Wow where has the year gone? We are now entering my favorite time of year to be out on the bank. The leaves are falling from the trees and the nights are drawing in at a rapid pace. It’s the time of year where the banks of the lakes are getting quieter and the fish are up for a bit of a feed, So the next couple of months will see me on the bank as much as possible.

So what have I been up to so far this year?? Over the next few weeks I’ll be updating how my season has been, the highs and the lows! Thankfully there were more highs than lows.

I rejoined a Club water last year which I fished around 7 years ago. During this time I caught a good hand fully of the lakes ‘A team’, however there were a few that had eluded me including a fish called ‘The Brown’ and the one I really wanted called ‘MoonScale’. I remember it well that after every fish I caught back then I used to say “One closer to MoonScale…”

This lake contains a great head of fish including 25+ 30’s and 4 that can go over the magical 40lb. I only managed a couple of sessions last year, an overnighter in July which resulted in one of the lakes stockies, then 2 weekends, one in Oct and one in November which unfortunately resulted in just a few bream. 

My plan was to return early in the year to start my spring campaign.

It was mid february when I did my first session. Arriving at the lake in the dark around 6am. I had a good walk around the lake to see if I could see any signs of fish. This is something a lot of people do not do when arriving at a lake. I can not emphasise enough how important location is, yet it is something a lot of anglers do not appreciate. 

After a lap of the lake I saw a fish roll which I believed to be a carp in front of a swim in one of the many bays the lakes contains. This was the only sign of fish I saw so set up in and got the rods set. This time of the year I generally use very little bait but plenty of flavour. This means i use a lot of boilie dust and my choice of bait this year was going to be the Sweet Amino. 

This has been a very effective bait for all that have tried it so I had absolute confidence in using it here. Using the blender at home, a blend boilies into a fine dust and add a glug to infuse even more flavour. One thing I consciously decided this year was to solely use Shelf Life boilies. 

The quality of shelfies now are 100% better than what they were years ago and I have absolute confidence in them. One of the big advantages of shelf life baits is you can prepare your bait in advance without the risk of it going off if its not used.

This boilie dust, when spodded out creates a carpet of smell and flavour with out have much out there to fill the fish up. Loads of attraction with my hookbait in the middle of it all. 

After finding a few spots I got the rods out I settled down for the weekend. During the day a lad who was fishing on the point to my right with his friend landed 2 fish during the day, for this time of year is a great result. These lads packed up and left late afternoon and after seeing 2 fish show in front of the point into darkness, left me no option but to pack up and move. It can be a bit of an effort to move at the best of times but during the winter, in the dark, when its raining takes a lot!

Having not fished this area for a long time, I picked some prominent far bank markers and started to lead around. Thankfully it didn’t take me long to find 3 areas that I was happy with. One rod was towards the far reed line, one towards an over hanging tree to my right and the 3rd into a deeper channel that runs from right to left entering the bay. 

A couple of spods of boilie dust over each rod, I was set for the night. The temp drop into minus figures during the night which resulted in a fishless night, a heavy frost but one of the best sunrise id seen for a while. I kept my eyes on the water all morning but didn’t see any signs of fish which didn’t do the confidence any good at all. I had a visit late morning from one of the bailiffs and whilst having a natter and a cup of coffee my middle rod bleeped a couple of times. 

Watching where my line entered the water I noticed it moving very slowly from left to right and lifting and lowering. I lifted the rod and pulled into a solid resistance. Line started slowly ticking off the spool as a large fish was powering out of the bay. Applying a bit more pressure I managed to turn the fish and started gaining line. After a few heavy lunges under the rod tip the fish was ready to be netted. Once on the surface I could tell it was a big fish and thankfully it went in the net first time without any dramas. I left the fish in the folds of the net in the deep margins being monitored by the bailiff and nipped to the car to get my camera gear. 

On returning the bailiff had his phone in his hand and a big smile on his face. “Your gunna be happy mate” he said to me. “You’ve got MoonScale!”. Checking the photos on his phone of the fish against the fish I had in the net, there was no denying I had landed the one I desperately wanted.

I couldn’t believe my first fish of the year from the complex was the one I was hoping to put a hook into at some point during the year.

Hoisting the fish up onto the scales, it didn’t quite make the 40lb mark but a respectful 38lb 8oz, not that the weight bothered me, holding this fish, the one I really wanted was enough of a reward.

After putting the fish back I got the kettle on and enjoyed the buzz. This is a feeling I hope I never lose and if I ever do, it will be the day I hang my rods up.

I got the rod back out on the spot and added a few more spombs of boilie crumb over it. Shortly afterwards another member arrived into my swim. This was a lad who I hadn’t seen since I fished it years ago. It turned out that he was the lad fishing the swim previous day who had the 2 fish. These turned out to be another 2 of the ‘A Team’, ‘The Big Lin’ and ‘The Mitsubishi fish’, both pushing the 40lb barrier. So within 20hrs this swim had produced 3 of the ‘A team’, unbelievable!.

The rest of the session was uneventful but I wasn’t complaining. One of the biggest fish in the lake on my first session wasn’t to be sniffed at, and left the lake with a big smile on my face.

Itching to get back down the lake, I planned to return a couple of weeks later, they were waking up and didn’t want to miss out. But how did it go?? You’ll just have to wait and see.

So until next time, get out there, enjoy yourself and remember… It’s only Fishing.