Rakin' Them In - Steven Hackers

Due to the weather, I hadn’t been out a lot but was absolutely itching to go when the lakes finally thawed up north. Consequently, I recently visited Raker lakes, in York, despite the weather warning – I just had to get fishing for my first of the year. The weather was forecasting a drop to minus 4 on the first night with warm days to follow. As a result, I thought I would head out on the Wednesday and see what was going on getting my lines in the swim settled for the better weather.
Upon arriving at the lake, I opted for a quick walk around to see if I could find any fish. There were 4 people fishing the nearside of the lake from pegs 1 – 4. They seemed to be pretty noisy anglers so I headed to the opposite side of the lake feeling that the fish would be escaping there for the peace and quiet too.
Unfortunately, I didn’t see any signs of activity so I had a chat with a fella on Peg 12. Graham told me that he had received 5 takes in the first 48 hours of him being there but it had seemed to go pretty slow. That said, Graham was leaving shortly, so I decided to get my gear and move in straight after him – it was too good an opportunity to miss, especially as nothing else had been out.
Once graham had left, I set my rods up and got the bivvy erected. I decided to rest the swim for an hour due to the constant pressure the water had been subjected to. I decided to tie fresh rigs for the session, which consisted of short, 4 inch combi-rigs whipped onto Korda IQ2 and Supernatural – to finish, I incorporated size 8 Kurv hooks.
The bait I used over the session consisted of 3 pints of maggots, Mainline Fusion and DNA baits Ocean X, which was introduced by using large PVA mesh bags filled with maggots and boilie chops per cast.
I received no movement for the first 24 hours and woke up at 6am to a nice snow-covered, half-iced swim. I spent a few hours watching the water and decided to re-cast my rods.
No further movement was seen over the next 24 hours and I awoke on the last morning eager to try something different. I could now place a hook bait into the shallow part of the lake as it had thawed, so I decided to cast 2 of my rods to around 5 foot off the island into the shallow water. This was due to the warm sunlight glistening on the water’s surface that I felt would be inhabited by the carp at some point in the day.
With around 1 hour to go I started to pack my gear away and my right hand rod ripped off which resulted in the first of the year – a lovely fish weighing in at 15lb 8oz.
Within the next hour, the action came thick and fast and I went to land a further 6 fish – this included 2 singles, one of which was fully scaled, another mirror at 16lb 8oz, a half linear at 15lb 8oz and then to my surprise a new PB at 26lb 8oz. Even more to my delight, I followed this up with another mirror at 26lb. I was stunned at how my swim came alive.... The best session I have had in the UK since I started carping and an amazing start to the year. I was so overjoyed to see my first fish of the year in its winter colours only to be more amazed by what followed.

Tight Lines
Steven Hackers