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Joe Chappell

Reservoir Diaries Part 2

It was the hottest day of the year so far. My alarm sounded, I turned over to see that the time read 05:30. Waking up that early only ever means one thing for me. Fishing! The plan was to pack light and cycle down to Rochford Reservoir with Jack. We hoped to do some early morning stalking whilst the fish were more confident and on the munch. Due to how busy it can get during the day, fishing at night and in the early hours of the morning/twilight hours always seems to produce more fish.

We had both prepared our gear the previous night so all we needed to do was get dressed and cycle out the door. I went to get my bike out of the shed and it had a flat tyre, crap! I gave Jack a call and he didn’t pick up. Five minutes later he sent me a text, he had a flat tyre too and his dad was dropping him off. Luckily for me my mum is an early riser, so after a bit of persuasion I convinced her to drop me off too.

Once we got to the lake, we had a quick walk around and noticed some swirls coming up in the margin. We threw a few handfuls of pellet, corn and crushed boilie in, hoping that the carp would stay interested. I opted to fish freelined corn, whereas Jack used a bolt rig with a few pellets on the hair. We both lowered our rigs into position, the swirls were massive and we were sure of a bite. After 10 minutes or so my line tightened and I struck. For a split second I thought I was on, but all I had caught was a massive stick. I placed my bait back on the spot and waited again. There were still giant swirls coming up every so often so I knew there must have been carp down there. I reeled in to check my bait was still on and pulled out another massive stick. I lowered my rig, left it for a few seconds and reeled in. Once again there were more sticks. I did this several times until I wasn’t bringing any more sticks in and then put a few more handfuls of bait out. I decided to change my set up too. I used about 2ft of lead free leader and a lead clip with a 2oz lead, then an 8 inch German rig with a 12mm wafter. I lowered the new set up onto the spot, sat back and waited. I waited for about half an hour, without any luck. Jack managed a bream from his spot.

The first spot beside the disabled platform

We decided to move into the corner at the other end of the lake, the wind was blowing down that way and we hadn’t seen anything in our swim for 20 minutes despite putting more bait out. We baited several different spots and waited until we saw something in one of them. Jack spotted a few swirls coming up in one spot and lowered his rig onto the spot. I spotted some signs of movement just round the corner, I threw some more bait in and lowered a rig onto the spot. I heard Jacks alarm sound, a few beeps and then nothing. The fish had definitely turned up. We stayed in that spot for nearly an hour but still no bites. Were we just unlucky, or were we doing something wrong? While we were still blanking, someone down the bank had managed to catch two fish, one being a twenty. We decided to do a lap of the lake, bait up a few more spots and try to spot some fish.

It was now around 8, and the water was starting to warm up drawing the fish to the upper layers. We were ill prepared and had no bread or mixers. All I had was a tub of soft hookable floaters. As Jack went to reel in, the line was caught around his rod tip. He pulled on the line ready to unwrap the line and there was a sharp crack. His rod snapped just above the third eye down. We were debating what to do for a while, he phoned his dad but his dad was at work and unable to help. My mum was going to bring me some lunch later on so I gave her a call and she agreed to bring a spare rod too, but this wasn’t until about half 10. I tried on the top with my soft hookable floaters for just over an hour without much luck. All I had was one fish come up and nose the bait.

When surface fishing, polarised glasses make all the difference. Here i put the glasses over the camera lense. It’s so easy to spot the cruising fish.

A fellow angler was walking past, and we got chatting. He saw we were struggling and gave us a couple slices of his bread to try. Within half an hour a carp had slurped my bread down and I had caught the first one of the day. It was a nice little common. The fish had spooked off but they were back before long. There was fish all around me, it hadn’t been 15 minutes since I caught the first fish when I received a call from my mum to say she had just left. I made my way over to Sainsburys where she was meeting me and I went in to buy a couple of loaves of bread and some mixers before picking up the rod from my mum. Thankfully, the fish were still there when I got back.

My first fish of the day

I got back and Jack set his (my) rod up with a bread bomb. We both had a few missed takes and Jack was losing confidence. He decided to move back to where we started the day on the disabled platform. I decided to stick it out where we were, the fish were still in front of me and I was confident of a bite. Fifteen minutes after Jack had left, I had a fish in the net. I gave him a call to tell him the news and persuaded him to come back. The fish were everywhere and it was only a matter of time before another one was bound to slurp down more of our bread. With the fish still in the net, I hooked on some more bread and cast it out, right on the nose of another carp. It turned its head, opened its mouth and the bread disappeared before my eyes. I struck but the fish had managed to get away without being hooked. Jack came back so we took some photos of the fish in the net, slipped her back and cast out again.

The second one of the day

We strolled up and down the bank looking for opportunities and casting to cruising carp. We both missed multiple chances, but the fishing was hard. After an hour or so Jack managed to hook one. It was fighting hard and was definitely the biggest fish of the day. It put up a great scrap and after a while I managed to scoop it into the net.

Jacks lovely common

By 3 most of the fish had moved out into the centre of the lake and out of casting distance. Time was fast running out and with my dad picking me up at 16:15 I didn’t have much time left for a bite. I had 15 minutes before I had to go and while walking along the bank I saw a dark shadow In the margin. I lowered my bread onto his head and instantly he took it. After a short battle he was in the net. The only problem was my net and mat were already dry. I wetted the mat before taking some photos, packing up and going home. My dad wasn’t too impressed with having a stinky wet net and mat in the car but after seeing the smile on my face I don’t think he minded too much.

If you have made it this far, thank you for reading. Come back Friday for part 3.

My instagram: @joec.carp

Jacks instagram @jacks_angling_life

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