The Only Way Is Essex 2 - Dan Bruton

After my last hit of fish, I was keen to keep the momentum going but the fish had other ideas and really began to slow down as autumn was heading into winter. The daytime shows were non-existent and the early hours were the only time they’d give themselves up, so late nights were the order of the day to get in pole position.

I found myself in a peg that had previously been very unkind to me, but the fish were there so I went about finding some likely areas and a couple of rods were dispatched for a two-night trip. Trent Baits Freshwater Shrimp was still doing the business but I massively reduced the free bait and stopped putting large amounts of particle in and kept it simple with a bit of corn.

That certainly proved the right thing to do; I had a low double-figure common the following morning and had seen fish further down to my right. With the way the wind was meant to go, I felt they’d move towards me, and when they did it really came alive.

My next bite was ferocious and a really awesome battle resulted in a beautiful mirror of 31lb 2oz and just minutes later a jaw dropping 22lb 2oz mirror made for a hectic hour! Later on that evening another fish came along, this time a 25lb 6oz common. The night passed quietly and I finished up with another couple of low doubles in the morning.

Although I’d had a fantastic trip, I couldn’t help but notice that some bigger fish had been boshing out further down the lake and I really fancied a go for them, so my next trip was aimed around what I’d heard. Luckily, when I pulled into the car park I was alone, so I knew I could get in the area and it was somewhere I’d not fished before.

It took a while to find some spots but one in particular felt really good. It was near an island which had a bar coming off the corner of it and as you pulled off the bar it fell into a nice deeper area that was super smooth with one really hard donk down amongst it, the Touchdown mainline once again proving very important in finding the spot within the spot.

The night passed quietly and it had rained heavily which, historically, has been a poor condition for me on this particular lake, but within minutes of it stopping the first bite came. I could tell it was a good fish and I wasn’t wrong, it was a very sought after fish known as Baby Swirly and she pulled the needle round to 32lb 10oz - what a buzz!

I don’t catch many big commons so I had a smile from ear to ear. I popped her in a retainer to get camera kit sorted and I didn’t get chance to organise a photographer before the same rod ripped off again producing a 26lb 8oz common! Windows can be short and the last two trips had produced good fish in very quick succession.

I had another night to go, so I topped the spot up and moved my other rod to the same area. I didn’t get a wink of sleep, the liners were savage all the way through, and I’d given up trying to even think about sleeping.

I had to wait until 5am when the same rod again started peeling off line, another really heavy battle commenced but unfortunately it fell off. I really would have liked to have known what that one was but you can’t win them all. The area still looked perfect and luckily another bite came a few hours later and, after a very nervy battle, a cracking 28lb mirror lay beaten. At this point, the rain started again and the ducks moved in on me, so I called it a day and got myself packed down.

Again my rigs were kept simple - size 6 Kaptor Wide Gapes tied to 20lb N-Trap straight through with Weed Safe lead clips and 12 inches of Dark Matter tubing. It’s a rig that I’ve been using for so many years now and for bottom bait fishing I can’t see that I’ll be changing in a hurry!

Be lucky,