Brandon. 00:00 - 15:00. Sunshine and white cloud. Blustery breeze. Warm.
Midnight came and the signal to begin fishing was given.
I cast out two rods, both on straight running leads. One had a pellet as bait the other had two grains of corn.
After casting I sat behind the rods; tense, taught and alert. Hoping for one of the light bobbins to lift.
After half an hour I let my shoulders come down from around my earlobes as nothing had moved the lines.
After an hour and a half my hopes of a shoal of large Bream in the swim had faded and I switched both rods across to a bait that could see the night out without attack from small fish.
The left hand rod on pellet had the odd bleep, jerking me from a half sleep.
It was this rod that at 02:30 had a hook-up. I was out of my sleeping bag in a flash and connected with something very, very powerful. It swam in a single direction away from me and towards a submerged bar. I couldn't stop it and soon felt the excruciating grate of line upon gravel bar as it continued to power away. Soon after the line pinged slack. I had been cut-off on the gravel bar. I swore alot.
I was using a running lead and the hook was barbless so was happy the fish - whatever it was - would soon shed the hook.
I set up an identical rig again, cast out, and had trouble getting back to sleep.
The left hand rod had a few more bleeps as I drifted off and then things went quiet. I slept until 07:00, tired from the nervous energy expended the previous day.
When I wound in for a re-cast first thing in the morning the pellet on the left hand rod had gone. How long had I been fishing baitless? Who knows.
I rebaited both rods but neither had another indication.
Other anglers had turned up by first light and I'd seen one guy catch a couple of Eels under a float. Recognising I need an Eel in the Challenge I tried for one with maggot under a float for about forty five minutes. I didn't have a bite.
I soon become restless behind rods and alarms that did nothing and so went of in search of an opportunity just before lunchtime.
I hooked and lost a Carp on floating bread from another lake, as the day was beginning to feel hot. Whilst talking to Frank Cheshire, Vice President of Leamington AA, we noticed some Tench patrolling the margins in the sunlight.
Quick as a flash I changed set up to one of freelined bread flake. Within minutes I'd hooked and handed out a Tench of about three pounds.
After this the Tench disappeared. I returned to my night pitch and packed up my gear.
I had lost a good fish and had heard of a few caught which would blow any anglers mind the previous night. I will return.