Carp Fishing at Rainbow Lake

Carp fishing at Rainbow lake

Probably one of the most famous waters on the international carp scene. You’re talking literally hundreds of 60 pounders in here. I wouldn’t like to say how many 70’s are in here, or 80’s but its a massive head of fish and obviously that’s a plus point as to why people come here. All fishing is like a puzzle and rainbow is like the most complicated puzzle to try and 3D map each swim in your head is almost impossible. Loads of bays, loads of channels, loads of ups and downs and indeed an awful lot of snags as well. Its just exciting fishing and just a great place to be.

Like most carp anglers, I’ve grown up hearing the name Rainbow. Over the years many of my friends have visited there, returning with tales of these incredible big carp but also the extreme nature of the fishing at this unique and challenging lake. Part of me always wanted to go and experience the challenge of Rainbow for my self. So when the opportunity of a trip there, with venue regular and experienced big fish angler Simon Crow came up at short notice, it was a door too inviting not to walk through. Yeah we have got peg 6, I don’t actually know a great deal about this actual peg but I do know this last week or so it has done a couple of good big fish, couple of 30kg fish, so its looking good for it. There is a lot of options out . like we could fill the swim with about 30 rods, but somehow we have to narrow that down to just 4 rods  yeah, conditions look good, weather is good.We’re all set up and this is the time you’ve been building up to, after the drive, the packing of the gear, getting everything ready. We’re almost settled in the swim, we just have the rods to get out so, that’s the next stop. Although it was Crowy’s tenth trip to the lake, swim six wasn’t one that he had fished before, so it was new to both of us. After setting up camp, we spent the day out in the boats, investigating the swim, choosing spots and preparing the tackle

.Here we are coming up over the bar, really shallow on top, 3ft at its peak, then straight back down. Think I’ve got four spots now. The first day passed without event. Prepared to play the long game, it wasn’t quite a disturbance. It just wants to sit under the boat. . . However, the carp in another part of the swim were still feeding. That’s a bite on the other rod! Yeah that one is on the end as well, Simon, is the bottle bobbing? We’ll wait for it mate, get that one in the net first! And Oli has just had a double take, playing a fish and there you go, its going and so is Oli. Can you believe it? Double Take! Yeah! That is a good one mate. Yes! Get in there Oliver! He’s on the ‘bow! Cor look at the width of that mate!That looks a good fish mate, a really good fish*Laughing* That’s awesome, a proper cracking brace of fish mate. That’s a nice one mate that is.We’ve had a lovely relaxing afternoon, today was no filming, it was a day of recovery. Plenty of shows, and just look at that! That’s a donkey mate- What a way to start! – Look at the size of that! Get in there! Its easy 60! Come on lets get back to the bank. right at last light It’s all zeroed, I zeroed it earlier. That’s easily a 40Oh its over 40! 42lb 12oz, first Rainbow carp! Awesome stuff, great start mate! I was over the moon with my first Rainbow carp and if catching a 42lb 12oz common so early in the trip wasn’t enough, the next one really was something a bit special. . . I know there is a lot of water in there but that’s a good fish. Really good fish, 65 and a half – Ohh just a touch under 30kg! That’s good enough though , what a start.

Second day and Oli’s had two absolutely gorgeous fish! It was an absolute monster of a Carp, tipping the scales round to 65lb 12oz just shy of 30kg. The size 2 fang X looked tiny in its massive gob. The weight came from the width, you really could have put a saddle on it But for such a big fish it was immaculate too, with a perfect mouth and not a scale out of place. Oh lets get him back, such a big fish! Has your back gone?*Laughing* It really was a dream come true, to bag a Rainbow giant for myself and I couldn’t have asked for a better person to share that moment with than Crowy. Well this morning started with a mad old squall, and right in the middle of it right at first light, I’ve only got two rods still out and one of them has gone off! I’ve had a 40 and a 60, and this one looks somewhere inbetween. Another big one, lets have a look. It’s another big one Si, I didn’t really realise how big until I had to carry it. Look at that bad boy. It’s just short of 60 , literally 2oz short of 60lb, 59lb14oz – Another good one.Yes! Thanks Rainbow. That’s why we come to Rainbow. Look at the size of that. Lovely times. Despite the early action in the week, the fishing slow for the next couple of days, the temperature had dropped, and signs of fish were scarce. All we could do was keep eyes on the water, ring the changes and make sure the rods were always fishing. We were sure they would soon show up again.

