Orchid lake is very well known in Carp fishing circles and has been producing monster carp for many years but in recent times its smaller brother next door, the club lake, has really started to come into its own due to the monster Catfish which reside in there. Stocked around 15 years ago with a handful of small Cats they have really flourished in there and now fish to well over 50lb are available for the price of a day ticket.
We met Marsh, the lakes owner in the clubhouse and after a quick brew we ferried our gear around to the pool. There was a few other anglers already fishing but most were packing up later in the afternoon which would leave the entire main body of the lake available to the four of us. A quick coin toss chose our swims for us and soon enough we were getting set up.
A view of our swims, mine was the one in the right foreground
We were down for 48hrs and as usual i had brought way too much gear with me and it seemed to take forever to sort everything out in the sweltering afternoon heat. I was hoping to do battle with some leviathans and had geared up accordingly, 18lb mainline, 85lb hooklinks and size 2/0 hooks were the order of the day. Baitwise we had a large selection between us in the form of luncheon meat, halibut pellets, squid, mackerel and worms, how could any self respecting moggy resist!
The rigs werent shy........
As dusk arrived the lake came alive and fish seemed to showing everywhere, most were from Carp but wishful thinking had me convinced that some of the bigger splashes were caused by Cats striking at the numerous Rudd on the surface.
Nothing happened until dark when Merv struck into a heavy fish, it gave him the proper runaround going through both Phil and Robs lines before it was eventually netted. The scales settled on a clonking 39lb2oz and Merv was over the moon as were the rest of us, we all returned to our bivvies for the night with our confidence sky high.
After seeing Mervs fish on the bank i was buzzing and couldnt sleep at all, the heavy sounding splashes from out in the lake didnt help matters either! At around midnight the water just in front of my rod tips erupted as something rolled very close in. I didnt need any more prompting and quickly repositioned a bait just out in front of me.
As the early hours slipped by i could finally feel myself slipping into a slumber but it wasnt to last long as suddenly my baitrunner went into meltdown on the repositioned rod! As i threw myself out of my sleeping bag and down the bank to my rod It suddenly occurred to me what might have picked my bait up and i have to say i was actually a little bit frightened of what awaited me in the coming moments!
I didnt have time to think anymore and i picked up the rod, disengaged the baitrunner and heaved into the fish to set the hook. It was like striking into a moving car and the rod immediately buckled over alarmingly. Rob heard the commotion and came over to assist, the fish at this point was very much in control. Whenever it wanted to go i had no choice but let it, all i could do was hold on keeping the rod well bent until hopefully it began to tire. Eventually i could feel it relenting and i began to gain line slowly but surely and soon enough i had one hell of a Catfish wallowing in the landing net.
After unhooking it we hoisted it up on the scales and i was blown away to see the needle fly past the 40lb mark and settle on a cracking 43lb12oz, my old PB was blown out of the water!
The photo session was something of an ordeal and one ill never forget. Big fish equals lots of slime, couple that with one of the most difficult species of fish on the planet to hold up for the camera (especially at 3am in the morning) and you get a recipe for a right old mess!
Good job i had a change of clothes!
After returning it and getting changed i lay there on my bedchair in a state of happy shock, drinking in the moment of having just landed my heaviest fish of all time, absolute magic!
The rest of the session passed completely uneventfully for myself but i couldnt have cared less, id caught what i went there for and it was mission accomplished as far as i was concerned. The following night i slept soundly all night and didnt actually get out of bed till around nine the following morning. Merv had lost one in the night and Phil had landed a 22lber. Mine and Robs rods had stayed silent.
Many thanks go out to Phil for setting the whole thing up and to Marsh for his hospitality, that was certainly a session to remember!