Finally the weather has turned and spring has arrived, the fish have come out of winter mode and are now on the move. For a few weeks I’ve been looking for a venue (not too far away) that holds some big, good looking carp. After searching the web a friend put me on to Bears Lake in Burton upon Trent. Before any successful fishing trip you must research a water, going blind into something you don’t know usually means you’ll fall flat on your face so I and a friend went up to Bears for a recce and managed to get a few works in with the local bailiff who was more than helpful.
A week later we decided to take the carp fishing rods and venture back to Burton Upon Trent to try our hand at the Bears carp. Despite our efforts throughout the day we both drew a blank. I took the opportunity of our dire performance to walk around the lake, searching for any feeding activity and talking to the local anglers who seemed to be netting a few fish. After a few laps of the lake I was certain I’d found a few feeding fish and was confident that with the right tackle and approach I could get them.
A fortnight passed and I managed get some time to get out on the bank. On the Thursday morning the weather was relatively similar to that of the day we fished previously, so I took the 40 mile round trip to have another look around the lake and check on the fish I found previous, pre baiting some of the spots in mind.
As Bears Lakes is a day ticket and members waters, baiting one swim a couple of days previous could lead to disaster, so managed to pre bait three spots as I couldn’t be certain of the peg I wanted. When I arrived at the lake the sun was beaming down and the carp where all over the surface, I walked around to the first peg I fancied and a mid-teen swam straight in front of me and into the tree that overhangs that peg. I scattered around half a kilo of cell boilies hoping that they would feed and hold up under the tree. After waiting and watching the pre baited peg, I made my way around the lake and places some free offerings into another two spots. These other two spots held some fish, but nothing could keep my mind from that first peg.
After work that Friday evening I arrived back at the lake and was greeted with an almost free lake, other than the two bailiffs that were fishing. Fortunately the peg I wanted was free. Jordan (one of the bailiffs) informed me there had been fish all around that peg all day. After a quick look at the peg I couldn’t see any sign of the fish he’d mentioned, so I wandered around to the next peg and was astonished to see twenty or more carp in and around the tree!
To say I was excited is an understatement, I chose to set up on the peg, fortunutaly it was one I’d pre baited, and keep an eye on any feeding activity. Tactics wise my aim was to sporadically draw the fish from the far side of the tree rather than fishing over them and risk spooking the lot. After putting a some more boilies into the swim I set up both of my TF Gear Delta 3.25lb carp rods. On one rod I used my faithful fluorocarbon rig on a TF Gear weedy green lok down leader and a cell boilie on a hair rig. I positioned this right next to the tree, ahead of where the fish were mooching and heading towards. The second carp rod was set up with a solid bag which incorporated another weedy green lok down leader a size 8 wide gape hook and a Fluoro cell pop up, all of which I intended to throw out into open water, in case of any stragglers.
At 7pm, just an hour or so after pitching the rods and bait, the bobbin shot up and the bite alarm sounded. A beautiful Tench of around 4lb picked up the fluorocarbon rig next to the tree. After a quick snap I re-positioned my rod in that exact area, hoping to locate something bigger and carpier!
As the night grew on there were no other indications of bites, the fish I saw earlier seemed to be dormant, and so I climbed into my Force 8 sleeping bag hoping to get some shut eye. After the tench I doubted my chances of catching off the tree again as I thought any fish under there would have been spooked. At 11pm id dropped off for an hour so only to be woken by one of my alarms. I ran and picked up my right hand rod which was the same one that done the damage earlier on that evening and there was no movement; my first thought is that it had done me in the snags. I give the rod a few pulls and then I felt a fish pull back hard, it tried to pull me back into the tree but luckily my Delta XS out powered it and the fish slowly but surly come unstuck. The fish started to pull out into the deep margins and kept down, I was not scared of a hook pull as the nice progressive action of the rod cushioned all over the lunges.
A few minutes later I managed to tempt a gorgeous mirror over the landing net. I threw a clenched fist into the air with joy and Paul, the resident bailiff come with a helping hand. We pictured the 17lb 7oz fish then let it go, a beautiful fish to start my frequent carp fishing spell at Bears.
Bears Lake is noted for being a tough lake to fish and I was proud to net this magnificent fish. I continued to fish until 5pm on the Saturday with no more success but I managed to wander the lake to find a couple of areas where the fish were laying up, until next time, tight Lines!