Sean Kelly 2020 Round Up!
Sean Kelly 2020 Round Up!
2020 and what a year it has been, in one way or another! As I’m sure with many of you, the whole lockdown at the beginning of the year put paid to your fishing and probably ruined any plans you may have had. Well it certainly did for me! I had spent a considerable amount of time over winter planning European trips; bait, traveling etc. all for it to go to waste because of Boris and his lockdown - simply gutted! Once we did finally get the all clear, that was it, I was off. I started by just nipping across the channel to a venue I fish regularly, and it was great to just be back out on the bank again. The summer then went by with the odd trip here and there, but it wasn’t until nearly the end of the summer months that I was offered an amazing trip to the mighty Rainbow from a good friend. My instant reaction was obviously I’ll take it, “okay” he said, “it is in less than two week’s time though” oh, let me check with my mate Ashley. I was then straight on the phone to Ash, as I knew he would want to come, that was never going to be the issue. It was going to be down to his work. After speaking with him, his reaction was the same as mine; OMG! “Leave it with me” he said, “I will get back to you ASAP” no more than about two minutes later the txt comes “I’m in!” Boom, we are on.
The time had come to set off for Rainbow on the Friday evening. Traveling through the night aiming to arrive at the lake on Saturday lunch time. Now Rainbow is an amazing place to fish, unlike nowhere else I have ever been. So, any time I get to go there, I get overly excited and being Ash’s first ever trip to the venue you can imaging what he was like. On arriving at the mighty Rainbow, we were itching to get set up, as you would be. But it wasn’t going to be that simple, it was pouring with rain and windy to boot. Now is probably the time to tell you that the swim we had was the island swim. So, it’s a case of everything going into a boat, and getting across to the island whilst trying to keep everything as dry as possible. Well that didn’t happen, everything was soaked, and I mean soaked. We did however manage to keep the bed chairs semi dry thankfully. Now you might be thinking couldn’t we have just waited for the rain to clear, but no is the simple answer the weather app was showing heavy rain all day, and all week in fact! Anyway, we finally get the camp up and were settled with a plan of getting a good night’s sleep, and sorting the rods the following day. After breakfast the next day we were ready to get the rods out so its waterproofs on, echo’s in the boat and off we go exploring for spots.
As I said earlier, Rainbow is unlike anywhere I’ve ever fished. There’s snags like you have never seen, basically trees under the water, hundreds of little islands dotted about and an absolute maze of gully’s and bars. So, after a long day of exploring we were finally heading into our first night with the rods out, excited as ever.
The first night passes and all is quiet, but we heard fish in front of us, so we know there’s fish about. It was then whilst on about the third cup of coffee that my left-hand rod suddenly cranked over and there was something attached trying to pull the lot in! Rod, alarm, bank sticks the lot! The majority of the swims at Rainbow you have to fish completely locked up, giving them nothing as there are so many islands and snags the fish can take you around, which could possibly result in the worst thing; a lost fish. Anyway, back to the bite, I’m straight into the boat with the outboard on getting to what’s hopefully going to be my prize as quickly as possible. Its still pouring down and the wind is howling about me but I don’t care one bit, my adrenaline is through the roof as you just don’t know what’s on the end of that line, it could be a 90lb carp!
After being blown about I finally had my first fish of the trip in the net, a nice mid forty-pound common. That will do nicely! After bringing my prize back to the bank for photos etc. it wasn’t long before the right-hand rod was away too, this one being another mid-forty common also.
That afternoon I decided to bait an area quite heavily in a bay straight out ahead of me. With the intention of not fishing it for a few days but adding a bit of bait each day, and hopefully getting the carp feeding confidently in that area. So, this is what I did; 10kg of Mainlines Banoffee boilies along with a bucket of hemp, buckwheat and corn mixed together with Mainline Cream Smart Liquid. This is something I’ve used a lot of over the last year and found that the added attraction given off by the Smart Liquid really does make a difference, I always have it with me now. With this all done the lot went in over an area about the size of a squash court. Area baited and all rods baited with either double High Impact Banoffee or double Salty Squid 18mm Balanced Wafter (big baits to hopefully stop any nuisance fish) it was now time to see what the night would bring.
