Hardwick Haul

It didn’t take long for the rod to go again, this time with the Lake’s biggest common at 35¾lb

Jack Funnell bags a trio of thirties from the Linear Fisheries venue.

I have been fishing Hardwick Lake for the past few weeks and thoroughly enjoying myself too. I love the Linear Fisheries complex and this Lake seems the quietest of them all, yet has a superb stock of stunning, scaly fish. I was catching consistently, every week landing a number of beautiful carp, but was yet to latch into any of the bigger fish in the Lake. However, that all changed on my last trip – and what a session it was too!

I got down there late on the Sunday evening. The Lake was very busy and the light was fading, but I managed to get in one of the popular swims known as the Christmas Tree. It was opposite to where I had been fishing during the previous weeks and commanded a lot of water. That night there were fish all over me, but for some reason I could not get a bite and I was really struggling to think why this was. I did a couple of nights and both mornings I could see fish rolling and fizzing to the left of me, in the areas that I had been fishing in previous weeks.

Manilla boilies infused in Cloudy Manilla Liquid and mixed with some sweetcorn made up the feed

Left: Jack used balanced Pineapple pop-up hookbaits

I had one night left and there was one swim free in amongst five anglers. It was the third swim on the road bank and put me in and around where the fish seemed to be. The Lake is very up and down and I knew I had to be on one of the bars or very close to them. I had to be accurate and know what I was fishing over. On top of the bars was solid weed and I was struggling to find anything clean. I leaded around for a while and eventually found a small clearing in between two big weedbeds. It was slightly deeper than I had planned on finding, but it was clear and near where the fish had been feeding. I put around 5kg of Manilla boilies and sweetcorn on the spot and then rested the swim and had a little walk around.

When I got back in the swim I cast two balanced 12mm Pineapple pop-ups out to the spot and added a couple more Spombs of bait. Not 20 minutes later I had a 28-pounder, then a stockie at midnight. It kicked off again at around half past six the next morning and I knew it was a better fish. I took my time and eventually netted a chunky looking mirror which went 30¼lb. An hour or so passed before I managed another one, which was a big common. Amazingly, it went 35¾lb and is apparently the biggest common in the Lake at the moment. I was also told that it is a very rare fish that hardly ever sees the bank, which was nice to know.

I got all the pictures done, recast the rods and put a few more Spombs of bait out there. A cold northerly was blowing into my face and the fish were not showing, though they were clearly feeding. The odd little slick would appear from the spot and, almost instantly, the rod was away. The next bite soon came and once again it seemed like a good fish. I netted a chunky looking 32½lb linear. I was totally blown away and couldn’t believe it: three thirties on the bounce. It was probably something to do with the spot; not many people would be fishing in the slightly deeper water or on such a small silty area.

First light arrived and the action kicked off again with this scraper thirty

A great start to the night with a cracking 28lb mirror

Another bite, another thirty, this time 32½lb

The last fish of the session was this well-proportioned 26lb mirror

I ended up having to go back to the motor and grab another 5kg of Manilla Shelflife, as I had run out of bait topping up the spot after every bite, but I managed another mirror of 26lb, followed by a couple of small ones before I left, capping off a pretty incredible 24 hours of action on this superb water.

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