James Salmons gets his 2018 campaign off to a great start!

James Salmons decided to try and make the most of a brief window of good weather, and it paid off when he landed this cracking looking 28lb 6oz mirror!

Due to other commitments, James hadn’t had a chance to fish his syndicate water since last October, but finally a bit of free time coincided with a weekend of decent conditions.

He explained: “The long-range forecast was predicting some mega conditions for the coming weekend, so I pulled out all the stops to ensure that I could get down to the lake on the Friday afternoon after work.

“What a difference a week makes – the previous weekend the country was feeling the effects of the ‘Beast from the East’, but upon my arrival the conditions had improved ten-fold, and I was hoping that the low air pressure and southerly winds would spur the fish into feeding.

“Unfortunately, it seemed like a few of the other members had seen the same forecast and I arrived to find that the car park was already pretty full, which left me without too many options. Luckily, one of the vacant swims was one which I had been thinking about over the winter as it provided a little bit of shelter for the fish.

“It hadn’t been getting much attention either, so it seemed like a decent starting place, and as I carted all my kit round the heavens opened and the rain started to fall. Setting up in this was a nightmare and I just about managed to get all three rods out before dark, but finally I could sit back for a much needed brew under the shelter of my bivvy.

“Around midnight I had a line bite, which pulled the bobbin all the way up before dropping back to its original position, and that was followed by a couple more before first light.

“I was up peering through a ‘letterbox’ in the door of my shelter at first light, as it was still raining persistently, but there were no further signs of fish. At around 7.30am I’d just fired up the stove for another coffee, when what I thought was going to be another liner occurred.

“But this time the bobbin only dropped back down an inch before hitting the rod blank and the tip pulled round and it became a steady take.

“The fish fought well and managed to wipe out the other rods as it ploughed up and down in the deep margins, but as I was playing it I could see that the hook was squarely in the bottom lip, so it was just a matter of time before it slid over the net cord.

“At 28lb 6oz it was a brilliant way to get off the mark for the year, and the blank night which followed didn’t do anything to dampen my spirits.”

James tempted it on a Trent Baits Active Nut pop-up fished over a couple of pouchfuls of matching freebies, and presented on a spinner rig. This was constructed from a size 4 Krank hook to 20lb IQ2 via Kicker, and fished on a Heli-Safe System.