Dave Lanes first trip to the Nene valley

It was with great excitement that I set off for my first trip to my new water in the Nene valley. I had hardly been able to sleep the night before, knowing the truck was loaded and ready for departure and only parked just below the bedroom window.

I think I lasted until about 4am before I finally gave up, got dressed and left the house, clutching a thermal mug full of hot tea. The dog seemed a bit surprised at being dragged out of bed at such an unearthly hour but that’s just something he will have to get used to now that summer is on it’s way. I always like to arrive at any lake as close to first light as possible as you can learn so much more in that first hour or so about where the fish are holed up than you will throughout the rest of the day.

I was amazed, as I drew closer, just how cold and frosty everywhere was, it was nothing like that when I had left home but, quite often, you get little temperate zones or as in this case sub zero ones.

It didn’t look brilliant for the first trip as there was a freezing fog and the lake was still as a mill pond but I set off for a walk around anyway. After about forty five minutes I came to the far end and the first thing I saw was a carp, in the air!

I hung around long enough to confirm my sighting with yet another in the same area and then I was off for the carp fishing tackle, as fast as I could.

Not knowing much about the lake it was a bit of a chuck it and chance it really but the worst thing you can do is start dragging a marker float around when you are on fish. As it turned out, even the sound of the leads seemed to put them off a bit and the showing stopped altogether but I was still very confident; even two days later and with nothing to show for my efforts I had seen enough to know that this was the area I wanted to be in. The water temperatures were still very low and carp do not seem to travel far until the spring arrives in earnest so the next week saw me straight back in the same spot. I saw one fish as soon as I set foot in the swim, which was encouraging and single yellow pop-up’s were soon winging their way out to join him.

This time the plan came together a lot more successfully and I reckon the rods had only been cast out about half an hour when I had my first screaming take.

That first fish on any new water is always the most important of the lot, no matter what you might catch over the coming months it’s always the first one that’s the hardest, after that they are all just carp once more and not mythical and elusive creatures.

I knew it wasn’t a monster straight from the off, but it was still nerve racking all the same, and I had that wonderful feeling of too much adrenalin pumping through my body, shaky hands and trembling knees, a sure sign that I was fishing the right lake and trying to catch the sort of carp that still excite me even after all these years. There’s something magical about a big gravel pit and a comparatively unknown stock, it all seems so much more real than knowing everything that swims in front of you before you have even started.

As he rolled up in the gin clear margins I could see he was a mirror, a long lean scaly one at that and a proper little character fish. At a little over eighteen pounds he wouldn’t be setting the world alight but I had opened my account, started the ball rolling, and proved to myself that I could catch them. The tactics had been the simplest and most effective I knew, find the fish and then stick a little yellow pop-up in front of their nose, easy but rewarding.

I was actually expecting to bag another one or two that session but the carp had other ideas about that, still, I returned home a happy man and spent the next five days plotting the weather, staring at the lake on Google Earth and generally laying plans, I couldn’t wait to get back for another go.

Dave Lane filming the TFG Carp Fishing DVD

Well it’s been all change for me recently, I’ve finished on Monks Pit and I’ve deferred Black swan sailing lake for a year or two so it’s on to pastures new.

I figured that there was very little left in Monks for me to target, having caught most of the known biggies bar about two or three and two years is about enough for me on any water really. There are too many places I want to fish and too little time to fish them all. Black Swan was a different story as I still love the place and I know in my heart that I am not finished on there yet but I needed a break and the arrival of a new ticket helped make up mind.

I have been trying to get onto a new gravel pit in the Nene Valley and, as from April, I have finally managed it and it’s exciting times ahead.

The lake has only been officially fished for the past year so it is still full of mystery and intrigue and this, more than anything, is what seems to spur me on the most.

Before I could make my first trip however, I was needed over at the Linear complex in Oxford to make a new  TF Gear carp fishing DVD to go on the front cover of next month’s Total Carp.

I hadn’t been over to Linear for a few years but I always used to be a fairly regular visitor, often fishing there in the winter and also attending charity events in the warmer months, something I intend to resume later this year actually.

The filming was booked for the end of the bank holiday weekend which, in reality, could have been a big problem as the lakes were packed but, luckily, we had managed to book an area in advance and there were signs of fish out there right from the off.

Catching fish for the camera is always a fraught affair, if it doesn’t go right on the day or the fish are just not playing the game then a lot of time and money can be wasted so it always starts off as a bit of a pressure situation. Not only that but there is a lot of behind the scenes action going on so it can be tricky to concentrate on the lake which is something I like to do totally; I find that just watching the water can give you all the answers you need. Luckily for me I had a good crew there and most of the time I was free to ‘do my own thing’ and, once I had found the right range and a rig that worked the fish started to come.

We were on Brasenose two, which is well stocked with nice looking carp in the high doubles and twenties but, due to the early time of year, a lot of these were determined to stay out at long range. I was using the new TF Gear Multi-Flex carp rod, which comes with twin tips and I was genuinely amazed at how well they performed at range, bearing in mind I was hitting about one hundred and ten yards range to land on the fish and using fifteen pound line. The rods have two different top sections, one at 2.75lb for all close in work and the other at 3.5lb for long range stuff. It’s a brilliant idea really as it saves having two sets of rods for different waters or approaches or even times of the year and the action is superb on either set-up.

A couple of the fish were really nice mid-twenties and every one of them, no matter what the size, fought like a tiger all the way to the bank. On occasions I was amazed just how hard they did pull but it was all good fun and a great demonstration of the tackle I was using at the time.

I won’t go into too much detail and ruin the DVD but the whole session went really well and, on the second day the fish got up in the water and started moving around a bit which gave me the opportunity for a bit of zig fishing as well. If you do you watch the disk, which will be on the front of the June Total Carp issue, look out for the takes while we are actually filming other stuff, or sitting by the rods chatting as these are genuine takes and not mocked up for the camera. Moments like those are so hard to capture on film and were worth their weight in gold as they occurred, as if on cue, and really gave the finishing touches in my view. You might also see my new carp dog making an appearance or two, I’m not 100% sure if he will be in the finished version but he spent most of the session doing his upmost to appear on camera and, behind the scenes, there was a permanent ‘stick thrower’ trying to keep him otherwise amused.

All in all it was a highly successful session and, although tiring, we ended up with loads of good footage, I’m just glad I’m not the one who has to edit it all!