"My tail begins in October 2013, having recently returned from a September trip to Dreamlakes with my son James we started planning for next year and having spoken to my brother Steve (who is known as Cid) and a friend from work also called Steve we hatched a plan for 2014.
A quick call to Carrie to check availability and we had lake 4 booked for the week commencing 17th May 2014. The idea being that we would miss any spawning especially if we had a winter like the year before. There was still something about that date but I could not put my finger on it.
Anyway, Carrie confirmed the booking, deposits were collected and paid, let the planning commence. Not a lot happened from October until January, but come January we started to talk bait and tactics. Final payments were made in February and it seemed like an age before we finally got the draw details and the luggage tags.
Now my brother Cid lives in Aberdeen (well someone has to) and so he set off in early May from the frozen wastes of the north for the long journey south and finally arrived on the Friday morning. James took the day off for a bit of last minute packing and Steve is retired so after I had worked a few hours Friday morning we all assembled at my place at about 3.00pm packed the cars and set off for the Jacksons yard at Bicknacre, well actually we set off for the Brewers Arms just up the road. Great pub, really friendly and good food.
Cid and I arrived first, James had gone via the M11 (Luton to Chelmsford via the M11 junction 1, don’t ask) and finally Steve was the last to arrive. Time for a quick shandy and then off down the road to Jacksons, get the cars unpacked and time to meet some of our fellow anglers for the week.
As per usual the coach was quickly packed and we set off for Dover. Arriving at about 9.00pm we almost got the early ferry but it was full and so had a 90 minute wait for the next ferry. Burger King was still open for once and so we had an attack of the munchies. By this time mad Phil arrived with the other coach from the Dover pick up and we were ready to board.
Uneventful journey down to the lakes and we arrive just after 6.00am, to be greeted by Matt the head bailiff with those lovely welcoming words – “right lads welcome to Dreamlakes unload the trailers straight away and then bacon rolls and a cup of tea”.
Fishing down on Lake 4 we had to take our gear off the trailers and load them into 2 vans to be taken to the lake. Everyone mucks in and in no time the vans are loaded and off we go.
Once down on the lakes Merz our bailiff for the week quickly runs through the rules does and draw and off we go to get set up for the week. It’s a lovely day so rods first and bivvy later. I had chosen swim 3. I have fished this lake a few times before and so a quick flick out with the marker and a well known spot was found. All the rods clipped up on the mark and a few spods of bait just to get things going. It was not long before Steve, Cid and James had all had fish and were basking in the glory of their early spoils and winding me up. Seemed like a good time to have a mid day Saturday nap and so got my head down for a few zz’s.
Well it was not long before the first take 2.20 Saturday afternoon to be precise, and a few minutes later a beautiful 32lb common was on the scales and getting ready to have its picture taken. This was quickly followed 20 minutes late by a 22lb mirror. No photo for you, come back when you are a thirty. I then managed to lose a few and finally it was time for dinner. Steak and chips, perfect.
Back on the rods by 6.00pm and by 7.30 another mirror. Slightly bigger this one at 27lb but still not big enough for a photo.
Saturday night was a quite night so I managed to catch upon some sleep only to be woken at 5.20am by the alarms once more. 34lb mirror so time to wake someone up for a photo. Just got this one back a noticed that the left hand bobbin was moving around but not really a take. Gave it ten minutes and then wound in to find a 2lb cat on the end to say I was unimpressed would be an understatement. Still there was enough time for a 34lb mirror before breakfast and so 6 fish in the first 24 hours not too bad at all.
Back from breakfast Sunday morning and three more fish during the day, everyone else has had a few more so we decide to have a bit of a lake 4 social after dinner. The table gets pulled across receivers are set up and a few beers are opened.
That’s when it all got a bit crazy:- 6.20. 6.45, 8.00. 8.20, 9.15, 9.35 and 11.00 seven fish in 5 hours including a 40. That’s 16 to date and over 400lb in a day and a half. Awesome. Monday the 19th May was a quiet day only 7 fish including 4 30’s and Tuesday was even quieter with 4 fish.
Monday the 19th May? That date sounds familiar – oh yes it’s the wife’s birthday and I am in France fishing. At least i phoned her to say happy birthday This is going to cost me!
Wednesday started off very quiet, well until about 12.30pm. My son James had moved to swim 5 on the other side of the lake and landed a lower 30 so I had to run around for a photo, leaving Cid in charge of my rods. On the way back I spotted Cid in my swim and with a bend in one of my rods. A quick run to the rods and I took over the fight. It was all a bit plodding but the fish was not going to give up and some 15 minutes later we finally got fish No 29 in the net, well we tried to. Even with a 50in landing net the tail was a struggle to get in. Anyway dismantled the net and lifted it to the unhooking mat. Oh my god that’s heavy, but into the sling it goes and onto the scales 56lb 2oz they read.
Hang on a minute that might be a lake record, let’s check that again. Lift off the sling and check the scales are set at minus 4lb, on goes the sling again and watch the needle go around and around again and yes it is 56lb 2oz. What a fish a new PB and so into the lake for a photo. (Checked it since I got back and it’s a joint lake record as the same fish was caught in June 2013 at the same weight.)
Just time for fish No 30 and another 30lber and it’s time for bed. Not much chance of any sleep though as there are thunders storms all around the lakes and a fantastic lightning display, just what you need when sitting under a tree next to 3 12 foot long carbon fibre sticks.
Shortly after midnight and the storm is in full swing, just in time for the left hand rod to go off. Ok now I am standing under the tree with a carbon stick in my hand. 2 minutes later and off goes the right hand rod. This is getting silly now, there’s thunder and lightning overhead and I have a rod in each hand. Help – help, surprisingly no one comes to the rescue. Put one rod down and get the first in, unhook it in the net and now for the second one. In it comes and that’s 2 in the net. Fortunately they are only 20’s so a quick trip to the scales and off they go.
Four more during and day on Thursday including a 23lb PB grass carp and a Dreamlake first for me and another one overnight so finally its Friday morning, time for breakfast and time to do the catch report. So far 37 fish 1, 50 1, 40 and 12, 30’s for a total of over 1000lb.
Friday was really quite with not a fish all day but at least that gave me time to get the bivvy down and most of the gear packed in the dry. Time for dinner, roast beef and veg. Sleeping out under the stars tonight and the rods out, can I get to 40 fish. Well I did not have to wait long 7.30 and off goes the first rod 8.20 and off goes the second another grass carp and another PB at 25lb and finally just after 11.00pm off goes another rod and fish No 40.
Shall I pack up now, well the purists would say that the 2lb cat does not count so out go the rods for the final time and just before 2.00am in comes carp No 40 and that’s it time to pack up. 41 fish for a total of 1125lb 2 oz in 7 days including a new PB mirror and grassie, totally awesome.
As for the others, James 11 fish, Cid 12 fish and Steve 10 fish. Merz no fish yes that’s right not a fish all week. Not surprising really and he was working most of the time. Keeping the lodge clean, cutting the grass and manning the shop. I don’t know what Zen pays him but it’s not enough, Merz is a top bailiff and spent days making sure that everyone caught something in the first few days. All that’s left now is to pack the van, un pack the van, pack the coach trailer and off we go back to England.
Great journey back and we get the early ferry so we are back in Bicknacre for 2.30 and home just after 4.00 perfect!! A big thanks to everyone at Dreamlakes, the food was great again, both lodges were spotlessly clean and a good laugh had by all."