My First UK 50 - Rob Willingham

After planning a week long session in April down cleverley I arrived at the lake around midday on the Sunday to find only a couple of anglers present, although they were in the middle of packing up so I was soon left with the lake completely to myself, which is quite a rare occurrence down the mere! However, it wasn’t all good news as I soon found out that my target fish Hendrix had been caught earlier that morning at a little over 43lb, which wasn’t what I wanted to hear but after congratulating the captor and telling myself that one day it would be my turn I decided to do a circuit of the lake to try and find some fish.
After hours of contemplating which swim to fish I finally decided on the one known as the back of the bowls which gives you access to a large reed bed and an area of shallow water that has a good track record for producing numbers of fish in the spring and quite often the bigger fish as well, especially Hendrix.
I chose to put two rods out to the reed bed on tiger nuts over just a small amount of hemp to try and avoid the attention of the large numbers of tench that also seem to favour this area of the lake, the other rod was fished on the ever faithful Scopex Squid boilies 30 yards out to a drop off in 8 feet of water.
The session started off well with the tiger nut rods producing 3 fish up to low 20’s in the first couple of days, with the next take coming around 11 o’clock on the third morning and as I lifted into it and tried to guide it away from the reed bed I could instantly tell it was a bigger fish from the very heavy weight just kiting along in front of the reeds until it reached a corner where it had no choice but to swim back towards me and under the rod tip at which point I caught my first glimpse of what was on the end, instantly recognizing it as Ringo the biggest fish in the lake!
The next 5 to 10 minutes of a very powerful fight were very tense knowing there was every chance that the fish I was playing could be 50lb plus, as it was some 8 or 9 months since she was last caught at just under 49lb. Fortunately the hook held and I was soon staring down at a very large mirror in the bottom of my net. I carefully sacked her up under the shade of a nearby bush and it wasn’t long before I had a few of the other members in my swim to help out with the weighing where a new personal best and lake record weight of 50lb 10oz was recorded, I was totally blown away! The action didn’t stop there though, and over the course of the next 4 days a further 12 fish were taken making it a fantastic 16 fish catch and a very enjoyable weeks fishing.