New UK PB
What a fantastic 24 hours with the MeatyMite on the very wonderful Rodney Meadow Syndicate water yesterday. I’ve been a member for 3 years but never had a chance to fish it, although tried so hard to get down but alas failed due to busy work and life commitments. I stayed in close contact with the Fishery Manager Colin over this time who graciously allowed me to keep my ticket even though he is badgered to death by other anglers to get on there. I made a promise to myself I would shift my life around this year with the view of spending 24 hours at least every two weeks and so far its planning out right.
Rodney Meadow is an old school desired venue from back in the day situated in the Colne Valley. Colin took over the stressful management and upkeep 3 years ago having fished, been bailiff and loved the place for many years previous and since taking over, has set upon a seriously exciting stocking programme. It’s a tight net community of like minded people and those I’ve met to date have a true understanding and appreciation of the place.
12 acres in size, intimate swims scattered all over with bars and plateaus in abundance. Pretty much ‘something for everyone’ kind of fishing. A beautiful piece of angling paradise with superb carp angling heritage. First class management with realistic angling guidelines and more importantly fish care and safety a priority.
I managed to get down their last week for a 48 hour session and although I lost one, my confidence in my tactics and baiting remained spot on so wished the days away until I returned. I turned up Tuesday lunch time for a walk around. The wind had changed 180 degrees from my previous trip so I spent an hour or so walking up towards the channel part of the lake. With only a couple of anglers on and no one in this part of the lake it just felt right. Although I sat there for a while watching, in fairness there were no visible boshes, just the occasional bubbler. But it felt right, I mean really right. I put a bucket in the swim after another hour and went got my gear. I was hoping for a 48 but alas, the need for me to get back to the ranch was too much so settled for a 24.
Doug the Warden came up for a chat and talked through the swim. The good, the bad and the ugly. Pointed where fish had come from previously and helpfully discussed depths and gravel areas. I’ve become close with Doug over the past 3 years (mostly on messenger) so who was I to not listen when good advice is given. I set single sticks up in the direction I was going to start fishing. I cast each of the leads to where I wanted to be and paid off line to clip up in order to get closer each time until I was on spot on. I then marked the distance with the sticks so I could set a spod rod up. Buzzers were put on and back rests situated nicely then the first rod went out and 6 spods went over the top spraying mixed sizes of CherryCarp MeatyMite that had been soaking in H-Dec. I did the same with the second rod then slackened line off for ten minutes before setting the bobbin.
Whilst setting up the third rod, my first jumped into action with a series of beeps. I was fishing completely locked up so in the hopeful event of a hook up, the fish would come up high in the water with little option of darting with line into the over hanging trees I was fishing to. What a dance! These fish know exactly where to go for sanctuary. A powerful fish with speed on its side. I was just bringing her out of one area of danger when she’d turn and race towards another. Three near misses and then the heavy plodding of a likely lump told me this was a good fish in the net. Phew! How mad was that? I sat there panting and laughing with Doug. I hooked the eye of the net over my buzzer and left her laying there safely while I set up the camera. Placed her on the mat and transferred her to the retainer I had set up on the mat. We weighed her at 39lb on the nose. I don’t know the fish in here, but the friendly guys in the syndicate wassap group confirmed later that it was ‘The Pretty One’. Last years lake record going just over 40lb for Colin. Obviously down in weight so early in the season so god knows what weight she will turn up at in Autumn. More importantly a NEW UK PB for me and having since been advised she is extremely sought after then wow what a fish to have as a new PB.
However before I had a chance to get the pics done, the second rod tore off at a tremendous pace. Again powering left to right causing spine chilling mayhem as I tried to stop the fish reaching various areas of safety known to them. Ten minutes later and fish number two was in the net and I’d not even had a chance to get the third rod out! With all rods banked up, I unhooked the carp and weighed her. A stunning dark ‘old school’ type mirror of 23lb 8oz. Both fish cared for with medicine they were released safely back. I sat there for ten minutes laughing my tits off with Doug. WTF Just happened there!
