Stunning Cranwells Lake mirror for Craig Runham!

Craig Runham has been having a great run of fish mainly just fishing weekend sessions, so he was somewhat disappointed that a week off work coincided with some awful weather conditions!

He needn’t have worried though, as he ended up having a superb session at Cranwells Lake, on the Wasing Estate, landing a number of fish, including one of the most sought-after original mirrors in the lake – an absolute stunner known as Scaly at 35lb 12oz!

He explained: “I had all my gear ready in anticipation for my annual week break from work, but the weather put a dampener on my spirits as the forecast was for low temperatures and northerly winds.

“Prior to my trip the lake had been fishing very slow, and the Bank Holiday weekend had been very busy with every swim taken as the Parrot still hadn’t been out. I arrived on a cold, grey afternoon and it was still packed with only two swims available, so I slotted into the one that gave me the best view of the lake.

“The first four nights of the session were very frustrating as I wasn’t really able to get onto the fish as the swims I wanted to be in were stitched up, but I still managed four with the best being a mid-20 common, and I must have been doing something right as nothing else was caught during that time. I had to work my socks off though and fished five different swims during that time.

“On the fifth day I finally secured a swim where the bulk of the fish had been showing and I felt extremely confident, but to my amazement they decided to move and the next morning I could see them showing in a different area.

“I had to wait to get in the swim but eventually moved in and the next morning I had an incredibly fast take on a rod that I had placed on a shallow hump, and I was immediately forced to give line and it weeded me up solid. After what seemed like an eternity I got it moving and was convinced that it was a big one, so I couldn’t believe it when I landed a long 23lb common! My soft hinge rig with a Key Bait Solutions nut pop-up had done the job once again and the size 6 Choddy was an inch or two back in the mouth.

“Later that morning I saw five fish show in front of the End Beat swim and one of them was rather large and I believed that it was the Parrot due to its sheer length, even though it was a long way away.

“The bloke who was in there was packing away so I wasted no time in getting round there, and even though it was freezing with the wind blowing in there, the shows had me convinced that the fish were there. I soon had the rods out but struggled to sleep as I was buzzing about possibly seeing the Parrot and I finally felt close to catching it.

“I awoke at first light and felt a bit dejected as the bobbins were still stationary, and by 10am I couldn’t believe my luck as it looked like they’d moved again as I’d seen four shows opposite. But with those swims taken I decided to stay put and pray that they moved back in front of me.

“Again the next morning I saw fish opposite and the guy in that swim had caught two and was packing up at 11am, so I had all my gear in the car except for my rods, ready to move. Then suddenly I saw a small ripple over my right-hand rod, shortly followed by my bobbin lifting up and the line pinging out of the clip.

“A large explosion over the shallow water had me in no doubt that I was connected to a decent fish but it weeded me up and it seemed like an eternity before I could get it moving again. It went solid again 30 yards out, but once again I got it moving just as Bryan Jarrett appeared in my swim as he’d seen the mega fight unfolding and offered to help with the netting.

“I caught a glimpse of big plated scales as it ploughed up and down the margins, and knew that it was one of the special ones, and after a few heart-stopping moments it rolled into the net, and I recognized it as one of the extremely rare old scaly ones that the lake holds. We weighed it at a shade under 36lb and we were blown away by its sheer beauty, and I felt truly honoured to hold such a fish.

“There is a 48 hour rule on the lake so I had to vacate the swim, but I managed to get into the area opposite where I had seen them showing, and on the last morning I ended up with a double take which resulted in a 32lb ghostie and a low-20 common. The Maxi Nut bait was doing the damage and every fish was nailed on my rigs, with not a single loss all week.”