David Sacker, Float Fish Farm, Sand Lake 48hr Session
Posted on 2nd September 2018 at 15:57
The Float Fish Farm complex near Farcet, Peterborough is one of my local, regular places to fish and certainly one of my favourites. They have a number of match lakes, a day ticket carp/course lake and then 2 specimen waters, Lapwing and Sand, both of which need pre booking for a minimum of 24 hours. I chose to fish Sand lake on this occasion because I like the more developed feel of the water and because the lake has a good head of Catfish, along with Carp to around 30lbs or so.
This was my second visit to the lake in the last few weeks, the first was due to be a 24 hour session but with 32C temperatures, a quickly building headache and sunburn I chose to cut that session short. Fortunately I managed a couple of mid double fish in the 7 hours I was there so, if nothing else, it was a good sighter for the longer session I had planned in. I was fishing in peg 4 (there are 5 swims on the 2 acre lake) and this was the same peg I had booked for the 48 hour session. It’s one of my preferred swims as the wind generally blows down towards that end of the lake, the far bank is easily cast to and, if no-one is booked in surrounding pegs, it gives you the option of many more features to fish to in their respective water.
My preparation for the longer session was much the same as usual, a couple of stick mixes put together 24 hours before I was due to travel, boilie choice confirmed and weather forecast checked for the week before I was due to fish. My first stick mix consisted of VNX+ chops, ready to use VNX+ stick mix, mixed particles and the VNX+ activator liquid, the second was Monster Crab, some mixed pellets, particles and a fishy liquid. The weather for the last few weeks had been particularly hot, fortunately it looked like the long lasting heat wave was finally breaking and a period of cooler temperatures, some rain and breezier conditions was set to take hold.
Unfortunately this is England and the weather changed considerably, dropping by over 10 degrees Celsius from the mid 20s down to around 14C within a few days, coinciding with the start of my session. Arriving at site just before the start time of 1pm, I walked around the lake to view the spots I had fished a few weeks earlier and also tried to see if there were any fish showing elsewhere. It was quite windy and overcast so seeing any moving fish was particularly difficult, with not much more to go with I chose to stick with the spots that had brought me success previously, tight to the far reed bed opposite the swim.
I baited up two areas, one for each bait and cast a lead out to get the distance spot on, although I had used my distance sticks to mark and record this previously it is always advisable to double check before attaching a rig. The left hand rod was at 12 and ¾ wraps with an 18mm VNX+ bottom bait, topped with the washed out pink 16mm VNX+ pop up in a snowman setup on a size 6 IQ D rig. The right hand rod was the same rig but with an 18mm Monster Crab bottom bait, topped with the 16mm orange Krill BP pop up, cast to 12 wraps distance. Both rigs had a small PVA stick attached and with them in place, bait confidence high and 48 hours of bank side peace in front of me I started to set up the bivvy and rest of my gear.
Keeping an eye on the water over the next few hours, I was looking for signs of carp movement, reeds being pushed, fish topping out or bubbles from feeding carp, but saw nothing. This wasn’t helped by the strong winds and frequent rain showers so, as I was happy with my bait locations and saw no evidence of carp elsewhere on the lake, I decided to leave the baits in place and settle in for the night. The temperature continued to drop down into single figures and the fish seemed to have totally turned off, with hardly a touch for me or anyone else on the lake.
Waking early the following morning I had a look over the much calmer lake. The wind had dropped right off and with the sun starting to rise behind me, the temperatures were already starting to rise. It was looking much better for a fish, with carp starting to show in areas around the swim, however most of these were away from my spots on the far bank. I decided to leave the rigs in place for the morning but was already starting to think of what else I could do if things continued to be quiet. The angler in the swim next to me had had a fish from midway across the lake and this was also where I had seen a few showing, albeit in another pegs water.
At around midday and half way through my session, Successful Baits owner Uwe Schafer and Team member Joe Biggins arrived on site to see how I, and fellow team member Marc Johnson, were getting on. Marc had only arrived an hour earlier for his own 24 hour session on Peg 5 and was just getting his own rigs and bait in place. Uwe and Joe had a look over the lake and enquired as to where my baits were placed, what had happened over the last day or so and my plans. They then suggested baiting up the near side margin to the left of my swim, a spot I had considered myself but somewhere that has rarely produced for myself or other anglers in the past. This time around though I really liked the sound of it, with no fish showing on the far bank it just felt like the thing to do.
With another check of the forecast it was clear we were in for more stormy weather in the early evening, only for an hour or so but I was hopeful it would bring a change in fortunes. Fish were starting to show more and more across the afternoon and it was really starting to look promising for an evening or overnight bite. As the storm clouds built in the distance and the sun began to set, I repositioned my rod to the new margin spot, baited up once more and then enjoyed the views as the storm approached and then passed, taking the opportunity to try out a few settings on my phone camera.
The evening passed without any action so I turned in and hoped for something overnight or in the morning, I wasn’t disappointed. At around 11:30pm the alarm for the near margin rod exploded into action, leaping out of bed I grabbed the rod and lifted into a very angry carp and, although it stayed close by, it certainly gave me the run around, staying deep and going back and forth around the swim. It was the typical fight of a common carp, just when you think it is ready to give in it goes off again for another 5 minute jaunt around the swim. After 20 minutes I finally managed to slide the net underneath the fish, not the biggest by any stretch but definitely a victory given the work I had put in to catch it. A quick couple of pictures and a weigh of the fish confirmed a 16lb 10oz capture, my biggest since joining the Successful Baits team a few months back.
I therefore set about feeding the spot up over the next 6 or 7 hours, a few handfuls of glugged VNX+ chops going in every hour as free offerings, hopefully getting fish onto the spot and feeding confidently with no rigs or line anywhere near them. I refreshed my baits and recast both rods back to the far side margin, with the plan to place the left hand rod onto the new spot around 7pm, ready for the evening and night ahead. I also took the opportunity to make up a few more PVA sticks ready for use through the remainder of the session.
I returned the fish back to the depths, set about re-baiting the spot and then returned the rig. I then spent the next 2 hours lying in bed staring at the lake, the full moon providing enough light to see the odd topping fish whilst I waited for the next run. The wake-up call us anglers love came at 7am, the same rod screaming off yet again but this time in daylight. I lifted into the fish and immediately knew this was something significantly larger, the obvious weight in the water, thumping of the head and unstoppable charge across the lake immediately convinced me this was a catfish and, more than likely, bigger than the 30lb one I’ve had out of this lake. For the next 10 minutes I was led around the swim by the fish, successfully directing it away from peg 3 and then the island reed bed, but at no point was I under any illusion that I was really winning the fight. I had managed to turn the fish into open water and felt confidence starting to build of its capture but was then presented with the moment we all hate, a hook pull. I had not lost pressure on the fish at any point, but with a barbless rule on the lake there is always the risk of the fish getting away, it may have been the extra pressure I had to put on the fish early in the fight but I will never know. I was clearly disappointed but that is fishing and it’s something we will all experience at some point. The important thing is to get back out there again, and despite the loss of the fish it’s something I will be doing with the knowledge and confidence that the bait is working. Unfortunately that was the last of the action and although it wasn’t the dream session I had hoped for, I have come away from it with a sense of achievement and a new approach with regards to margin fishing - ignore them to your detriment!
Tagged as: David Sacker
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