This weeks session was one I'd been looking forward to for a while and was to be the first two night trip I'd had since last years Orchid Trip. Catfish were originally on the menu for this trip too as I'd arranged to join the lads from the Milton Keynes specialist group for a get together on Great Linfords Parc farm 2 lake. Everything was all set until around two weeks ago when we found out that we had double booked with a help for heroes fish- in on the same pool and as such a change of venue and species was called for. A fortunate turn of events kicked in at this point and It just so happened that a friend of mine had just had a nice catch of big Bream from a water called Haversham lake just up the road from Parc farm 2. I knew that some of the MKSG lads were on the syndicate there and seeing as my Bream head is well and truly on at the moment I suggested a possible trip there instead. A guest trip was quickly arranged and before I knew it I was meeting MKSG member Paul Howkins at the gates to the fishery full of anticipation at what the next couple of days might hold.
At around 65 acres its not a small lake but its extremely well maintained and with the Great Ouse flowing alongside it makes for an awesome setting in which to wet a line. It's a tricky water and I was under no illusion that a blank might possibly be on the cards, in fact Paul informed me that a chap had just done a three day session on there without a bite prior to our arrival. nevertheless we headed around to Pauls fancied area and got setup. The next couple of hours were a flurry of tying rigs, preparing bait and spombing the hell out of the lake. It wasn't in vain though as fish began to show in front of us almost straight away.
It didn't take long for the first line bite to occur and what a liner it was, we both thought it was a proper bite but Paul struck into thin air. This set the precedent for pretty much the rest of the day. Paul's swim seemed to be alive with fish and some of the line bites he had actually had the bait runner spinning! I too struck at thin air on several occasions, it was proving to be very frustrating!
I should mention that although we didn't catch any fish early on, Paul managed to hook and land a PB Grebe! Neither of us had ever seen such an occurrence before but after a few dicey moments trying to avoid its razor sharp beak it was quickly released without harm. This wasn't to be the only avian encounter of the session but more on that later.
By late afternoon the novelty of the line bites had well and truly worn off for both of us so I was taken somewhat by surprise when I hit a particularly violent liner and met solid resistance! A typical Bream tussle ensued with much head nodding on the fishes part and not much else and soon my first Haversham Bream was lying on the mat. At 6lb12oz it was quite possibly one of the smallest in there but I'd dodged the blank and the pressure was off! The fish was rough as sandpaper and went some way towards explaining why the line bites were so pronounced, the fishes body was a line magnet!
The liners continued unabated and the Bream continued to porpoise out in front of us. Eventually I managed to hit into another fish which went 8lb on the scales, at least they were getting bigger! After that the lake went flat calm and darkness fell. Still the liners continued! We couldn't for the life of us understand why we weren't catching more fish as there was obviously an awful lot of them out there.
We didn't get much sleep with the buzzers sounding every twenty minutes and it must've been around midnight when Paul latched into his first fish of the trip, an absolute cracker of exactly 12lb, again covered from head to toe in tubercles. The rest of the night passed fairly uneventfully apart from the wind swinging around directly towards us, it was bloody freezing!
When dawn broke the next day the fish had completely stopped showing but we still had the odd liner so there was fish in front of us still. This was borne out when I hooked another fish, this one definitely felt heavier and I was pleased to net my first double of the session at 10lb8oz, they were getting bigger!
This seemed to really kick things off in front of us as over the next few hours we landed a succession of fish between us. The sailing boats were going right over our baits and we were still getting bites. After a night of very little sleep I was knackered and really ready for a good kip but it seemed every time I tried to get my head down something would happen to stop it. At one point, I was just drifting off when my buzzers went mad, I jumped out expecting some fish action and was surprised to find that a low flying Tern had somehow managed to hang itself in my line. This one was much more flappy and pointy than the Grebe so it was some relief when it managed to free itself as we got it to the bank.
Over the course of the day I managed another five Bream, two Perch and a stockie Carp of around 4lb, Paul also managed a Carp, a Bream, a couple of Perch to 2lb12oz and a surprise Rudd. Paul has fished the lake for a long time and has never seen or heard of a Rudd being caught and at around 12oz it wasn't exactly tiny either so it could bode well for the waters future. The carp were a bit random aswell seeing there was only 50 stocked earlier this year. The odds of catching two of them in 65acres of water must be pretty slim I'd have thought? It was Another of the days happy coincidences anyway and considering 24 hours previously I was braced for a blank it had become a blinding session. A 9lb10oz Bream to my rod brought the days activities to a close at around teatime and we had no more action going into the night.
I awoke the next day having had a much better nights kip, the liners had completely stopped and the fish weren't showing at all. I recast and then had some breakfast, the lake was very misty but flat calm and the sun was just starting to appear behind the tree tops.
The lack of action in the night made me think that the lake had given us all it was going to but suddenly a couple of bleeps on my left hander and a slight twitch on the bobbin had me bending into another Bream. It didn't look much bigger than the previous fish in the water but upon getting it on the mat it was obvious that I was looking at a very good fish indeed. I weighed it on my light scales which go up to 12lb and was stunned to see them bottom out! I wound them back a pound and reweighed to record 12lb14oz, two other sets of scales gave the same result and new PB was in the bag, over the moon was an understatement!
After the action over the last day it was almost like the lake had saved the best till last and that fish was meant to be. As it turned out That wasn't to be the last of it though. I recast the rod to the same spot and as I set my bobbin the line suddenly pinged out of my fingers, I must've cast right on the fishes head! I struck and soon enough another decent looking slab was rolling into the net. At 10lb8oz it crowned the session off nicely.
A mid morning Perch was the last bite I had before packing up time and I was well chuffed with our result. It had been a great session in great company, Pauls a top bloke and I can't thank him enough for giving me the opportunity to fish the lake. Catching some doubles was nice but to get a new PB into the bargain was way more than I'd hoped for. Definitely a trip ill remember for a long time to come.
As bit of a footnote, seeing as we were there, Paul took me to have a look at the Ouse at Adams mill after we'd packed up. What a stunning piece of water it is and much smaller than I imagined it to be. Paul talked me through some of the swims and historical captures and Its easy to see why it used to be such a special place. You couldn't ask for a more Barbelly piece of water and its an absolute tragedy that the Otters decimated the place, we didn't see a single fish of any description whilst we were there, not even a Minnow.