Henham Lodge – Dec 1 2014
24 hours, starting time 10am
With a cold NE wind and temperatures barely above 6 Celsius, and wanting to give myself a good chance, I decided to head over to Henham Lodge. Looking out from my swim,(Photo1).
After a good walk around. I picked a swim that was sheltered from the wind, with plenty of bank side cover. Having previously fished this venue at the time of year, I had a good idea what to expect. Knowing there are a large number of Carp in the 8-12lb range that will readily take most of what you through at them, plus a number of bigger Carp, I went with a tactical approach and something that has worked for me before on this venue. With 8-10 feet of water right under your feet, and some very big trees giving good cover, I decided to fish close. My first job, because I was going to fish close, was to get everything set up first. So up went the bivvy, bed, rods, importantly the bank sticks, basically everything, so I didn’t have to bang around too often on the bank after baiting up. Even with this depth of water, stealth is the key here. Next, I halved and quartered 13mm ‘Sweet-Squid’ boilies, added some 4-6mm pellet of the same flavour (all No-Limits) plus some low oil fishmeal and a handful of freeze dried freshwater shrimp. I then scattered around 1/2 kilo each side of the swim about 6-10 feet away from the trees. I was hoping that the small fish would move in on the loose feed and the bigger fish – as is often the case – would sit close or under the trees. I then added a few halved 18mm boilies (same flavour) close and under the trees. I used a 8 meter pole with a cup-kit to do this accurately. Keeping it tidy is the key when approaching a swim in this way. My set up was 15lb touchdown main line, with a 2oz inline pear lead that was free running on 2 meters of sink tube with some putty at the top. Because I was fishing 8 meters out in deep water, I wanted the last couple of meters pinned right down. A diagonal line will spook the fish big time. This was connected to a size 8 swivel and then 6 inches of 12lb stiff silt, stripped back an inch directly above the hook. The hook was a size 6 ESP Raptor, a blow-back set up with an 18mm boilie (on the left rod, 13mm on right rod) with a little trimmed from the front of the boilie, and a slice of pop-up, which reforms the circle. The pop-up is to counter balance the hook weight. The reels are locked right down, and lastly on goes a 1/2oz back lead, again keeping a diagonal line as far away from the fish as possible.
Out went the rods, again using the pole cup kit for accuracy, and on went the coffee. I barely had time to finish my coffee and off went the right hand rod. Hmm, a mirror of around 8lb. Ten minutes later, again the same rod and a slighter better mirror, just around 10lb. After four more fish on the same rod, in came the rig and all change to 18mm on both rods. That sorted it. Now this time of year, I am sure there are many who’d be happy with this – and I get that – however, I wanted the big fish. The next bite (2:30pm) came on the left hand rod and it was a better fish (see below) a lovely looking linear of around 15lb, (photo 2) great condition too.
It then went quite, so just before dark (4:30pm) out went some more free offerings, around 1/3 kilo each side. It was 7pm before the next indication and this was a mirror of around 16lb, a few more fish followed of a similar size including a really odd mix of mirror and ghostie (photo 3).
From around 1am, it went a bit quite, and to be honest, I wasn’t too disappointed, bit of kip and all that. I know we have the rest of our life to sleep but some of aren’t getting any younger ha-ha. 3am and I was woken with a single toner, which produced my PB Koi of 20lb 7oz (photo4). (sorry, Billy-no-mates photo). 2 more smallish fish and after a nice mirror of 23lb 11oz (photo 5) it was home… I hope some of this helps in some small way. I find if nothing else, it gets ya thinking about your next trip than all well and good. Stay focussed and catch well. SteveD