The story begins when Mark and I were sat talking about adventures of a different kind…..
We where sat one night chatting about Mark’s past experiences of guesting and I instantly wanted a piece of the action. We were due to leave for a few night’s fishing at the famous Orchid Lakes. On the way we were passing a spot Mark knew about from years before, but had never fished due to the rangers being mega protective of the sanctuary. Under a fisherman’s promise I was told if I didn’t tell a soul he would show me the sanctuary as we were passing by.
On arrival my eyes were on stalks at this untouched 40 acre pit that sat before me, it was spectacular! A mature tree-lined pit full of weed beds, gravel bars, shallow spots and hugely deep holes. A carp anglers paradise. Mark instantly saw the excitement on my face and proceeded to tell me how he wasn’t sure if we would ever be lucky enough to wet a line there. The place is always manned by Rangers and thriving with dog walkers, as well as bird spotters and members of the general public. Although as if by magic, as we were about to set off, everybody disappeared. Mark and I then proceeded to get as much bait in there as possible, leaving ourselves just enough for our session on Orchid.
To summarise the Orchid trip, we fished hard on our session and had an amazing time. Whilst we didn’t catch any fish on this occasion we had an enjoyable experience and even ended our session on a highlight, where we were fortunate enough to share breakfast with the legendary Marsh Pratley and Ron Buss.
Despite being tired and worn out from our session, we left with our tails between our legs and begun the long journey home whilst joking about how we should have thrown all our bait in Reedy Pit. As we drew closer to the Midlands the smile on Mark’s face grew bigger and bigger, this indicated something was brewing in that head of his.
Then it was put out there “Liam shall we try to get on Reedy Pit?” Although I was tired, this instantly perked me up! We refueled on McDonald’s and like children, we proceeded to giggle and joke all the way there. As we pulled into the public car park of the sanctuary we were greeted by a huge carp boshing over the baited area, then bosh another carp showed us it’s pretty scales. Then something very special happened, a tench of biblical proportions slowly rolled over the baited spot. Mark and I couldn’t believe our eyes, we were like kids at Christmas! We were straight in the van and looking for somewhere safe and inconspicuous to park for the night. We found a good place to park that was around 15 minutes walk from Reedy Pit and instantly set about tackling up in the back of the van, packing as light as possible and not speaking a word to each other in the process. It was like a military operation.
The walk there was like nothing I’ve experienced before, I’ve fished big fish waters but this was something totally different. These were unknown, uncaught fish. As we grew closer to Reedy Pit we needed to find an alternative entrance to avoid being seen. After finding our way through the undergrowth, we came out the other side scratched and bitten but our adrenaline was pumping. As Mark veered to the left of the pit I took the right path. I located a bush by the water’s edge and settled myself beneath it. Within minutes of casting out I was getting liners. At this point I was a nervous wreck.
Whilst battling my new-found nervous disposition, Mark was avoiding having his collar felt by the Rangers. To avoid been taken down with him I quickly reeled in my rods and submerged them in the margins. I then hid in the undergrowth. After avoiding being captured, Mark came to find me in my hiding place, it was then agreed it wasn’t safe for Mark to return to his post so he pitched up further down to my right. After gaining composure, I then under armed my rigs back onto the spot.
As soon as my rod hit the rest I was getting violent liners. In a matter of seconds the bobbin had risen, the line dinged out of the clip and the fish proceeded to take line from the spool. As I hit into the fish, I instantly knew I was on the verge of breaking my PB. My knees trembled as the fish battled, fighting hard in the deep water. I persevered and managed to tempt the fish into the shallow margins. As the fish the fish came to the surface I took advantage of its shocked and exhausted state and coaxed it into the net. I was so overwhelmed I fell to my knees, and shrieked with excitement! (probably not the best idea on a guesting mission!)
As we weighed and photographed the beautiful specimen, it was a moment I’ll never forget. It’s golden bronze shading glistened in the moonlight, I was nothing short of mesmerised. It took several minutes for me to compose myself and several hours for it to sink in. My PB was smashed in style!
The success continued, not only did I land myself another scale perfect common, Mark also landed himself an apple sliced scaly mirror.
To conclude, the risk taking was worth it. Resulting in us both returning on numerous occasions and smashing yet another PB. Not to mention landing an array of beautiful unknown specimen carp, although the amazing tench still goes untouched.
Whilst I highly recommend any carp angler to undergo the experience of guesting, I should warn you…it’s not for the faint hearted!