Once again myself and the hairy one was sitting down at about midnight watching fishing vids on you tube and as we sit there obviously craving a session we decide, right let’s forget work and go fishing. As we sit there running through our usual choices of lakes we pondered about a reservoir just around the corner from us that we have still yet to try and said let’s give it a go. However as always, the carp gremlins start to take hold before we’ve even given it a shot, ‘it’s a big lake, bigger than anything we ever tried’, ‘it’s a hard time of year to try a new lake’, ‘I am pants at spodding’, were all regular sentences thrown out over the next week. And before you know it were back to debating where to fish until we realised it’s been almost exactly a year since we last fished one of our local lake’s Gwinear.
Our last session at Gwinear not going to lie ‘shocker’ to say the least, cold easterly wind, didn’t see a single sign of a fish, temps below freezing, myself and the hairy hobbit had to share a bivvy as mine had truly bit the dust on the trip before, and again, so cold I think permanent damage may have been done to personal areas as they froze to the chair. Yet we didn’t let the last trip tarnish our spirits and said ‘hell yeah, the year before that I had a 23lb mirror out let’s give it a shot again’. We gave the dread locked converting veggi a txt (still looking for a good nickname probably end up being the hippy) the newest member to our fishing group to see if he was up for giving it a go. Didn’t take much convincing and he was in for the trip. Unfortunately, sweaty flaps Phil couldn’t make it, bit of a downer as he usually does the cooking.
So, the morning has come, its 05:30 am and I am woken by a screaming 2-year-old but no matter, the hairy one was getting to me for bang on 06:30 so we can pick up our new hippy and be at the lake for 8am to ensure first pick of swims for our 36-hour session. But as always hobbits particularly hairy ones are always late its 06:50 and finally he pulls up in his questionable new freelander. Which packing was a fricking nightmare as with every electronical thing the hairy hobbit owns within a month of owning it half of it doesn’t work. We’re trying to pack the car up with all our gear where the only access we’ve got is one side door and the front driver’s door, as somehow, he has managed to break the others not going to lie pain in the a**. Were all loaded up honing it through town to pick up our new hippy who for a hippy bang on time he is waiting outside his house gear ready to go. Were all loaded racing to the lake which we get to at about 08:30. Surprisingly considering it’s a Saturday with an overcast sky, temperature at around 7 degrees Celsius which it has held most of the week (the warmest week for a good month) running up to Saturday, with a nice low pressure of 1009 the lake was empty, sweeeeet.
We pop in to the tackle shop onsite to get our tickets (good tackle shop particularly for Cornwall), and have a chat with one of the guys. He tells us that zigs have been working really well for him, he has been telling everyone, but apparently everyone was ignoring him and not catching much at all. Not going to lie I have never really given zigs a go neither has the hippy. The hobbit has done once or twice before but to little success. But local knowledge and all that, we picked up some zig line and a tub of 12mm high vis pineapple pop-ups and gave it a shot.
We get down to the lake and pick our swims, we hadn’t seen any sign of fish, so we had some educated guesses. I went for a swim where I could reach the nice, open, deepest part of the lake, as well as a nice overhanging tree with some old bulrush bushes lining the bank. The hippy went next to me as he is bivvy-less at the minute and needed to share my two man, he could not only reach a bit of open water from his swim but also had one out of the two island’s to fish to. The hairy hobbit went for probably the shallowest narrowest part of the lake with only about 15ft between his swim and the opposite island, and around 4-5ft deep at most. Not going to lie I thought what the hell is that crazy hobbit doing, its winter and the wind was a cold north north westerly blowing into that area, no chance mate. I thought I got it sussed nice and deep open area fish will definitely be sitting there in this weather, and the overhanging tree was sheltered from the wind and 4ft deep about 3 ft from the bank, boom give a couple hours I am going to be in. Or so I thought.
Now I know I probably shouldn’t of, but I just couldn’t bring myself to put both of my rods on to zigs and neither could the hippy. It appears both of us are a little stuck in our ways and I had one on a 3ft zig open water and the other on a stiff hinged rig just by my tree. The hippy had a 2ft zig in open water about 10 ft from the island he could reach, and a simple hair rig directly off the island. The hairy hobbit however, being the brave hobbit he is went balls deep and put both rods on zigs one at about 1 ft and the other at 3ft in his narrow little channel. Me and the hobbit get our swims properly set up, bivvy’s up all looking sweet, we then look over at the hippy’ swim.
