Two For The Price Of One - Sam Panter

Reading the stories about the famous Yateley complex, meant that I‘d always wanted to take a walk around the lakes. This April, I was fortunate to go one better and wet a line in the beautiful Pads Lake.

Myself and four other friends booked the entire lake for four nights. After crawling along the M25 at rush hour, all was forgotten upon arriving. After a few laps of the picturesque lake I decided to plot up in a swim known as Pole Position. This particular swim offered a good viewpoint of most of the lake. It also was the shallowest part, with a vast reed bed to the left and the pads straight in front. So, I had plenty of options where to present a rig.

Through the first day I spent most of my time float fishing, casting to bubbling fish in another swim known as Ray’s. Apart from one occurrence, nothing happened.
So, I made my way back to my swim to get the rods out for the night ahead. Rig wise, I opted to fish a short chod rig on my left-hand rod, baited with DT Baits Supa Fruit washed-out pop-ups. I gently flicked the rig over to a reed line where I had seen some activity earlier on in the day. My right-hand rod was fished into a silt gulley, which ran between the main set of pads. Because the bottom was clearer than my other spot, I fished a helicopter system, but with a snowman presentation. Then, I lightly scattered some Supa Fruit freebies around both areas was all that was needed.

The traps were now set and it was just a waiting game. A few hours later, I awoke to a slow and steady take from the right rod in the gulley and on lifting the rod, was joined in battle with a heavy, powerful fish, which made it to the pads before I could stop it. At first, nothing would give, but after slackening off a little bit and placing the rod in the rests, the clutch soon started ticking again. However, once I had it moving, the hook pulled and the chance was gone. Later in the day I was float fishing again, this time using the lift method. Eventually the bite came and upon lifting the rod the fish angrily charged across the shallow water. Its shoulders were a good few inches out and all I could do is hold on as the rod hooped over, before the hook pinged out the fishes mouth. Two hook pulls in two fish, was hard to take and that night was quiet.

The third day turned sunny, which meant I would be back in Ray’s, but this time armed with a floater setup. The reel was loaded up with 10lb Kruiser Control, which balanced the freelined floater setup perfectly.

Freelining allows you to cast with minimal disturbance, which is a must for big, wary carp. I managed to get the fish taking confidently and soon opened my account with a small pretty stockie. Shortly after, I got the fish feeding again and a bit later I had a group of around ten big fish all confidently taking practically under the rod tip, causing me to shake like a leaf when I was trying to edge my hook bait in front of their noses.

I was fishing a mixture of floaters, including different dog biscuits and floating trout pellets, which helped to mask the presence of the hook bait. Eventually, the second was in the net, this time a mirror of 27lb 8oz. The other four lads decided to reel in and watch me floater fishing. Soon I was into a much more powerful fish, which at times, had me hanging on, diving in and out of the pads several times. The fight really was savage, but I knew as long as I kept the pressure on and changed the angle when the fish made it into the pads, the soft rod and Kruiser combination would be more than adequate. I soon was in the pads with my net stretched out, edging the fish over the net cord before it charged off and dived in every set of pads available, causing my arm to ache and hand to cramp up! Eventually, the fish was tiring and the runs were much easier to deal with. So I maneuvered the net into position and slipped it under a big mirror. In the net I saw it was a chunk, when I lifting it out I realized it was a much bigger fish. In fact, it was a new personal best of 36lb 5oz! I was ecstatic, smiling for the camera and when doing the returning photos the lads gave me a good soaking.

After a bit of time to reflect and a change of clothes: I was fishing again and it didn’t take long before the rod arched over and I was in again! Although the fight wasn’t half as intense the fish was another chunky mirror, which looked well over the thirty mark. The scales revealed it was bigger than the last fish, this time weighing 37lb, another PB, and left me stunned by a brace of upper 30lb Yateley mirrors off the top!

Of course, another PB meant another soaking, but it was a small price to pay. The last nights passed with another three fish to 22lb, taken from the bottom, finishing up with seven fish.

The five of us managed a total of 28 fish and seven lost, which the owner tells us is a record haul for the Pads Lake in four nights. Suddenly the M25 traffic didn’t matter and we will definitely be returning!

Sam Panter