into a spot further down, where I can put a bait into open water for the bream, and also target some overhanging branches that look like they might attract a carp or two.
Things go well, with a run around midnight, that results in a 9lb 8oz bream. Then a couple of hours later and my 'beauty sleep' is disturbed once again, but this time its only a small cat. And to finish off the night's action I pick up an 8lb 10oz bream in the early hours. So my quest for the 10lb'er goes on.
And Gary... well, lets just say he had a very good nights sleep!
Over the following two weeks with a family holiday, then a spot of car trouble, Gary's not been able to get out. But I soldier on, continuing with the big bream hunt.
Back at the water I'm moving about each visit trying different swims, usually fishing the main part of the lake, and keeping to the same tactics that's got me amongst the fish the last few times.
Which all sounds good, but for the fact that I haven't caught a bream since!
Though I'm snaring one of the little cats each session now, they're not the 20lb+ ones that lie somewhere in the depths, and a reasonable tench graces my net one night to get me staggering around in the dark. It seems I can catch most species.. except the bream now, but while your catching, the next one can always be the big one!
Another week slips by, and here I am, back at the lake, and back on my own again. With Gary back out on our usual day, it's me who mucks things up, as I can't get out till the day after... no dear, of course I don't mind if you go away with your girlie mates on my fishing day...!
Anyway, Gary gives me a full report on fish movements, and he's right, they're all down the car park end, and so I'm back in the swim I tried the other week. And how did Gary get on the previous day I can hear you say, well to use his own words when I asked 'I'm taking up golf or tiddlywinks instead!
So I'm straight into balling up the ground bait and 'pulting it out. Nothing new on the hookbait front, with pellet on one and boilie on the other. Saying that, Gary had been asking me whether the pellets were staying on the hair overnight, as they do have a tendency to break up after a while. I'd been lucky so far, but we talked about using 'Arma Braid' as a way of keeping the pellet on the rig longer. The braid looks like PVA netting, but is not dissolvable in water, so holds your hookbait in its own little bag, and I was trying it for the first time tonight.
Even with Gary missing, certain rituals have to be observed, so as soon as the baits are set I get the kettle on! It's that perfect time, as the sun sets over the water, the odd splash from a rolling carp breaks the quiet, and the anticipation of a monster soon to be caught starts to grow. You can almost feel your heart beat a little bit slower, and your blood pressure start to drop... ah yes, it's great being out.
Now if you read this blog enough, you'll know that things don't always go to plan, and being the top anglers we are, Gary and me often find that the fish we're targeting, don't always turn out to be the fish we end up getting on the bank! I think so far this season we've gone for bream and had carp, gone for perch.. and had carp, tried for carp, and had bream! So why should this session be any different!
As I'm woken from a few hours of peaceful sleep, the buzzer is beeping away intermittently, I pick up the rod and feel a little tug, is this the '10'? I wind in, and as usual there's no fight, but as it nears the bank there's a scrappy fight into the net, and I soon see it's another baby cat. These things are becoming a nuisance!
At least its good to see the Arma Braid has worked, and the same hookbait is launched back out to its chosen spot. The cat has shown that fish are feeding on the groundbait, so hopefully the bream won't be far behind. I return to my slumber.
It's funny how attuned to your alarms you get though, as I'm out cold, probably snoring my head off, well that's what the good lady tells me most mornings! But, when that buzzer suddenly emits a one-toner scream in the early hours, I'm out of my bag, down to the rods in seconds, and leaning into something a lot bigger than those little cats, and certainly pulling more than any bream!
The rod arcs over, and I'm having line taken off the clutch.. this fish wants to visit the other side of the lake! But I let it have its head before tightening up and applying some side strain to turn it back my way. It ever so slowly makes its way towards me, before a final lunge has it stuck in a line of weed about 40ft out, I keep the pressure on, and even as I feel the line rubbing on the weed, it comes free, and I'm able to play it into my waiting net. Phew!
I secure the net, then it's back to my brolly to get my shoes on, and my headtorch out, and a proper look in the net. Wow, that's a lump.. no, definitely not that bream I'm hoping for, but who cares, it's my first carp from the new venue and it looks pretty damn big!
On the unhooking mat, open up the landing net.. what a gorgeous fish, it's a beautiful linear mirror, so I whip out the hook, get the rod out the way and lift the carp into the sling. It goes 24lb 1oz! A real cracker... and of course there's no one here to take a pic!
I try a couple of self takes, but they're not good... of course I could ring Gary? It's 4.30am in the morning. I know he's up early for his job, so I leave it till 5am and give him a call. After the luck he's had recently, he's still a top man, and a good friend, and gets down within minutes.
The pics are done, and we both watch as the fish is returned, and glides back down into the dark water. Gary's first thought is 'I can't wait to get back here and have another go', no mate, me neither!