Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Rugby Lake 'Picking The Lock'

In this blog I am going to be getting down to business quick, I explained my approaches in my earlier Rugby post, there is a link to it later if you haven't read it yet. It covers the finer details and my general thoughts on how I am going to tackle the lake. 

My first session was a rough one, I arrived for 9:00am, the wind was ripping along the water, there was a light rain and it was overcast. Theoretically the conditions were perfect, I fumbled around to get my brolly up, piled everything under it and perched underneath so I could watch the water for a while. I have found in the past that usually the rougher it is on the bank, the better it is for fishing, I always seem to do well on days like this. I had a sense that something was going to happen. 

50/50 Milk Protein Boilies

I love the baron feeling that harsh weather conjures, when you have a lake to yourself it's as if you are the only person alive and time becomes meaningless, evaporating. It's almost like you can sense the ghosts of the past. There's something exhilarating arriving home after a day of being battered on the bank by the elements.


Eventually the rain paused, I quietly got my tackle setup and arranged my swim, keeping low to the water whilst I got my baits ready. Rigs were tidy, bait was fresh and I had my spots sorted. Because I was fishing so close in I could literally lower both rigs with no disturbance at all. I had to concentrate on being silent, if I wanted the fish to come in close I didn't want to be doing anything to spook them.

20IB Mirror From Last Session
I was fishing up in a swim called the trucks, the pressure in this part of the lake comes from the far margin and the reed line. I decided I was going to fish my near side margin and concentrate on this specific area through the coming months.

I was fishing both rods down to the left of me, when you climb up the tree next to the swim, especially in the summer, you can see the bottom. The reason I picked these spots is because a little way out from my near side margin is a tall thick weed bed. I was thinking I could pick a few off as they passed through the channel between the reed line and the weed.   

Birds Eye View From The Swim
For all those that might not of read my blog about the approach I 
am using on Rugby, you can read it here: FINDING THE KEY 

My chosen hook bait was Starmers Honey Nectar, both rods where fished with critically balanced baits, some GLM method mix, Banana Cream chops along with a few mixed boilie flavours. Visually it's nice and bright and the blend of baits give off a lovely sweet smell. I am a big fan of the 50/50 milk protein mixes especially this time of the year.

Honey Nectar - 100% Confidence 

Both rods were out, back leads were on, now it was just the waiting game. Periodically throughout the day I climbed the tree to see if there was any signs of fish in and around the swim. It all appeared pretty quiet and it stayed like this for the majority of the day. Every hour or so I would lightly sprinkle bait in and around the swim. I didn't want to over feed but at the same time I wanted to keep a certain amount of attraction in the water.

Mixed Shapes And Sizes 

Late afternoon came and I was starting to get a few twitchy liners which indicated that something was occurring down in the murky depths. My right hand rod was starting to come to life and I could see very gentle knocking on the tip, all of a sudden it was away, the tip bent right round and the buzzer was screaming. I rushed up and lent back into the fish, the rod arched round and away the drag went, ticking in that very addictive manor, something we all love to hear.

The fish was lunging for the weed bed, with a bit of side strain and a calm temperament I managed to steer her clear, it wasn't long before I had an awesome looking mirror staring up at me from the landing net. I was buzzing and shaking a little, this fish meant so much to me, like I have mentioned before, Rugby is far from easy. I have always managed to get the takes but have been very unlucky in actually banking the fish. This time it all came good, scales sunk to 22IB. The fish was in tip top condition and a beautiful chocolate brown color.

22IB Rugby Mirror

This fish really meant the world to me and was a great start to my journey on the water, getting any fish out of this lake makes me feel like I am heading in the right direction. I want to challenge myself, especially in regards to presentations. I know I can deal with clay, silt and gravel, I want to welcome weed and I want to know I have enough ideas in the armory to do so. 

The rest of the day came and left and as the sun went down the rods remained silent. I was really pleased with the outcome and was planning to come down in a day or two to get the rods back out on the same spots. My viewpoint is to keep working that section of the lake, keep the bait going in all through the winter and then hopefully the carp will start to associate the spot with food. 

I am going to be baiting up with lots of different flavors, pellets, ground boilie, method mixes, all sorts of shapes and sizes to keep the fish guessing. The secret will be in the application, I don't want to go piling it in like a madman, subtle and consistent amounts should do the trick, little and often.

Session Two

The conditions for this session were pretty much identical to the previous day, the only difference was that the wind had really picked up. The lake suddenly looked like a bleak lifeless landscape, I was determined to find some form of life, hopefully big, scaly and wearing its winter color. Below is recap of the rig I have chosen to use.

The Claw Effect

The approach was exactly the same as last time, same rigs, same bait and same spots. I attempted to climb the tree to see if I could spot anything milling around, I gave in half way up, if I had continued I would of ended up head first in the lake, it was way too breezy. 

I got the rigs straight out, back-leaded right under my rod tips, threw a light scattering of bait over the area and once again quietly sat back. I felt that I was really starting to master 'silence'. To my surprise I started to get a few liners pretty quickly, my confidence was sky high.  

Rugby The Beach 'Locked In Time'
The rods must have been out for about two hours before I got my first take, the right hand rod ripped off, I was in slight disbelief, I really didn't expect anything to happen so fast. I raced for the rod, gently lent back into the fish and held on for dear life, it was shifting gears. I gained control pretty quick, letting the rod cushion every lunge, it was very heavy, it was really wanting to get in the weed, I was doing my best to stop it, when I got it in close she surfaced and it was a big fish, over twenty easily with a very broad back. 

Minutes felt like hours and there was no let up, she shot down deep again and I was giving it as much as I could, suddenly she tore back out into the weed bed and it went solid ..... NO! I kept the pressure on but it was still solid, I could feel that she was still on. I decided after a while to slacken off to see if she would find her own way out, I wasn't getting anywhere.

I left it for a good 10 minutes and I could see my line twitching and very slightly coming off the spool, I picked it back up applied the pressure and was met with my rig flying back towards me .... gutted!! I just stood there looking at the rig, I couldn't believe that I had lost one and it looked pretty dam special. Before casting back out I made a coffee and tried to focus my mind, I was starting to think that was my chance for the day, blown.

Coffee And Contemplation

Once my thoughts were gathered I brushed it off and got the rod straight back out, topped the swim up with a little more bait and sat back to contemplate. The positive was the fact I got the take, she took the bait. I need to be very aware in the future that they can ditch me in the weed, even at this time of the year when it's partly died back.

The hours passed and my hopes of another take were fading, the light was starting to go. As the sun set the breeze dropped, it was 'the witching hour', I started to feel like I could be in with another chance. Sure enough I started to get the odd liner, this time on my left rod, something was going on below, it twitched and then to my surprise shot off at speed. 

This time I was on it quick and I refused to let the fish take control. I kept the pressure on, stuck with it, teasing the fish away from the weed bed, it was frantic, after a fine fight she eventually tired, I ended up slipping the net under a nice chunky looking mirror. Two takes in a session, my mind was blown, scales sunk dead on 24IB.

24IB Of Old Rugby
It goes without saying that I was over the moon with the result, I finally started to feel that I was making progress on a water that is by far one of the hardest puzzles I have had to crack. It shows applying your mind fully to something really does pay off. Maybe all my previous sessions that didn't work out were for a reason, maybe it was forcing me to sit up and really listen to the water. 

I have said it in the past, the water will tell you everything you need to know - you've just got to be listening. I am really looking forward to future sessions, I know it's not going to be easy but anything worth having never is.


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