The night passes and it was quiet for the both of us until dawn came, then the left-hand rod was away again, this time resulting in a lovely 50lb plus common. After dealing with the common we sat there chilling taking in our surroundings. It was whilst doing this we saw a fish bosh over my baited area. Then another, and another, and another over it. That’s it, the plans out of the window I need a rod up there today! So that’s exactly what I did, I left it until late afternoon though as I didn’t want to disturb or spook the fish that were already there clearly having a good free feed.
The rod was placed that afternoon with another load of particle and about 5kg of Mainline Banoffee boilies, as I was pretty sure what I had put out the day before had most likely already been eaten. The evening comes and I wasn’t expecting anything through the night as the bites had been at first light, and that’s what happened. Just before first light the bay rod was away, straight in the boat and I go charging after it. After a short battle I had a common of about 25lb sulking in the net.
Now this rod I’m calling the bay rod, is about 250m from the island. So, this being the case I make sure I have a box of spares in the boat with me i.e. spare rig, leads, scissors, forceps, PVA foam, bait etc. anything you might possibly need to place the rig whilst you are out there. With it only being a relatively small fish for Rainbows standards, I unhooked it in the net releasing him there so I could reposition the rig before heading back, by doing this it saves valuable time and battery power on the outboard.
That morning I ended up with another four bites two of them coming from the bay, ranging from forty to fifty pounds. Whilst this had been going on Ash’s rods had been quiet, which was a bit strange as we had seen fish in his area. After discussing the features, he had in front of him, he decided to move one rod to a gully a little further out and one, more to his right. It then wasn’t long before the rod he had placed a bit longer was away, and he had his first ever Rainbow carp and straight in with a 50lb plus fish – happy days!
Over the next few days, we both caught consistently and was absolutely loving our time there. Now on one particular day we had sat there chatting about all the underwater snags and where they were. During this conversation Ash turns to me and says “I go over a monster snag on the way out to that spot, it comes right up to the surface and I have caught it a couple of times on the boat, its ok though I know where it is now” Later that day and Ash goes out to place a rod while I’m sat in my bivvy. As I’m sat there I suddenly hear an almighty clatter, I peer out to see Ash scrambling around on his back in the boat, he had only gone and hit that snag, toppling over the seat backwards. He was clearly ok so I didn’t feel bad having a good laugh at his expense. He does now know where that snag is though! As funny as this was I’d like to point out that he was wearing a life jacket, as should we all when out in a boat, you just never know what might happen.
As the trip went on we were catching well and despite all the rain we were having it wasn’t slowing the fishing down at all. Its funny really because its often said that Rainbow doesn’t fish well in the rain, well it’s a good job that wasn’t the case on this occasion as that’s all we’d had, rain, rain and more rain. We are now well into our second week and already made up with what we have caught. I mean, consistent bites, cracking commons to mid-fifties, who wouldn’t be? It was then out of the blue one afternoon that the long bay rod hoops over, straight to the boat and charging out to the spot I go, reeling as quick as I can to keep a tight line. Once out there I then know this is a better fish as it just stays deep plodding about, using its weight to its advantage. As always with all bites my heart is in my mouth, I’m shaking, I’m praying that the worse doesn’t happen. Then I see it, yep that’s a better one! I have often found when playing carp from the boat that its when they hit the surface that netting them first attempt can be vital. Failing to do this can then often result in another good 10 minutes of knee trembling, nail biting action. Luckily for me this wasn’t the case, up the fish came and took that first gulp of air and the net was straight under the big common. Big eruptions in the net but it was too late, you’re mine!
I’d said earlier that sometimes it was easier to slip the smaller ones back and reset the rig while you were out there. No way, not on this occasion. Carefully rolling the net up I made my way back to the bank, on approaching the swim my face must have said it all. Ash looks at me and says, “it’s a better one ain’t it mate” And it certainly was, pulling the scales round to 61lb, Yes!
The next couple of days saw us catch a few more, all until the weather changed. The sun came out, the rain was gone, and it felt glorious compared to what we’d had so far. As lovely as this was to be able to sit there outside enjoying a bit of warmth and admiring our surroundings, it did slow the fishing up. But who’s complaining? We certainly weren’t, it had already been an amazing trip!
The final morning came, and I was lucky enough to be presented with the perfect parting gift, one more bite resulting in another 50lb plus common, I couldn’t believe it, what a place! With the pictures done it was now that time for the dreaded pack down and to load the boats with all our gear. Once we were back at the van and everything was loaded, it was then one last look back across the lake to our swim, taking it all in that one last time and thanking this very special place.