Well its a feature filled water of about 100 acres and if you take an aerial view of the water you can see how many different features make up the lake itself because there is literally hundreds of small islands and every swim that is on this water is packed with features and at the moment there are 12 different swims that are allowed to be fished by anglers and the lake is fished 365 days a year by some really capable carp anglers. So the fish that are in here are really pressured all throughout the year. They know what bait and rigs are but its the anglers really that have made Rainbow lake into what it is but its been on the carp scene for probably 30 years now and my earliest memories of Rainbow were from the early issues of Carp talk in the 1990’s when there was an advert run, by someone called John Stent, a guy who used to run the fishing at Farlows lake and he had started doing trips over here. There wasn’t really big fish in here then. There was carp to around low 40’s but it was starting to run commercial trips for British anglers. In those days there was’t many venues that did them so it was quite a prominent advert that was taken in the mag and over the years we’ve had 2 world records that have been taken from Rainbow lake.

One was a fish know as ‘Cut Tail’ which first broke the world record around 15 years ago now, by a gentleman called Graham Slaughter when it weighed 86lbs but when that one passed away, there was new fish coming through the ranks and the most famous fish in here is one that was called the ‘Steve Briggs Fish’ which about 12 or 13 years ago. Martin Locke caught in the depths of winter at 94lbs and it was his only carp caught during the week. It’s a lovely place to be as well, as you’ve seen this week It’s not just the extreme style of fishing and the size of the fish which attract you to this venue. it’s actually just being here. Every time I come here I really look forward to having a session on this venue because its just  exciting fishing and a great place to be. The walls are just festooned with some of the big carp caught from Rainbow. Yeah, more Rainbow whackers. . . Some iconic pictures, some great anglers that have fished here. Also in the lodge we have a really nice shower and toilet block, which I’m going to take advantage of now!

Well that was really terrible timing. While i’ve been for a shower, I just had a text of Crowy and he’s got 2 in the net! How is your luck!So I’ve missed filming them. Let’s get back and see what he has got!It doesn’t matter how heavy they are, when you’re sitting there blanking- It’s put a smile on my face – Wicked Si, bigger ones to come hopefully! You missed all the action. Missed it all , cant believe it It’s alright though, I’m glad you did, cause I ended up going through all your lines! Two mirrors in quick succession for Si highlighted the return of some fish into the zone. Thought the action was fairly consistent, it was by no means prolific. However, we did manage to begin to slowly unlock the puzzle, repositioning rods, trying new spots and reacting to any signs of fish. gy over the back there he is 41lb 8oz. There we go, another lovely rainbow carp. Not a monster, but definitely one that makes me happy In many ways, Rainbow is looked at in an extreme way by carp anglers due to the methods that are used on the water. If you fish just a small 1 acre pit in England which has no snags and no features other than its just an open piece of water then your going to look at the methods that are used on Rainbow as a little bit extreme. But you’ve only got to look at the fish and see the condition the carp are in. They’re in absolute pristine condition but the fishing is a little bit different to what you would see on most other waters because of the nature of the lake, because there is so many other different features in here.

