The ever-consistent Luke Griffiths kicks off a regular blog series with a look back over his angling so far this spring...

After having a bit of a break from fishing over the winter period I couldn’t wait to get the rods back out. With spring fast approaching I was making sure all my kit was in top condition. Fresh line was loaded onto the reels, rigs were tied and the freezer stocked up with loads of bait. After a successful autumn campaign I was ready to tackle the larger lake on the complex a lovely wild gravel pit. Having only ever wet a line there once it was more or less all new to me and this particular pit was like no other I’ve fished before, which would certainly make things interesting. It has a main body of water one side which is fairly featureless with a uniform bottom and then a completely wild jungle-like section which is acres of channels and snags with plenty of inaccessible parts. As expected the fish loved the channels, with all the reeds, overhanging trees and sunken roots they had plenty of safe areas to hide. It was clear that I was going to need to target the back channels as the main open water area seemed completely lifeless and the fish were already getting caught from a particular swim in there even in February.

Unfortunately my first two sessions were spent fishing the main lake as the channels were just too busy. After talking to some of the regulars it was obvious that in the early spring the main open water area was a waste of time. I knew that for my next session I was going to have to leave work extra early and try and get in the area I needed to be. The early finish didn’t pay off as all the usual swims were already taken when I arrived. However, I knew I needed to be down that end so I looked around some other spots that were getting neglected in between “the going swims”. There was one place that I thought had to be worth a look, which was located between the two swims doing most of the bites. It seemed to be an area the fish passed through but didn’t necessarily stop to feed however; I had nothing to loose so I decided to give it a go. Two chods were dispatched to a gap between the far bank and island followed by some Manilla boilies. I set the bed and brolly up happy with my swim choice and felt like I was in with a chance. That evening I started getting a few liners and I knew it was fish passing by, I just hoped my visual pop ups would stop them in their tracks. At around midnight my prayers were answered when the alarm went into meltdown. I was on top of the rods and quickly jumped up and started walking back pumping the fish away from the gap. Once I knew it was clear I could relax and enjoy the fight, it was going crazy swimming right under my rods and proceeded to wipe all 3 out. I could tell it was a decent fish and it was a massive relief when I finally bundled it into the net. It was a lovely long two tone common weighing in at 32lb 12oz. I was over the moon to catch one of the lakes better ones and so soon into my session too.Nothing more occurred for the rest of the night or following day, so I made the decision to move into the swim further up as the guy in there was leaving. There seemed to be a lot of fish held up in this area and it was regularly doing bites so as you can imagine I was excited for the night ahead. After a good lead about I found three spots I was happy with and settled in for the night. The temperature plummeted but it didn’t seem to matter as at some point during the early morning I had a take that had me scrambling to the rod. The fish came in fairly hassle free until it came to netting it, there was a lot of reeds at the front of the swim which made life difficult and I somehow managed to fall in!It was absolutely freezing but luckily I did manage to get the fish in the net before reeling in, grabbing a fresh set of clothes out of the van and doing my best to dry off. The fish turned out to be a lovely dark 17lb 12oz zip linear and although that was the last of my action I was happy with the weekends success and was looking forward to getting back.

 The next session was a Sunday night and I had to be packed up and gone by 6am Monday. Surprisingly there were few anglers on and none in the popular swims so I decided to go in the peg I caught the 32lb from the other week. Behind the swim is another little channel and I just had to put a rod there this time as I could see the reeds knocking about like mad. Carp were quite clearly charging about in the reeds so I carefully placed my hookbait a few feet away from where they were knocking the most. The other two rods were flicked out to the other spot where I had fished previously. With an early wake up planned I got my head down and it didn’t seem long before a bite alarm was calling for my attention. A quick battle ensued and with the amount of reeds about I didn’t mess about in landing the fish. Peering into the net I could see it had great big rudder and I’m sure it would have led me a merry old dance if it had the chance. 19lb 13oz of overnighter common made sure my Monday morning was a good one and I was certainly looking forward to getting some more of the same over the coming months. My next session was another quick night, the swim I fished the previous time was occupied, so I jumped in another peg that had been a popular choice in recent times. The pads were seriously coming up now after a good few weeks of warmer weather and this area will eventually be unfishable. I managed to catch two low double mirrors in the early morning but unfortunately lost what felt a bigger fish. 

My latest session saw me fish a different lake on the complex. It was a bank holiday weekend which meant the banks were quite busy and the lake I had targeted last autumn had far fewer anglers on it so I decided to plot up on there. I was having problems with my car so got dropped off at the gate by good old dad and I ended up barrowing around the whole complex. The annoying thing was that you can drive the whole way round to get to the area I wanted to be, but I didn’t have that luxury. The night was quiet but the following morning it kicked off a little as I caught a friend from the previous year and the lakes biggest common at 33lb 11oz, a muscle packed fish that gave a real good battle cutting into the margins. I had to give the fish some real stick to pull it away from the underwater snags but the Stiff Rig Beaked hook held strong as always. After a quick rig change, a fresh bait was soon flicked back out to the hot spot. An hour later the rod was away again with a nice scraper 20lb mirror. That was the last of the action and although I was happy with the result, I was hoping to nail one I hadn’t had before and it made me think I need to get on the other lake so I decided to reel in and have a wonder. I thought the fish must be getting in the main open water area now and looking back I should have moved but I ended up staying where I was. I did catch a nice 16lb 4oz common during the night but to be honest I was expecting more action after the previous morning. It turns out a few fish did get caught from the main lake in the open water and I’m looking forward to giving it a go in there next time and with there being plenty of swims it won’t seem as busy as it did in the snaggy channels. Hopefully there will be plenty more action as spring turns into summer.