Early Autumn on the Colne Valley Syndicate.

I first heard about this lake around 10 years ago when my friend was a bailiff. I was stuck for somewhere to go earlier on in the year and thought of this lake in the Colne valley. I made a quick phone call to my friend and managed to secure a ticket straight away for this year. I had a 3 night session in April when the ticket started, but with the lake being fed by the local river it was being pumped with very cold water. I decided to leave It for a few months and fish elsewhere.

I arrived back Mid-August with the mindset of being there as long as it took to catch my target which was a fish called “apples”.

It was a slow start with the weather being all over the place. I got about the lake as much as possible to find an area I would be happy to settle on for the autumn. I had racked up 11 nights for only 3 carp and was starting to think this little lake might be harder than I first imagined. It was basically a bowl of deep water with a very shallow section in the middle. Mainly silt covered with low lying weed and a few gravel bars and polished spot in the margins. I had managed the 3 carp through late August and the majority of September but was struggling find anything out of the ordinary. Every swim felt very similar which meant I was doing the same as every other angler on the lake. I needed to find something different and quickly.

By now the end of September was fast approaching and I still hadn’t settled on an area of the lake I was happy to start baiting and campaigning for the colder months. The lake is so light at night due to the industrial park next door you can see everything that happens through the hours of darkness. I was sat there late one night, watching for any shows or indications as to where they were holding up when I spotted a fish come clean out of the water. Then another and another. I thought to myself I’ve got them now. The strange thing is that the carp were showing over very shallow water and the temperature had started to drop a fair bit by now from the late Summer heatwave we had.

I woke up at first light the following morning and walked straight into the swim that controlled the piece of water I had seen them in the previous night. Had a few casts and found a spot inside a spot. Very clean gravel with low lying weed all around it. Clearly it had been cleaned off by the carp. I wrapped the rods up in preparation for my return in a few days’ time. It was a long couple of days at work before I could return and all I could think about was the show they put on for me the other night. I was really hoping they were going to be in the same area.

Upon arriving for my next session I pulled through the gate to an empty car park. I don’t think anyone had fished the lake since my last session. I jumped straight into the swim I had a lead about in and wrapped the rods up as quick as possible. I didn’t want to put any bait out as the spot was so shallow the last thing I wanted was to spook them if they were still in the area.

I decided to go with small bags of maggot and casters coupled with small pop ups to try and keep the noise down and so it wasn’t so blatant in 2 feet of water. I settled in for the evening and everything seemed very quiet at first. I got my head down early with the intension of getting up well before first light to see if they were still in the area or if they had moved. It was very clear the following morning that the carp were still in front of me and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t received a bite. They were fizzing up the area with very subtle shows just poking their heads above the surface. At 10am the left-hand rod flew off and the carp slipped off the side of the shelf into deeper water and I was battling a very angry carp from the off. After 10 minutes of trying to stop the carp getting into the snags down the margins it finally surfaced and straight away I could see which one it was. I jumped straight in the lake with no waders and pushed the net out in front of me. The big apple slice scales were pulsing as it flipped over the line. I had my heart in my mouth for what seemed like a lifetime but in reality was 30 seconds.

It was finally mine and the wait was over. The feeling was electric that I had a mirror that was probably 20 years older than me sat at the bottom of my net. I already had a good mate down with me having a social when I got the bite so we got the mat and the camera ready for some video footage and photos. He did me proud with the pictures with them coming out brilliant and it’s certainly a morning I won’t forget for a long time.

Apples was finally mine!

Dan Chappell


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