In search of a UK 60-Episode 1

Join BNKDs Sam Fairey on his search for a UK 60

In Search of a UK 60 – Episode 1

 

A series… by Sam Fairey

 

It was the end of June 2020 and the final time I drove up to the gates of the magical Grenville. Not to fish this time though. It was a brief visit to collect my mat, slings and nets, and bid farewell to the big pit, and Paul, the owner who had taught me so much in such little time about watercraft. Just one month prior my wife had given birth to our beautiful daughter and so I had decided not to renew my ticket as I would not have the time to put in that Grenville deserved.

 

I had originally joined Grenville for one of the big girls; at the right time of year there can be up to five 60 pounders mooching about in the 72-acre windswept depths. Sadly, my journey was cut short before I had the opportunity to meet one of them.

 

Still, I had a beautiful baby girl

and a mid-fifty mirror under

my belt. But the chase was always in the

back of my mind.

 

I had been lucky enough to be offered a ticket on another Cambridgeshire syndicate starting in July. This intimate, weedy water contained what I dearly wanted so I jumped at the chance. I knew I was not going to have too much time on my hands in my first year but would take every opportunity to get down there and just learn the water.

 

 

My fishing style would have to change. When I hooked into one of the lakes residents, 95% of the time I would be straight out in the boat to land it due to the thick weed that smothered the lake.

 

 

For this I hung up my 12’ Wolfs and opted for the 9’, 3.5lb stepped up scopes.

 

What a bit of kit! These were perfect for quietly dropping rigs in the marginal spots and would be a lot easier to handle whilst playing fish in the boat.

 

 

With my new front end set up I looked to change a few other bits to ensure I was able to travel as light as possible but still be comfortable. I wanted to be able to move onto fish as quickly as possible if I had seen them in a different part of the lake. I had to stay active and make the most of the time I had on the bank.

 

 

My first trip to the lake was at the back end of October. Armed with my favored KLF from JH Baits I decided to do a few laps of the lake, introducing small handfuls of the bait into likely looking spots. On my way round I met several the existing members and made my introductions. The guys I met were extremely forthcoming with information and guidance on the lake which I found to be a breath of fresh air.

 

I settled into a swim in the back bay, away from everyone else, after I had seen a large mirror feeding in a prominent hole in the weed.

 

I found my spots and got on the dancefloor for the night, depositing three of my favourite snowman presentations.

 

The beauty of fishing intimate venues is you can always find ways to check that your rig is presented in the best way and bait accurately within the same tight area. After climbing through brambles and sliding down the bank into the water I was able to see two of my rigs clearly and place a handful of chops and whole KLF over the top. The final rod went down with a fantastic crack through a hole in the weed, so I was happy. After two uneventful nights I headed back home to my family and would apply all that I had learnt into my next session…whenever that would be!

 

 

My second session came sooner than I thought it would and I had a new toy to take with me. I had never really used a baiting pole but thought it would be incredibly handy for some of the marginal spots in the lake. I set to work again doing laps of the lake until I found something to go on. The nights were drawing in earlier and so I was pushed for time setting up but managed to use the baiting pole to my advantage and get my rigs presented in promising areas. The only issue was we had gained a couple of white winged visitors in the recent week or so and they were constantly over my spots in the shallow water. I did not have a chance! This was only a short session but again, always watching and learning.

 

That would be it for a while as the colder weather settled in and my attentions turned towards the predators. I had recently moved to the countryside and had the River Ouse and River Ivel on my doorstep so thought it would be rude not to have a dabble.

 

I targeted a likely looking stretch of the Ouse tucked away from the worries of the world and set to work on a few quick afternoon sessions. The wife was able to bring the dog and little one down to join me for a short period of time and we managed to share a few captures which was amazing.

 

I also managed a PB Perch from a local stillwater which was a fantastic end to my 2020. An absolute dinosaur of a fish and a capture I will remember for a good while.

 

 

 

 

It’s now approaching the end of February and all I find myself doing is working! Its time to get out and start doing it again…

 

I have a day session booked in with a very good friend so will spend the time hopefully catching some carp, but most importantly chewing the fat and stoking the fire ready for the spring campaign!

 

Keep watching for episode 2 as Sam continues his search for a UK 60 – in the meantime give him a follow on Instagram (@sam_fairey)