Guesting Part 2 – Plans made, and scuppered – Martin Crackoff

Guesting Part 2

Guesting Part 2

The next few days were spent sorting out tackle for the little pond, cutting out anything unnecessary, and then packing that as well, just in case. I knew I didn’t have a suitable tent, so went in search of a brolly. Luckily, my mate Bri had one going spare, so a quick trip to his, and I was ready. Cheers Bri… Legend

As with most guesting situations, you have to decide how you are going to tackle the tackle. By that, I mean are you going to go ultra-light, or stash the gear somewhere close by the venue. Given the walk from the car, it was clear from the off that walking the gear every time, no matter how light it might be, was not a logical option. If we were looking to stalk the pond, then that would be a different matter, but as we were expecting to have the weekends completely free from any risk of being caught by the workers, we chose to stash.

This option means that when arriving at the lake every weekend, or the car park anyway, it is simply a matter of taking water, food, Camera and bait. These are easy enough to fit into a rucksack, and even that walk should be quite comfortable. (think again) Now it was simply a case of getting the gear from West London, 118 miles and on to the water. Luckily, with this water being at the very top and next to the works, we could drive right up to the gate to drop off the gear. Still being super-secret squirrel, (which apparently I am…) I did my trip in the late evening, arriving just after dark on a Friday.

Even being so close to the water, it still required the assault course skills of a squaddie. A large mound of earth had been thrown up along the road, (they must have known I was coming…) followed by a deep ditch. So these needed negotiating first, followed swiftly after by the realisation that the fence you had to walk next to was electric, (handy for charging the phone) so very careful where you put your feet, you don’t want to trip and send a goodly pulse of power down through your socks. Lastly, through a hole in another fence, and there before you, is the little lake.

I had stopped a couple of hundred yards short of the gate, as I didn’t want anyone to think I might be scouting the actual yard for stuff to steal should anyone come along the lane. It added a bit of distance to the walk along the electrified fence, but I felt that was worth it for the added peace of mind. I firstly pulled myself up the bank with general bits, and lowered each into the ditch, most of the tackle rolled end over end down the ditch and into the stingers and brambles at the bottom, (ideal) before heading back to the motor for the next bits. Once all the required tackle was in the ditch, I moved the motor another few hundred yards back down the lane. Hopefully, anyone coming up the road to check out any activity, would stop at the motor first to have a look, and hopefully give me the time I needed to shrink down into some foliage, out of sight. I seem to spend a lot of time hiding in foliage these last few years, it’s almost like I’m trying to be a bit sneaky???

After several trips up the bank, I had everything ready for phase two, and I shuffled the gear bit by bit out of the ditch and onto the water. Nearly two hours later, hot and sweaty from my exertions, I made myself a cupper and sat watching the water. I had brought some bait to scatter into my swim, so just before heading off home again, I put out about 2 kilo of Cherry’s finest, checked all the gear was stashed well, and slowly walked back to the motor for the long drive home.

I planned to get down the following Friday for my first session and was buzzing to get there. (After effects of the fence)  Work as per normal seemed like it took about three weeks that Friday, and the clock looked like the batteries had fallen out it was going that slow… but finally I was on my way around the M25, soon to be turning left, and heading towards that beautiful little water. All associated roads on the way were up to their usual standard, and I would have probably done better by pedalo. (Looking for a pedalo sponsor if anybody knows one???)

Two and a half hours later, and I was pulling into the lane where we parked our motors. Iain was already there, and had been since Thursday, so I pulled up behind his car and rang him to let him know his motor was still there, without any damage… Up until then, we had no idea if we could get away with parking there without any locals using the motors to warm up marshmallows by introducing large amounts of petrol and a match to them. Turns out, they were nice lads.

I loaded my rucksack with my gear, and started the trek up towards the pit. I decided to take two weekends worth of both bait, and water on this first run up there, in an attempt to get a stash ready, just in case I needed to have a break from carting too much up there. I trudged for what felt like hours in the early evening light. It was still excessively hot, too hot for walking, let alone with ten kilos of bait, and 10 litres of water strapped to your back. Luckily enough, during the week, I had found some other useless crap to carry as well, more “just in case” rubbish that I hadn’t used for the last ten years, but things that might be needed if the sky started falling in, or there were earthquakes… (This trend continued for every session, load rucksack up with essentials, load myself up with even more totally useless crud, and stagger to the pond.) Anyway, I finally got to the water and headed straight for Iains swim for a cuppa and a chat. Iain had seen a few carp during his time there, but was due to leave soon after due to work, so this quick chat was just to find out if anything interesting had happened, and nothing had, so I just liberated some of his tea supplies instead. (to make it all a bit lighter for him on the long walk back to the car…) Soon I was heading off around to the other side of the lake to set up, letting Iain know that the kettle would be ready for when he was ready to leave, before heading off in the failing light.

