Overcoming Snags on the way to Success!

Arrived at the lake, Etang Cache, late Tuesday afternoon as my flight had been delayed.  I was feeling ready to unwind and get the rods out.  I didn’t think I was going to be able to fish the snags as there were some lads on them before me, but they chose to move as they had done two nights and had no fish.  I set up and got talking to one of the owners and was told that there hasn’t been a fish out of the swim for 3 days but over 75kg of bait had been put in that week.  So, I opted to fish little bags of crushed Musselberry and just flick a few boilies over the top of each rod, just a hand full on each.

The night went by with no bites and I woke to rain and wind.  Great!  So, I thought I would leave my rods in as I knew they were on the spots, and the bailiff came and had a chat with me before breakfast.  The lads also come over from their peg to have a chat.  I am now getting to know them pretty well, and as we are all talking, the middle rod lets out a few beeps…..

I’m fishing locked up fishing tight to the snags, I run down heart in my mouth, hit the rod and try to turn the fish.  I managed to turn the fish and 5/10 minutes of a mental fight ensued with the fish going in and out of the snags.  It was intense!  I eventually managed to wrestle it away from the snags and land the fish.  A few minutes after thinking to myself that was an epic battle.  Little did I know that every battle after that was to get more, and more insane.  The fish went 28lbs so I was made up as it was bigger than my UK PB and was off the mark.

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A few hours after the first fish I decide to go around to the stalking swim.  I fished the same rig and bait but instead of casting out then bait up I choose to put 10 boilies out about 5 minutes before I cast out so I could spook the fish with food not a rig.  I get the rig sorted and drop it on the spot first time, only a 20yrd cast but tricky so I was happy.  Within 5 minutes I see a fish roll over the spot.  I turn my camera on and start to record the rod.  A few more minutes go by with no signs or shows.  I roll myself a cigarette and just about to light it and the siren lets out beep beep!  I look and the rod is wrapped round to the left, I hit and again an epic battle unfolds.  I could see the fish in shallow water scraping along the bottom, turning it up.  Shaking its head trying to get the hook out.  I’m using barbless so I’m thinking it’s going to throw the hook but luckily, I manage to get it over and into the net.  I Lifted the net up and saw a chunk in the bottom of the net and see that it is a fish known as ‘Little Lumpy’ (Lump’s little brother) I’m buzzing.  I have the cigarette to calm me down.  I am sure it will go over thirty so I wait for the owner to come around and help with the weighing and the photos.  The fish went 36lbs and was a well know fish that hasn’t been out all year so I’m proper buzzing now.  I give it a few more hours with nothing so decide to go back to my main swim and sort my rigs out for the night.

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I get the rods out just before dinner casting from the bank, not opting for the boat.  Same approach few boilies and a little stick but this time with a little special hook bait which I tried for the first time.  Dinner was a mean chilli cooked by the owner Dave.  After having a mint tea and a great time catching up with the owners, I get settled down for the night.  Just is I’m nodding off the left rod screams. “It’s taking line, I’m locked up, really!?” I thought to myself as I hit it.  It’s like hitting a bloody train.  I don’t think I’m was going to be able to stop it before it hits the snags.  I wound down and gave it some proper stick and just managed to turn it as I start to feel the line rubbing on the roots of the snags.  After a dogged battle for 20 odd minutes it goes into the net.  I look down at the net and it’s another chunk, but this time a common.  Gav did say these hookbaits would pick the commons out!  Its late just after 1am, so no one is up to help with photos. I get the camera on the tripod and get my selfie face on.  Then I get the fish into the sling, then out of the water and on to the mat.  When I weighed it, the fish goes 36lb, epic!  Get the shots down and let the beast go back home.  I went on to catch another two that night with every rod going, only high twenties but I was not complaining.

