I have just returned from a fishing session – the first ‘proper’ trip since May! Craig Reed (the guide at Orellana) and myself, had been discussing doing a few sessions together, especially after our initial session together in May. He had popped down to join me for a couple of days during my nine-day stint which saw three upper-thirties banked, Craig also caught a cracking common. Craig recently had clients at Orellana and was notifying me of their progress. It was decided we would fish Orellana first, as the guys had enjoyed some success, and had plenty of runs, taking fish to over 30lbs.
As we began the planned session last Sunday, dark clouds moved in, and rain was soon lashing the ground. The temperature dropped and suddenly things didn’t look as good as they had done. I don’t mind bad weather when fishing but Craig, knowing the lake better than me, reckoned the sudden cold snap would kill the fishing and he was right. We saw a couple of fish show themselves in the bay we were targeting, but after two days and nights, we opted for plan B – Sierra Brava and my home turf!
Calm after the storm.
Being a smaller lake in comparison, the fish don’t seem too affected by sudden weather changes at Sierra Brava, and after the long dry spell we have endured in this region, I was sure we would find success. After we had picked up more supplies, and Craig had his tickets sorted, we made our way to the western side of the lake. We looked at a couple of swims but carried on round the perimeter of the lake heading for a couple of bays. We looked at both and after seeing a few fish bosh clear of the choppy swell, we chose the larger of the two bays, and set up our stalls, right at the bottom end of the bay. Craig opted for the far end of the bay and I set up twenty yards up from him. With the wind and occasional rain, blowing hard into the bay, we were both fairly confident that we would get some results.
Really enjoying my NCT’s courtesy of Sonik Sports.
As always with fishing a new swim, and especially at a lake like Sierra Brava, a few things need to be evaluated. Depth available and is the area snaggy? We knew there were no trees to fish to, and therefore worry about, so the only other thing that can cause problems are sharp jagged rocks. If your line settles in them, or a fish pulls you over a rocky area, you run the risk of cut-offs. Normally though, by looking at the terrain you set up on, you can tell what the bottom will be like in front of you. If you set up amongst tall jagged rocks then you can be certain they will continue into the lake in front of you.
The depths seemed good and 70-100 yards out gave a depth of 24-30 feet. I always like margins at Brava, so I opted for a close range rod, 40 yards out on the slope at an 18ft depth, and another rod was put out at 60 yards with a depth of around 22ft. Craig chose to do fairly similar tactics but also put one rod in the middle of the bay towards the right hand side margin.
Fishing like this is trial and error and by fishing in a pair it sometimes helps, as you can see how the other person is faring, and can therefore change things accordingly to suit. For example, in the daytime I put out a longer range rod in deeper water at 100 yards range and this started producing fish, as the rods closer in weren’t producing takes in the day.
Flash is enjoying the cooler weather.
Craig left yesterday evening, and up until that point we had some good action – 19 takes and 16 fish landed between us. We endured persistent rain, westerly and easterly winds and the odd burst of sunshine. If anything the weather was a mixed bag, but the fish fed and it was good sport. Craig really is an excellent angler, competent in all skills, and consistent – which is the most important factor in my eyes. We have actually decided that we are going to start entering competitions together, at Brava and Orellana, so that will be fun/interesting to see how we get on!
After the few days rain we encountered, yesterday afternoon a hatch of winged ants suddenly appeared on the lake. These are actually pushed out of colonies by the worker ants, and within minutes, every square metre of the bay had a winged ant dancing on the surface. It did not take long for the carp to latch onto them, and after a few hours a group of carp could be seen in the far corner of the bay, taking them off the surface. Normally when this act of nature occurs, the carp get so preoccupied by them, that you may as well resign to that fact. I am sure they would be susceptible to a zig or a fly during this period, but in all honesty I would rather just watch the phenomenon unfold as it rarely happens or when it does, you aren’t present.
With all of the above in mind I wasn’t exactly brimming with confidence as darkness fell, and right up until I got my head down for the night, I could hear carp on the surface. However, at 1.30am I had a run on my long-range rod and was soon landing a mid-double common. I got my rod back out, made a tea, and read some of my book.
This long-range rod had been out since 11am and I also put a rod out at 70 yards range sporting a large snowman consisting of a Vital Baits 24mm OR-O bottom bait and a suitable pop-up to match. I use Vital Baits for my clients and often use it myself, although I do not stick to one brand these days and that is the way I prefer it. I had baited around this rod with half a kilo of freebies, 20 and 24mm, using a throwing stick. At 3.30am this rod was away, and after a nice fight a slightly larger yet shorter common graced my net. Maybe the winged ants hadn’t put the fish off feeding on the bottom?
My final rod was slightly to the left of this rod and I had spombed out a kilo or so of my Brava spomb mix, comprising maize, tigers, Vital SB-X boilies, a course pellet I am trying out, and the customary small tin of tuna fish! I also fished this rod using a snowman, but using the SB-X bottom bait with a yellow pop-up. At 6.45am this rod was away and what a take it was. It took plenty of line as I tried to slow her down and then put up a dogged fight all the way to the net. This was my second mirror of the session but by the looks of it – my biggest fish too. I hoped to bag a thirty pounder and it looked like she might be that; 2 ounces more in fact!
A superb fish to finish the session off with, but will there be more to come this week?
With the old fish photographed and released, I packed up for home. I actually baited up before I left, as tomorrow I am beginning another week session in the same swim. What with the moon, weather, and fish that are in the bay, I would be a fool not to!
Catch you soon.
Jake & Flash!