With the nights becoming lighter and the temperatures raising my quick overnighters are becoming shorter and shorter as I can now get on the bank for 11pm and be off for 5-6 am. With the luxury of the warm dry nights only a bed chair, small tackle bag and bundle of rods nets and bank sticks are needed making moving round in the night easy and allowing you to fish efficiently.
With quick nights preparation is key. If you’re willing to drive out to the lake late at night then the effort needed to tie rigs and bait up are more than worth it. Fortunately for me working on a fishery I can keep a close eye on the lakes thus helping me decide how to tackle them best on the night. Even in the winter months nights from 12 till 6 are still on my agenda. This is a story of a recent quick night success that I had on my target water and how I managed one of my target fish I have been in pursuit of for almost 4 years.
I was fortunate enough to arrive at the fishery much earlier than normal. I pulled in the car park at around 7pm and hastily loaded the barrow. Although I can drive round the whole fishery I prefer to use the barrow as it makes moving round easier as you don’t have to load your gear in to the car every time. By making moving as easy as possible I feel more inclined to move than if I had everything and the kitchen sink to load in to the car every time I decided on a move. As I pushed the barrow along in the delightful evening sun I noticed a lot of surface disturbance in front of peg two up in the shallows. I crept up behind the peg, popped on the Polaroid’s and hopped up on to the fence at the back of the swim to try and gain a view of what was going on. Instantly I was stunned. In a lake that only holds around 60 carp more than 40 were leisurely sunning themselves in front of the peg. I crept back behind the bushes and proceeded to set up my usual float rig for stalking. Unlike my usual approach of fishing a bait over depth I decided to fish the bait around 10 inches under the surface. I flicked out a few riser pellets and nothing occurred. Upon popping out a few halved monster squid blacks swirls began to disrupt the mirror like shining surface. On to my size 8 fang twister I hooked a half a monster squid and a few fake maggots to slow down the decent of the bait and add a flash of colour. I flicked out a few more free offerings before carefully casting the float just passed the fish and bringing it back in. the float began to flick and bob around in the glimmering surface tension before slowly sliding away. The float slid away and I began counting down from 3 as not to strike at a possible liner. 3, 2, 1. the rod lifted. The blank arched over and the surface erupted. The slow but steady clicking of the clutch sounded out across the silent fishery and I was in. a long run began. From the first flick of the tail everything seemed very wrong. Despite my caution as not to hit a liner I was sure that the fish was not hooked correctly. Line began to be torn from the spool as the mono cut through the now ruffled surface. I played the fish gently as not to damage it if it was foul hooked. All of a sudden the line began to rise in the water. A long black tail slapped at the surface in the distance. I had only gone and hooked a catfish. Upon my realization that the fish was in fact a large angry catfish was on the end of my line rather than a carp I put back on the pressure. This was a bad idea. The cat was not happy that suddenly something was trying to turn it round and it bolted. The clutch screamed as I tried to clamber through the foliage to the next peg to avoid the cat cutting me off on the island that is was now making head way towards. I managed to slow the fish but still it would not stop. As its giant tadpole like tail waved in the air I found myself stripping off the make my way round the margins to the next peg before it gained the sanctuary of the island. I made it round and with a little bit more pressure the battle began to go in my favor. This was short lived though. The fish turned and within seconds and a few sharp clicks from the spool it was in to the island. The line parted just above the hook and I wound in a half a very damaged hook link and a now broken float. My heart sank. I solemnly sulked my way back to the swim. To my surprise a few fish where still present on the surface in front of the peg. Zig time it is then. I grabbed the tackle off the barrow, popped out the bed and began to tie some zigs. While doing so a fish rolled just to my left on a silty spot before sending up foam of tiny silver pin prick bubbles. I halted my zig tying and reached in to my rig board to remove a trigger link hook link to attach to my diffusion leader. The bait was slid on to the hair. A monster squid black and a grain of enterprises new floating fake corn where the decided combo. With a pva bag of my pellet mix tied and attached to my rig I made a cast on the spot. A light thump through the rod tip made me confident the rig had landed correctly. With one on a lovely spot I continued on my zig tying venture. One consisting of a black and white Nash zig bug and the other on an enterprise fake snail. I flicked the zigs carefully on to the fish. As the lead sunk I saw the pva nugget attached to my rig slip away and then DUNK. The rig hit the bottom. The hook baits must have been mere inches below the surface. I sat back and cracked open a drink while watching the water and enjoying the last of the evening sun. Only 5 minutes in to my relaxed and every so familiar routine of watching the swallows dipping at the surface and the carp swirling a loud bleep sounded out. My trance was broken as I saw the bobbin pull up and the rod tip pull round on the rod on the Zig bug. Flying from the bed chair I flew across the peg and lifted in to a fish that was more that aware of the Zig bug nestled in the base of its mouth. The fish screeched off. The line melted from the spool and I was in. the fight was not lengthy but brutal with the carp exhausting its self within 5 minutes due to its violent runs. Eventually I had a heavy lump waddling in the margin. A head broke the surface and the net was used to engulf my quarry. The scores one the doors fish 1. Adam 1. I cut the leader off and calmed myself before lifting my prize on to the mat. The net was unfolded and my trophy was reviled. It was Bert. I almost had to rub my eyes to make sure I was correct. As I stared at the fish its beady eye stared back and the dream of one of my rarer target fish became a reality. My Zig bug was popped out and the fish was placed in to my captive sling. Phone calls were made and the paparazzi in the way of the fishery boss snapped off the photos. I supported him in him in the edge and with a flick of a tail and a shower my way he was gone, back to the water loom for which he came. I made my way back to the peg and with the light now fading I readied the rods for the night. With three traps now set I sat back and enjoyed a celebratory cup of tea. As the burnt orange sky turned from a blazing red beam to a midnight blue I watched the water with a grin from ear to ear replaying the capture through my mind. Once the darkness had engulfed the lake I made myself comfortable and slipped in the bag. My head hit the pillow and my eyes slammed closed. It would seem the excitement had taken it out of me. During a spell between 1 am and 2 am liners frequently woke me but with nothing to note I had another coffee and went back to sleep. The next time I awoke I found myself stood in the light of the early morning with a rod bent double in my hand. Another was hooked. As the fish bolted from the shallows to my left where I had hooked it silver wisps of fog curled in to the biting morning are. The fish pulled hard but with slow and steady pressure I began to gain the upper hand. Leading the carp back towards the waiting net I noticed vortexes rising from the fish. The line rose through the surface and my excitement grew. A scaily mirror broke the gleaming ripple and the next slid under it. The new scores fish 1 Adam 2. I looked in to the net and the grain of fake corn flew back and forth from the fish’s mouth as it tried to catch breath. The monster black and fleck of yellow had done the trick again. I popped the hook out and popped the fish in to the Kaptive sling and allowed it to have a few moments while I readied the mat and camera and had victory cupper. Brew downed, mat sorted and medicarp next to the mat I lifted the fish from the water. Once on the mat with the net parted its beauty became apparent. Its palm sized silver scales reflected the bright morning sunshine. The flash of the camera bounced off the fish and the moment was captured. I slipped the fish back and packed away my tackle happy in the knowledge that it was mission accomplished. Quick nights are well worth a shout and if you make the effort to do it right then the rewards can be plentiful.
Tight lines Adam