My session started on a Wednesday afternoon and I had opted for a lake in the Ringwood area that is known to have some winter form during the daytime so it was the ideal place for a Christmas/New Year social. I turned up to the club lake to find only one other person on, so I had a good choice of swims to go at, but with a bitter North Westerly smashing across the lake it made finding signs of fish pretty tough. With this in mind I set up in a swim that controls a lot of open water and an island with a nice treeline at range which gives shelter from the cold winds and provides snags for fish to sit up in during the day. I had also fished there a couple of weeks before and managed two fish in similar conditions, so I thought this may be a good area to start.


As I only had a couple of hours of light remaining I set about trying to pin down an area the fish were in by putting out three singles at different ranges. I opted for 140, 160 and 172 yards. Just as it was getting dark the middle rod was away, but unfortunately the hook pulled midway through the fight. On the plus side it gave me a rough idea as to where the fish were and where to place the rods. So, on dark when I felt the chance of another bite had passed I wound the rods in and clipped them all up to 160 yards where I'd had the bite and decided to put 10 Spombs of glugged Live System out in a large area and fished a similar approach rig-wise, two with Ronnies and one on a Stiff Hinge, all with bright pink CC Moore ns1+ Pop-ups amongst the spread of boilie.


The night passed quietly, as they usually do on this particular lake and I woke to the rods all frosted over, with it dropping to -3 overnight. At around 8am the middle rod burst into life just as I had put the kettle on. I went on to land the fish and put it in the retainer quickly while I phoned Matt who was on his way down to fish. When he arrived we hoisted her up, and got the reading of 22lb 3oz, a nice linear to start the day. I got the rod back out in the area and topped up with another 3 - 4 Spombs. Matt set about getting his rods out to my right, found his spots and got some bait out too, with this we both went into the afternoon quite confident of a bite between us. Around 2pm I had a bite on my left-hander, again a nice scaly linear that went 19lb and ounces. The next bite then came to Matt just on dark, yet another linear around the low double mark. After sorting the rods out again it was time to chill out and get the kettle on, order a takeaway and settle down for the night.


As expected the night was uneventful again but with the weather changing and getting better by the minute things were looking good for a bite, though it wasn't until 9am this time with another take on my middle rod, and after a bit of shuffling with my other rods, the fish was safely in the net, the first common of the trip, around the mid-double mark, but before we even had time to get it on the mat one of Matt’s rods also burst into life! After a good scrap the fish rolled over the cord and was another nice little mirror. We got the rods back on the spots and luckily a mate had popped down and was able to do some shots of the both of us during a quick break in the rain. After slipping them both back we stuck the kettle on and hid from a big shower that was on its way over. No sooner had we finished the brew and my left-hand rod blistered off so I got Matt to grab my coat and help me into while playing the fish, as the rain was beating down by now. After another really good fight we saw a flash of the fish in the margin and looked at each other as if to say "don't fall off". We knew it was a nice one. Luckily it didn't fall off and was in the net so we retained her for 20 minutes while I got the rod back out and we sorted the camera gear. We weighed it out of curiosity, and it went 16lb 7oz but what a fish it was, and number four of the trip for me! That evening we decided to put around 15 Spombs out between us as the wind was really going to pick up overnight so it was our last chance at getting the bait out at range before the next opportunity of a bite.


Saturday morning, and yet again the night passed motionless on the rods but the wind was still howling in the morning and the rods were still out on the spot with bait around. Despite our confidence Matt had to leave around 9am and the rods were yet to show any signs of action. That was, until a friend from the swim next door popped down for a chat and my left-hander went into meltdown with the fish attached giving a very good account of itself! When I got the fish within 40 yards of the bank the middle rod was away too! After a bit of a pause and checking that I hadn't tangled the rod with the fish I was playing my mate picked up the rod and started playing that one whilst the first fish was trying to snag me in the bush to the left, after a couple more minutes though I had the upper hand and slipped the net under a proper scaly one. Now for the middle rod, this fish had decided to kite to the right so I passed the rod underneath the right-hander and continued the battle while Alex set up another net to make things a bit easier and after getting this one in the net I saw it was a nice double row linear. After weighing the first one, it turned out to be the biggest of the trip at 23lb 7oz, so we sorted some photos out and slipped them back. With the wind still very strong, getting the rods back out was made difficult and baiting was out of the question so I gave it another hour or so before deciding to pack up, very happy with how the session had panned out, a bonus being that, no matter the weather, it was also great to have a nice social with some good mates.