WINDOWS OF OPPORTUNITY, THE EQUINOX AND ONE OF OXFORD'S FINEST


21lb 07oz.


31lb - The Hardwick Linear.


22lb 01oz.


20lb 05oz.


25lb 12oz.

01 October 2013

WINDOWS OF OPPORTUNITY, THE EQUINOX AND ONE OF OXFORD'S FINEST

Since first receiving the new Equinox a few weeks prior to my session I'd been itching to find the time to get out there and give it a serious testing! The problem as always, was finding that precious time!

Around mid-August and due to a sudden un fore seen change in circumstances, I now found myself with that much needed space and long overdue time to give this bait the serious testing it deserved! Although I felt it wasn't the ideal time of year for a longer session, it would have to do with the limited time i had available! The build-up to this session was, as always, electric and before I knew it I was heading bank side!

The session in question was to be based around a 10 night stint on the beautiful, extremely well kept and run Linear fisheries. The first three nights where to be based around the more social aspect of my carp fishing with the remaining 7 days fishing based on a more serious, in tune approach!

One of the biggest problems I faced was the decision of which pit to fish! I'd spent many nights on the banks of the beautiful Hardwick and Smiths over the years and this really is the one that still holds my heart! However on the other side of the road lies the equally beautiful Manor farm. Now I've never really given this place too much thought as my attentions have always been elsewhere, but with its impressive stock and stunning originals, surely it must be worth a shout?

I wanted an original more than anything and I wanted one of Oxfords finest! Hardwick had been kind to me over the years with fish to just over 30's, however she had yet to produce one of its originals to my rods! After a week or two walking the banks of both pits and a couple of visits to mates fishing the complex my mind was made up and The Manor HAD to be the one! It had the originals, the lumps, the features and the shear unspoilt beauty of an extremely well run and established fishery! Maybe the manor would be kinder to me, maybe this was the one, and maybe the Manor could produce my long overdue original?

The first three nights went exactly to plan and I had a great social with some more than great mates that I hadn't fished with in a very long time! I even managed to slip the net under a beautiful common and mirror both around the mid 20's, which was a great all round start to this session.

Not only did these first 3 nights provide me with the perfect opportunity to un wind bankside with some good mates, it also provided me with the most important thing of all, the time to get into 'the zone' and tune into the lake and its beautiful surroundings. I believe making time to tune in, relax and unwind before a long session is massively important and a huge edge in the long run! To observe the movement of these beautiful fish and try to form an idea of what, where and when things are occurring beneath the surface. This is invaluable to any angling situation and a huge advantage for sure!

The start of the in tune, more serious session came on the Sunday afternoon as my good friend, Davo, reluctantly left this picturesque pit! Dave had had some success over the weekend with a few fish to just below 20's from a peg 1 up from me which commanded a more central area of the lake. I'd mainly been fishing a marginal area and until now not really been giving them too much bait. Instead relying on smaller trap tactics as they cruised the margins. Now I know this approach had worked and I knew it would do me some more fish over the week but I also knew this was not really the way forward for the lumps, for those most sought after originals! I knew these big girls liked their bait and I knew they would love the Equinox in a safer, less edgy spot, so the decision was easy!....move up one, get to a more central area of the pit and let um have it!

I went straight in with around 7kg of mixed boilie (Equinox and live system 50/50),hemp, white haze and mini ultra-mix pellet and kept the hemp and pellet content fairly high to start with in a hope of clearing off and making the spot more presentable!

Rigs were to be kept simple, short-ish, long shank blow back style with balanced bottom baits either tipped with a bright or fished as straight through Equinox or live system. The lead system was again to be kept simple with 3-4ft lead core direct to a trimmed down lead clip system, in the hope of dropping the lead every take! Dumping the lead is a must at this time of year on the Manor with an abundance of floor to ceiling weed beds and the older wiser fishing being known for making a bee line straight for these sanctuaries as soon as they suck steel and feel the hook point!

After a couple of leads around and some far bank marker notes all three rods where clipped and sent out to a nice silty spot around the 100 yard mark. Two of these went down well with a reassuring silty thump with the third being a little less obvious but still nice enough I thought.

