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Justin Grapes Spring Sessions Part 3

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Justin Grapes Spring Sessions Part 3

After a bit of a wonder around Bawburgh and a chat with a couple of friends I made my way to a swim which normally fishes well I these conditions (sunny and a good south west blow) but the swim hadn’t really fished well this spring due to the lack of weed growth, but I thought I would give it a go anyway. With there being a big shallow area dominating most of the swim I first found a spot on the side of this area near the bottom of the drop off to see if they were patrolling around the edge of the spot.

It was coming into evening now but I still hadn’t seen anything but I’d had a few liners which made me wonder that there was the odd fish moving over the top of the plateau, so at the same distance I was fishing to the right of the swim I found a shallow spot to the left of the swim and put one rod on it just to see. Just on dark there was a couple of fish rolling over the shallower spot, on reeling in I put a bit of bait on the new area and put all three rods on the spot.

As ever, on first light I was up and about again and I re-cast all the rods . There wasn’t many fish rolling over my spot but there was in a different area, but with it being sunny again I did wonder if they would come across my shallow area. Not much happened first thing when I was expecting the fish, but out of the blue at 8.30am I did pick a fish up and at 8lb+ it was a good start but I still wasn’t overly confident of a load of fish.

I felt like giving it a couple of hours and if nothing happened I would move. As I was packing everything away I had a run, but much to my disgust the hook pulled after a few seconds – typical -what to do now, I thought. I did cast the rod out again just to see but after an hour nothing had happened so I packed everything away and made my way back to the van.

I fancied trying Colney lake so I drove around there to see what was available. There was a couple of hot swims this time of year but they were taken so I had a look in a corner swim where it can be good for a fish or two. I got the marker rod out of the van and went into the swim to see what the weed was like as this swim is shallow and very weedy. I don’t like throwing the marker around too much when there are people about but I didn’t have much choice as there wasn’t many clear spots, as I was marking the swim there were a couple of fish rolling which was surprising as it was 2.30pm. It must have taken me an hour of plumbing the swim to be happy with a spot to fish affectively but with fish still rolling in the area I had to go for it and see what happened. If it was to weedy on the spot I could always get the cast rake out and clear it so it was easier to fish. The spot was very small so I only got two rods ready as fishing three I felt would work against me in this swim. As there was still fish showing I only put three spombs of bait out and cast the two rods and feeders on the spot.

After getting the rods out I set about getting base camp sorted and just as I was finishing it one of the rods sprung into life, but there was nothing there so I put it down to a savage line bite , but looking back on it now it was definitely a missed take.

After that and there was still fish showing I put out a bit more bait for the evening which can be productive, sure enough about 7.30 pm I was away, and from the off I know it was going to be a challenge to get the fish through the weed but after a hard fight I had my first fish in the net and a good one at 7.5lb. Over the next couple of hours things went a bit mental and another three tench to 8.8lb were landed so I put some more bait out as there was clearly a few fish clearing the area of bait.


Darryn had popped down to see me for an hour and as he was there the right-hand rod went into melt down and on picking the rod up I thought this is no tench. With the clutch in overdrive it could only be a carp. As I was trying to control the fish I kept saying to Darryn “Can you hear this clutch going?!“ After what seemed like an hour, a good sized common carp went into the net, she was put onto the scales where she went 26lb 12oz. If nothing else it was a tackle tester. After a couple of pics and the return, Darryn made his way home and I put some more bait out as the carp would have cleared the spot.


After that I settled down for some kip but hopefully of some more action through the night. Just as I was drifting off to sleep I had a couple of bleeps and then a run. In my half asleep state I was expecting an eel but on picking the rod up there was a lot more resistance than I was expecting. As I was reeling in the fish came up to the surface and started wallowing about, still in a half asleep state I didn’t really know what was going on but I knew I had a fish on so tried to get it into the net ASAP. As it got closer I could see it was a tench and a good one at that so I made more of an effort to concentrate on landing this fish. It came to the surface one more time and in the light of the head torch I finally got it into the net. After taking a few seconds to get my bearings I had a quick look in the net to see what I had caught. Oh that looks big, I’ve never seen a fish that big before, I thought. At this point I was shaking a bit as it looked a lot bigger than anything I’d caught before or seen before, I had another look at it in the net and it still looked huge. At this point I knew I’d caught something special and even though it was midnight I called Darryn and luckily he was still awake. “I’ve got something in the net and it’s just huge!” I’m sure I said it was huge or massive a lot of times but he told me to get a grip and see what it weighed. It took me a couple of minutes to compose myself then lift the beast onto the unhooking Mat. It looked even bigger on the mat, there was just tench everywhere on the mat. After unhooking her I got the sling under her and lifted onto the scales. I couldn’t believe what the scales were reading 12lb 12oz, then 12lb 13oz, then 12lb 11oz, but she finally settled on 12lb 12oz. That can’t be right, can it?! So, I went through it again, zero the sling, slip the fish in the sling and lift, three times I did this just to make sure I hadn’t done anything silly in my half-asleep state. But no she went to 12lb 12oz again. I called Darryn again to tell him what I’d just caught, he said retain it and he would be there at first light to take some pictures.

To say I didn’t get much sleep after that would be an understatement. I still couldn’t believe what had happened, when I woke at first light I cast the rods out hoping that the tench were still there. By that time Darryn had arrived to take the pictures and see the beast in the flesh. He had to be at work early so I was very grateful that he came down, he done a grand job taking the pictures.

After he left and I had released the giant tench, I sat back and looked at the pictures of my trophy, I was still on cloud nine but as I was daydreaming one of my rods went into meltdown again and over the next 4 hours I had four fish to 9lb 6oz.

There was a couple of good friends coming down to the lakes for a few days so I had messaged them and told them what I had caught and shortly after I had a call to say they would pop and say hello. I still had the 9lb 6oz in the net so when they arrived I got some top pictures. Many thanks to Spug and Adrian for the pics and I even got an invite to their BBQ later on to celebrate my new PB.


After that flurry of fish in the morning I didn’t get another bite until tea time, I had put a bit of bait in earlier so I was hoping for some action in the evening and, again, I wasn’t disappointed with a 9lb 3oz, 9lb 10oz and a 7lb 8oz male coming in a hour of madness before I joined the boys for the BBQ.

I put a bit of bait in before I left just to see if I could get some action when I got back. It was a great BBQ with Spug and Adrian who were great company and a few laughs were had along with a couple of toasts to big tench for me and Adrian, who had caught his first double figure tench the week before.
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