Paul Claridge concludes his season with a tale about his purple patch of success on Burghfield lake.
Chris Beasley – ‘Parklife’
1st May 2020
Chris Beasley talks us through his mega autumn ’19 and spring ’20 hits on Dinton, before the dreaded lockdown took hold…
“As the heat of summer slowly melted away, luckily so did the busyness of my work and that took me into autumn ’19, the start of September to be exact. I’d saved a good amount of holiday up from work so was able to do the next 10 weeks in a row, 3 nights a week which is something I like to try and do so I’m in tune with the lake. The first week of September, I was flying down the motorway for my first session. From previous years on the pond, I knew exactly where I wanted to concentrate my efforts. I did also manage a couple of nights at the back end of summer in this particular plot, so already had a good area wrapped up, big enough for all 3 rods. This particular swim is pretty much in the middle of the lake, on the end of a big point. For some reason I’d noticed it doesn’t really get too much attention for one reason or other and thought it would be a good area to start my autumn campaign – little did I know I would be in there for my next 8 weeks of fishing! The spot was long out into the middle area of the pond; a 6ft deep, smooth clay spot. The other side of it goes down on a gradual slope to 8ft with weed all around it. I’d have two rods on the 6ft part and one down the side in the slightly deeper water. Fishing this was quite difficult when there was any sort of big wind ripping through, but I thought I could use this to my advantage as some might of thought it was too much effort. I could actually stand a chance of getting something going on the fairly busy lake, as all my fishing is weekends, Thursday – Sunday.
From the off, the first morning in fact, I had a bite and it just kept on going from there, incredibly it ended up being my best season ever as I went on to land 30+ fish from that first zone until it died a death and I couldn’t get another bite. From the end of my seventh trip, through to the eighth trip, I didn’t actually see a single sign of a fish on my zone (I don’t blame them because they had taken a bit of a battering!) It was a brilliant seven weeks of fishing, having fish from upper doubles, to upper 30’s but that real ‘biggun’ was eluding me. Due to losing a few fish those trips I opted to change my hook from a size 6 to a size 5 TA Out Turned Eye hook and 45lb Olive Camo Leadcore leaders – these hooks are mega sharp straight out the packet, but most importantly they are mega strong and they just will not bend out. After this change I had no more losses, except getting cut off by a boat with a fish on, but that’s another story!
I think it was on my sixth trip, one of my boys John Cash was due down for a ‘guestie’ – as luck would have it, he came down at first light before work and saw a couple shows in the plot next to me, round the corner slightly. It really couldn’t of gone any better. Two nights turned into three, as he ended up having a mind blowing ten fish catch, topped off by the last fish called ‘The Unknown’, possibly its fifth ever capture at 46lbs, and showing all the boys what they’re in for this year when he gets his ticket.
For my ninth and tenth trips, I moved into an area of the lake that’s called the big bay, as the fish love it in there when its cooler and lower pressure. I fished a swim that I’ve had some good results from in the past, so I knew the zone my three rods were going on and got the marker out, popped it up, and went out in the boat to put the bait out (which was a load of Sticky Baits Krill, whole and crushed, bloodworm pellets, hemp and a good helping of cloudy bloodworm liquid). I got the rods out with all the same rigs as usual, low multi rigs made from TA 35lb Tungskin, size 5 Out Turned Eye hooks, Hook Ring Swivels, 45lb Olive Camo Leadcore and Double Ring Swivels. I ended up having three or four fish that weekend, so was looking forward to getting back in there the following week for my final session of the year, with work and family commitments looming in the not too distant future. Back out with the same tactics as the weeks before, I ended up having another four fish, but this time, I was to get really lucky and eventually have one of the bigger fish in the lake; and not one we were thinking would be that big, as its last time it was 37lb – this time it was 42lb and had clearly been on the munch all year as we were now in mid-November. I had an absolutely mega battle, hooking this fish at range, it must have taken 40-50 yards of line off me on the initial run, deciding to try and dive deep off the back of the bar I was fishing to, into the abyss of 20 odd feet of water. In the end it kited on a long line down to my left and I was lucky not to have to go out in the boat and get it from a nightmare snag down the margin that I’d already had to rescue two fish from just an hour before. When we got it on the bank, I couldn’t believe how big it looked. It spun the needle round to 42lb! All-in-all, it capped off an incredible ten weeks’ spell of fishing – hopefully we’ll all be out there doing it again this autumn after all this lockdown relaxes!
Well what can I say about this spring apart from we didn’t really get much of it! For the first part I managed to get out from the beginning of March, managing nine nights before the lockdown happened and had an incredible time. I got down on a miserable cold and wet Thursday night straight from work, walked round to my favourite spring plot and amazingly saw two shows straight away. I bolted back to the van, got my gear and legged it back round to the plot with the barrow. As I was setting the gear up and keeping an eye on the pond, I saw another 5-6 shows, so knew exactly where to put my zigs. To be fair, nothing happened that night, so when I got up at first light the next morning, I must have seen a good 50-60 shows, right out in the middle of the bay in between myself and Micky Gray – as luck would have it, he was off in a few hours so I waited for him to reel in. Once he’d gone, I chucked the marker out to where they were, just to get the exact depth, before tying up three zigs with size 7 TA Curve Points to the depths I wanted. The bottom of the lake is like an egg box, so you can’t really use the same length zig to even cast a couple rod lengths to the right or left if you wanted to be a certain footage under. That next day I ended up having seven fish in a mad 15-hour spell. I had pretty much three at once; a 23lb, 29lb and 39lb zip linear. Now let me tell you, this linear was certainly the highlight of the last couple years’ angling on there since I’d had the Saddleback, and this carp was pretty much as mega as that one. The next two trips I got back into the same zone somehow and managed another seven bites, including a lovely 43lb mirror which turned out to be one I had the previous spring at 38lb, so 5lb up from last the last time – this fish had only seen the bank four times ever.
And that was that! The dreaded lockdown started and that was the end of the fishing for a while – I do think I would have had a lot more this spring after having such a good start, but oh well, there’s always next year!“