The year was 1990 and I was living the dream of lots of fishing thanks to the Thatcherite inflation policy that put most of the building developers in the south east out of business over a period of six months. This inevitably had the knock on effect on a trainee QS being ‘last in and first out’.
Much to my mum’s disgust I spent the whole close season feeding the residents of a small, deep gravel pit in Shepperton a couple of mixes of mid-protein milk/nut mix bait every day – normally wandering around until I found the better fish and getting them to eat each and every boilie on the drop as flattened boilies were flicked just in front of the fish.
It was a delicious bait and, over the years, I had honed and tweaked the attractors and dry ingredients so it was confidence in a bag – a combination of Geoff Kemp’s Creamy Toffee, Nutrabaits’ Sweet Cajouser, Hutchies’ Cream Appetite Stimulator powder and a dash of Sense Appeal meant it worked wherever it was applied properly.
My old mate Swinnie was also visiting the lake a lot too and he was feeding them his bait – a lovely Choccy Malt bird food (not dissimilar to Tenchy’s bait) as an uncooked paste, simply ripping small nuggets off the ball – and I soon twigged that this was far less labour intensive and would still work in terms of getting them to be fully confident and focused whilst feeding on the dreamy nut mix.
The fish were growing day by day and week by week and, in the end all of the fish were prospering, growing chubbier on the ample free food that seemed to follow them about!
Tet’s Pet was the biggest and greediest of them all, and consequently it stacked on the weight – plumping up beautifully from mid-20s into a good
30 pounder. She was a fish that had migrated from a lake a few miles away and was the focus of most anglers on the lake; but there were other lovely prizes: The Peach, The Beast and the Big Common amongst a total stock of about 30-40 fish. The little lake really was a hotbed amongst my peers as the lake offered challenging angling.
I’d already lost it a couple of times and was quite gutted but I was utterly determined to make The Pet mine and kept feeding it wherever I could find it and setting traps nearby. It loved the bait – and it was really one of those wonderful scenarios when the bait was absolutely on full song. They absolutely loved it and as long as I kept it going in, it was inevitable that I would work my way through most of the carp stock.