A man of pure ingenuity, were not wealthy people and can’t afford the best gear or the newest rods or s[censored]iest of s[censored], however we have all the gear to make ourselves comfy and to ensure fish health is a priority and no damage comes to them on the bank. First let’s talk rod pods, mine is a cheap pod but it does the job, sturdy enough and reliable. The hobbit just got a new pod for x-mas and it is pretty sweet, it’s a mid-range JRC pod, heavy but plenty of adjustment and feature’s along with his new JRC bite-alarms which have sensitivity adjustment and indicate when it’s a drop bite (I am not jealous at all). The Hippy however I thought ‘what the hell is he doing hammering a load of wood together by the bank?’ I thought he was making a table, turns out he had made a homemade fold out pod out of wood with screw fittings to put his bite-alarms on with, and it was pretty dam sturdy ‘fair play sir’. His brolly was just as clever, it was reasonably windy so in all his genius he had brought a load of rope with him and lassoed it down, again solid probably would of held up in stronger winds than our bivvy’s.
Speaking of new gear I just got myself a Daiwa Black Widow reel and it is awesome particularly for the money, clutch is so smooth, and it sings when a fish is running, loving it. Let’s skip ahead to mid-day and the Hobbit has already had some promising takes and the Hippy has had a few bleeps to, all on zigs, yet mine, totally silent, not a sausage. At this point my hopes are still high I am confident in my swim choice, we still haven’t seen a single sign of a fish, give it an hour I will be on, no worry’s (yea right).
It’s got to about 3pm and I have still yet to have a single bleep on my alarms the hobbit though, hell of a run, he was unfortunately over chatting with me and the hippy when it happened, he charges off stumbling as he goes no more than 20ft from his rods, gets to his rod, alarm still screaming and strikes in to nothing. He looks down at the floor in shame and recasts to his island spot. At this point we’re all hungry it’s time for the eaten mess our signature fishing dish which unfortunately the hippy can’t join in with due to the excessive amount of meatiness involved. It consists of beans, chopped sausages, chopped bacon, meat balls, onion, mushrooms, huge amount of cheese and corned beef all boiled together. Fills you up for days however you don’t poo right for weeks to come but dam its good.
It’s about 4pm and the Hairy Hobbit has retired to his bivvy for a nap at this point I thought this is the perfect time to mess with him. I do the classic of attaching a hook to a spool of line wrapping it around his line and pulling it like a mad man from behind his bivvy. Thankfully the hippy had it all on camera. The Hobbit stumbles out of his bivvy looking like a mad man and full-bore Jeremy Wade’s the strike. The rig comes flying out of the water and he looks around to see myself and the hippy cracking up with laughter. He was a real happy hobbit at this point in time. Annoyed and swearing revenge he casts back out to the same spot just before dark.
It’s now dark and I am still yet to have a nibble I am happy with my rigs, their presentation and spots so I persevere with hope for the night. The Hippy pulls out an awesome light he brought with him for the bivvy to create some weirdly erotic ambiance which gently changes colour, things were getting strange and I was starting to question my bivvy companion’s motives. We’re sitting there chatting away and the hobbit has come to join us for a bit, it’s got to be around 11pm now and I am starting to feel slightly demoralised as everyone else has had a bit of activity. All of a sudden my alarm goes mental, ‘Yessssss!’ I am on my feet and out of my sleeping bag in seconds, don’t even put my shoes on, run to the rod and strike, ‘yes a bit of resistance here boy’s’ I say with confidence for the first few seconds, then in it comes with ease gliding through the water, yep you guessed it a 2lb bream. Incase you were wondering, yes they did take the [censored] out of me and I didn’t live it down for the rest of the trip, I had been well and truly slimed and had.
