This week I was very fortunate to be able to take a friends place at Gold Lake on the Burghfield complex. Having fished Bluepool a number of times before, which is the lake adjacent to Gold lake, I had high expectations for the lake and the fish that reside at this stunning venue.
Myself, Gary, Dan and Ed rendezvoused at the caff in North camp on Tuesday morning before making the very excited drive down to the lake. The typical banter was exchanged over sausage sandwiches about who was going to be top rod and who was taking home the winners trophy. Being on a diet it wasn't long before we were finishing breakfast and as I finished off my number 1 full english with extra hash brown, extra sausage, extra black pudding and extra toast we were soon racing down the m4 on route to the lake. We arrived to find the gateway of alcatraz waiting for us as we pulled into cottage lane. 10 padlocks stood in the way of us entering our gateway to heaven and as Dan fired up the angle grinder I was quick to decipher the unlocking procedure before somebody lost an arm!
A series of gates later we were pulling into the carpark and 4 very excited men were bouncing around the lake and very excited to choose our swims. With one very quick lap completed we decided a second lap was most definitely required before doing the draw and we took our time checking the margins climbing trees and watching the water. It was very apparent that the majority of the fish were holding up at the top end of the lake and were up in the water, I had also seen some fish moving along the margins in the top corner but I was keeping that to myself until after the draw!
Back at the carpark the names were quickly fired out of a hat and as per tradition I came out 3rd! That being said I got my first choice of swim at the far end and was keen to tell the lads of my sightings of carp in my margins! We had decided to opt for the social bank as we could all cover the lake so in order of swims from the top corner it was myself, Dan, Ed and Gary. From this bank we were happy we could cover the majority of the lake and we were soon barrowing the gear around and setting up camp in our swims.
With the lads all fishing out to open water, I had decided to lay my traps in the margins where I had seen the fish earlier that morning and after finding a few clear spots in amongst the heavy weed I was soon flicking the rods out to the spots. I was quietly confident of a quick take. Dan set about spodding on some clear spots he had found as did Ed while Gary had decided to stick with a Boilie approach and had spread his rods over two swims to maximise his chances. With all the commotion the fish had stopped showing and as the sun came up in the afternoon we sat and discussed tactics over pizza.
The afternoon was soon upon us and I could tell everyone was keen to get off the mark as we all took it in turns to do laps of the lake in search of any signs of carp. As always a few were swimming around in the out of bounds area but the rest of the lake seemed dead. Without warning Gazbar's alarm sang out across the lake and a very angry carp had belted straight into the heavy reed bed down to his right a very short battle ensued until the line finally gave way against the reeds and fell slack from the rod tip. A very deflated Gaz walked back to his bivvy shaking his head in disbelief.
The evening was soon upon us and with dinner on the go I was hoping that the hours of darkness would be good to us. I sat with Dan finishing my dinner when Ed shouted over from his swim "can somebody help me!" A quick look over his bivvy and I could see a rod bent over and I ran straight to the bivvy for the camera. CARP ON!
Ed was taken straight into a heavy weed bed by the time I had joined everyone in the swim and after a few minutes of gaining no line we convinced him to lay the rod down and let the fish free itself of the weed on its own. The next 30 minutes passed with the fish coming out of the weed briefly stripping line from the spool before burying itself back in the weed. It was starting to feel like an impossible feat to land this fish until Ed had the absolutely insane idea of taking out a set of telescopic ladders from his bivvy to get a higher angle and pull the fish up from out the weed! At this point I was in absolute hysterics as this was quite possibly the most ridiculous thing I'd ever witnessed on the bank!
Can you believe it I was eating my words as after a few minutes Ed had free'd the fish and was gaining line. Still choking with laughter Ed was soon down the ladders and gaz slipped the net under a proper old warrior! A capture that will go down in history as one of the most memorable I've ever witnessed and an absolute winner for Brother Ed!
With the excitement over we had the fish weighed and ready for pictures just as the light started to fade on the horizon. A beautiful Gold lake mirror carp on the bank.
The night passed with torrential rain and no action and as my alarm went off at 6am I laid there with that hollow feeling that we all get when waking up to slack bobbins. The fish were fizzing like crazy out in front of Dan and with no movement in my margin spots I was starting to feel like I'd made the wrong swim choice. Putting the kettle on It was soon apparent the lads had also had nothing during the night either and we had agreed that with the cold temperatures and extreme amount of rain It may have put the carp off the feed.
The morning came and went and as the rods were all wound in and repositioned I had decided to target the open water in front of me as close to where the fish had been showing as I could get without encroaching on Dans swim. The clouds had disappeared and the sun was back out in all its glory beating down and heating up the lake! By 1pm the fish were cruising around on top and the mixers were out! We had 5 or six carp in front of Dans swim again that we were targeting so we set about feeding the seagulls for the next 2 hours as they cleared up every single mixer in sight. By 3pm the gulls had pushed the fish out and we had given up so retreated back to the swims.
A few single beeps from Gaz's swim had us running down for inspection and as the bobbin tightened up he lifted into a solid resistance, CARP ON!!! buzzing with excitement we were bouncing around the swim firing questions at gaz about bait, rig, tactics, etc haha! well we were getting desperate by this point! some time later and after a few hairy moments in the weed a lump of a carp came wallowing over the net cord!
High 5's exchanged we peered into the net to a lovely pair of shoulders and knew this was a good fish! on the scales she went at 32lb and a very very happy Gaz had redeemed himself from loosing the fish the previous afternoon! well in mate!
Excitement over It was time for dinner and as is the tradition It was steak night in my swim in celebration of another 30lb mirror for Gaz! With Stuart joining us for a late evening social we celebrated with a bottle of wine and a few beers into the night. The temperature had dropped considerably with the high pressure moving in and by 10pm we were all shivering and ready for bed. Good lucks exchanged we hit the sack eagerly awaiting the nightime action.....which didn't arrive!
The dreaded sound of the phone alarm coming to life at 6am confirmed another blank night and I buried my head under the bag as the cold air covered my face. It was time for a move.
I had given the swim 48 hours and with the fish showing out in front of Dan's swim it was evident by now I wasn't going to pick up any wandering warriors. I jumped out the bag, put the kettle on and started the pack down. 2 barrow loads of gear later, 4 crumpets,6 cups of tea and a full fry up for the lads later I had finally got all the gear around the the other side of the lake. My plan was to spend the last 24 hours fishing the channel that leads into the out of bounds area in the hope of picking up any carp that were moving through. With no action from any of the lads the outlook was looking bleak but I knew the move would make me feel better at the very least.
The bailiff came around In the afternoon and confirmed I was in the right swim and said I should pick up 1 or 2 if they were having it from here. This lifted my confidence a little but the massive drop in temperature overnight and the high pressure that had moved in It was still not looking great.
The last day and night was a lone ranger effort with Gaz popping round with some supplies and a chat in the evening It was clear that the action was over and once again the night passed with only a few liners. Overall It had been a very difficult 72 hours but with two fish banked we hadn't been totally defeated. There are some truly stunning carp at Burghfield and I cant wait to come back next year to try my luck again on this awesome little venue!
Until next time....the search continues!