I've heard people say that certain fish just don't have your name written on them, and some clearly do and I must admit from my past experience on the Snag Pit it had definitely started to feel that way.
After spending the last couple of years fishing a snaggy unforgiving pit for just a couple of fish. Having caught pretty much all the fish I wanted to catch in the lake barring just two, one of which had recently been found tethered and was now well under its healthy weight and far from looking its best I was questioning whether or not I should continue fishing a lake of this nature, for literally one fish and had decided to concentrate my efforts elsewhere for the near future.
I joined a new syndicate lake and enjoyed a great year catching some truly stunning carp and meeting some great people, one of those happened to be Tom.
Endless conversations ensued over the next few months and I could see Tom had a real passion for bait. After sharing stories and ideas over countless teas and roll ups, it was a natural progression for me to start using DT. It just felt right, I trusted him and it didn't take long before was introduced to the N Blend, I liked it straight away and as soon as I crumbled up that little ball of bait into my palm and smelt it I just knew it was going to catch me carp!. I started using it straight away and my results just got better and better. In time My confidence grew in the bait so much I felt like I could catch wherever I went. It's good to know your bait is doing what it's supposed to. It was one less thing to worry about a good bait will always bring more results, this is definitely something I have learned over the years.
The syndicate lake closes for a couple of months every year to give the fish a rest from the constant pressure they receive, and it had come around all too quickly, and suddenly I had found myself with nowhere to fish. As a result, I decided to go back to the Snag pit and have one last go for that certain old common carp I'd wanted to catch for the last few years. When it came to choosing a bait for my new mission the N blend seemed the perfect choice. I was so confident in the bait and was sure the snag pit fish would be all over it having had success on there in the past using nutty baits. Now all I had to do was renew my membership! I managed to get my ticket sorted out in a few days and was buzzing, I couldn't wait to get down there.
After what seemed like a really long, busy week I'd got home from work quite late on the Friday, and decided to go at first light on the Saturday morning. I arrived at the lake just after the sun came up and was pleasantly surprised to find there were only a couple of other anglers fishing, and they were both at the other end of the lake, leaving the whole shallow half of the lake completely void of anglers… that will do me!
After a couple of laps of the lake it was evident where the majority of the fish were. There was a huge weed bed coming off the nearside of the island which rose up to the surface and was a good 30 yards wide. I climbed up a tree and with the water in the pit being crystal clear, it made it easy for me to see the fish in front of an old favourite swim of mine, clearly loving the weed bed and the nearside margin, so I decided this was where I'd set up for the night.
I chose this swim because it commanded the water not only around the weed bed but the margins and a snag to the left of the swim that I'd watched carp visiting.
The sun was blazing, I'd walked up to a high point above the swim and it looked like an aquarium. I watched the fish for a while paying close attention to the routes they were taking around the lake. Looking out to the left of the swim I noticed a large gravel plateau rising up to a few feet from the surface and I could clearly see the fish swimming over this shallow water on a regular basis, so before I did anything else, I decided to quickly flick a rod on top of the plateau.
After a couple of casts and a small scattering of fresh N Blend I was fishing. Leaving the rod on the floor whilst I got things sorted out, I was just having a few casts around the swim with a bare lead to see if I could find any fishable areas within the dense weed, when suddenly I became aware of a strange buzzing sound. I looked around to see my rod being dragged across the swim at an alarming rate, I turned and picked up the rod and I was in...I couldn't believe it - the rod had been out for ten or fifteen minutes max.
The fish took off and immediately decided to kite left which is exactly where I didn't want it to go as there was a set of the most savage snags imaginable to the left of the swim, but the harder I pulled the more the fish kited, and before I knew it I had what felt like and extremely powerful fish stuck solid in the snag.
The water level was very low and I was bent double over the front of the swim with my rod up to the reel in the water at full compression… everything came to a complete stalemate. No movement whatsoever and my mind was racing with what to do next. Realising that putting so much as a toe in this water would result in a lifetime ban, I didn't have many options. A minute or so had passed by now with me absolutely refusing to give it any line I decided to give it the biggun and pulled as hard as I could, the rod creaked under the strain and I knew something was going to go. With that I felt a slight grating sensation and managed to gain about 2 inches of line. As soon as I felt that tiny bit of movement I knew I had to crank down on it as hard as I could so that's exactly what I did. I pulled as hard as I dared and managed to gain a tiny bit more line, again I furiously cranked the reel getting another few vital inches on the spool when much to my amazement the fish popped straight out of the snag and tore off into the lake! I hardly gave an inch of line and kept the fish close in the deep water in the margins in front of me and within a few minutes I managed to guide it into the back of my net.
YESSSSS!, a fish on my first trip back to the lake and after only an hour or two, what result. I called my girlfriend Lanny straight away excited to tell her the news. She'd been getting into her photography and had been keen to have a go at taking some shots of fish for me. I must admit I was a tad nervous handing my camera over but she did a grand job and I now had a personal photographer 24/ 7 (poor Lanny didn't know what she had let herself in for). she was happy with her shots and I was over the moon. It was nice to share the moment with her.
