Simon and Harper Ashton recently put together an incredible haul of rudd, topped by a 2lb 11oz specimen. In a recent issue of Angling Times, Simon told us how they did it...
“Stillwaters can be as weedy as hell at this time of year, but by raking a swim you can have some awesome results – as my little daughter, Harper, and I discovered during a recent rudd fishing session.
“She fancied a rare trip away, with just the two of us and a couple of rods. I mentioned that a 2lb fish was my target and she said she wanted one too – no pressure, then!
“A southern pit was our venue of choice, but after setting off from Durham at 4am, disaster struck within minutes. Unfortunately, I hit a roe deer on the road while we were travelling at 60mph, which made an absolute mess of the front bumper, but thankfully we came away unscathed and after patching up the front end of the van we were back on our way.
“Arriving at the fishery a few hours later we decided on a quiet swim out the way of dog walkers… but the only problem was the weed! It was solid with the stuff, but using my newly bought Aspen rake I could clear the swim easily.
“Unlike a traditional rake on a rope or chain, this one is on a long handle, which is pushed out quietly into the lake before being dragged back, clearing any weed in its way.
“The bottom was soon spotless and ready for baiting up. As I packed the rake away, rudd were rolling right on the area I’d just cleared… big ones at that. I couldn’t believe it!
“But moments later, just as I was ready to cast my float out, I slipped on the wet platform and fell backwards into 3ft of water! Even my head went under! How Harper never laughed her socks off I’ll never know, but I was soon into a dry change of clothes. However, unsurprisingly the rudd had moved on.
“That night we caught a few small fish on bread and caster, and I lost a bigger rudd that broke me off as it powered into a weedbed.
“As dawn broke the following morning the first rudd rolled over the baited spot. Feeding a few balls of liquidised bread and the odd pouch of casters, we used buoyant artificial casters on a size 12 Drennan Specialist hook fished 3ft deep.
“I hoped the rudd would intercept the artificial baits as they fell through the water alongside the free offerings, and sure enough, first cast I was into a proper one! After a good scrap, Harper netted a fish of 2lb 11oz, which beat my long-standing PB by 1oz!
“It was Harper’s turn next, and no sooner had I weighed mine that she’d struck into another cracker, this time on breadflake.
“One of the prettiest examples I’d ever seen of the species soon lay in the net, and on the scales, it went 2lb 2oz. It’s a moment I’ll cherish for the rest of my life, and over the remainder of the morning a string of 2lb-plus rudd graced the landing net. We drove home that night with smiles from ear to ear after an eventful session, to say the least.”