Woodcarving for Andy - Andy Cadwallader

I was supposed to be going down to Horton last Wednesday night but I ended up stuck in the office, meaning I was a day later than I should have been. I set off after work and the M6 gave me no end of grief, as normal. I finally pulled into the car park at around 10:45am. The first day is always hard when you bear in mind that I’d loaded the car at 5am, before going to work that morning. Anyway, I logged in, loaded the barrow, filled my jerry can and put a bit of bait in the freezer to keep it fresh. I stood in front of the lodge and the wind was really hacking into the Pontoon.

So, with time pressing on, I set off on my first mooch around the lake. At this time of night it generally quietens off and the lake comes alive (the planes stop flying at around half 11). Anyway, the first swim I came to, just left of the Pontoon, is the Plateau swim, which is generally regarded as a summer swim as it’s probably the shallowest part of the lake. The wind was hacking into the margin to my right close to an overhanging tree. It looked good for a bite but I had yet to fish the swim, (it’s probably one of the most popular on the lake) with that in mind, I tied on a small lead and checked the margin for a drop. I got a good firm, ‘donk’ and decided that it would do until the morning, when I would get up at first
light and see where the fish showed. With that in mind, I flicked a choddy out to the main area of the swim and a hinged stiff link into the margin, scattered half a pound of Essential B5 in the area. I felt that every carp would be on the end of this autumnal wind.
After a quick brew, I jumped into my bag at around 01:30am. With the alarm set for 06:00am, I quickly went off to sleep, only to be woken an hour later by one of the bailiffs who needed pictures taking of a low twenty. Pictures were done and I got back into the bag. I slept through my alarm and woke up bright and early at 10am! It must have been a hard week at the office! I went to Terry next door, to see what he had seen as I had clearly missed any chances of an early morning show. With a few sightings and some positive liners, I decided to stay put, have some brunch and a brew and leave it until after lunch before winding in and having a wander around to see what was happening before the Friday-afternoon rush.

Sausage sandwich done, brew in hand, I was just about to dunk the first choccy hob nob and the margin rod went into meltdown. The clutch on the SS3000 was ticking away, rod tip bent round. I leapt down and picked up the rod. The fish immediately boiled on the surface near the tree. I piled on more pressure on than I’d have liked, preventing anything going awry. I moved my left-hand rod to get it out of the way to avoid picking it up. The fish stayed low and still managed to pick it up anyway! So, with the bale arm open on the open-water rod, I gingerly played it. It wasn’t the most demanding of battles and when it finally tired and slid over the draw cord, I took a quick look. I turned round to see no less than six members behind me, all offering assistance, sorting out the tangled mass of my lines, while busily getting the camera, mat and scales in place. With the lines free, the swim cleared and all prepared for the pictures. It turned out that the beautiful linear was the Woodcarving, the jewel in the crown of Horton alongside the Thorpe Park Common. It is a rare visitor to the bank this was the first time this year that it had been out at and it weighed three ounces under its best-ever weight.

The rig was a hinged stiff link using An IQ boom section and Mouth Trap hook section as well as a size 6 Choddy hook, putty, 5ft of leadcore and
a 2oz pear lead. The hook bait was an Essential B5 cork ball pop-up, with around half a pound of freebies scattered around it. The remainder of the session was bleak but that didn't matter and no more fish were banked during the next three days of my stay.