Friday 31 May 2013

Chase Lakes 'Higher Sights'

So it all starts here, I waited patiently for April to pass, my membership for Chase Lakes started on May 1st. Prior to joining I had done a few day sessions on the back lake with some success, landing fish up to 27IB. During April I fished my club waters and took a few trips to Chase on some sneaky reconnaissance missions. I learnt a lot just watching the water and looking at how other anglers approach the lakes. First impressions were that all the main features get extreme pressure, the islands have lines off them 24 hours a day. There are also a lot of overgrown swims that seem to be ignored.

I have no interest in fishing to the obvious spots, the margins and the quiet little bays are the places I am really interested in. I started by walking around clocking all the swims that were overgrown and awkward to fish, these are obviously places that don't see much pressure, I decided I was going to start to concentrate my efforts on these areas.

In regards to the lake bed, it's pretty clear with a mix of gravel and clay, the margins and spots near overhanging trees seem to be pretty silty with a fair amount of junk on the bottom. Any spots I choose in these specific parts will be fished using a simple pop up, everywhere else I am going to stick with basic bottom baits. I am not sure of the depths at the moment, I plan to dedicate a few short sessions just marking up the areas that I will be fishing, once I get an idea of how much movement there is on the bottom I'll be able to focus on some interesting features. My approach is going to be very straightforward, simple rigs, boilies, find the fish and feed them.  

Where To Start
For my first session I chose mid afternoon through to early evening, it amounted to about 4 hours fishing time. I arrived at the lake and before I made up my mind on swim choice I sat and watched the water for a short while to see if any fish gave themselves away. There were a lot of anglers around the islands and there was a choppy wind racing over the lake. Nothing showed itself so I opted to get on the front of the wind and fish a back margin that had a great set of reeds for me to go at. 

My chosen bait was Starmers Coconut Fish topped off with a small piece of fake corn, I was fishing combi-rigs on two rods and a 2ft Zig on the third. My combi rigs consisted of Rig Maroles skin-full and Nash Trigga-link. I was using a 'Carpy Chris' flat pear lead 2.5oz, I really favor these leads when fishing on hard bottoms, the rig was finished off with 2ft of 'Carp Craze' Translucent Green Tubing. 'Example Of Hook-link Below'

Bottom Bait Combi Rig

Carpy Chris Inline Pear 'Gravel Finish'

I like the above rig because every element comes into play when the fish picks the bait up. When using Trigga-link I don't go below 2.5oz with the lead size, the heavier the lead the better because it increases the spring effect that Trigg-link provides. Skin-full is coated, I strip just enough off so there is a tiny section above the hook eye that is nice and supple, this allows the bait to sit proud and move naturally.

Before casting out I had a lead about and I was getting some heavy donks on each cast, it was pretty clear, the bottom was hard with no weed or silt. I got a fair amount of bait in on both spots, spreading it in a good 5 meter radius around where I was planning to put my hook bait. I estimated that I was probably fishing in about 6/7 foot of water, the margins do seem to fall away pretty quickly and I think if approached correctly, the margins will be where I get most of my takes.

View From The Swim 
I got all my rods out with as little disturbance as possible and then sat back to relax. My eyes were firmly set on the water, from past experience the fish do tend to give themselves away and as it's such a big lake and if it's possible to move on them, then I will. Also because I'm only fishing for a short period of time it's important to stay mobile. I have decided to scale down on the tackle, keeping everything to a bare minimum. This way I can be on the move all day without the dread of carting loads of gear with me.

Forty five minutes past and I was starting to get restless, there were no signs of fish in my swim whatsoever. I reeled in and took a walk around, the point that leads into a back bay was showing signs of life, I noticed a few fish topping in the narrow channel and no one was fishing there, I legged it back got my gear and made the move.  I put both left and right rods along each margin and fished my zig out in the open water. My margin spots were barley a rods lenght out.

Second Swim 

Margin Position 1

Very Close In

Margin Position 2 
Within a few minutes of moving swims I saw evidence of carp holding in this part of the lake, once all my rods were sorted I sat quietly back from the waters edge and waited. Sure enough within twenty minutes my left hand rod tore into life at great speed. I lent into the fish, it felt heavy and was putting up a real scrap, she surfaced and I was met with the sight of a real old looking warrior. after an intense fight I slipped her over the net, scales sunk to 20IB on the button. 

I was very pleased, unfortunately the fish had real bad mouth damage, not from my hook hold but obviously from past captures. This is the part of the sport that I really hate, I am very forgiving when I play carp and nine times out of ten you can't see where my hook hold was. In these situations I make sure I treat the effected areas the best I can and focus on getting the fish back having been treated thoroughly with as little stress as possible.

20IB Old Brute
I got my rig straight back out on the same spot, threw a few handfuls of bait around the area and sat back. It was about 30 minutes and the same rod went off again, just like the last fish, it was powering around pretty dam reluctant to give up. After a frantic couple of minutes I slipped a long looking common over my net, scales sunk to 21IB 5oz, once again I was very pleased.

Big Old Chase Common 
Chase back lake is a very big water and it goes to show that you must never ignore the margins, like I stated before, I was barely fishing a rods length out. I have grown up carp fishing with a very ingrained sense of the margins and through the years that has been where most of my good fish have been caught from.

After getting the fish back I decided to pack up with the plan of coming back the next day to fish over the baited area from the first swim I set up in. I put a lot of bait out and I felt there was a strong possibility I could pick off a bonus fish, from past experience I've also learnt that I shouldn't have to wait that long if they're holding in the area.

The Next Day

I had work in the morning, once done I shot down to the lake, it must have been around 4:30pm when I arrived at the water. Luckily the swim I wanted was free, the wind was gently blowing onto the reeds and it looked perfect for a bite. I got both rods setup and out quickly, both were fished over the spots I had piled the bait in the previous day. The swim was pretty hard to fish with a steep drop down to where my rods were, the upside was I could walk my baits along and just drop them over the edge, I scrambled through the undergrowth to bait up both rods with accuracy.

Jungle Warfare

A Real Uncomfortable Swim

Because so much bait went in the day before I literally put a few handfuls over each rod. I was thinking if any fish were present it shouldn't take to long for them to get stuck in, especially if they've been holding in the swim from the previous day.

Left Rod

Right Rod
Realistically my rods had been out about 45/50 minutes, I got a few beeps on my left hand spot which soon developed into a ripping take. I skidded down to my rods and lent into the fish, instantly I knew I was into something of a fair size. It was propelling around like a submarine, surfacing briefly, it was a big mirror with a fair gut on it. I kept the pressure on and eventually teased her over my net. It was a quick result but part of me wasn't surprised, I had a gut feeling that carp may have moved onto yesterdays bait over the past twelve hours or so, scales sunk to 23IB 8oz.

A Quick Mirror From The Margin
After a few pictures I got her back, I didn't stick around I felt that I had pretty much concluded my first few sessions and I feel already that I have learnt an awful lot about the place. 

I must move when I see that I'm not on the fish, using big beds of bait to draw them in works well, I must not ignore the margins and the quiet little bays and if I'm fishing real close to trees and bushes I have to use a pop up and adjust my presentation slightly.

I am looking forward to what future sessions hold for me, there are some real nice fish dwelling in the water, I have heard whispers of a low forty. 

I also really want to get stuck into the front lake but the place is rammed 24/7, there are some beauties swimming around in there. I have been told many times that it's a hard lake and you're lucky to catch but that doesn't bother me, I am already hatching a few plans in regards to my approach and I am keeping my eye on the water each time I am down. I am in no rush to get on there, I will know when the time is right and when that time comes I'll follow it through.

Be Lucky !!