Every Cloud has a Silver Lining – Ben Soane


Myself, fellow Bait-Tech consultant James Conway, and five other friends had booked a week’s fishing at a well known French lake commencing at the beginning of May. It had been in the diary for two years and we were all itching to get out there and enjoy the week together. Everything was sorted, paid, with our bait and tackle prepped and ready for departure… and then disaster struck. The lake contacted us ten days before we were set to go to inform us of a fish kill at the venue and that the trip had to be cancelled with a full refund issued. At first we thought they were joking but sadly this nightmare was very much a reality. To say we were all very disappointed would be an understatement. It was too short notice to find another venue that could accommodate us so we started looking at options on English soil. We ended up deciding to fish our own waters but booked a different French venue for the following year to give us something exciting to focus on. 
 
I was now in search of a conciliation prize to take my mind away from the cancelled French trip and opted for a three night session at a syndicate lake which I was yet to visit this year. Although it had been fishing particularly hard I thought the fish would be due a decent feed at some point and with my first three night UK session in about twenty years ahead of me, the odds of a bite or two would hopefully be in my favour as I had managed fish from there before on very limited time. 
 
My hardware and terminal tackle were all prepared and set to go but I made some changes to my baiting approach as France was going to be very much boilies only, and lots of them, whereas spod mixes are normally order of the day on my syndicate in this country. With this in mind I made up big bucket consisting of 10mm, 15mm & 18mm Triple-N Boilies, a few big tins of Superseed Hemp, Superseed Particle, a couple of pints of dead maggots, a load of the new Bloodworm Pellets and a bottle of Bloodworm Liquid

With the van loaded I set off early doors and arrived at the lake to find four other anglers on the eighteen acre venue (that’s busy for this particular lake). All was quiet for them but after a lap round I found a lot of fish in an unpressured corner basking in very shallow water. They certainly didn’t look like they were in feeding mode and with more warm weather on the way I was worried it wouldn’t be long before they ventured off to the spawning bay to do what they love doing the most. That said they weren’t at that stage yet so after another couple of laps I decided to stay and give it a go although I had a feeling I wouldn’t end up doing the full 3 nights there after all. 
 
And as I had kind of expected, the first night was quieter than a Mouse passing wind, despite me having fish in my area for the duration. They were just not up for feeding. I wasn’t confident they would switch on anytime soon either as I’ve been fishing long enough now to know when things aren’t quite right and I’d be better off somewhere else if I wanted some action so it was back to the drawing board to see where I’d spend the next two nights. I had been in contact throughout with another friend of mine, Steve who was also a victim of the cancelled French trip, and he said he had caught a couple from a lake he was a member of in Cambridgeshire and that I was welcome to join him there as guest. With my current predicament and other lake options closed for spawning I accepted his offer which turned out to be an excellent decision and very much the silver lining to the cloud I had been stuck under.
 
I arrived at the stunning fifteen acre lake in Cambridgeshire and it looked right up my street. It was full of big yellow lilies, weed, fallen trees and split into three parts. My friend Steve was in the main body of the lake and the rules were that I needed to fish near him as a guest but this was fine with me as I could see fish in the area straight away. I ended up in a tiny swim that never normally gets fished and after a little lead around I  found a nice clear spot in the weed about 40 yards out. Two rods were then put out on this spot and baited with 15 Spods of the mixed sized Triple-N, Superseeds and Bloodworm Pellets I had prepared for the previous venue. 
 
There was a lovely deep margin to my left with another clean area in front of some ‘cabbage’ lilies and an overhanging tree, and this is where I opted to put the third rod. I baited this spot with a few scoops of the spod mix too. By this point it was mid afternoon. I was told that bite time normally fell between dusk and mid morning so I wasn’t expecting action, if any, until the night time but out of the blue less than an hour after casting out I had an angry Common in the net which tipped the scales at 23lb. I was over the moon to be off the mark after the luck I’d been having and the fact it was a decent fish from a completely new venue made it that little more special. 
 
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That night I had another Common of 19lb after putting out another load of bait on the spot then early in morning my margin rod was away and I landed a stunning Cambridgeshire Mirror of 23lb. I was beyond chuffed with these fish and would have been happy going home with just those as the venue can be pretty tough going at times. 

Despite the great start, the rest of the day was a quiet one with the temperatures getting up into the 20s. I topped up the swim with some more bait and tied some fresh rigs ready for my final night. 

Once darkness fell and I eventually went to bed I woke up to a few beeps on the margin rod and there was a big slab of Bream on the end. I then lost the next bite to a hook pull in the weed which was gutting as I rarely lose fish and there were some real goodun’s in this particular venue so I couldn’t help wondering what it might have been. A few more Spombs of bait in the darkness and recast that dropped bang on the money meant I would get another chance though and I was in to a fish again at first light. This one wasn’t getting away and after an epic battle through a minefield of weed beds, my third 23lb fish of the session was in the net. This one was a long lean dark Common, an absolute cracker. 
 
 
And to polish the session off I went on to land two more smaller Mirrors that morning before packing away, both on the same bait and tactics. Size 4 Spinner rigs with 15mm Coloured Triple-N pop ups attached accounted for all six carp landed. It was certainly a session I’ll remember for years to come and it definitely helped take the edge off the cancelled French trip. I’ll be nagging my pal for another guest session on the venue in the future too, that’s for sure. Until next time…
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Ben Soane 
Bait-Tech Carp Consultant

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