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The next day I go stalking and manage to get a small low 20lbs with a little damage to it, as all carp I catch I treat it with a little carp care and sent it back on its way.  Nothing happened after that just like the day before, so I went back to the main swim and started getting set up for the night.  I get all the rods out really quickly 1st time on every rod, a little scatter of bait over the top and I was fishing for the night.  Sitting tying new rigs for the next day and out of nowhere the middle rod is away, and its going.  I run and pick up the rod.  There was no stopping this fish, it just took line and ended up going into the snags.  I was gutted.  I had that sinking feeling in my gut, and just knew I wasn’t getting that fish back.  I wanted to make sure the fish wasn’t snarled, so I jumped in the boat and made my way over to where the line was exiting the water.  I get right next to where the fish is snagged and can see that the fish and managed to go around one branch and then into the snags, and throw the hook.  I manage to get all of my tackle back and then made my way back to my swim.  Sulking!

On getting back to the peg I was met with the owner who was watching my other rods while I was in the boat.  “Never mind” he said, plenty more.  I laughed.  He was right there were more.  Got my head straight and concentrated on getting the rod back out on the spot.  New rig on the rod went out first time.  I’m getting good at this casting thing.  I set the rod on the rest, clip the bobbin on, and sit back watching the rods.  I’m sitting there enjoying the sun for the short time it was out.  I then go back into my bivvy because of a passing storm.

As I’m waiting for the storm to pass, the middle rod screams.  I go to hit the rod.  But as I’m running out of my bivvy the screamer just stopped, like just stopped, I look up at my spot and see a fish crashing.  I lift in to the rod knowing there is going to be nothing on the end.  Again, the sinking feeling.  That’s two fish out of two I’ve lost now.  What is going on?  I reel in and inspect the rig.  All seem to be fine.  Hook still sharp.  Putty hasn’t moved.  Everything was fine.  I had just been done.  I was not happy, I take this time to reel in get my myself sorted mentally.  I head over to the lads for a chat.

We are trying to organise a trip when we are all back in England.  As we we’re talking one of their rods was away.  One of the lads runs and hits the rod.  Rod hoops over and we all look at each other and say this has to be a chunk and a long hard battle commences.  I have the pleasure of netting the fish and manage to get the fish on the first attempt.  The owners are here at this point and as we lift the net to see the prize there was 5 of us, all round this one net.  As we are looking we can see that is a really good fish and it came in at a whopping 44lb.  I am over the moon for the lad as it is his new PB. I get some shots for him and a few with him and the owners.  It felt so good to be a part of that event.  To me that is one of the best things about fishing, all coming together having a laugh and catching carp.  I stay there celebrating with beer, wine and good food.  At this point I’m feeling good and have completely forgotten about the two fish that I had lost only a few hours before.

I head back over the swim feeling really good for a bite or two that night.  I end up taking a long time getting the rods out, I think that beer had a big part in that.  I eventually get them where I want them and sit back and relax watching the sun set, enjoying the last of the wine.  I roll myself a smoke, and enjoy the whole atmosphere of this place, it’s completely different to what I am used to.  I can’t put it in to words.  After watching the sunset, I retreat into the bivvy and just as I’m going to sort my bag out the left rod is sprung into life.  As I hit the rod I can just see that the fish has made it to the snags and I can feel the fish grating against the snags.  I was only in contact for 5 to 6 seconds and it snapped me.  I throw the rod on the floor and walk away holding my head in my hands.  Why can’t I catch a damn fish?  3 fish out of 3 lost.  At this point I don’t even want to be there I want to go home.

I pick myself up after a few cups of tea.  I questioned the owners if I was doing anything wrong or was it just me.  They reassured me that I wasn’t doing anything wrong and that all this is a part of fishing.  At this point it is dark and I decide to pub chuck the rod, I know it’s only say a 40-50 yard cast to the edge of the snags so clipped myself up at just over 40yards.  It went out like a dream, hit the clip, landed nice and soft on the silt lovely!  After all this I get woken up at an hour I didn’t know existed by the sound of a screaming siren.  Boom I’m in.  I run out of the bivvy still in the sleeping bag and hit the rod.  It’s a beast.  It frights hard for nearly 10 minutes right on the edge of the snag.  I wasn’t losing this fish.  I pulled hard and the fish pulled harder turning me.  My god this is a strong ass fish.  I end up playing it for 40 minutes all in all and I would say 90 percent of time was next to the snags.  In all honesty, I didn’t think I was getting it in.  I eventually netted the hardest fighting carp I have ever had.  I was right, this is a chunk and by far my PB.  But as its 3.30am no one is awake.  So it is up to me again to get my best selfie face on and get the camera set.  I get the fish on the bank and recognise it as the fish that my cousin had the pleasure of naming.

