Bill Hodkin celebrates his 50th in style!

Bill Hodkin celebrated his fiftieth birthday in style when he paid a visit to Darenth Big Lake and landed six fish, topped by a 42lb 8oz mirror known as White Tips.

His session didn’t exactly get off to the best start though when he lost a fish under his rod tip, but he soon turned things around with mirrors of 38lb 12oz, 35lb, 35lb and 33lb, plus a 16lb common.

He explained: “The lake had only just opened for the new season and as it was going to be hot during the three days and nights that I would be there, I decided to fish around the islands, in a swim called the Fence.

“I’ve fished this swim a number of times so I knew which spots to fish, with one rod in the margin in 8ft of water; the middle one was cast to a small gravel area 40 yards out; and the third one was cast 60 yards to the far margin shelf, where it was about 4ft deep.

“I fished all three rods on the COG lead system, with 4oz flat pears, and opted for a spinner rig and pop-up on the margin rod as the lakebed wasn’t very clean. On my other two rods I fished with a rig that Danny Fairbrass showed me last year, and which I have been using with great success since then.

“It is made using 25lb Boom, for the boom, and 30lb Arma-Kord Sinking for the soft, combi end. I attach a size 4 Krank X hook using a whipping knot and this is connected to the boom section loop-to-loop style, using a Krimp to form a small loop at the end of the boom. A Kicker on the eye of the hook and a small rig ring, with a hair to attach my wafter hookbait, completes the set-up. In total it is around seven inches long.

“My wife Sharon was at the gate picking up my birthday dinner for me and my mates when I had a bite on the rod in the margins. I managed to stop it getting into the bush and after a very short battle the fish was right under the rod tip, but then the hook fell out. Everyone behind me went silent as I calmly put the rod up against the bivvy, and then as I turned around, the far margin rod was off!

“After a great battle we slipped the net under the fish, which was a 38lb 12oz mirror, and then we celebrated with a great dinner and a couple of beers before settling down for the night.

“Early the next morning, at around 5am, the same rod was off again and this time it was a small common of 16lb. During the rest of that day I added three more fish, with two mirrors of 35lb and another of 33lb. Nothing happened the next night, but on my final afternoon at around 2pm the same spot produced my last bite of the session, and it turned out to be a fish called White Tips, at 42lb 8oz.”