Like, share. Win.
It was that simple. I entered a competition on the book of faces to win a weekend glamping at Stonebridge fishing lakes. I had followed them for a while as I had seen Anglers Mail do a feature there and also seen some match results with plenty of cracking still water chub. I had kept it as a place to try if the river was unfishable.
The glamping was ace. A huge tent with double bed, sofa, chairs and bedside cabinets! A breakfast tent, with sofas, chairs, stove and indoor fire pit all adjoining a pristine ex fly fishing lake for an evening fishing.
A convenient shower block close by made for a less stinky camping experience. I guess that's why they call it glamping!!
Sat morning, 8.30am I arrived on the Coarse lake, a short walk from the tent and across the park.
Plenty of carp were showing, I was certain to catch one. Or so I thought.
First cast with a newly tied and never used before helicopter rig, and I sat ready. Suddenly the rod jumped towards the lake, I grabbed it and held on. After a few runs across the lake, I finally had the fish on my side of the lake! A tree to my right and this fish was straight into it. I managed to get some side on it, only to feel the dreaded ping!
The hook had come free, still not knowing if this was a carp or a big chub, I sat back. Examining the hook, I was surprised at how straight it was, nearly straightened completely!
I alternated between feeder and float and thoroughly enjoyed "catching", it was a fish a chuck and they kept coming, even carp in perfect minature.
Eventually the float managed to tempt a proper carp again, I am saying "again", but deep down I wanted the first fish to be a 7lb chub!
The result was the same again though! The fish stripped line, did a figure of eight in the middle and ping! The hook came back, but fishless.
I beefed up the tackle, from the previous size 16 to a stronger sized kodex size 10. These hooks I won from writing a letter to "Improve your Coarse fishing" magazine!
As the afternoon wore on, more and more carp cruised on the top. Floating baits were not allowed, but I changed my rig to a hook and one small weight. Casting in front of cruising carp and watching them turn and head down for the maggots! It was a great way of fishing, stalking and trying to outwit nature.
I hooked a nice sized carp, again the hook came free. The line was not breaking, but I was just getting bullied by these powerful carp.
The time came to call it a day. Walking back to the gate, I saw a few more cruising carp. This time I was the victor, a perfectly formed carp finally on the bank.
The second day seemed hotter. I only managed two hours fishing, so decided just to stalk with maggots again.
Again I watched, casting to the cruisers. The bailiff had told me to not just cast gently, but slap the bait down in front. Telling me that this time of year the carp are super inquistive to suspected food so will investigate those noise falls on the water in search for food.
Eventually I had hooked a carp, easily the biggest one so far, I would predict it to be a double, unfortunately I will never know 'cos at the net the hook hold gave up.
I dont blame the ghilley, but she had one job! Lucy had done so well with my first ever river Barbel at Newark on the Trent. Seems she needs to come more often, or not at all!!
1 caught from the 4 hooked, I should be disappointed, but I am not. No line breakages, and all hooks were returned. I arrived a winner, but left firm in the knowledge that fishing was the real winner!