Sunday, 14 September 2014

Braxted Front Lake 'Time Changing'

The morning that my alarm clock went off to wake me for my first session on Braxted front lake I was up like a shot. I proceeded to throw two coffees down my neck, packed the car and drove way over the legal speed limit to get to the waters edge. I had walked around both front and back lakes before my sessions on the reservoir, I instantly connected to the atmosphere of the waters and was eager to wet a line. Both front and back are not easy but the rewards are in there if you are determined enough.

New Memories

I have read a fair amount about the Braxted complex and the general consensus is that 'it's not what it use to be'. I think we can safely say this about pretty much all the lakes out there now. The world is constantly changing and time is something that we can't stop, however hard we try, the clock just keeps on ticking, there is never enough time when you are on the bank, at work the days drag, at the water they evaporate frustratingly.
Time eventually ends up taking us all, desires, clarity, the people we love and of course the carp that we've grown to admire. History fish are few and far between now and I know a lot of anglers out there want to catch something that really means something and represents an element far greater than just its size. The saving grace though is that there is a future and with a future develops a past and all waters will grow to hold something special once again. 

I find the older you get the more time you can spend chasing the feelings from the past, the first time you cast a line, that magical moment you lay your eyes on your first stretch of water, catching your first monster. I have come to realise that you will never be able to replicate any of the emotions you felt at those points in your life, memories change and get filed in the mind under 'experience', they season with age. We must learn to welcome time and not resent it for the way it has changed the things we once loved. For me Braxted is new, I am yet to experience it in its summer skin or stripped of its life in the depths of winter. I have a clean slate and that is something that excites me, I have nothing to compare it to, its 'hey day' may of passed but for me it's yet to come.

A Clean Slate
When I arrived at the water it was pretty quiet, no one was carp fishing, there were a few pleasure anglers transfixed on their wagglers and quiver tips. It was very warm, I had a scout about to see if I could see any carpy activity. There were no obvious signs so I decided I was going to fish the left side bank and fish underneath the rod tips. The margins had lots of reeds, overhanging trees and small clumps of grass, I thought the fish must get up tight to all of these features. For this to work I was going to have to be very quiet, something that is now a solid rule within my angling. 

The first thing that stood out for me was how clear both the water and the bottom of the lake was. With polaroids I could see right down in the margin and the lake bed looked very clean, apart from on the really shallow shelf beneath my feet. I was going to have to take this in to account when choosing my rig components. I have mentioned it a lot in my previous blog posts that I think camouflage is very important regarding your end tackle. I know that a lot of people don't think it makes a great deal of difference, I do, subtly disguised rigs could be the difference between that monster carp sensing danger or accepting the bait. All my rigs have to look right and function correctly prior to casting out.

Subtle End Tackle Choices
My components included a short length of Carp Craze translucent green tubing paired with one of their dark green tail rubbers. My lead of choice was a Carpy Chris Weed Inline 2.5oz and my hook-link was 15IB Jelly-wire. I used my rig pens to dull down the hook-link so it was literally undetectable on the lake bed. My bait of choice on both rods was Tigernut & Maple, both rods were fishing bottom baits. Because this is my first session I have no previous clues as to how the carp respond to bait so I decided to pile it in over both rods. The more sessions I do I will start to make notes on what is working for me.  

Simple Camo Rig Presentation
I find it takes me a good 6/7 sessions on any water to start painting a workable picture of the way the lake works. I have never seen the point in regularly going to a lake and doing the same thing or sticking to the same swims, you learn nothing by doing this. Through a process of elimination you should start to be able to gauge what works and what doesn't. 

All in all it's about how systematical you are with your fishing. Once I find a few ways in to a water, the first thing I will change is the bait. I learn a lot from bait rotation, after a few months of chopping and changing you start to get a feel for the baits that work the best on certain waters. It can be argued that swapping baits around doesn't allow you to establish any regular food source, but that's my intention, I want to keep the carp guessing. 

No Visible End Tackle
Before placing my rigs I had a little lead around, I could feel from the drop that there were at least three shelves that slowly sloped down. These were very close in so I decided I would fish on the shallow shelf and one in the slightly deeper water. To my surprise as I was getting set to cast out, three really big commons came swimming past right underneath my nose, I could of literally touched their backs. This was a very good sign, I got both rods out with the least amount of disturbance, topped both spots up with a good few handfuls of bait, set the bobbins and sat back quietly to wait in anticipation.

 View From The Swim
As the afternoon progressed the sun really started to beat down and I was feeling so hot, fish were showing just under the surface out in front of me. I was hoping that I could pick at least one of them off if a few were making their way along the marginal areas. Because it was all new to me I really was blind to any apparent system that the lake might have. I find in these moments it's all intuitive, I have to lock on to my confidence and understand that I am fishing the best that I can under the circumstances.

Sure enough just as afternoon was turning to evening, a few bleeps occurred on my left rod. It stuttered and then it was away, I connected to a fish that felt solid, the rod arched around and the clutch was singing. I kept the pressure on, a long common appeared determined to shake me off, a little more pressure to maintain control..... just a little more and then....., Bingo! she was in the net. What a result and it looked like it could go twenty, it might have even been one of the three carp that I spotted under my nose earlier. Scales sunk to 22IB 5oz, I was so pleased especially as it was caught so close in. I got a few trophy shots and gently slipped her home.

First Braxted Common 22IB 5oz
I was very pleased to of grabbed one especially on my first trip, I have got a lot to learn about the water but this was a solid starting point. The approached worked but there's no guarantees it will work the same again. I think because it was a hot day the carp were obviously milling around in the shallows. At some point I want to get a marker rod out and suss the bottom out, I will opt on doing this when there aren't so many other anglers around.

I only plan on fishing the water blind once. Understanding the typography of the bottom will open up a load more options for me on future sessions. I plan to start to map out my favored swims and then I can start to stitch it all together. On all the waters I fish, the ultimate goal is clarity, with clarity comes consistency and with consistency comes a very good chance of bagging a real beauty. 

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