Scott Lloyd Visits Linch Hill Fishery

 

Doing battle with a fish off the top…

Scott Lloyd takes us back to an incredible day on one of the finest day-ticket fisheries in the land, Linch Hill’s Christchurch Lake..

I had been fishing on Linch Hill’s Christchurch Lake for a few months on and off, depending on work and the family. The Lake is quite simply awesome, and the carp are some of the best looking I have ever seen. The fuel, ticket prices and bait costs were taking its toll on my bank balance, but it was totally worth it.

Whatever it was my brother, Baz, and I were doing, it was right. One of the biggest edges we had was using such a high quality of bait. We have always seen this as a priority when it comes to fishing for carp on busy waters, as they can be super-selective as to what they want to eat, but last year we started to use the Krill from Sticky. Straight away we could see a difference in the carp’s reaction when it came to boilies, a response that we had only really witnessed while fishing over nuts or maggots.

Washing out the baits in water 24 hours prior to the session helps to trick some of these wary carp
Before they are Spombed out, Scott crushes them in his hands to create a boilie slop
Linch Hill Christchurch Lake

From the off we were catching, but over something slightly different to what anyone else was using. I was making sure to soak my boilies in some mineral water for 24 hours prior to my sessions. This way, the carp may well be tricked into thinking that the bait has been in the water for a longer period of time, thus reducing the awareness for potential danger. Then, once I arrived at the lake, I squeezed the baits tightly between my hands. This created a mushy, fishy smelling substance that still carried all of the potent aromas and food qualities of a normal boilie, just not in its normal round form.

I added a bit of Krill Powder, some Krill Liquid and a handful of Bloodworm Pellets to the bucket and the bait was ready to rock.

Now, the tricky thing was to pick a swim to angle effectively from. The Lake was extremely busy and getting in one of the more productive swims was tricky. I walked around for hours, hoping to see a few fish. It was warm, hot and sticky, not pleasant conditions but the fish were cruising around the Lake quite happily. The difficulty was in trying to guess where they were doing their morning feed. I took a gamble and settled for a swim that I knew relatively well, known as the Point. It gives you a great view of the whole Lake and from there I would be able to get up nice and early to see where the fish were.

The scales fly round past the 30lb barrier…
… with a cracking 30lb 2oz mirror – a typical Linch Hill fish

I spodded a kilo of bait out to a clear channel between a couple of weedbeds. I then cast a couple of rods on the money and one a good rod-length off the spot. These fish are without doubt the trickiest carp that I have ever tried to catch. They have seen it all so if there is anything that may outwit or trick them, I will try it.

It wasn’t until the early hours of the morning that carp decided to slump down from the upper layers of the water to seek a meal. Thankfully for me, an awful lot of them were in front of me. I was receiving plenty of liners and, come 3am, my eyes felt too heavy and I couldn’t help but fall asleep. I woke at sunrise, which was only an hour and half after I fell asleep. I popped the kettle on, desperate for a coffee to make me feel half human again. I was sitting there with the warm cup between my hands when the alarm started beeping again. I was hesitant due to all the liners during the night, but the slack line was building momentum, picking up with increasing speed. I placed my coffee down and picked up into a carp.

The mist was rolling off the surface and it was one of those perfect mornings to play a carp. These fish are intelligent and this one was no different; it managed to lodge itself in a rather large weedbed. I climbed up a small tree to my left in order to get a better line angle. It worked, and the fish was back moving again. It had managed to gather a load of weed round its head, which in my experience is a good way of settling the fish down, and from then it simply came in, slowly but steadily and she was mine. What a cracking fish it was too, a gorgeous looking mirror. I called a friend over to give me a hand with the pictures. We got her on the mat and were simply blown away by her sheer beauty. The sun was now out and glimmered off the scales, which read 30lb 2oz. I slipped her back and punched the air with joy.

I knew the chance of another bite was slim, so I leant the rod against my bivvy and got the floater gear out. I was up the tree, looking for signs of fish on the surface, but nothing was showing yet. I sat there twiddling my thumbs, unsure what move I should play next, when the other rod pulled up tight. I ran down, cupped the spool and slowly tightened the clutch. Once again, the fish tried desperately hard to get into the weedbed some 15 yards from the spot. I applied steady pressure in my bid to prevent the fish from causing unwanted complications. Thankfully, like the last fish, it came out without too much drama and I soon had another good fish gliding on the surface towards the folds of my net. It was another thirty, a fish of 30lb 6oz, and what a way to end a morning’s action. I decided that was enough and didn’t recast in the hope that I wouldn’t spook any more fish.

I sat up a tree for a while, watching a group of carp drifting in and out of the bay to my left. As the morning moved on, more and more carp began to congregate in this area. They looked well up for a floater, so I gently climbed back down the tree and crept back to the brolly. There was a gentle breeze coming in and I wanted to be able to detect each one of my freebies. I took my box of mixers and poured a good helping of Cap-Oil over them. This would give off a really fishy smell and would also flatten the surface right off.

Strong hooks are a must – these fish don’t give up easily
When the sun came up, it was time for floaters and I gave them a good dose of Cap-Oil for added attraction
Second thirty of the morning at 30lb 6oz

I walked around to the tree, gently climbed it and began to throw a few baits here and there. I didn’t want to draw too much attention from the birds, so just fed three or four every minute or so. After half an hour of constant feeding, the first fish took that gamble and slurped its first free bit of food. Once it had a taste for it, the fish charged round the area seeking more. Before too long, his friends were eager to join in and soon I had a group of carp happily taking mixers only a rod length from the bank. I took the risk of giving them a larger amount in one go, as I needed to get back to my swim to have a go for them. It worked and I was soon jogging back to the swim.

Grabbing the rod and casting beyond the fish, I gently drew it back over their heads and waited patiently. Three or four aborted takes later and the water erupted as the line whipped across the surface. This fish was not happy and I was hanging on to my little 6ft rod for dear life. The other fish briefly stopped feeding, but by the time I had the hooked fish close to the net, they’d begun to devour the remaining freebies. I sent my friend to the spot and asked him to carry on feeding them while I landed this fish. He kindly accepted and I did the honours in landing another cracking looking fish.

I quickly got a few snaps with a lovely leathery looking mirror before releasing the fish and getting the rod back out there. The fish were still on it and it took a matter of seconds to get another bite. The fish kited straight out the bay and just stripped yards and yards of line off me. I managed to gain control, but it decided to kite straight back to where it was hooked. That spooked the remaining carp so I knew that this fish would probably be the last of the morning’s crazy action. I went in up to my knees, which was quite refreshing seeing as it was approaching 30ºC, and landed the carp. By then I had attracted a bit of a crowd. Between us we weighed the fish at 21¼lb, a cracking looking carp with little woodcarving etchings on its flank. Its golden brown colour shone blissfully in the sun.

I’d had a fantastic session so far and I was optimistic for a few more too.

…and here she is, a leathery looking mirror of just under 20lb
When they look like this, size is irrelevant

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