The fish turned out to be a lovely old warrior of a fish I'd never seen before, covered in battle scars and weighed in at a healthy 33.8 Ib. A lovely start.
During that first session I had noticed some fish moving along my nearside margin moving right under my rod tips and heading into the snags to the left of the swim. Fishing this snag you had to be careful as a few feet under the surface there was a huge submerged branch protruding a good 6 or 7 feet into the water, which from the surface was completely invisible.
I decided to use my baiting pole and shipped out a bare lead a few times with the pole and found a clearer cleaner area just at the entrance of the snag. This would be where I would set my trap. Instead of fishing the spot that session, I decided to bait it and leave it line-free knowing full well the fish would get in there and enjoy a free meal gaining confidence in the spot.
I fished different areas that night and packed up in the morning with no more action, but still buzzing after having a fish on my first session and also having found some nice spots. I baited the margin spot again before I left and a plan was hatched to keep the bait going in heavily throughout the week. With N Blend being nut based, I hoped it would maybe deter the herds of crayfish that were present in the pit, so I baited heavily throughout the week keeping in mind that they would also be eating a lot of it too.
I rushed home from work on the Friday and managed to get down to the lake at about 7pm praying all the way that the swim would be free. As I pulled through the gate and down the lane I saw that not only was the swim free but just like the week before the whole end of the lake was completely void of anglers. I knew where I wanted to be and headed straight for the swim and set up for the night.
Using my pole I placed a bait on the margin spot I'd been baiting though the week, putting the other rod on a spot near the island. The day before I had been to the factory to see Tom and he had given me some new liquid food to try out called 'the one' and I must say this stuff smelt good!. I'm not one to like to change things about too much but I really did like the smell of this, being more of a fishy/savoury based liquid we did wonder as to how it would work together with a nutty bait, well I was about to find out!
I crushed around half a kilo of N Blend
and absolutely doused it with ‘The One
' – this new liquid and poled it out onto the spot, (I've gone on to call this 'Marmite juice' lol) I awoke early in the morning, and with no real signs of fish and no action throughout the night I made a coffee and a smoke and watched the water for a bit, wondering if I even still had hook baits on after a night of ravenous crayfish feeding. Then I started to notice a couple of fish out in the weed bed and along the island margin, so I decide a re-chuck was in order as thoughts of bait-less rigs sitting out there were driving me insane.
I reeled in the right hand rod out by the island and was surprised to find I had full untouched hook bait. I replaced it with a fresh one and after a few casts spent trying to get the rig back into the hole in the weed - all the while bearing in mind the margin spot the other rod was fishing was merely feet from where I was standing. I put the rod back into the rest, clipped the line into the clip and set the bobbin. I turned round to my bivvy door with the intention of now reeling in the other rod, when the left hand rod absolutely melted off !.
I span round convinced I had caught the line with my jumper or something but as I turned around I saw a huge bow wave coming away from the spot and straight out into the lake! I was in again and it was obvious straight away this was a seriously heavy fish, and knowing the nature of the lake and having lost my fair share in there, I knew I couldn't let it go far. It powered straight out instead of into the snag which was a result, but with a clutch wound up double tight, the fish roared off and I scrambling to let out a bit of line. Just as I did so the fish turned, so I cranked the clutch up tight again keeping the fish on a tight line. I let the rod take the lunges refusing to give any line, as if this fish gained any momentum it was game over more than likely. Then it rolled in front of me about 10 yards out and I caught a glimpse of the flank of a big common !
My legs were shaking so much and my mind was racing as to which fish it could be, but in the back of my mind I knew I just couldn't admit it until it was in the net!. A few tense minutes passed with me giving no line whatsoever. After a while, I bundled the fish into the net and as I did so it exploded and managed to flip straight out of the net and stormed off into the lake, stripping line off an extremely tight clutch I couldn't believe it - what an idiot ! The fish bored for the middle of the lake and I now knew exactly what fish it was, and that I had just had it in my net. I just looked to the sky…pleasseeeee.
The next few minutes were probably the most intense I have had in my angling. After a few more minutes, I finally managed to wrap my net around the fish I had wanted to catch for so long ! Yesssss!!. Lanny and I had been sitting the evening before almost talking this fish out of the lake and it must have heard us!. That phone call I will never forget - I couldn't quite believe I was telling her I had it in my net!. She came down and took the camera like an absolute pro, and spun off some absolutely amazing shots for me and then we laughed as I let the fish slip back into the water as to how much I had talked about this fish and the circumstances surrounding its eventual capture.
What a moment, that buzz of catching a certain fish you have your heart set on.
So there it was I had come back expecting to fill my spring with the challenge of catching this fish that I had pretty much convinced myself I was never going to catch, and I had done it in just two nights angling - over the space of eight days from start to finish.
The fish weighed 45lb.6oz which was way bigger than I was expecting and looked immaculate, I was, and still am, truly over the moon to have had the pleasure of catching that lovely old fish… not because of anything other than it was the fish I had set out to catch, and I had done it ending over ten years on and off fishing the pit. I knew my days on there where over and it was time to move onto pastures new.