Paul Claridge concludes his season with a tale about his purple patch of success on Burghfield lake.
Adam Raveney – Summer On The Pit
26th August 2020
Adam Raveney sent us in this nice little write up from his new mission on a gravel pit…
After a good few years of predominantly fishing silty estate lakes, this summer I was to find myself with the opportunity to cut my teeth back on a gravel pit again, like anyone, I was buzzing. This was to be ultimate pick me up during the dreaded lockdown, however when I would actually get the opportunity to wet a line was anybody’s guess.
No sooner had we been given the go ahead for the lake to reopen the fish decided to spawn, so it was early June before i made it down for the first trip. As you can imagine I was super keen to get down on the first day of reopening, but due to family responsibilities and my partner working a night shift at the hospital it wasn’t to be.
I did however make it down the following day but obviously I found the lake to be busy, as it turned out this probably went in my favour as a lot of fish seemed to have been pushed into some unpressured water. Even with only a handful of swims left on the lake i still found myself torn between two, I decided to lead a couple of spots first and leave the swim for a few hours to wait and see how the fish reacted. The fish seemed unfazed by my activity so I settled on my spots and baited up. I found myself ignoring the shallower shelf and fishing into a silty gully for the night after seeing a lot of bubbling there earlier in the day. I left it until late evening before I steamed up some fresh rigs and put the rods out, eventually I managed to get my head down for few hours …
I was up at 4 for the first brew of the day and spent the next few hours watching, with very little sign of activity and no liners it was a bit surprising when the left hand rod pulled round, I was straight on the rod applying steady pressure whilst walking back, trying to guide the fish up and over the shelf whilst not allowing it any chance to dive into the weed.
It was fairly well behaved until it burst into life in the margins but luckily I managed to get it into the net. I sat there for a few seconds in disbelief….A lovely mirror at just under 30lb was my reward and I couldn’t be happier. I got the fish ready for photos and put the rod back out, it could only of been back out an hour or so when it was away again, this time with a very distinctive mid 20 common. I was blown away and my decision to fish the silty gully had certainly paid off.
It seemed to go quiet after that, there was no doubt the fish had pushed away from the corner but at about midday the open water rod was away …. this wasn’t to put up much of a scrap and possibly the smallest resident in the lake was in my net albeit a lovely scaly mid double mirror. The second night was to pass completely uneventful but I couldn’t of hoped for a better start…..
Over the last few years my fishing has become pretty much work overnighters and short day sessions but like many others with no possibility of work due to COVID I found myself back down the lake with 3 nights ahead of me. I spent most of the day walking the lake and again like the week before it wasn’t until late evening before I found myself in a swim with the rods out. I’d opted to slot into one of the other corner swims which was a few swims down from the one I fished the week before, hopefully with the possibility of getting back into that same swim the following morning, with this in mind I fished both rods on the shelf and baited lightly.
I think it must of been the combination of the sun and sheer amount of walking that day but I was exhausted and actually fell asleep just before dark. The next thing I knew I was stood with a rod in my hand, no shoes on and no head torch!I then went to battle with one of the hardest fighting carp I have ever caught, it must of been on for half hour or so and just wouldn’t give up.
Early on in the fight I switched from drag to backwind which isn’t something I often do but it soon become apparent that this was one I didn’t want to lose, it was certainly going to test all elements of my tackle, luckily the size 6 curve points, 0.40 mono and 25lb Camsoft did everything that was asked of it. Eventually it was a beaten fish and guided by the help of the moonlight I managed to land it. A well and truly spawned out common rolled the scales round to 30lb 10oz, a fish I believe is normally around the 37/38lb mark, this was irrelevant and we soon did some photos of just the most amazing long common and slipped her back. The rest of the night passed quietly and I was soon on the move, back to the same peg as the week before.
However after 2 quiet days I was starting to regret this decision, I walked the lake a few times looking for signs to move onto but with nothing obvious I found myself toying with going home or staying put. In the end I decided to stay put but gamble on moving my rod away from the spot which produced 2 bites the week before to a new area and give it a hit of bait. I put approximately 5kg of Krill Active boilie and 4kg of pellet over the area and left the lake for a few hours.
When I returned, I decided to have a brew with a mate on the other bank and it didn’t take long to notice fish showing on my spot, I didn’t hang around for long as I was mega keen to get the rods out. There was no doubt they had got straight on the bait and over the next 3 hours I landed 3 fish, the 2nd of which caused all sorts of trouble and we soon had to take to the boat, with the help of another member I managed to scoop a lovely mid 30 mirror into the net.
The nights had been pretty quiet around the lake but at 4 the next morning I had a couple of beeps on the same rod again and when I checked the line it was razor tight, I decided to hit it and watched as the rod bent into what was to be one of my favourite fish of the year so far… only a low 20 but the most amazing scattered linear.
This was the end of the action on that rod but just before 9am with all the gear loaded on the barrow apart from the rods, I was stood telling a mate how I couldn’t believe the other rod hadn’t gone as we watched it slick up yet again and it tore off. An epic battle then unfolded as I was attached to one of the big residents of the lake. A proper character mirror at just over 40lb and the most unbelievable way to end the session.
The following week and what was to be my last trip in June saw me slot in between the 2 swims I fished the week before as my favoured area was taken. I wasn’t too downhearted though, as I already had an idea where I wanted to fish as both the previous trips I had seen fish activity most mornings in this area. But before getting set up I found a few fish in the corner to my right and it wasn’t long before I had them taking floaters. They were proving very tricky and it wasn’t until I trimmed down a white mulbz pop up that I managed to get a take but unfortunately after a few minutes of battle the fish managed to get into a weed bed and something cut through the line… I was gutted but it was time to turn my attention to getting the spots sorted for the evening ahead.
A short battle followed and wicked two tone linear was soon sat in the net awaiting photos. That day was to be a very wet and miserable and I spent most of it led on my bedchair bivvy bound waiting for something to happen…
Late afternoon and the right hand rod absolutely burst into life with the most savage take. This fish was stripping line off a very tight drag with ease, when I picked up the rod the water erupted about 50 yards out and it was quite apparent I was in to one of the better fish. This fish was very powerful and had taken me in to multiple weed beds before it seemed to go solid, the lake owner happened to be with me and decided to go and get the boat but before he came back the fish had became free again and everything seemed fine with the fish stripping line again but then disaster struck and the hook pulled!
This was not turning out to be a good trip and I just knew that a good fish had got away. Like many of the nights so far it passed quietly, it was becoming quite apparent that the days were much more productive than the nights and reeling in early for laps of the lake was most definitely not the one… as pack down was to prove once again, this time it was the left hand rod on the other side of the spot which was away, feeling the pressure of already losing one off the bottom and one off the top that session I was more than relieved to see an upper 20 mirror roll over that net cord and in to the safety of my landing net.
Despite a couple of loses, I couldn’t of hoped for a better start to summer on the pit.”