North Lake Tamed - Josh Green

"After finishing off a longstanding dream of mine by finally catching the last Yateley Car Park Lake original I was after, the mighty Baby Orange, a new pursuit was needed. Next to the Car Park is the North Lake. This stunning, 10-acre lake is steeped in history too. With about 120 fish ranging from mid-double to over 40lb, it would certainly be a different style of angling to the CP. In particular a very big common, called Murray, was a target. It’s really long and dark, just how a proper common should be!

First night on, I rolled up pretty early and found that there were only a couple of people on, result. On the first lap round I found a big head of fish in a corner of the lake, sitting in the weed. I wasn’t sure as to whether they were there for a reason, or mainly sunning themselves, although I was pretty convinced that they were just ‘chilling’. I carried on the walk. Walking into a swim know as the Christmas Tree, the first thing I laid eyes upon was the back of a sizeable mirror come up to its midriff, tight along side the island, “That will do” I thought.

Setting the rods up I was keeping it simple, as always, using straight forward hair rigs incorporating size-six Wide Gapes on 8 inches of N-Trap Soft, both equipped with the mighty 20mm Krill bottom baits. The first rod was flicked 40 yards under the overhang, where I’d seen the mirror show. The second was positioned on the back of a bar 30 yards to my left. Depositing 2kg of 20mm freebies between the both rods, I sat back chuffed with how well the rods had gone out. After a surprisingly quiet night I woke up to survey the surroundings, only to see a number of fish showing in the corner I had seen the fish in the day before. Halfway through the pack up to move, the rod against the island was away. Hitting into the fish with the clutch locked up, it tried to kite into the bush and the hook popped almost instantly…. gutted.

Arriving into the new swim, the first thing to do was suss a couple of spots. With the marker work done rods clipped up and bait deposited, I had settled on two spots. My left-hand rod was fished 40 yards out onto the top of a polished gravel hump in 3ft of water. The right-hand rod was positioned in a 6ft gully down the edge. I had a good walk around while attempting to try and trick a fish into taking a mixer. It was so hot that they had no other intentions than burying their heads in the weed to sunbathe. So, after a frustrating day, I got the rods out to the mark with the same setup as the day before and another 2kg of freebies out on the marks.

I awoke in the morning to a run on the left-hand rod, positioned on the hump. After a heavy battle, during which the fish kept very deep, I netted a really dark looking mirror. Calling a couple of mates over we weighed her at 34lb 8oz, a beautiful fish, coincidentally known as Josh’s Mirror. An awesome way to open my account, especially as it was the second-biggest mirror in the lake and most probably the best looking. The remainder of the morning passed by quietly, with the fish having backed further out into the thick of the weed again.

With another night ahead of me I replicated the situation as best I could. I awoke again the following morning to the same rod on the hump tearing off. A very similar fight ensued but as the fish neared the deep margin, it took another 10 minutes to eventually coax into the net. Straight away I recognised the unmistakeable frame of Murray…. result! The shout went up, photographers were gathered and as per usual an excellent job was done by the lads. She was slipped back into her home and as she swam away strongly, I knew another new challenge was needed."