Visit 1 (13.04.18)
Following on from my recent previous visit I was itching to have another crack at the toman. I restocked my casting lures – I got a couple more 27g Jackson Pintails plus a couple of cheaper (and lighter) sinking lures for my collection.
The plan was to hit the pond on Friday afternoon and fish 4 hours from around 2.30 until 6.30pm. I’d also scaled up one of my rods since my previous visit – I now had a 20lb outfit for casting the heavier lures in my collection.
I arrived in good time, rigged up and began chucking an assortment of lures past all of the structures that I could reach from the headland. All to no avail. A couple of young lads turned up and were fishing the eastern pocket near the entrance and withing 30 minutes or so hooked-up a nice toman (snakehead), but they were struggling to land it without a net. I think it eventually pulled the hook but it showed than toman can still be enticed to strike a lure here ….!
Despite fishing hard and trying a variety of lures, I was having no joy at all:
At around 5.30pm another angler showed up. He started fishing on the east bank. Within a few casts he was into a fish but it turned out to be a foul-hooked patin. I redoubled my efforts and had 2 strikes, one tentative and the other more solid – both failed to hook-up but left some tell-tale tooth marks on my pintail lures:
As I was packing up the angler from the east bank came over to fish the headland. It turns out he is a regular here and, whilst he was having a slow day, he notched up a couple of strikes as I was clearing up. He said that the fish strikes were often tentative and difficult to hook-up, which mirrored my experiences here over the past few years.
Visit 2 (15.04.18)
I still had a hunger to catch one of these toman, so I returned for another session. I started off on the east bank at 3.30pm, but it was brutally hot and exposed on the shadeless earth bank. I saw a few toman cruising just beneath the surface and commenced casting. Suddenly I took a big strike and was hooked up. I was sure it was a good toman as I frantically palmed the spool to stop it running into the mid-pond wooden structures. It took me a few minutes to get the powerful fish under control. Then I saw it, coming towards me tails first – a small patin of c.3kg foul-hooked in the tail ……!
After a few more casts the conditions got the better of me. I move to the headland and some welcome shade. I worked hard, casting a range of surface, suspending, and sinking plugs all around the headland. I also worked a soft plastic on a jig head, all without even the hint of a take. I was getting disillusioned and ready to give up. I re-clipped on the orange & gold pintail that had enticed the best strike at my previous visit and was casting it c.50m from the headland. I put in a long cast into the north-eastern area of the pond near the eastern earth bank and, after a few seconds of retrieving took an aggressive strike …..hooked-up! I carefully worked the fish towards the bank as it shook its head aggressively trying to shed the lure, being careful not to let it run into any bank-side snags. As I got it near the bank it made one short, power run and then succumbed to the pressure of the 20lb outfit. I slid the net under the fish and had my prize, a 6lb toman in healthy condition:
The catch was timely – within a few minutes it began to rain. I checked my watch, 6.00pm. I still had half an hour to go but was satisfied and decided to call it a day. I managed to pack gather my stuff and get back to the car just in time before the rain turned into a heavy down pour.