Week Commencing: Sat 14/12/2019
Week Commencing 14/12/2019 - Gigantica Staff - Christmas Party
The tension had been building for weeks, the Staff Christmas Party week had finally arrived! Throughout the course of the year, the bailiff team get the opportunity to fish a couple of nights each week in the swims that are left after the draw. Having the chance to fish the main open water swims such as Co’s and Alcatraz, just never happens. This week was going to be different, as there was only the bailiffs and one other guest fishing. Just like any other standard week, a draw for swims took place.
The draw was made on the Thursday evening during the work party week, with Barry “Superhero” Edwards taking the role of bailiff, for the draw and rules talk through (don’t give up the day job Bazza)! Some people are born lucky, some are unlucky. Steve Bartlett is officially the luckiest person known to man at the draw bag. He knew exactly where he wanted to go when he pulled out Ball One….again!! In the hope of a repeat of last December’s mega session, he picked Co’s Point and had a quick lead about at the 31-wrap mark towards the “Tits”.
Steve found a lovely clean rock-hard area just to the left of the tits in the little gap and decided to fish all three rods in this area. He started off with his trusted Spinner Rigs with Pink Almond Goo infused Banoffee Pop-Ups and baited up with 20 big Spombs of hemp, corn, crumbed Mainline Fyber and a variety of different liquid foods. For the first couple of days he built up a feeding area and the newly introduced 2019 fish really homed in on it. The first take came at 3am Monday morning, which was followed by another bite at 8am. With a 23lb 8oz and a 17lb 4oz common being the rewards.
It looked really good for a few more bites…Steve decided to wait until midday to rebait and recast his rods. This paid off handsomely, with two in quick succession coming straight after Spombing from the 2019 new Mirror’s. Steve realised that he had a big shoal of fish over him with the majority being the smaller 2019 fish…so he chose to “up-the-Anti” and baited heavy on Tuesday. He put out 40 Spombs of the same bait mix to try and satisfy the smaller fish and leave something for the bigger fish.
In short, this approach didn’t work, seeming to slow the bites down as he only had one bite on Tuesday. However, on Wednesday it came good again with six bites, the biggest being a 28lb Common. It just goes to show how important the baiting strategy is. Too many times we see people continue to bait when they have had no action. All this does is extend the amount of time it takes to get a bite, when the fish do turn up.
Dropping back to 20 Spombs, the action continued into Thursday and Friday. Steve finished the week with 21 fish up to just over 30lb. Most of his bites came to the Pink Almond Pop-Ups, with a few falling to two grains of Slow Sinking IB Maize. Unfortunately, the bigger fish didn’t play ball and we think the smaller fish were so ravenous they were just getting to the hookbaits before the bigger fish had a look in.
Dean (The Excavator) Cullen was hitching a lift back home with Mr Savage after coming out for the Work Party and decided to stay put in Big Southerly for the week. He had all three rods fished out at 25.5 wraps towards Alcatraz on Pink Almond Goo infused Fyber Wafters. These were fished on a Spinner Rig over a bed of crumbed Mainline Fyber and a mix of maize and hemp. The fish didn’t seem to want to venture over the baited spot until later in the week when there was a change in the wind direction. This resulted in him landing a pretty Mirror known as “Convoy” at 28lb 4oz on Wednesday night. Unfortunately, this was his only fish for the week.
Coming out second in the draw it was a choice between The Alamo and Alcatraz for me (James Bailiff) and with southerly winds due mid-week I really fancied being on the back of them so Alcatraz it was. After having a cast around and finding very little in the way of weed, I decided to fish a spot at 24 wraps towards Big Southerly. As tempting as it was to go longer range at this time of year, I knew the key to getting a bite in the colder months is fishing with pinpoint accuracy with high attraction and little in the way of food. With that in mind my baiting approach was to use crumbed Mainline Essential Cell with a small amount of pellet and a 50/50 mix of cooked and crushed dry hemp to get some scent floating through the layers.
My chosen approach was the Spinner Rig and I opted for a Pink Almond Goo infused Pop-Up as a hookbait. After baiting up consistently for the first three days with 3kg of crumb mix and recasting the rigs each day, it was clear nothing was visiting the spot and my hook baits were coming back clean, so I decided to follow the three-day rule and slow the bait down. I let the rigs sit out for the next 48 hours and on Tuesday morning at around 4am, I could hear fish showing either side of my spot. Not wanting to cause any disturbance in the swim, I left all three rods untouched.
