In this edition we make the journey down south for the first time to discover if the hype and talk about linear fisheries are true, so sit back relax and read all about our trials and tribulation in search for our maiden Oxfordshire carp.

Few weeks off behind the rods have given me my mojo back so they say. After the last session at wyreside at the beginning of September I can back and wasn’t particularly motivated to do any real sessions

However the prospect of a 72 hour sessions down at the famous Linear Fisheries was too good to turn down. A week of planning and preparation soon followed after the dates were set….Friday 30th September – Monday 3rd October was the date. After speaking to several venue regulars who use the shop I soon established some idea of what, where and how I was going to approach the session. But like always in my angling still have an open mind and not set my heart on a particular lake, peg, bait, rigs ECT…

Friday came around with a buzz and with a whiff of anticipation in the air, we was off on the road. I follow Linear fisheries on the typical social media platforms on the way down the dreaded M6 out of curiosity I thought let’s have a check to see how busy the complex was. Too my astonishment it was nearly FULL we still had 2 n half hours of a journey left. A quick phone call to the bailiff confirmed my fears he said don’t come down this afternoon disaster. As we only had travelled a short distance we took the decision to turn back and try again in the morning as there was a high percentage of anglers due to move off.

We set off on the Saturday morning at half 6 to get there just after the gates open to give us plenty of time to look around and look at every lake and every swim in detail, at the end of the day we have travelled nearly 3 hours to the venue catching was a pretty big priority and the social part of it was secondary. The journey down there was a dream we flew down, may I add if anyone north of Birmingham is travelling down to Linear or any other of the fine waters south of the Midlands USE the toll road.

Arriving at the gates of Oxlease and Hunts Corner roughly after 8 we was greeted with a sea of bivvies on Hunts Corner with no anglers due off that lake anytime soon we arrived in the main car park of St.Johns and Manor Farm. A few anglers were packing up an going home but the swims that were free wasn’t very appealing, hemmed in, away from the showing fish and basically devoid of any signs… In my words the swims were stagnant.

Several hours passed and lap after lap trip after trip back and too between the other lakes of Hardwick/Smith and both Brasenose. We set our target of half 12, if we hadn’t found 2 swims which we was optimistic in fishing the plan b would come into place. Make the journey back up the M40 and a session on Drayton.

The time was now 12 and against us, a final drive down the river bank on Brasenose 2 see us come across 2 lads in adjoining swims with their gear around the swim. Dad stopped the car and I jumped out and because to converse with the two they was off in the next half hour BINGO we was in and to be honest the swims looked from the off as having lots of potential. The two had been on since Thursday and had 9 fish between them, however they had all of them on them on the first night and nothing else after that. They shared info about features they found and areas they had found. We let them get packed up and set ourselves up in the swim. We were on the back of the wind which was far from idea, but checking the weather app the wind was due to change and swing round on the Sunday afternoon.

The spots were found in both our swims, 19 wraps for me fishing in a silty gully between two bars, 16 wraps for dad fishing in similar areas of smooth glassy silt. Perfect spots and a replica of the typical substrate we are accustom to up north.

Rigs were simple as ever the faithful Multi Rigs made from E.S.P Tungsten Loaded in soft, size 4 J Precision Hooks new yet to be released Samurai Chod Hook. The pop up was a mixture of ccmoore Golden Spice, and Dairy Supreme on 2 rods and the last was a Yellow Manilla Pop up from Sticky Baits. These were fished over a spodded area of Hemp, Corn and 12mm Manilla freezer baits.

Confident of a bite going into the evening the anticipation was electric, the venue was stunning and the company want too bad either. The night soon ebbed away without so much as a bleep.

The morning sun broke over the trees to reveal a baking hot sun this was a huge shock due to how cold it got in the night. We had a strategy meeting over a cup of coffee and decided to keep going with the spodding putting less spods out but more frequent throughout the day and take it in turns in the night if one of us were up. Just to keep the swims fresh. Rigs were also deliberated, I just wasn’t confident or should I say rig choice wasn’t the one for the situation we were presented with. So off with the mulit’s and on went 3 balanced wafter rigs still using the same hooks and hook length material just with the addition of a piece of silicone tubing to trap the hair on the shank.

Spod, Spod, Spod that was the order of the day after the rods went back out after the morning bite time faded. Time soon got on an before we knew it was 4 o’clock and the fish activity in our area was devoid. However during the day with us being so pro active in our swims and constantly scanning the water we became un aware that almost all the anglers on opposite us had vacated and no one had filled the swims. With it being Sunday we presumed it would empty and stay that way due to it being the end of the weekend. Spodding done fresh rigs done, a can in had we kept our eyes on the water for any sign no matter how big or small they were.

We were keen on getting the rods in and out on the spots slightly earlier on the final evening to give us the best chance of a bite on the cusp of darkness. 5.30pm came and the rods had been done with the fresh rigs and baits of had been out roughly half a hour and the right hand rod just went into melt down I was in the change of rig had worked. It felt a decent fish kiting right on a tight line gaining line it moved right and bang everything went slack I had lost it. I felt sick to the core I don’t like losing fish like any other angler but on reeling in I had in fact been cut off. Further investigation I found was a rather sharp bar littered in zebra mussels.

Re wrapped the rod went out followed by more spod, darkness came, I was still reeling from the earlier loss. A stern talking to from the old man, I was back in high spirits again and confident for more action. The wind had swung and was warm blowing down in to our pegs. Then fish started to bosh out and show not a million miles away from the spots. Having a chat and a brew in my swim my right hand rod let off a few bleeps with the bobbin pulling up then slowly dropping back then jumping up rather jittery. It held at the rod blank then the reel peeled line off, bingo I was in. Remembering were the lost fish went I walked back up swim a keeping the fish up in the water. A short ploddy battle the fish was in the net, yes mission complete.

Getting in the water to fold the net I peered down and thought mmm that’s not a bad fish maybe a 20. Lifting the fish out checking the fins I thought Jesus its defo a 20 maybe 24 25 ish. Getting it on the mat I moved the fish from the net it was a lot bigger than first thought. Hoisting it up on the scales it spun the needle round to 28lb 12oz. I was overjoyed and emotional, not only was this fish well deserved it was a unit of a fish to open my linear account with, but to share the moment with my dad is a moment I will never forget.

Rod back out and a celebratory can in hand the middle rod went off again a rather jittery bite again. Hit it an never really felt in contact with it at all during the fight. There were a few weed beds out in front of me and without being totally in control the worst happened it weeded me up solid and wasn’t moving. Another fished lost gutted.

Several hours later into the early hours after the madness of my swim, more spodding the evening when by with no further action only a lost fish in the rushes from dad he too was a battered and broken man.

 

The final morning came I had a lie in due to being up all night I was shattered, dad had been up since first light he was determined to catch. The slow pack up began at half 12 dad shouted he was in the right hand rod was away. A hard fighting mirror was in the net after a lengthy battle. 16lb 6oz it went, size was really irrelevant we did what we set out to do and catch from a new venue. But to have 5 bites landing 2 between us was a great session.

 

I cannot speak highly of the Linear complex the whole set us is just a dream place. Beautiful surroundings, quality fish, top notch bailiffs and most of all 2 happy northerners…. Happy Days.

Tight Lines All.