Royston road trip
It had been a few weeks now since Jamie and I had graced the bank together but it wasn't to be too much longer as we had another trip to Royston on the horizon. With work being hectic and the Christmas period fast arriving the time flew, and before I knew it I was on my way to Royston. With the kit loaded in the boot of the car and work complete, it was time to brave the rush hour traffic of Birmingham as the journey began. Traffic was chockablock during the initial stages of the journey and consequently, what was meant to be a 90-minute journey had an extra 60 minutes tagged on to it - not ideal considering the weather situation!
Arriving at Royston in the dark and winds traveling upwards of 60mph, I made it my priority to get the Nash Scope Bivvy up straight away as I knew this would be the toughest of tasks considering the conditions. It took a little while but I managed to get the bivvy up, in which I tucked myself away whilst I tied up three PVA bags to allow me to get fishing. Having fished the peg before I was able to wrap up to the distances I wanted without wetting a line. I flicked one rod out in open water and punched two bags out through the wind to the far margin. With three rigs fishing, I quickly tied up some spare bags before giving Jamie a call. Unfortunately for Jamie, it wasn't good news, he wasn't going to be able to make it to Royston for the first night due to a late finish at work. However, this wasn't to be all bad as he was able to do a thorough prep of kit before setting off early the following morning, for what we both hoped to be a successful few days on the bank.
Having positioned my rods, tied spare bags & spoken to Jamie it was time to call it a night. With conditions as bad as it was there was no chance I would be watching the water whilst sitting in the face of these horrific winds. Instead, I took the opportunity to get some sleep as I knew Jamie would be here early and there was plenty to be done. Having known my wraps prior to flicking out, it sent me to bed with confidence and rightly so as one of the rods fished tight to the far margin rattled off at 3:30am. Not the biggest of fish but I was off the mark with a single figure common. I wasted no time in getting some stills, attaching a new bag and punching it back through the wind onto the spot- this was the only action of the first night.
With not much sleep due to the howling winds it felt like a matter of seconds between finally getting some shut-eye and Jamie arriving at Royston. We took shelter in my bivvy and quickly discussed our approach and tactics for the next few days, before helping Jamie to get his rods out as quick as possible. With our approach being as it was, it turned out that Jamie and I were positioned at opposite ends of the lake, allowing us to keep and eye on the entirety of the water. The main bulk of the day passed uneventfully, that was until just after dinner when I managed to bag myself a stunning 21lb + mirror off the pva bag filled with Nash Scopex Squid fished to the far margin. True to form is put up another belting scrap like all of the Royston carp I've had previously.
It wasn't long after that I received a call from Jamie informing me that he'd had a screaming take which resulted in a Royston original! Taking care of my rods, I ran round to Jamie. In the net sulking was a pristine mirror carp, nailed in the bottom lip with the Nash Strawberry Crush producing the goods. We shot some stills and repositioned the rods, both Kennard's were off the mark, lovely times. With our confidence being high as a result of the captures earlier in the day it was proving difficult to sleep that night.
The following morning we decided to make a move in an attempt to find some fish. Jamie had settled into a new peg but having been trickling bait into a peg just further down, I was unsure as whether to move off to another peg or whether to drop onto the prebait. Checking the spot regularly it became apparent that there were carp on the bait when the water started to cloud up. Flicking a couple of chops into the murky water I was able to spook off the carp enough to allow me to position a Nash Citruz 15mm pop-up onto the spot. It wasn't long before the single rod approach had worked and my alarm went into meltdown. The fish hooked had put up a mega scrap, edging it closer and closer to the net, I was absolutely devastated when the hook pulled.
Later on Friday our Dad had made the journey down and turned up for a quick overnighter. Having lost the fish in the peg further down I decided to move into a different peg, my thinking is that the disturbance would have spooked the carp away. Jamie, on the other hand, thought that they would still be in the area and decided to jump in there after me to watch the water. I, on the other hand, had decided to make a change of tactics as well; removing the PVA bags I swapped over to 10 & 12 feet zigs for a few hours. Again for me, I was to miss out of two fish due to hook pulls, frustrating but that's part and parcel of angling. With the night's temperature due to being dropping as low as -2 degrees, we ceased the opportunity to order some fish & chips to ensure that we had some warm food inside us going into the night ahead.
Saturday morning was absolutely baltic; the rods, nets, reels, the lot was frozen solid. Thankfully a few hours in the sun and all of the kit was restored to its original condition in time for me to pack up and head home. Unfortunately for me I wasn't able to see out the weekend with my old man and brother due to work commitments, but the remaining two continued with confidence. As soon as the kit had defrosted Jamie and Dad made a move onto the other lake to try and nick a quick bite as the lake we had focussed our attention on had gone quiet. Taking their time to find some spots with bare leads the rigs were positioned accurately and efficiently to the far margin. With the sun coming up and the temperature gradually climbing this must have spurred the fish on to feed as Dad's rod to the far margin had a few bleeps. Striking into the fish it was apparent that it was a carp and with a quick fight in the cold conditions, it wasn't long before he was rewarded with a new PB of 16lb +, a beautiful common carp on his second ever session and his first ever overnighter.
There were to be no more fish caught during this trip but plenty of lessons to be learned. In the depths of winter, the session highlighted the importance of still packing in the effort and doing everything to get on the fish. It would have been easy to sit behind the rods and wait for fish to come to us but the active and mobile approach once again proved it's worth.