A Christmas visit from old friends – Chris Shute

A Christmas visit from old friends – Chris Shute

I try and get at least two weeks off over the Christmas and New Year period, making time to get a few sessions in along with our customary social on the syndicate. It’s a perfect chance to catch up with good friends, have a few cheeky glasses of wine and not to mention a great excuse to escape from the mince pies, over excited family and hopefully chance of landing a few fish.

Upper double from last years Christmas session

Upper double from last years Christmas session

Ounce shy of 17

Caught almost a year later and again before Christmas

With the weather being so mild, I took advantage on the Sunday before Christmas and managed a quick day session on my winter syndicate. By travelling light and staying mobile I managed to slip the net under one of the lakes smaller residents in the shape of a fin perfect common which took a liking to double 10mm Crave Squab pop ups presented on ‘The System’ with Bloodworm and Maggot Crush groundbait, a short braided hooklink with a size 8 Gripz hook.

The Monday and Tuesday saw a trip to Exeter to visit family and have Christmas day #1. I do have a tradition of getting out for a quick overnight session on the syndicate, with previous years being kind to me by presenting me with one of the lakes A-Team on the 22nd December when I also managed another upper double (I’ll come back to these fish later). Unfortunately, on this occasion the quick overnighter into Christmas eve drew a blank; however not all was lost, the session gave me a surprise chance to catch up with my good friend, Chris, who also managed to slip the net under one of our up and coming mid double commons to cap a good year on the water for him.

An old friend from 22nd December 2014

An old friend from 22nd December 2014

With Christmas day number two and three done, it was time to head back down to the syndicate for our social session and catch up with good friends and hopefully a few fish. With the weather being so mild for December, we’ve certainly had our fair share of rain with the banks sodden. By no means has it been as wet as a few years back when Somerset was underwater, nor as horrific as our friends in the North have seen it this winter, but is a complete contrast to last year where the lake froze on us!

The fishing has certainly picked up the last few weeks prior to this session with a few fish coming out, however I’m not 100% convinced it’s down to the weather but maybe more to do with the increased bait that’s been going in and the higher than average members being on the bank. Having arrived mid-afternoon on the Sunday, both rods were soon sorted which I decided to keep very simple.

Reunited with an old friend at Christmas

Reunited with an old friend at Christmas

I would present an inline medium Stonze weight wrapped in Bloodworm and Maggot Crush Groundbait, a short three-inch braided rig with a Size 8 Gripz hook and a Pink Jungle 14mm Flarze pop up to a smooth clay spot. The second rod starting on a weight clip with a swivel Stonze, double 14mm Jungle bottom bait and a simple three bait stringer. The aim would be to trickle in some bait along a margin spot for later in the session, but use this second rod as simply a roving rod to try and nick the odd fish as and when the opportunity arrived.

A stark contrast from last year!

A stark contrast from last year!

As with my previous session on the 12th December, where I managed an upper double mirror – the same upper double mirror I landed on the 22nd December the previous year – the bite didn’t take long to come on the method and Flarze pop up which occurred right on dusk. Fortunately, Chris was in my swim to lend a hand as were having a little perch comp, which saw the fish kite in the shallow water and take me on a lengthy battle. Steady pressure saw my prize turn, guided to the awaiting net where Chris did the honours for me.

Upon inspection it was clear this was one of the A-team and an old friend, one I’ve managed a few times this year and the very fish I managed on the 22nd December last year! What are the odds! Two fish either side of Christmas from the Syndicate turn out to be the same two fish I caught just before Christmas last year! Following a few quick snaps and recorded weight of 26lb 9oz for the syndicate records, we were soon toasting the carp gods and settled into the session. This would be my only chance of the session having decided to cut it a night short following the announcement of storm Frank coming in, one I didn’t fancy packing up early in the next morning when it arrived!

With all the lads down that week managing to catch with the lake doing two more new home-grown 20lb commons to Richie and Colin, along with Dan’s mid double scaly mirror we’ve not seen before, it was certainly a great few days and end to the year for the water.

As I write this blog, news has come in that one of our members has kicked off their new year in style by going on to land the queen of the lake, a new Pb and lake record at 32lb+; bracing it with the big leather at an all-time high of 29lb 8oz! Congratulations Jimmer, certainly know how to start the year!

A perfect start to the year

A perfect start to the year!

Smile says it all

Smile says it all

 

 

 

 

 

 
Wish you all a happy fish filled 2016!
Chris

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