Brasenose Hauling

This chunky low-thirty was the biggest of the latest trip

The Apache ambushes some Linear lovelies.

During the winter I love to retreat to Oxfordshire for a bit of fun fishing, although this winter it has been quite difficult with the weather; it seems every week we get thrown out in fear of it flooding.

Still, I had a few ideas I wanted to try and this new bait from Sticky looked promising too. I had used early batches the year before and loved it then, so when the newly named Manilla had been ‘improved’ I was even more excited to feed it to these often willing Brasenose carp. With very few people using boilies I was confident of doing pretty well.

My first session was a bit of a social really, but it ended up going pretty well. I ended up in a swim just up from my mates and after a night of chatting away, I had managed to sneak a few. The third fish was a 30lb mirror, so I decided to do a couple more nights. I have also always done well fishing with sweetcorn on the lake, so I was fishing at a comfortable 80 yards range with hemp, corn, Bloodworm Pellets and plenty of boilies. It was nice fishing, with very little action during the night. It was all daytime bites and there were plenty of those.

Working the swim with the Spomb and making sure those hungry fish had plenty of food to eat
A beautiful 27lb mirror that could have been mistaken for a Hardwick fish

I was mixing the hookbaits, two being on the faithful Signatures and the other one on a Manilla pop-up. Amazingly, most of the bites were on the food bait, which showed me what they were eating out there. After each bite I topped the swim back up with half a dozen more Spombs of food for them, and as with everything I do, I always nick on a small PVA bag of Bloodworm Pellets and I dip it all in hemp oil. This gives the bag a huge amount of attraction and helps the bites come even quicker.

A simple mix of hemp, Bloodworm Pellets, sweetcorn and Manilla boilies kept the bites coming
Steve used a selection of hookbaits, but the Manilla pop-ups came out on top

I was catching some lovely looking fish, some beautiful twenties, which stand the lake in great stead for the future. One of them was a beautiful 27lb mirror that looked like it had been pinched from Hardwick. I ended up with 27 fish that session, which included over a dozen twenties, so it really was great winter fishing.

I went back the following week and fished near the entrance to the gates as you come into the complex. Again, I based the mix mainly on boilies and the action just kicked off again where we’d left off last time. My plan was to fish 16mm pop-ups in the bid to catch a Brasenose forty. The lake had been doing a few recently, which seemed a bit surreal, especially after fishing it when Len and Chris put these fish in as doubles all those years ago, but they are much bigger now.

One of over 10 twenties on the first trip – a stunning example of the future of the lake
The next session was eventful, but not quite so productive, though 13 fish in February can’t be grumbled at
Another solid twenty falling to a Manilla pop-up
The commons are putting on weight too

That session didn’t pan out as planned, but before being kicked out for rising water levels and getting a baiting needle getting stuck in my finger (Ian Russell had to give it a push through with the old pliers – thank you, mate!), I managed 13 fish to over 30lb.

I was still playing around with various hookbaits and the most productive one by a long way was the actual Manilla pop-up again. It just showed me how much bait these fish were eating, to be picking out a food bait before a bright, sweet Signature pop-up.

I plan to keep on giving it a go down there until I do get that 40lb-plus Brasenose mirror. I just hope this rain holds off, so the complex is back open again for a bit more fun fishing.

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