03.03.15

Fantastic Farlows - Brad Greening

Having only managed a handful of trips so far in 2015, I was eager to get the rods out. With my current target water having not done a fish since the end of November, I decided to head up to Farlows Lake - a mature gravel pit and day ticket water, situated in the Colne Valley.

Ideally I would have liked to arrive at first light, however in the morning I had some work to finish so I didn't get to the lake until early afternoon. The weather was beautiful - bright sunshine, 10 degrees - not bad for February! Although conditions weren't ideal for angling, I was sure that the rise in temperature might get the fish moving a bit.

With the lake fairly busy and after a good look around, without anything being seen, I decided to settle for a swim that covers a lot of open water and gives me a good view of the main body of the lake.

One big advantage when fishing pressured waters is opting for a swim that covers more water than others. Especially at lakes such as Farlows where, on a busy weekend, every single swim gets taken, and the fish will often venture to the areas where there is the least amount of lines.

I know this swim fairly well so I had a good idea of where to start. I opted to fish a large silty channel at 74 yards - a spot I have done well from before. I put all three rods on this, and spread a few kilos of Mainline High Impact Banoffee boilies with the intention to get them feeding confidently and actively over a large area and moving between each bait.

The first night was uneventful and I was surprised when I woke up to motionless bobbins as I was feeling very confident.

The wind had now picked up, and was blowing really hard into my face. The clouds had moved in and the air pressure was dropping rapidly. It was now Saturday midday and, having been there for 24 hours, I was unsure whether to up sticks and move or stay put.

However, out of nowhere I saw two fish jump beyond where I was fishing. Knowing further out the bottom still has small bits of blanket weed scattered about, I reeled in my left hand rod, rigged up with a naked chod rig and cast to where the fish had shown. It went down with a soft "donk", confirming my thoughts of light blanket weed, however I knew I was presently perfectly.

It's vital to drop the lead in this swim when hooking a fish, as at about 50 yards out there is a gravel bar which is littered with mussels, and if the fish stay deep, the line will rub against it and cut offs can occur.

The rod had only been out about half an hour, and it ripped off. The Heli-Safe did its job perfectly, and the fish battled on the surface and was soon in the net. A lovely upper double common was the result.

I decided to move all three rods long and because the fish were active, I spread a couple of kilos of Mainline Banoffee boilies again over the top. To combat the light blanket weed, rig choice was a naked chod in conjunction with the naked no-trace system and the new heli-safe. When fishing chods naked I prefer to fish them on flurocarbon due to its invisibility and its excellent sinking capabilities.

Hookbait-wise, I opted for a 16mm mainline IB pop up which complimented the size 6 Choddy hook perfectly. Saturday night soon settled in and the wind and rain had really picked up!

Just before first light, I received a slow take on the right hand rod. The fish gave itself a good account and a short while later I had a good common in the net. I quickly weighed her and she turned the dials of the Reuben's round to 30lb 2oz.

I popped her in the sling as it would be light in an hour, and put the rod back out. The wind was really strong, and using Kontour fluorocarbon to hit the distance I was fishing I really was having to cast hard.

The Heli-Safe system stood its ground firmly though, which was very impressive! I had only just put the kettle on and then the middle rod was in absolute meltdown! The fish fought like an absolute demon and after a long battle, the fish was safely in the net. The result being a lovely 27lb 4oz mirror.

Once I had got the rod back out, it was now starting to get light. Thankfully, the rain had stopped and it looked like it was going to be a nice day. Just as I put the kettle back on on my mate next door had a bite too so I helped him land it and we set about getting some pictures of our fish done.

The weather looked really good and the fish were clearly active, however I had to shoot off once the pictures were done, which was painful as it definitely looked good for a few more bites!

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