Trip #108 – Mallard Merriment
I had recently been given the rarest of opportunities – the fabled “weekend without a child”, courtesy of grandparents. So I quickly decided that I was going to head out to a nearby fishery, in this case it would be Highlands Dairy Farm. I’d previously fished the “Mallard” lake so to today I set out to fish “Kingfisher”. The alarm was set for 5:30, the car was packed and by 6:15 I was on the road. I arrived at the lake to discover that Kingfisher Lake was completely booked out, all weekend. Looking through the gate I could see a few Bivvy’s set up. So, I assumed they were after the big carp in there. That was frustrating. Still Mallard had a good head of fish, I’d fish there instead (rather then take the long walk to the top lake). I had previously fished Mallard so wanted to try a new peg. After a quick walk around, I ended up fishing in the far corner, near the reed bed.
The surface of the lake was alive with silver fish, they were rising to take almost anything that hit the water. Looking over the lake I could see that there could be a lot more pegs if more effort was taken in making them. The one corner peg has numerous overhanging trees, which would have been perfect, if only some of the other bushes nearby were kept trimmed. Anyway…
Looking at my peg I would try and keep it simple, I had 3 plans of attack;
- Pole line for carp at 11 meters where there was a bay in rushes
- Pole Line for silver fish at 5 meters
- Straight lead, out in front (this would cost me)
I set the straight lead up quickly and cast it out towards the overhanging trees opposite with a 14mm halibut pellet on a band. Then after much faff and speculation as to what rigs were rotten (the answer was ALL of them) I picked out a 5.2lb banded rig on a QM1 size 16 and a 3lb silverfish rig to a Kamasan B611. Having not fished in so long I decided to ease myself in gently and go after the silver fish. After plumbing the depth, I was just about to ship the pole out when the drag on the pellet rod tore off. The rod ripped around, and I connected with what could have only been a carp. Three kicks of the tail and the line went slack. On winding in my hooklink had snapped clean off. That was annoying. I attached a new one and sent it back out to the same place.
There was no need to even ship the pole out before the float slipped away under the surface. A small roach, not a blank! After 5 minutes I started using a top 3 as a whip. The fish were coming thick and fast, and on occasion, would take bare hooks.
45 fish in 22 minutes (I know, it’s sad, I timed it) and that was enough for me. There was no respite through the little fish, bigger bait didn’t make a difference, just made the hook ups less likely. During this time the lead rod had gone again, also snapping… again. This time the fish kited to the right behind a reed bed and made mince meat of my 7lb hooklink.
I switched to the carp line and banded on an 8mm pellet. The area I was fishing was in a bay, but to get any fish out from there I had to fish close to the reeds. That would be risky. Some sections of pole would go through the reeds when I was out there. The float wasn’t stationary long, the take was slow and lazy. Striking the fish swam straight out to open water… What a plonker! A few seconds later it was in the net, looking at the rudder on the fish I was surprised the fish came in so easily.
Back out I went with a 12mm pellet hoping for something a bit bigger. I would occasionally loose feed some pellets over the top, but I had noticed that the takes were so much faster when closer to the reeds. Getting this close I was now entering the “danger zone”.
The float would disappear so quickly, and bury straight into the reeds, the reeds would then provide the carps escape. I lost another 2 fish this way and a 3rd on the lead rod. I switched up my approach and hair rigged on some method boilies and managed a very ambitious roach and a few hand sized carp, before losing a 4th. I thought maybe rod and line would suit my purposes better.
A small under arm flick saw my lead “plop” just short of the reeds. I began the waiting game, soon enough the rod ripped around and I was into the biggest fish of the day. A common carp at around 7lbs.
I switched back to the pole (forgetting my previous mistakes) and lost another 2 fish, before landing another carp of around 3lbs. By this time, it was time for me to go and my morning on the bank had concluded.
After losing 7 fish, what had I learnt??? Before going fishing again, check all my lines. Most of my rigs need re-tying, a lot of my spools need completely stripping and replacing. I was also really surprised how many “Semi-serious” carp anglers there were given that it is such a small lake. It genuinely surprised me. I’ve been to Highlands Dairy Farm before and I would like to go again, albeit to fish a different lake. It was nice to get out of the house and back on the bank after such a long layoff. I can’t say when I’ll be out again next but I’ll be sure to check the post to remind myself to get rig making!