Taking on Stanton – Chapter 4: Continued Success
In this article series I’ll be taking a look back at the legendary water that is Stanton. We’ll look at the highlights, the lowlights and everything in between. If you need a refresher on this incredible water, click the button below to take another look at the map with important swims highlighted:
The following week rolled around, and I was back at Stanton. The fish had responded to bait during the week and one angler had managed an impressive haul of five in a single evening. I had just come off the back of two nights at Pingewood without success, despite being on the fish. I had booked Friday off as annual leave, so arrived at the lake early to see what was happening.
To my surprise, I was the only one looking around, Joe was packing up on the Point so we chatted and had a few teas. It transpired that the fish had been caught from the Drain on a westerly, but the wind had swung to a South Easterly now and they were showing slightly further up the lake. I set up in the Barbel and decided to fish over a little bait as they had clearly been feeding the day before.
My mix was 50/50 MC nut halved and pellet with some corn for colour. I scolded the mix to get it down in the choppy conditions and over the top I fished PBs. Two rods were fished to a clean silty area at 100 yards and the last was a clay spot at 70 yards. Just before dusk, I saw a few show in the middle zone from the drain, including a huge fish close to that bank.
I had been very reluctant to simply follow the results from yesterday but the fish were telling me they wanted to be there. That night I had a fish and lost one, probably both small stockies. The next morning I saw a few good fish show in front of the Drain again and decided to move before someone else did.
I fished the morning on singles without success, so made the decision to have a feel with the gripper lead, check my spots, apply some bait and then head for lunch and get off the lake for a while. My spots were at 80 and 100 yards, the best bits were very clean but soft, whilst the harder areas had onion weed and candy floss growing on it. Once happy I had the best areas marked, I put 15 Spombs on the 100 yard spot and rested the swim for the day. I also checked the right margin where the large fish had shown before and after finding an area in the zone I baited lightly with the same mix. That afternoon I spent a little time fishing the close spot from the neighbouring swim, the sun was on the water here and it looked perfect, but unfortunately the fish hadn’t returned.At around 4PM I re-positioned the rods in the Drain, with two fishing over bait and the third as a single on the 80 yard spot. I had only managed to get the first two out when the middle was away, I watched it for ages before striking to make sure it wasn’t a liner. The fish held its ground from the off and I could feel it wasn’t a stocky, it kited right over the other lines and hung deep in the margins. I had caught sight of the flank and knew it was one of the older, desirable scaley ones, so I played it as if my life depended on it. After a few more moments she was in the net, I recognised her as one I had caught the previous year but a lovely fish nonetheless and at 27.12 she was a little bigger this time. I re-positioned the rod and we photographed her in the afternoon sun before slipping her back.
The first of four that afternoon, Patch for the second time
The final rod was cast to its 80-yard mark, I had only just set the bobbin when it was away! This felt like another decent fish, charging angrily to my right before weeding me short of the spot. I couldn’t move her and eventually put the rod down on the rest. After a few minutes she was moving again and I managed to get her away from the weed and other lines to the right of the swim; while in the water playing her to the waiting net, my middle rod on the bait beeped twice and roared off! I was panicking a bit now, but I could see a nice common on the end and a fast take on the other rod. I managed to bundle the common into the net and grabbed the other rod which was now firmly weeded at very long range. A couple of the other lads came to give me a hand and we decided the boat was needed. While Russ the bailiff went to get it, I transferred the common into a sling and re-cast the left rod.The weeded rod started showing some movement, grabbing it I managed to knock the other two. I was unable to move the fish but seemed to have picked up the left-hand rod in the process, which was up tight and ticking slowly. It took us a few seconds to realise it was another take! Swapping rods I felt a good fish on the other end, this one came in without too much drama and by the time Russ re-appeared in the boat I had a lovely linear in the net alongside the common in the sling.
Russ managed to free the last remaining fish from the weed a long way out in the lake, shouting back to the bank ‘you really don’t want to lose this one’. After weeding me again, I managed to steer the fish into the waiting net alongside the linear, this was a good fish which dwarfed the upper 20 it sat next to. We photographed the fish in the last of the afternoon light; the larger of the fish was known as Tyson at a top weight of 37.05 while the other 2 were both 27s.
I managed to lose another in the weed that evening, which was frustrating as it seemed the better fish were certainly in the zone, but it had been a phenomenal session nonetheless. I stayed until 10PM the next night in the hope of the fish returning but without success.
I had set myself a target of 20 fish in my first season at Stanton, Tyson was my 20th and fittingly one of the A team. Spring 2019 was shaping up nicely with April and May still to come!
Ploughing through the cold
The following week I was back. The success through the previous weekend had meant the lake had been fairly busy but despite this no fish had been landed since I left, amazing really given how active they had been. The conditions weren’t great, an easterly wind and bitterly cold nights. With little to go on, I dropped straight back into the drain, targeting the same areas as the previous weekend. Considering how quiet the week had been, I was a little surprised when the left hand rod on a single PB popup tore off and a low 20 common was soon resting in my net, a cheeky text to the venue manager who may have blanked a few nights through the week was sent, reminding him it’s a runs water…
That didn’t take too long…
I sorted the rod and settled for the night, I had baited the clay spot at range with scalded pellet, MC nut and corn, the mix was very stodgy to help it reach the bottom in the correct place. I had added hydro wheat liquid to the mix too. During the previous week, most of the action had been between 4-9pm so I expected an evening bite if it was going to happen. I wasn’t wrong and the middle rod on the clay produced stockies at 21:30 and 02:30, the better being a nice mirror of 23lbs.
The following day was quiet with conditions unchanged, I saw little reason to change anything with nothing else occurring around the lake and so re-set the traps as I had the previous day. At 22:30 that evening, the middle rod produced a nice 25lb common, it managed to snag me on a branch to the left side of the swim almost in netting range and I sprained my back trying to get in to reach it! I took some night shots in the reeds and slipped her back, deciding not to reposition the rod as the other was still on the spot. The next morning the remaining rod was away with a small scaley stocky of around 20lbs, bringing my tally to five fish, another good weekend even if those bigguns had avoided me.
A couple of the younger ones showing great potential
My wife was back from Germany that Sunday, which meant I would hang the rods up for a while. Frustrating when the spot was clearly being used regularly and they were loving the bait. I had a social planned with Pete, the venue manager, two weeks later so they would have to wait until then.