Returning back to fishing has been great, but, today, we have an epic story from am member of the Fishamo family, Lee Chandler who has broken a personal best and had, what he thought, was a ghostie go bump in the night, only to find something even more wonderful in the morning! Do we need any more proof that fishing is the greatest activity in the world?!
So, with the rules on angling being changed, I decided to get out for a few days last week managing a cheeky 18lb mirror and a 5lb Tench, both of which I was very happy with. This week my dad and his wife had some time off and suggested we went for a few days on the bank at our club water (social distancing adhered to). Understandably, I jumped at the chance to get on the bank but more important was getting to spend a bit of time with them both.
We arrived at the lake on Wednesday morning with the sun already lovely and warm, clear skies and no real breeze, which any fisherman will tell you is not necessarily the best weather for carp. To add to this there were signs that they were getting ready to spawn. I had hoped for a mid 20lb fish to beat my previous personal best. So, with our Hope’s a little knocked, we got ourselves set up in our swims and carried on. I started to get my things sorted only to find that two of the thumbscrews that hold my bivvy together had fallen out somewhere. With no other choice, I had to improvise with help from my dad and get the bivvy up the best we could. Having discussed that this water is not the easiest, and with the conditions we had, we did not expect too much.
We were pleasantly surprised when dads rod ripped off after about 30 minutes resulting in a lovely 22lb common. With that putting a little spring back in our step, we all continued to fish, and it was not long before dad had banked another fish at around 16lb. Things were looking up!! All set up, and rods out, I was relaxing in the sun watching the water and the huge amount of fish that were cruising from my swim(and the whole lake) debating if I should have opted for a zig approach instead of bottom baits.
Well, my decision was soon rewarded when my left-hand rod placed on the far tree line tore off with a reel smoking scream. Lifting into the fish it gave a good run for cover but luckily, I managed to keep it in open water and slowly gained line back. After an arduous fight with near snag misses, I managed to get the fish into netting distance. I could see this was a good fish, so my heart was pumping with adrenaline. I slid the net cord under the fish and lifted only to have the net disconnect from the handle leaving me with no choice but to get wet. So, in I jump fully clothed to grab the net, securing the capture and safety of the fish. Lifting the fish from the water and onto the mat I realised that this fish was a little heavier than I expected and this caused me to get to a ‘kid in a sweet shop’ kind of excited about it. After checking the fish over for any damage or sores that may need to be treated, I nervously moved it into the weigh sling with my heart in my mouth. Hooking it to the scales and lifting the fish I could not believe what I was seeing!!!! I double-checked the weight and it was correct!!! A 35lb on the nose mirror!!!!!!
I cannot remember the words I used but I am certain there were some expletives used. I do remember jumping around like some sort of excited kangaroo. My mid 20lb target was not only achieved but completely smashed. A season goal was a UK 30 and, again, completely smashed with this mid-30. After managing to calm myself down enough to do the obligatory photo shoot I got the fish back in the water, making sure it was more than strong enough to swim off happy and safely. It swam off with a nice splash of its tail getting me even wetter than I already was! After a reset of the rods, I got back to it and was elated with what had just happened. I could have left to go home at that point and been over the moon. But, whilst I continued to enjoy the sun, my other rod in open water shot off with a run bending the rod almost in half. An amazing fight pursued and having had a nightmare with the previous netting I was very tentative this time. I did not need to be as a beautiful 29lb 13oz common slipped over the cord. Checked, weighed, and released safely I sat myself down for a cheeky beer and a cigarette to try and take in these 2 awesome fish I had just caught.
The day continued and my dad’s rod was on fire! He had a steady flow of fish ranging between mid-doubles and 22lb, accompanied by two tench to 8lb 1oz. Julia managed to bag herself a few lovely fish with a mid-double and two 25lb carp. With the two fished bagged for me, I carried on fishing and unfortunately lost two fish during the rest of the day one to a hook pull and one which snapped me off in a snag.
The night turned up quicker than we thought due to so much action in the day. Dad and Julia both decided to rest the night and leave the rods out. My rods stayed out the night and while relaxing on my bed chair watching a film, I was torn from my comfort by another screaming run on the left-hand rod at 12:30am. Another great battle, and I eventually got the fish close enough to see, with the only light being my head torch I was convinced it was the big ghostie I had landed, which was another target fish. I decided with this one I would transfer it to the retention sling to let it relax and gain its strength until sunrise to get a proper look at her. Before I knew it, I was lifting the fish onto the matt and opening the zip. It was only then that I realised this was not the ghostie. It was the big koi!!!!
I had no words at that point. Fish checked, weighed, and the scales tipped at 25lb 5oz. The beauty was safely released back to fight another day and I sunk back into my chair with complete disbelief in my heart. Had this all happened? My carp fishing over the years has been less than prolific but this trip……this trip turned out to be one of the dreams, a red-letter day some might say.
The following day was slow with only a few fish banked by dad and Julia and another loss for me. But then the fish got their freak on and went hell for leather with the spawning meaning we were very unlikely to nab another. We sat out the night and, in the morning, all agreed we had had an amazing session and that we would leave a day earlier, all with big smiles and fond memories.