The night passed fairly quietly with the only carpy goings on being the occasional bosh some way back and past my carefully baited area! It wasn't until around 5 am that my middle Equinox rod went into melt down signalling my somewhat clumsy exit from the bag! This was one angry kipper but within seconds I could tell that she was one of the stockies, more than welcome none the less and a beauty at 18lb 5oz! I was off the mark and they were on the bait, surely now it would only be a matter of time before I was amongst some of those originals?

After safely returning my first carp from the new swim back to her watery home and getting the rod back out to the clip I was sure it was all about to kick off! In the early morning light there was show, after show, after glorious show over my baited area and by 9 am when it had all calmed down I was somewhat amazed that I hadn't received anymore takes!

The rest of the morning continued to be fairly quiet and around mid-day I could only presume I'd been completely wiped out of bait or for whatever reason my other two rods weren't fishing effectively? On the rewind I found my middle and right to have been fishing well. My only concern here was the length of hook link over silt. If there were pockets of deeper silt and I was hitting these it would almost certainly explain the lack of interest? The left must have hooked up on some Canadian, not great with the short-ish hook links! From this moment on the plan changed! Slightly increase the length of hook links, as maybe the silt was a bit deeper and less uniformed in places than first anticipated, bring my left rod more central and continue baiting up with two to three spombs per fish after the daily, arm breaking 7kg spomb fest!

Almost like clockwork the next day produced its first take at around 5 am only this time I managed 3 carp to 22lb 1oz before the early morning window of opportunity once again and unfortunately closed down around 9am! The rest of the day, again, was quiet and I was left scratching my head as to just what was going on down there! I now knew all three rods where fishing well, I knew they were loving the Equinox but I had to somehow increase this feeding spell!

In perpetration for Wednesday morning’s window I upped the amount of boilie and lowered the particle and pellet content. I knew the spot was becoming cleaner and I was a little concerned that the carp where becoming pre occupied on the pellet and hemp. By doing so I hoped that I would now start to increase competition for the Equinox and by only topping up with boilie after each fish i may be able to prolong that somewhat short window of opportunity?

This decision paid of big time! Just as expected it kicked off around 5 am the next morning but the one big difference here was that my window had now widened and I was still seeing and catching carp right through until 11.20am! Not only that but 4 out of the 5 fish where 20's with the biggest going 25lb 4oz with one awesome looking fully scaled of 20lb 5oz being amongst them! The session was now in full swing, I was in the zone and everything was starting to fall nicely into place! The spot was banging, the rods were rocking and the Equinox was simply taking it apart, happy days! All I needed now was that lump that long awaited and overdue original!!

Things were now really starting to come together and the next couple of days stayed pretty much the same! Initial take around 5 am and then a good few takes between there and mid-day, with some stunners along the way! By 4am on the Sunday morning I had landed a total of 23 carp up to 25lb 4oz with 16 of these being good 20's and the remaining 7 all between 17 and 19lb 14oz and I still had the 5 am window of
Opportunity approaching! At times it was becoming extremely difficult to keep all three rods in the water, even with a whole rack of rigs baited, glugged and ready to rock! I even had to give the legend and bailiff that is Ian Roper a call to drop me off a second landing net as things were becoming so hectic, sorry about the rip fella! What a place this was and what a session it was turning into, I really did not want this one to ever end and the Manor was now well and truly under my skin!

On the Sunday morning things took a turn for the worse weather wise with a switch in wind direction, clear blue skies and high pressure moving in! It really did stir things up for the worse as well as my first take wasn't until 6.00am on the right had equinox rod! Now this had been the most productive time throughout the week but today it was my only take during this usually frantic window! Although this had been a very slow morning by all accounts I was still far from disappointed when I slipped the net under an absolutely stunning dark scaly mirror of 21lb 7oz! Could this possibly be an original I thought after carefully weighing, photographing and returning her back to the gin clear waters of The Manor?

By around 1.30pm that day and as my session was drawing to and end I was sat reminiscing over the last weeks incredible events. I was more than happy with the result and now totally confident in the new Equinox but at the same time a little disappointed that I hadn't managed to land one of this amazing places biguns or sought after originals!

