A search for historic day-ticket fish took experienced carper Rob Hughes to Orchid Lake and a meeting with a mirror almost as old as he is.
The Oxfordshire day-ticket venue had been hard going for most anglers before his arrival, but Rob winkled out two fish from the Snags swim during a 36-hour session. The smaller of the two mirrors weighed exactly 23lb while the bigger fish, which has scaled 30lb before and is known as Nettles, came in at a very honest 29lb 15oz.
Rob told Angling Times: “One of the main things that attracts me to the venue is the stock of historic fish – they’ve been around for a long time. There are plenty of day-ticket waters where you can catch a 25-pounder, but not many with historic fish. Orchid was stocked in the 1970s, 1974 I think, and I was born in 1969 so it was nice to catch a fish that’s nearly as old as me – it was good to see two veterans together!”
He added: “Orchid has good winter form in January and February, but I wanted to get there before Christmas and steal a march. When I arrived it had been hard going and the water was crystal clear. At this time of year they tend to sit out in open water or in the snags, and I opted for the latter. They love sweetcorn on there and it’s a great winter bait, but I fed very little – just two catapult pouches full over the spot. My hookbait was fake corn dipped in DNA Baits Sweetener which I think gives it something extra, especially at night.”
Rob arrived at the venue at 10am and had the bigger fish in the late afternoon. He said: “The scales wavered around 29lb 15oz to 30lb 4oz, but I did the honourable thing!”
After a biteless night, Rob’s second fish arrived at dawn on his second day. His successful rig featured a size 5 Fox SSBP hook tied to the firm’s Reflex braid.