The Lure of Linear
After months of waiting, it was finally time for me to head down to Linear Fisheries for the very first time. I had six nights ahead of me, the first two of which were booked on Oxlease for a PB Products social. However, I was unsure of which lakes to fish around the complex for my remaining four nights.
A draw was done for swims a few days prior to the session and I had drawn peg 11, which ended up being on the side of a very strong south-westerly wind. Having arrived at Linear for the gates opening and meeting all of the lads, it was time to get the rods out.
I got my gear around to my swim and instantly saw fish showing close in. Single hookbaits were deployed, but nothing came of it, unfortunately. I set about finding two spots, one close in where I had seen the fish, and another further out to my right by the island. I placed two rods on the long spot on simple wafter rigs and one rod short on a solid bag filled with a mix of Betastim and Crayfish Mini Mix pellets, with Milky Malt wafter hookbaits. I baited fairly lightly with seven Spombs over the short rod and 15 over the long spot, with a spread of particles, crushed Switch, SLK and a few handfuls of 8mm Switch. With the rods set for the first night, I kept the swim active by introducing one or two Spombs over each spot every few hours in the hope of bringing fish into the area.
Unfortunately, the night passed uneventfully and so did the following morning. A few of the lads had caught that night, most of whom were down the other end of the lake. After coming back from the social barbecue, I noticed the odd fish showing further out in the middle of the lake. I cast my two trimmed-down SLK wafters tipped with yellow and white plastic to the longer-range spots, whilst my third rod was clipped up at 25 wraps and cast as a single solid bag towards the showing fish.
It wasn’t long before I had a twitchy drop-back on the solid-bag rod, and then 10 minutes later had my first Oxfordshire carp in the net. It wasn’t a big fish by a long shot, but a lovely one all the same. The rod was pinged back out into the area, but again, the night and morning passed by uneventfully for me, before it was time to pack up.
At this point I was undecided on what lake to move to, or whether to just move swims on Oxlease Lake into a swim which had done more fish. By this point the weather had changed to pouring rain and a steady northerly wind, which had brought a lot of fish into a swim to my right, so I opted to move into there. A friend who was fishing the peg at the time was packing up and had several bites in the morning of the weather change and he kindly put me on the spot. I changed two rods to solid bags and one as a bright hookbait in the centre of the spot. I went to bed that night very hopeful of a bite or two with the amount of fish in my swim.
At 2am, the right-hand rod was away, and after a short fight, my second fish, another nice scaly mirror, was in the net. Leaving the fish in the net, I got my rod back on the spot and baited again with five more Spombs. I did some self-takes in the pouring rain and off I went back to sleep.
It wasn’t long after that the left-hand rod on the other solid bag burst into life. Straight away I could feel it was a better fish this time, and after a hard battle I had a first my first twenty of the session in the net! Again, I got the rod back out and rebaited with another five Spombs of bait.
I decided to stay put for my fourth night in the hope of a repeat of the night before, but unfortunately that didn’t happen. After a quiet night and with no more fish showing in my peg, I decided on a move to Brasenose Two, as I had heard it had been doing a few more bites than any other lakes on the complex. I arrived at the lake and had a good look around, before deciding on which peg to fish. With not many anglers catching the night before, I had very little to go on, but settled on a swim on the right of the point, giving me a lot of water to work with. I had a lead around and came across a small area of clay which was surrounded by gravel. I was happy with this spot, so all three rods were put out on the area while I sorted out the rest of my gear.
A short time later I noticed several fish showing at close range to my right, a sign hard to ignore, so I wound a rod in and cast a single home-made washed-out pink wafter to the spot where the fish were showing and started baiting the clay area which I had found earlier. I had just got to my 10th Spomb when the single-hookbait rod rattled off under my feet! Ten minutes into the fight, I thought I had hooked something special, and another five minutes later, after charging up and down the margins, it finally gave in and hit the net. It wasn’t as big as I was expecting, but with it being another twenty, I wasn’t complaining!
With that, the fish left the area and began showing further out near my clay spot. I put the single hookbait back in the area that had done the bite, but nothing came of it. Just before dark I put the rod back on the baited area alongside my other two rods. Again, I kept topping up the spot every now and again to bring fish to the spot, but that didn’t work on this occasion and the night passed by without another bite.
The next morning fish began fizzing close to where I had the bite from the day before, so without hesitation I cast a single pink wafter amongst the bubbles and it wasn’t long before the rod was away, this time with a lovely low-twenty mirror on the end.
With the pictures done and the area rested, the fish began to fizz up in the same area. I baited with a dozen Spombs of 15mm Switch and SLK boilies that I had boosted in several different liquids. The fish kept fizzing and then 10 minutes later I received another bite, which turned out to be another low twenty, or least that’s what I thought before I lifted it out of the water. Putting the fish on the scales, the needle swung round to 27lb, which meant it was a new personal best for me. I rested the fish in the sling for 10 minutes while I sorted my camera and bits out and got the rod back in the area. I was over the moon with that result, and with the fish still in the area, I decided to move another rod close in a few rod-lengths away from the spot that had been doing bites and baited again with a few more catty pouches of bait over the rods.
The fish stayed around for a short time, but they vacated the area and my swim for the final night. I really enjoyed my first trip to Linear and came away with a new PB, making the 10-hour round trip from Teesside well worth it. I’ll definitely be returning!