At the same time on Wednesday morning they started showing again, only this time directly over my bait, but still no action. It was time for a change of hook bait. This time I went for a super buoyant Mainline Hi-vis Pineapple Pop-Up and tipped it with plastic maggots, just for that little extra attraction. When the fish showed up on Thursday morning, I got the bite that I hope would come. At 4am my left-hand rod rattled off and I soon slipped the net under what I first thought was a mid 30, it turned out to be a very rare visitor to the bank in the shape of “Mr Tong” at 48lb (not a bad way to start)!
With fish still showing over the spot and fishing all three rods tight together, I decided not to recast and at 6.30am I slipped the net under a lovely 31lb Mirror known as Mr Universe. Shortly after I had one of the new 2019 Stockies, so with all three rods out of the water it was time for a recast and some fresh bait over the spot. This time just 10 Spombs to freshen the spot up and within an hour of rebaiting I was off again, this time a fish that hadn’t been caught since it was stocked in 2018. It was a mega dark scaled mirror called “Big Blue” at 33lb. What a crazy morning and with just a change of hook bait things were starting to come together.
The Friday morning bite time came a little later, but the middle rod still screamed off at 7am, with a 31lb Mirror called “Stargazer”. I decided to make the fatal error (on this occasion) of recasting on the spot, which resulted in the rest of the morning passing without any more action. With 24 hours left, I rebaited the spot at mid-day with 3kg of crumb and recast with fresh hook baits. In a repeat performance, at 4am they were back over the spot, but this time I could hear some real chunks amongst them, so I put the kettle on and waited in eager anticipation.
It didn’t take long before the middle rod rattled off, but this time the fight was completely different, stripping line at 100 yards and no shaking of the head. It was like I was hooked into a steam train; I knew I had to get the upper hand. After finally gaining some line the fish was plodding at the bottom of the shelf in the right-hand margin. I could feel it diving and hitting its nose on the bottom trying to shake the hook and then it was almost like it had dazed itself and came straight to the top as though it had surrendered. I slipped the net under and could not believe what I was seeing, as the Immaculate Common rolled on to her flank I shouted get in that f**king net; at which point my phone started ringing. Steve had herd the initial run in Co’s Point, them after hearing the shout out knew it was going to be a good fish. After seeing her on the bank only a couple of months ago at 87lb 8oz she was looking in great condition. Steve came around straight away and we got her into the retainer and up on the scales absolutely blowing my mind when they span around to 88lb 4oz the perfect end to my week and even my year……
Week Commencing 21/12/2019 - Christmas Week
As always, this week is a rather special one here at Gigantica. We don’t mess about when it comes to Christmas. We trim the tree; the log fire is always roaring and a mince pie and mulled wine to warm the cockles make it a pretty nice place to spend the week. Roast Rib of Beef with all the trimmings was on the menu and of course Christmas Pudding, supplied by our new-found brother “Murphy” and of course not forgetting, Tuna the dog. Murf was visiting us for a couple of weeks from his home in Ibiza. A nicer bloke you will be hard pushed to find.
This year it was Steve’s turn to look after the lake and guests over the festive period with two customers booked in The Alamo for the week, Steve Bartlett had the choice of swim and opted to stay in Co’s Point for another week and carry on with his tactics from the previous week. Using the same bait and tactics over the 31 wrap spot towards the “Tits”, he continued to catch them, but really struggled to get amongst the bigger fish. He ended the week with 19 fish to 26lb.
I stayed on for Christmas this year, fancying the chance of a Christmas Day Carp and with my success from the previous week still fresh in my mind, it was a no brainer for me to stay in Alcatraz. Although I managed to stay amongst the fish, the Christmas Day carp eluded me and I landed four fish during the week. The biggest being a previously uncaught stockie from 2016 at 30lb 8oz, who now goes by the name of “The Grinch”.
Murphy Chimera fished Bob’s Beach with his three rods staggered at 24, 27 and 29 wraps, all on solid bags. A small amount of crushed Mainline Fyber, hemp and maize Spombed over the top of each rod. Murf got off to a good start with an unknown 30lb Common in the retainer by first light, but it seemed the fish had moved off as quick as they had arrived. Unfortunatley, this was to be his only bite of the week, but there was plenty of time left as he is staying with us for a few weeks over the winter season.
James Good and Lewis Rodgers doubled up in The Alamo with all the rods fished at 16 wraps. With Mainline Fyber doing the business this winter, they followed the bailiff’s advice and crushed the boilies down to a fine crumb and mixed it with hemp and maize. They fished over the top of the bait with a Fyber Wafter on a Spinner Rig. James landed two fish during the week, with the biggest being a 20lb Mirror from the 2018 stocking. Lewis also got in on the action and managed to bag himself one of the new 2019 stockies.
What a great Christmas we’ve enjoyed this year.
Until next time, Tight Lines and Bonne Peche