Summer Of Wonder - Pete Castle

I’ve been fishing my local syndicate lakes throughout the spring and summer months with a bit of success. I’ve not really had a great deal of time, due to work and family commitments, but have found the odd afternoon or twenty-four session to get out and about.
There are several different lakes to choose from where I fish from fairly easy runs waters to the top lake syndicate, which is very difficult. A lot of my fishing earlier in the season was on one of the lakes you’d probably call intermediate. It is far from easy, but the fish are there to be caught. I enjoyed some spectacular afternoons feeding and catching the fish off the surface. It was great to watch them feeding, but it was even better playing them in the deep clear water on light tackle.
The top lake opened on June 16th and there were a couple of fish caught, but the lake fished pretty hard for the first month or so. The odd one was coming out, but the lake wasn’t really fishing. There are only about 30-to-35 fish present, but these include a number of good thirties and a forty pound common, leather and mirror. The fish spawned heavy in the heat and, like on a lot of waters, their weights dropped, but still none of the big ones had been out.
I was long overdue a session when a last minute opportunity came up to get out on the bank for twenty-four hours. I jumped at the chance and arrived early the following morning to the sound of the birds singing and mist on the water. No one else was on and it didn’t take me long to find the fish in the shallows. You’re only allowed to use one rod in the area I decided to fish, but instead of casting out straight away I spent hours just watching the fish. I wouldn’t go as far as to say the fish were in the area, but they were certainly moving through regularly. I saw the forty common on a couple of occasions.
The sun began to rise higher in the sky and the heat rose with it. This particular swim has no shade and I spent the next half hour setting up a camp that was going to be comfortable in such conditions. There was no doubt that it was going to hit 30 degrees and with no wind or shade it could have quickly become unbearable. I even put a brolly, which is something I’ve done in the past, over the bivvy to create a double layer and help stop the burning heat.
With the camp set up I could now get on with the fishing. I loaded the rod with a small piece of peperami and Funnel Web bag of 8mm pellets. I then went back to watching the water. I kept noticing a few bubbles in an area where I couldn’t see the bottom and opted to cast there first. The lead hit bottom, but it felt very soft. I wasn’t one hundred percent happy, but I didn’t want to disturb the fish if they were in the area. I was using the new Kontour line and slackened everything off so that it sat nicely out of the way on the bottom. I then lay down for an hour to keep things quiet and catch up on a little lost sleep after the early start.
I woke to the heat. The temperature was rising fast and I was glad of the efforts I’d made earlier on or I think it would have quickly become unbearable. I couldn’t see the lake from the bivvy, as it was hidden behind a big reed bed. I got up and, as I stood by the rod, it screamed into life. I couldn’t believe my luck. I’d never caught a fish from the lake and my heart was racing. The carp went crazy and with not much room to play the fish a real battle took place. I could see and feel that it wasn’t a particularly big fish, but the first one from any lake is always important. The fish went just under twenty on the scales, but I was chuffed I’d caught one.
The day continued to be successful and I’d spend time watching the fish with no lines in the water and strategically placing the rod where I thought they would appear next. They were certainly active and it was hard to keep up with them, but I managed another three fish: two upper-twenty mirrors and a thirty-two pound common on the same tactics. The fish were well down in weight, but I wasn’t complaining after catching four in a day from quite a hard syndicate. All four fish came from four different spots and I left early the following morning knowing that I’d fished well, but that I’d also enjoyed a bit of lady luck. Hopefully next time I’ll bank one of the big ones.

Good Luck, Pete Castle