The icing on the cake though was at about midnight the Hobbit’s rod screams off and he is in dam it. He had moved one of his rods onto the bottom on a simple hair rig for the night, with a mainline cell boilie and a half pineapple pop up snowman presentation. This was the rod that took, it came in surprisingly easily considering it was an 11.5 lb mirror but he was happy to say the least especially considering how poor our last trip to Gwinear was. The bench mark had been set it was on (were not competitive at all).
Now I know some of you pure carper’s will look down on us now, but it’s rare we do this, it was time. We cracked out a laptop and watched the ultimate Return of the Jedi, nerding it right up. There was no one else on the lake and it was hammering it down outside now, there was no way the fish could hear it, we could barely hear it ourselves. The film finished, and we retired to our respective beds with hope for the morning.
It’s now morning and no activity at all for the rest of the night, for any of us. It was so cold that morning there was no way I was leaving my sleeping bag first thing, even though I had every intention of doing so to see if I could see any fish rise. I was definitely questioning a move if only I could see some dam fish to guide me to a spot. I had been consistently moving my zig rig around the whole trip, casting to different areas and changing the depth desperately trying to find them. I waited the morning out in hope. No one was having any activity at the minute and a couple other’s had joined us on the lake that morning. It was about 11 am and suddenly the hippies rod went mental, he was in, ‘noooooooooo!’. The rod that took was cast to the island as well, he had a bit of a fight and banked another beautiful 11lb mirror. I was properly demoralized now and I was definitely moving swims, the islands were producing which I got to admit I really didn’t expect. Shallowest part of the lake, this time of year with a cold wind blowing into them, but the fish were definitely in that area so I had to be.
The Hobbit pointed me to a swim just down from him, which when I had a look myself did look pretty sweet. There was an area on the back of the island sheltered from the wind, didn’t see any fish but it had to be worth a shot, I packed up and made the move as quick as I could. The pressure had risen and the sun was out, it was still cold but with the heat from the sun I figured they got to be up in the water column now. With the local knowledge playing in my head I put both rods onto zigs one at 2ft one at 3ft.
‘I had to catch a fish’ I kept telling myself. Not being big headed but it is normally me winning the fishing race. It’s about 3pm we had to be off the lake by 5pm and still no fish I was proper demoralized now, I got to the point where I really didn’t think it was going to happen. Suddenly, my left rod screams off and I mean screams off, the rod almost got pulled clean off the pod. I strike into it and instantly think this is decent. The guy’s head down to check it out after hearing the commotion, repeatedly telling me ‘I bet it’s a massive bream’. This fish was really fighting keeping its head hard on the bottom and kiting me off to the left of my swim desperately trying to head to a snag at the bank. I am proper cacking my pants now, we had just seen the fish at the surface about 6 ft from the bank, it was a good one. The waters nice and clear so you can properly see the fish when they come up. It wasn’t ready for the net yet, I had been playing it for a good ten minutes now and saw it arch its back and make another run for the bottom. As I see the fin disappear I am then nicely presented with the rig flying out of the water. Yep it had pinged off the hook after all that effort, silence fell around me, I could see the guys trying to hold back the laughter. I was gutted, that was it last couple hours no way am I getting another fish, I was [censored]ed and so gutted, I was desperately holding back the urge to ling the rod in the lake. I stood there solemnly and truly demoralized and done.
I recast the rod in a hopeless last ditched attempt to the same spot with no hope what so ever. I was so wrong, in no more than 20 minutes of recasting it screams off again, holy stinky winky I leapt on that rod. It’s on, the guys came down again, I think even they were hoping I got this one in. It was fighting just as hard as the last one and in the same manner kiting to the left, ‘please don’t happen again, please don’t happen again’ I kept saying to myself. After a good 10 – 15 minutes of play it’s at the surface gliding towards the net which the Hobbit is doing the honours for me. It’s netted and it’s an awesome fish absolute dark stunner weighing in at 24lb, YESSSSSSSSS. I was unbelievably happy, chuffed to say the least after almost 32 hours of disappointment for myself, to have that on the bank was an awesome feeling. We got our pics and returned it safely. And within an hour we were packed up and heading home.
An absolute emotional roller coaster of a trip for me but loved every minute of it as we all did. We all left with a fish at a particularly hard time of year, a definite successful trip and we will most certainly be back to this lake again for our winter sessions.