I had a day left, the weather had gone nips up and things seemed to be closing down for me when totally out of the blue at around 2pm I received a single bleep to my middle rod! In a flash my eyes were fixated on the bobbin and then again a single bleep followed, this time with a small lift, which stayed there! I was on it like Bob Nudd on the Bristol but before my hand could even clasp the reel seat things went into complete and utter melt down as I was now well and truly away geeez!! I instantly knew from the sheer power, weight, direction and determination that this had to be a better fish! The thoughts that were racing through my mind as she powered towards the sanctuary of a large weed bed two swims up were horrific! "It's gotta be mate, keep calm, stay focused and for @#%#'s sake don't let her reach that weed bed" The pressure was now well and truly on as I gave her as much as I dare on 12lb monos, this was a battle of wills and sheer determination so I carefully tightened the clutch a notch or two and applied that all important pressure! With what must have only been a matter of feet and seconds from the weed bed and with me stood on top of an old tree stump (thanks Ian) to gain some extra height and leverage, I won the initial battle and she thankfully turned and headed back into open water! As I climbed down from the slippery tree stump to resume part two, she began kiting round to my left toward and through my two remaining lines! Like my beloved Nan on crimbo eve I now found myself frantically knitting with 3 rods in a vain and panic stricken attempt to avoid almost certain disaster and another dodgy jumper! With one up and two over I was thankfully free and my most precious prize could continue with her onward powerhouse crusade!

As she continued left I was more than relieved to be gaining back a crucial few yards and continuing this battle in the relative safety of my left hand margin! Within what seemed like an eternity and after several lengths of the margin I almost caught a glimpse of her in the gin clear water, before again she dived deep in search of sanctuary! Then as I managed to turn her and bring her up from the deep I caught a glimpse of the scales along the lateral line and panic once again resumed! It was a linear for sure, it was a lump for sure but it could only be one of 3! I kept repeating to myself over and over again, "it's just a stocky, stay focused, focus fella, chill" This power house of a fish battled with every last inch up and down the margins and as long as everything held good i knew this battle should soon be mine! Before too much longer and after one last desperate attempt for freedom I managed to turn her on the surface and with that, the first oxygen rich gulp off air signalled the near end of what felt like an eternal battle of force and wills! This was it and with a few slow motion moments of adrenalin fuelled ecstasy I gently and gracefully slid her over the cord and into the awaiting net!! As I lowered the rod and punched the sky I could almost feel the blood returning to my arms from this most epic of battles and as I peered down at the sheer beauty of my prize i just knew that what lay there in the folds of my net was something special!

After securing the net in the deep shaded margins and taking a moment or two to stop shaking and gather my thoughts I parted the soft deep folds of my landing net to reveal a truly magnificent old warrior! This was my long overdue original for sure, this was that moment I'd dreamt of for so long and what a way to break the original blank, this was one of Oxfords finest and for the next few minutes she was mine!

At this point and in the haze of the moment I still wasn't too sure which fish she was. I quickly grabbed my phone and made a couple of calls and within a flash Davo and Drewit arrived to help identify her and do the honours!

She was an original alright but she was more than that to me because she was "The Hardwick Linear" and was believed to have escaped from my beloved Hardwick and Smiths and into Manor in the 2007 floods!! I had done it at last and strangely enough it was the Manor that had finally given me my Hardwick Original!!

The weight of this stunning creature was insignificant in every way but she went 31lb exactly on the scales. After a few photos, handshakes and a good soaking in the margins I reluctantly said goodbye to one of Oxfords finest and watched her power off back into her very special and somewhat newish watery home!

This had turned out to be a mega session and with a further 4 more fish to follow and confirmation of the two dark scaly ones also being originals I was a very happy man indeed! When i finally wound in and reluctantly departed on the Monday morning I had landed a total of 29 carp to 31lb! Incredibly but not surprisingly 27 of these had been to the new Equinox fished straight or as I mentioned earlier tipped with a bright! The other two fish came to the live system of which I always kept at least one rod on!

I think this session and the Equinox speaks for itself in that even fished alongside the mighty live system in relatively equal amounts the new Equinox from CC Moore is clearly going to be a giant amongst baits when it is released in 2014!!

Until next time, make the most of those windows of opportunity, tune in, get in "The Zone" and get on the new Equinox!!

Tight lines

Leigh Sinnott.