The Mere Campaign – Brad Lewis

Bait-Tech’s Brad Lewis has been having a tough time of it on his chosen venue over the last few months but all the blanks were forgotten recently when his alarm went off…

After gaining a winter ticket on a prolific Shropshire mere I was filled with excitement and couldn’t wait to get stuck in. Before doing my first night at the venue I went for a walk round and met up with a few of the regulars. Five minutes into discussion and it was apparent that I’d joined at the wrong time, with the mere only producing a small handful of fish all year. With the mere being renowned as a rock-hard water I knew it was going to be difficult, but with it fishing as badly as it had been catching a Carp felt almost impossible. Always the enthusiast and refusing to be beaten I decided not to let this deter me and I began my campaign.

After many sessions without success I began to learn little bits and pieces about the place and slowly started to construct the puzzle. At the end of every session I was tricking small beds of 10mm TRIPLE-N boilie into an area that’s 18ft deep. Sounds deep but on a lake with depths of over 50ft it can be considered one of the shallower areas. The idea was to keep that bait going in and then fish over it when a mild spell moved in.

A few weeks later my opportunity came knocking as the temperature went from lows of -3 to 10degrees. With this in mind I planned a session and got down the mere. Upon arrival, the place looked dead, I did my usual lap round and stopped for a chat to one of the regular lads up the top end. Nothing had been seen and I felt like trying my luck on more of a runs water. I was on around a 10 night blank streak now and fancied a bend in the rod.

On the way back to the car park I saw a massive ripple come up to the surface in an area known as “ski ramp” a very steep banked swim that drops straight into 50ft of water. It wasn’t uncommon to see the fish here as it is usually where they seek out the thermoclines. This area was about 100 yards to the right of the spot I’d been baiting. Sounds a fair distance but after weeks of watching the fish I realised that they would often show in this area during the morning and as the day progressed slowly move over to my baited area.

This was enough to make me stay, so I pitched up camp and flicked two zigs out onto the showing fish. Knowing that my best chance would come off the baited patch I got the bottom bait rigs all tied up ready for the evening. About 3oclock you could see that the ripples began to move over to the right, and the fish were moving as I predicted. With it not producing a single fish in the hours of darkness all year I felt strangely confident. As I was testing the rigs in the margin I saw the tiniest blow of bubbles about 20 yards off the spot. It was the best sign I had seen in the 6 weeks of my campaign, without any messing round I buzzed three singles out in a line.

As nightfall came I drifted off to sleep early, at 11:30 I was awoken with a single bleep in the left had rod, right over the pre-baited area. My heart sank as I was convinced it was a bream, I directed my head torch over the alarm heads and what was originally a tight bobbin was slack and almost touching the floor. Before I could even think I was bent into my first mere carp! I knew it was a decent one straight away, I remember saying out loud to myself in the middle of darkness “haha bloody big bream” the dead weight stayed deep out in front and plodded down into the deep water. After what felt like a lifetime the fish was in the net, still half asleep and confused I peered into the net and saw the broad back of a massive common, without too much messing round I safely secured the fish until morning.

As daylight broke I lifted the fish onto the mat for the weigh in. The needle span round to 33lb dead, a PB common for me, I was ecstatic to say the least. The bailiff came down to rattle off some snaps and we had a good chat. To date this is my most memorable capture, and just goes to show that effort equals reward. I suffered at least 10 nights of blanking and conditions of -7 degrees in order to get my prize, and without doubt it was well worth it! What a buzz! Bait-Tech Hi-Viz Sweet Coconut Pop-Ups did the business over a fed area of 10-15mm TRIPLE-N boilie, I’m still smiling now!

Having a bait you’re 100% confident in, a persistent attitude and the desire to succeed is the key to success on these extremely difficult waters in the winter.

Tight Lines

Brad Lewis
Bait-Tech Carp Consultant

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