After settling myself I spodded out a load more bait as they were clearly in the mood for a munch. I Managed to get all rods in their place and started setting up camp. A couple of hours passed and the middle rod tore off. I didn’t reel in I just lifted the rod and walked backwards applying pressure which is how I fish far margin snags. Although you are given the indication at the rod end via your buzzers, the fish has already been hooked and knows where its heading before you’ve even got to your rods. So a walk backwards instead of reeling down etc gives me the best opportunity of try to stop the already apace deep lunges. No different here. She was off. I stopped her once, then twice then she sheared me off. 3 runs, 2 fish and 1 lost.
I settled into evening and calmed myself down. Night time drew in but being so close to London the light never really gets that dark. Slumber took me into sleep. 4AM and the right hand rod was rattling and beeping. I pulled the rod up and cupped the locked up spool (habit I spose) and walked backwards. Another hard fighting fish trying to take me places I never wanted to go. Fifteen minutes later she was in the net! I have my camera set up to take multiple shots whether night or day and not liking to retain fish I’d rather have a go at self takes than wait for first light in the hope another angler can take photographs. At first I thought she was spawning due to her rounded torso so was extra careful. The scales went 31lb. Two UK thirties in a session, I was made up! It turns out the fish wasn’t spawning, it was another of the ‘A’ Team known as the ‘Fat Belly Common’. Like two twins, I got the pics done, gave medicine and returned her safely.
Getting old, if catching or even losing fish at night unless I’m fishing open water, I tend to just leave that rod banked up until first light. So I now had two rods out of play. First things first I spodded out a load more free offerings in and around my areas. Shaped up the rods and cast them out. I think I woke up about 10am. Put the kettle on and made breakfast.
By 11 am the first rod roared into action. Walking backwards I played this hard fighting machine as best I could doing my utmost to keep it away from dangerous areas. Lunging towards the far margin snags, then right to my close right margin snags then off out into open water and then diving deep and hard to my left hand margin tree. But she never made it. Fish number 4 and a stunning pot bellied 30lb 6oz mirror. 3 thirties in less than 24 hours! I was later advised by Colin that that’s the 28th known 30 to reside in Rodney. WOW!
I settled down again after baiting up some more and getting the rod back on its spot. The phone was ringing off the hook with work and I knew it was only right to get my arse back to the ranch to help out. I checked the weather and rain was coming in around 5pm so a slow pack up was on the cards. I got the shelter down whilst it was dry and got all my gear on the barrow in readiness. “One more, come on just one more”!
BEEP BEEEEEEP BEEP and the right hand rod tore into action again. A powerful and strong lunging fight. Took me left, then right then back towards the far margin. I managed to stop her in her tracks and started making line on her. But I couldn’t retrieve line as fast as she was towing left. By the time I’d caught up with her she had gone out side the left hand tree on my side. Down in the roots and 15 yards to my left. I could feel her grating but she was still in contact. I applied pressure hoping she would release herself but not to the point of pulling for a break. 5 minutes in I could still feel her on but she had jammed up tight. I released the bail arm and placed the rod back on the buzzer. Completely slackened off the line and all pressure and waited for ten minutes hoping to have fooled the fish. But she was jammed. I called Doug who came out in the boat. I passed him my net as he followed my line in and out of branches. Eventually the fish was located and the line was wrapped around best part of a loose dead tree. After Doug had negotiated this entanglement successfully he pulled the line towards the boat and went to net the fish. And then…. THE NET BROKE! The fish parted the hook and swam past him at the top of the boat as if it was laughing and then plunged deep safe with my rig still attached to the line. Doug guestimated it to be a mid twenty mirror.
So scores on the doors, 6 runs, 2 lost fish and 4 caught. 3 x 30’s, a 20 and a new PB. What a bumper session. Certainly one that will keep me warm through the rest of nights I’ll be spending there!!! I got to the van just before the rain and left. That’s 24 hours I won’t be forgetting for a while!
I was stuck on the M25 for the next 3 hours…Did I care? ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!!
CREDIT where CREDIT is due: A superbly managed venue with smart planning in future fish stock. A superb venue when it comes to fish sanctuary and areas of freedom for fish to recover. Smart rules with fish safety at the forefront. All of which is a fantastic accolade to Colin the Fishery Manager, Doug the Warden and Neil the bailiff and of course the members who treat and protect the venue as if it’s their own. I remain both lucky and proud to be a part of it. Thank you!
P.S. Thanks Chris Rutt for helping me get on 3 years ago