It’s always the same on any new water, the anticipation of getting that first rod out, What is the lake bed like? What will happen? Will the carp play ball??? This was no different, I can remember that first time I flicked my small lead along the margins to the rushes like it was yesterday, dragged back trying to gauge the depth of the silt, and finding a small seam of gravel off the tip of the reeds. That’s one spot found, one more to go. Soon both rods had their spots, rigs were attached and flicked out to their places to await Mr, or Mrs (no sexism here) Carp, followed by about 20 baits scattered, liberally around each rig. Iain came around the corner cup in hand seconds after the last bobbin was in place, the kettle hit the Colemans, and I was officially fishing.

The rain came at some point during the night, and although it was still warm, I didn’t see or hear a single carp during the weekend. I packed away on Sunday in the drizzle, and hid my kit in various hidey-holes around that side of the lake. Then drove home to recoup, and get ready for next weekend’s fun.

As it happened, the next weekend didn’t really go as planned. One of Iains mates, the one that had abandoned Iain the previous year, started whingeing that I was on the water, and that he felt, given that he and Iain had first found the carp, it was only right that he should get to have a go before me… And to be fair to him, I kind of agreed. Therefore, during several phone calls to Iain during the week, I decided that his friend should at least have that opportunity, and I would pull off and go on the middle lake for the year. This I hoped would satisfy him and keep things quiet. I’m too good for my own good me… What a cool, sexy and helpful chap I am.

I arrived the following Friday at about the same time. Iain had already packed up, and was waiting for me near the pump on the middle lake. He’d already agreed to give me a hand to get the gear down from the top pit. (What an absolute mug) (Sorry typo, that should read “Gent”) So it was really just a case of heading up there, and grabbing what we could. There was already more stuff than we had first planned, as originally, we were going to carry it all up from the bottom, but because we’d looked into getting it on from the top, my original kit quota had instantly doubled.

There aren’t many areas on the middle lake where you can fish without some serious wading, so going by what Iain had seen the year before I wanted to start near the pump. It was only a couple of hours later that the last of my gear was finally dumped into a likely looking “swim”??? First job after that entailed the kettle for that all-important first cuppa, and whilst waiting for it to boil, a little lead around. It was mostly deep water in front of me, right up to the margins, which sloped down at about 45° to 10 foot, with even deeper water left, and shallowing to the right, till right in the corner of the lake, (about 60 yards right) it was about 4 foot. I chose to fish deep, for no other reason than the strong wind and rain battering this swim, and set them out at 8ft on the right rod, 12 ft and 14ft to the left. I had brought some stronger kit with me as well for this session, and obviously, the third rod. I knew I’d want to be able to splay rods around in here as it’s much bigger than the top lake, and I was expecting a fair few features to aim at as well, so the extra rod, and bigger reels were decided on at the last minute.

This was a bit of a nightmare swim, being about six to eight feet out of the water, with soft sandy banks and driving rain, there was no way of getting comfortable at all. After a fruitless night and a cuppa the next morning, I knew I needed a move, so headed about 50 yards down the bank to my left, and set up in a small copse of trees. From this new spot, I could fish a lot better, but it needed wading to get the rods out, or land any fish, so the waders needed to stay on, pretty much permanently, not that I’m that worried about that. It’s just difficult sometimes keeping the ladies at bay when I’m strutting around like a sex God in my chesties, I was hoping to be far enough off the beaten track to get away with it here though. The swim was far more comfortable, and I knew that as long as I was careful with covering up the path, I could get away with leaving everything set up bar the rods, which could be hidden in another part of the copse.

After a recast in the afternoon, I stood in the margins, scouting around. After about ten minutes I was getting a little board and considering another cuppa, having one last scan around, looking up to the right, where I had spent the night before, I noticed something hit the water. Something small, this initial plop was followed by something cutting the surface… I crept back a bit more into the foliage (See, I told you) and watched as a pair of anglers spinning for fish. (Bloody poachers) Wanting a bit more info, I decided to go for a closer look.

I knew my gear was out of sight, and grabbed my remote, and pressed it onto silent mode, before creeping out of the swim, and making my way in a roundabout way towards them… Once close enough, I could see they were probably workers from the workings, they had a pickup truck parked behind their swim, so if nothing else, I knew they had a key to get through the top gate. Sneaking back, I knew I needed to remain ultra-low and ultra-quiet as I headed back to my swim. These might not be anyone I needed to worry about, but it wasn’t worth the risk, so I just slipped back to my swim, and kept an eye out on what they were up to.

I didn’t have to keep looking for too long, as the rain returned with a vengeance and a hasty retreat was made by the two budding spinners, before they sped off up the track from the direction they’d come. A little while later, after the rain had passed, I went for a quick scout and found that they had been casting from the very place I’d had my bivvie the night before, sometimes, luck is all you need.  I packed up the following day, drained, but glad to have dried off all my kit, and even happier that the tent could stay set up, so the sleeping bag could air a little. All in all, a productive weekends blanking. Plenty more of that to come, I can tell you. Though I couldn’t even see my rods, from the brolly, I stayed in this swim for the next four weekends, but after not seeing a single show, or having a single liner, I decided I needed to try further down the lake… Next swim choice… “The tufty bushes” See pic.


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