Craig's Winter Haul - Craig Runham

Man in form, Craig Runham has been in touch again to tell us the story of his latest winter result, this time on Orchid Lake. Craig takes up the story...

“I arrived at the gate of the renowned Orchid Lake, near Dorchester, at around 11:30am. Upon arrival it was apparent that the lake was fishing very slow. The wind was gale-force and freezing cold, so I expected to find the fish on the back of the wind. I plotted up in a little bay and a few small bubbles gave the carp’s whereabouts away. With nothing else to go on, I was soon setting up in the bay with the wind blowing over my shoulder, feeling rather confident. I didn't want to cause too much disturbance as I felt using the marker and repeatedly casting would soon push them out the bay. The tactic I was to employ would be one I'm very confident in, it was to be a naked chod rig set up featuring the Korda Naked Chod Safety System, a super-sharp, size-six Kaptor Choddy hook, a 20lb Mouthtrap hook section and a 1.5oz flat pear lead.

This lake sees a lot of people adopt a baitboat approach, so I wanted to do the opposite and spread the bait. Half a kilo of a 15mm boilies on test from Mainline baits was spread over the three rods. The hook-baits were to be the Milky Toffee pop-ups. It was 14:30 by the time everything was done; all the rods went out a treat. It was 16:00 when my middle rod, placed in a gully, gave two bleeps, this had me hovering over the rod. The bobbin lifted an inch and I was soon bent into what felt like a decent one. The fight was deep and heavy and I was really looking forward to seeing what was on the end. There's not too many commons in the lake, however all of them look amazing, so if it were a common I would be over the moon. As the fish rolled into the net, I caught a glimpse of the fish’s winter colours; it looked to be a good-sized fish. A quick check of the hookhold saw the size six Kaptor Choddy a good inch down in the bottom lip. I called up Kev Hewitt and he was on the way round to do the photos. The fish went 27lb 8oz but looked even bigger on the mat. It was one of the amazing commons, I was more than happy with the result, and couldn't help but smile. As I had mentioned earlier nothing else had been caught from the heavily pressured lake for 13 days.

While the fish was safely secured in the net, the rod was re-casted with a new hook bait, shortly followed by another 30 or 40 baits over the area. Kev had just left when the recast rod was away again. The rod took on a healthy curve as the fish stripped off 15 or 20 yards of line on the initial run. Slowly, I began to get the better of the fish and steered it towards the net. As it rolled into the net I could see it was a pretty mid-twenty mirror. I couldn't believe my luck; two fish in such a short space of time. I had obviously got the location right and wanted to keep them there, so another half a kilo of Mainline’s best was spread over the area.

Around 8pm I was again picking up the same rod and bending into a heavy fish. The fight was heavy at first, with the unseen fish moving slowly and hugging the bottom, I just knew this was a better fish. The fight seemed to last forever but soon enough I scooped up the fish. A quick check in the net confirmed a mirror of well into the 30lb bracket. I rang up Marsh as he requires to be told of a fish of over 30lb. He told me to keep it in the net and one of the bailiffs would be round to do the photos for me. The mirror went 35lb 3oz and looked in superb condition. It is the biggest fish I have caught in January to date. Unfortunately, after the mirror was returned to its home I lost a large fish due to some unseen snags. I was gutted to have lost what felt like another good fish. I packed up a very happy man; it just goes to show that with a little effort and time anything can happen. Tight lines and bag a big ’un.”