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The fish was ‘Golden Two Tone’ and was an absolute beast.  A stunning common, long and deep, a proper fighting machine.  One of the most impressive fish I have ever caught.  It went 43 and a half and was a new PB by 4 pounds.  I have no words for how I felt.  Only the pictures can show how I was feeling.  An epic fight, an epic carp, from an epic venue.  I am so made up after losing those three fish.  I got the fish back safely, it went away strong drenching me in the process.  I went on to have another three fish that night to 37lbs and it was the most productive night yet.

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I was woken up in the morning with a sausage and egg bap being shoved in my face along with a nice cup of tea.  It was the owner, I told him about the night before and he was made up for me.  I said I think I might have had two-tone.  At this point I still wasn’t too sure but I know by the size of it has to be.  I show him the fish and he confirms it as Golden Two Tone for me, and congratulates me.  He asks what rig I’m fishing so I show him.  It’s a size 4 curve hook with a swivel on the shank no hair, down to a little kicker tied with supple braid as I was fishing on soft silt.  He looks at the rig then looks at me and nods.  It’s just a nod but I knew the liked it just be the way he was looking at it.  I have a drink with him, then head off stalking.  I manage to catch a low 30, 32 I think.  It was a lovely fish, perfect in fact not a mark on her.  She was full of eggs as they were close to spawning so a quick pic and off she went.

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It goes dead after that, just like the days previous so I enjoy the sun with just one rod in the water whilst listening to a bit for music, I just chilled as I was knackered from being up all night with fish, and I ended up falling asleep.  I woke to an alarm but not mine one of the other lads.  It was 6 o’clock.  I was asleep for 5 hours, luckily in the shade.  I decide to pack up and go around and see the fish.  As I get to the back of the lad’s swim one of them is still playing the fish so again I get to do the netting and while other lad is getting the photos.  The fish goes in the net, it’s a low 30lb common, an immaculate fish.  We get the photos and I head back to my swim.

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Tonight, I was going to change tactics a little; I would be keeping the rig the same but I was going to place them with the boat and fish particle over the top.  Just standard pigeon mix with added maze, a few boilies and jobs a gud’un.  I get all three rods out with the help of Dave the owner, I get back to the swim and unload the bait from the boat set the rods up and wait for the bite.  Within around 30 minutes there was bubbles starting to appear over the middle rod, I focused in on them as they started to get more and more aggressive until my whole spot was pretty much fizzing.  I start getting liners, I’m bricking it.  I’m crouched over the rod waiting for it to go, liner arrr liner arrrr liner ARRRR.  I can’t take this.  The rod never goes.  The fizzing stops and I know my chance has gone.  That night all I had was liners.  No fish just liners.  I woke the next day like a zombie, slept through breakfast it was like 11am.  I was trying to come to terms with why I didn’t get a fish.  I put it down to that they were just interested in the particle not the boilie.  As I was fishing boilies on the hair and pop ups they didn’t even give them a second look.  The day went by with no fish, I slept mostly and thought of a new attack for the last two nights.  So the new attack was just fish the pellet that they feed the fish on and boilie.  NO PARTICLE.  The pellet breaks down fast and creates like a fluff on the bottom.  So when the fish come in hungry looking for food they start to eat the pellet, find the boilies as an easier, more satisfying meal and start looking for the boilies.  This worked a treat and had the best two nights of the trip.  Another hand full of fish, and a new PB at 44lb!

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Also another known fish, known as Steve at 39lb.  Right at the last-minute as I’m packing up I caught the last fish of the trip, a beautiful mirror at 34lb that just topped the trip off for me.

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All in all, catching 17 in total I was made up.  This trip was the best trip I had been on and will definitely gong back next year.

Till next time.

Harry

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