Digger Lakes Catch
Ricky Thomas, recalls a recent session at Digger Lakes in Devon...
The weather has been a touch blowy in recent weeks to say the least, but as my Facebook wall becomes flooded with carp pictures it was obvious that the fish were responding to the weather and on the munch! With not a huge selection of venues down in Somerset/Devon, I decided that I would venture down to Digger Lakes near Cullompton as it had been producing a good head of fish in recent times. Most of my fishing of late had been targeting a couple big carp and subsequently, due to the nature of the beast, my buzz of hearing the alarms has not been ringing in my ear a great deal. Even with fish to over 40lb under my belt this year, truth is told I just wanted to go and hopefully catch a couple fish regardless of size.
So I decided to fish Digger Lakes for a number of reason’s; it’s a lovely five-acre lake with loads of small channel’s and islands, which is the style of fishing I love. Short tricky cast’s under snags is my cup of tea, even more so when the chances of a bite is high due to the lake being on good form. With 150 stunning hand selected carp swimming around, you always have a chance if you land on the fish. The two biggest residents were well overdue a capture, both being clear of 33lb was another reason why that particular venue was preferred.
With no pre-baiting and prior preparation, the alarm sounded and I was off for a windy 24 hour session. I arrived at the lake to see a surprisingly high number of cars in the car park, as I swung the car into its spot a familiar face came through the entrance gate. One of Digger Lakes most consistent regular anglers Graham Kelly came out and informed me had had caught one of the two big girls at 33lb that morning on an overnighter. Fare play to him, well deserved to an angler who has very limited time - four nights a month I believe.
After a congratulation handshake, I headed off round the lake for a wonder to see what was going on. The lake had fished well the weekend previous with the biggest catch over two nights being an eight fish haul including five different 20’s. With nothing showing and all the other anglers still sound asleep, I decided to go in a swim called the Little Junction as it just felt right.
As I’ve only ever fished five nights on the venue before I had no knowledge of any ‘hot spots’ or any topography of the swims. After casting with just a lead, I had highlighted two spots that I thought would fish during the day and a back-up spot for the night. The left rod was fished at 23 yards towards a far bank marker about five feet from the far margin, and was the only area of the swim I could get a decent drop in the shallow water. The right rod was fished up the side of an island, which just happened to be in the slack of the big wind, a very soft ‘thud’ indicated that I was fishing over shallow silt, which I was happy with. The cast to that island spot was tricky due to having vegetation both above and to my left; this was the reason why I had a back-up spot. If I got lucky on the island mark during darkness, the cast back out would have been too risky, so to try and avoid a pub chuck I decided to bait back-up spot right round to my left in an entrance channel.
With a break in the wind I managed to get the Island rod sorted quickly first, I fished a 15mm Mainline Essential IB Balanced Wafter to the spot, the hookbait was boosted with the matching Mainline Hookbait Enhancement System dip. I good few seconds after the cast landed, the PVA foam I used to protect the hook point hit the surface as I fired 25-35, 15mm Cell boilies the top.
With the left rod sorted it was a case of now getting the right rod done in what were now full gale-force winds. The cast in normal conditions I could have done with my eyes closed, but the wind was making it very hard to land the rig on the small hard spot I found. As my seventh, yes seventh, cast landed on the money a full sense of relief came over me. I placed the rod on the floor allowing my line enough time to sink down to the bottom. As the line quickly sunk through the shallow layers I reached for the bait bucket when the pack of ducks arrived on the scene. (I called them the ‘ant hill mob’, anyone who is older than 20 and watched Wacky Race’s as a kid will know what I mean). Knowing that baiting now would have encouraged a duck diving competition between the ’mob’, I decided against baiting-up and tuned round to wind the sticks onto the buzzers. You know when something happens that makes you think something is not quite right, that happened to me as I was winding the bankstick onto the buzzbar! At that point I tuned around to see the ‘Mob’ had gone and the left hand rod’s butt section slowly disappearing into the water like the final scene from the titanic.
Panicking that my rod was going to end up being a rod-wreck, I launched head first into the edge (cutting the side of my ugly mug), and grabbed the rod while releasing the clutch. As I shuffled back up the bank I could only assume that one of the ducks dropped down onto the rig and picked it up. After a few seconds the distinct surges of a Digger Lkae carp became apparent as it dawned on me that I was into a fish! How I will never know, the time it took from the moment the cast landed to the rod being pulled in must have been less that 30 seconds, it was unlikely the foam had even come off when the fish sucked it in? Let alone the fact it took me seven attempts to hit the spot confused me to how this was happening, surely the disturbance would have pushed the fish away?
Anyway, moving on from Wacky Race’s and the Titanic, I finally managed to net the fish using just the mesh as the handle was still in my quiver. Real school boy error Rick! As I peered down a low-twenty mirror could be seen sulking in the soft mesh result!
The rest of the session was never going to be as eventful as the first 30 seconds, but it was as enjoyable. The session turned out beautifully as over the course of the day, I landed a further five carp the biggest being 19lb. A simple case of topping the spot with 20 baits after each fish, and a fresh rig was enough to keep the action coming. All the fish during the day fell to the hard spot, but as darkness fell the only other action came to the island rod. Unfortunately the ‘back-up spot’ did nothing more than fill the belly’s of the swans despite my best efforts to avoid them coming back.
As the sun came-up in the morning, the bivvy came down as I headed off home. Overall it was a great session with seven fish being landed, biggest being the first at 21lb 11oz. The venue has been great to me up to now, having produced 41 carp from fishing six nights including one of the big girls known as the Half Lin. It really is an amazing venue and a pleasure to fish. So check it out - it really is a special place with some great carp.