After a reasonably successful spring on my local club water, Meadow Lodge Fisheries in Kildare, summer came and had a lot of us scratching our heads. The water has a prolific amount of natural food, which is at its highest levels during the warm months, and the fish can completely switch off. My time on the lake during the summer months was limited due to family holidays and work commitments. This is not an easy water and is heavily pressured, with only 10 swims being available to angling on this 5-acre lake. Due to its stock of big carp, this lake sees pressure all year long and even mid week most swims are taken. There are a number of members who are able to put a reasonable amount of time into the lake each week, fishing for 2-4 days at a go, and tend to be more successful because of it. For me on very limited time, it usually means a quick overnighter once a week -Sunday afternoon to Monday morning. This can put you at a big disadvantage because the bulk of the pressure will have occurred over the weekend. Usually when I arrive on the Sunday most of the guys have pulled off so at least I get a reasonable pick of swims but the down side is I never know how much bait has gone out as the departing angler has vacated the swim.

During the summer, all the regulars struggled but come august, there seemed to be a shift in the lakes eco system and the lake once again slowly stared producing fish. It was time for me to get back on the rods.

Over an 8-week period I decided to try and concentrate my efforts to one swim and keep the bait trickling in to an area I had found clear of weed in an otherwise weedy area. Each week, whether I fished or not, I would bait up with 2-3k of 10 mm Trigga boilies. Using marker sticks I was able to pinpoint my area so when arriving at the swim it was a simple process of measuring out the required distance and casting to the far bank markers. My Venda SRC throwing stick is designed to bait up short distances and sticking the 10 mm baits to its maximum range put the bait right on my spot each time. This helped me immensely for baiting up when I wasn’t fishing as I could accurately bait up the area without the use of a marker rod making it quick and easy.
I had gone through 4-5 blank trips an in truth those little niggles of self doubt that can erode one’s confidence began to creep in. I decided to pull off the lake in mid august and head to down to an easier, more prolific water in Cork known as the Lough. I had an amazing weekend on the lake with 37 fish under my belt and fish to 26-6 (the largest known fish in the lake). With my Mojo back in full swing, returning to my club water felt less daunting. I managed to catch one fish of about 6lb and lost a good twenty plus common at the net, but apart form that it remained quiet for me!

I had decided to take the Friday off work to pull a cheeky overnighter on the Thursday. Once the clock ticked round to fishing time on Thursday evening, I couldn’t get out of work quick enough, scooting home and loading the car ready for the night ahead. I arrived at the lake at 6 pm to find only 4 swims out of the 10 left. Without missing a beat I skirted round with the barrow to swim 10. This is the swim I had been baiting over the last few months and to my surprise it was free!

I decided a slight change in tactics, changing my ever-faithful multi-rigs over to the Ronnie rig, which is something that really tickled my fancy once I had seen this being used. The Ronnie rig allows you fish a pop up close to the bottom and the mechanics of the rig makes it a very efficient hooker. Whilst I planned to use my Trigga 10mm baits as feed I wanted to use something more visual than my standard cork ball Trigga pop-ups and opted for a 15mm white Cream Cajouser pop up. The thinking behind this was to fool the fish in to thinking that the bait was safer as it was a washed out bait in amongst the darker freebies.

Whether the fish think that is the case is totally irrelevant, it made sense in my head and gave me confidence which is all that matters.
I cast all 3 rods on the clear area and scattered some 30-40 baits on the spot, then I quickly set-up my brolly in seconds before the heavens opened up. My plan was to be away from the lake at 11 am so this was a real short session. At 5 am the right hand rod gave a bleep, making me sit up on my chair. After a second bleep I was fumbling in the darkness to find my crocs and was out on my rod as the indictor slammed into the alarm! The fight or lack of, had me thinking it was a scamp, with the only indication I had a fish on was the occasional tap of the tip. I had left the brolly without my head torch so even when I netted her, whilst realising it was no scamp, had no actual clue to what I had caught!!! I lifted the net arms and peered in to the mesh to see the huge, broad back of one of the most sought after carp in Ireland, a fish named Big Hole. She can fluctuate anywhere between 33 –and 40lb depending on the time of year when you catch her, and the scales settled on 35lb 2oz, I was buzzing. An hour later the same rod was away with a flyer and this time I was beaten up royally by a hard scraping carp known as the Bling at 26-7.

Sometimes we question ourselves as to why we put ourselves through the effort and pain of short session carping, especially when the rewards are light on the ground, but sometimes, just sometimes it can pay off in spectacular fashion and change a mediocre season into a special one. In the immortal words of Delboy, “He who dares Rodders, he who dares”!