Christmas eve and I am bursting with enthusiasm to get on Conningbrook for my Christmas Session, as I locked up the shop the Landlord of the adjacent bar at Cottington Lakes asked if I would have a Christmas drink with him at first I refused wanting to get to the Lake, when I saw that he was hurt by my refusal I said ok just the one though, and in just a few minutes I was on my way. The excitement and adrenalin were pumping around what felt like my entire body, I knew which swim I wanted I stopped off at Chilham mill and noticed five anglers were booked in for Christmas Day a feeling of despair now entered my head thinking that the Brook may be busy too when I say busy usualy on the Mill there was only two at the most over the festive period, however when I arrived at the Brook it was deserted and the wind was northeasterly and in no time I was set up in the Lifebouy swim and searching for features. Why I have never fished here before I will never know I have not been so excited about a venue so much since fishing Redmire Pool, with just a handful of fish in 16 acres a chance of a take are slim enough in the warmer months let alone in the winter but the chances are there and have to be taken, plus this was my chance to have a good look around the lake with no one else on there. To say the session was intense would be an understatement my eyes hardly left the water I was fishing with completely slack lines and the amount of linebites I had you would have thought the lake was stocked with hundreds of fish I put this down to small fish swimming through the dense weed beds which the lake is renowned for, Conningbrook is extremely rich in naturals which aids to the venue being Mega difficult, though I never caught or even expected to I cannot wait to return I intend to fish here for most of 2007. The winter months being my chance to learn as much about the lake bed as purely possible. Apart from the Lifebouy swim there are two other swims that I love the look of The snags I thought was well sexy and the Island swim that commands a lot of water and has the best view of the lake.
AFTER RECENTLY LANDING A PIKE ON MY FISHMEAL BOILIES I ASKED THE LADS AT PREMIER, STEVE AND PAUL TO DESIGN ME A BAIT FOR CONNINGBROOK. THEY ASKED ME WHAT TYPE OF FLAVOUR I WANTED IN THE MIX AND I REPLIED NOTHING FISHY! THEY PUT THEIR HEADS TOGETHER AND BLENDED A HIGH QUALITY BAIT THAT WOULD BE LESS ATTRACTIVE TO PIKE BUT A PERFECT FOOD SOURCE FOR THE CARP. THE ALL NEW BASE MIX AND ATTRACTOR PACKAGE WAS NOW READY. AFTER SI AND THE ROLLING TEAM HAD THE FINISHED PRODUCT IT SMELT JUST LIKE PEANUT BUTTER [PERFECT] IN 20MM. PAUL THEN ROLLED ME SOME EXTRA HARD HOOKBAITS TO ALLOW FOR MY TACTICS ON THE BROOK. LEAVING MY HOOKBAITS OUT FOR 48 HOURS, THIS WAS ESSENTIAL.
WE HAD BEEN DEMONSTRATING RIGS TO SOME OF OUR CUSTOMERS AND STEVE HAD TIED A 4” STIFF RIG USING 15LB ESP STIFF RIG FILAMENT AND A SIZE 7 STIFF RIGGER HOOK I SAID THAT I WANTED TO GIVE ONE A TRY SO I ATTACHED IT TO A KORDA GRAVEL CHOD RIG
I ARRIVED AT THE LAKE TO FIND JUST TWO ANGLERS. ONE WAS ON THE ISLAND AND THE OTHER WAS ON THE LONG LAWN. I CHOSE TO FISH THE BAY SWIM AT THE OTHER END OF THE LAKE KNOWING THE WIND WAS GOING TO SWING AROUND FROM SOUTHWEST TO SOUTHEAST BLOWING STRAIGHT INTO MY SWIM. MY LEFT HAND ROD WAS PLACED IN THE MARGINS, MY MIDDLE ROD WAS CAST 40 YARDS TO THE BACK OF A THICK WEED BED AND MY RIGHT HAND ROD WAS CAST 80 YDS TO A SMALL GRAVEL PATCH. NOTHING MUCH HAPPENED UNTIL THE SECOND MORNING AND THE WIND HAD SWUNG COMPLETELY ROUND, IT WAS NOW NORTHEASTERLY (ALTHOUGH I NOW HAD THE FISH IN FRONT OF ME WITH THE WIND BLOWING DOWN THE OTHER END OF THE LAKE). I HAD A BLEEP FROM MY MIDDLE ROD AND NOTICED MY LINE RISING OUT OF THE WATER WHERE A LARGE MIRROR HAD SURFACED LIKE A SUBMARINE, PICKING UP MY LINE AS IT SURFACED IT THEN WENT DOWN AND RESURFACED TAKING SOMETHING OFF THE TOP. I QUICKLY PUT OUT A COUPLE OF POUCHES OF MIXERS AND WENT TO REEL IN MY RIGHT HAND ROD WHEN I HAD A SINGLE BLEEP. I NOTICED THE LINE STARTING TO KITE LEFT ON PICKING UP THE ROD AND PULLING INTO THE FISH ALL I FELT WAS THE GRATING OF WEED. I COULD NOT FEEL THE FISH AT ALL BUT I STARTED TO PUMP IN A HUGE BALL OF WEED. WHEN IT WAS 20 YARDS OUT I SAW A TAIL SO I PUMPED IT IN CLOSER. I DROPPED MY ROD AND STARTED TO HAND LINE THE FISH TOWARDS ME UNTIL I COULD REACH THE WEED AND PULL IT OFF THE LINE. WHEN I HAD CLEARED MOST OF IT THE FISH THEN SURGED BACK OUT TOWARDS THE MIDDLE OF THE LAKE. I PICKED UP MY ROD AND GAINED CONTROL. THE FISH WENT UNDER THE TREES TO MY RIGHT, I GUIDED IT OUT INTO THE NET BUT IT SURGED OFF AGAIN. AFTER A SHORT FIGHT THE FISH DID THE SAME AGAIN BUT THIS TIME AS THE FISH SWAM OVER THE NET I SCOOPED IT UP. I WAS NOT SURE WHICH FISH IT WAS AT FIRST, JUST GLAD TO HAVE MY FIRST BROOK FISH. WHEN I UNFOLDED THE NET I KNEW I HAD MY TARGET FISH - THE LONG COMMON. I QUICKLY WEIGHED IT AND COULD NOT BELIEVE IT WHEN THE SCALES RESTED AT 40LB-8OZ. I HAD TO WEIGH IT AGAIN JUST TO MAKE SURE! NOT ONLY IS THE FISH THE ONE THAT I WANTED, BUT A PB COMMON AT OVER 40LB.
MY THANKS TO GINGE WHO TOOK THE PHOTOS - PUKKA JOB MATE! ALSO TO TONY AND THE LADS AT PREMIER FOR A TERRIFFIC BAIT AND TO CHRIS LOGSDON WHO SUGGESTED I MADE THE MOVE FROM CHILHAM MILL TO CONNINGBROOK. OH YES AND TO THOMAS AT WORK FOR MY MUCH NEEDED CUP OF TEA WHEN I RETURNED TO WORK.