We fish with bottles to keep the line off the bottom you don’t really see that method much apart from the old continental venues like Cassien where there is lots of snags on the bottom. You do need to fish around trees and over the top of islands because there is so many different pieces of broken up water on this venue. if you take a look at it from a satellite view you can see how many islands there are, its just feature packed. You do need to think a little bit outside the box on this venuetand a lot of the anglers than come here certainly do thattbut its fished in a really safe manner and if you’re using the bottle methodta lot of the time the fish just think there is a bit of pressure above them so don’t go charging through the snags. If you try and bring them in from the bank and there is just pressure one side then they obviously go against the pressure and go charging through the snags, but you go out to theses bottles in the boat and the fish doesn’t really move a great deal. It’s usually just below the bottle and you just take up the battle from there. Probably millions of carp like this in this lake of this sort of size. I mean if you look round the lake you can see it is vastly different to most lakes that you fish and as a result of that i’ve got really strong gear on. I’ve got size 2 fang twister hooks on, I’ve got armour link, which is a really strong hook link and i’ve got really beefed up gear too.  i’ve got 60lb leaders on. I’ve got a mono leader that is probably about 30 meters and then i’ve got bullet braid straight through to the reel. Pretty heavy gear but its to combat the snags and combat the features that are out there. One thing worth mentioning is the leads that i’m using cause at the moment I’m using anything from an 8oz to a 12oz lead depending on how far out I’m fishing and the reason for that is not only are the carp in here massive compared to English waters but you’ve also got quite strong weather conditions for this far down south.

Seriously it can start moving your leads about quite easily so i like to use a 12oz lead, certainly on the rods that are way out at 150+ yards. The other stuff that i’ve got that I fish a little bit different to England is my rod set ups. Everyone does it differently but i like to bring single rod bank sticks to put my rods on and generally I will point the rods in the direction of where the leads are and as you can see as well i’ve got the new wasp indicators which are absolutely perfect for fishing really heavy leads. As I say one of my rods is probably 150 meters outand so when a fish picks up that lead, I want to know there is something on the end as soon as possible and the wasp indicators are great for picking up that line, certainly when you crank them right up to full tension. I’ve brought a mixture of baits really. I’ve brought some boilies, some 20mm scopex squid so for 25-30 years now that bait has caught hundreds of carp from all around the world. So i”ve got immense confidence in it, certainly for my continental fishing.

I know ity works well on this lake, and i’ve also brought some partimix as weLl, a little bit of seed and some tiger nuts too. because at the moment, as we’ve seen this week the fish can be a little bit finicky with the boilies. So it’s always worth bringing a little bit of a combination of everything.  As we came to the end of the week, the action had quietened down somewhat for me but since ringing a few changes, Si had managed to keep consistently catching, keeping us both busy. On the final afternoon he was rewarded with another Rainbow carp, and his biggest of the trip yet. Its going off into the bay, Simon. Well that was rather out of the blue. Just over 45lb Si! That will do nicely. He’s a nice fish, even if its my last one, That’s a really nice fish to finish with. It’s been a good week hasn’t it? In the first half of the week you had that ‘bang! bang! bang!’ with the big ones and then it really slowed down for you this second half, but really changed for me. I was really slow at the beginning, didn’t catch anything until halfway through the trip and then, well I came here with a preconceived idea that I was going to leave my rods out all week until they went and hopefully there was going to be a big one of th’e end. But I haven’t been able to do that because I’ve watched you fishing and I thought right,and I think that’s what changed my approach to it, watching you the first half because you didnt fish it Rainbow style, you came here and fished it ‘Oli’ styleVwhich was this short session approach of fishing for a bite at a time.

Watching you  this week I’ve reverted back to crashing about, running around and changing everything and thats what I’ve done I’ve changed everything and it’s got me Yes, for sure it has worked, I think ringing the changes had to be done, and it’s brought you quite a few   was quite a busy day!I mean I said to you at the beginning of the week that I probably wouldn’t want to come back to Rainbow. It’s not really my style to keep going back to the same place but though I might not want to fish in the same swim again, but. . . It’s got to you hasn’t it! – It has, it gets under your skin this place it really does and I know plenty of guys that have come here for the first time and then they are itching to get back and give it another go and it is one of those waters that just have that addictive nature about it. It’s just beautiful as well, one of the most amazing looking lakes, prehistoric almost. When the mist rises in the morning off the water. . . and you just start to see those lumps poking their heads out and you’re just thinking ‘any minute now! any minute now! and when that buzzer goes it is just, incredible it really is. yes, a special place but yes, enjoyed it so far, lets just see if we can get lucky in these last few hours!, fingers crossed, Crowy! You alright?Yeah man, tired! Yeah typically just before we start the long drive home, we’ve ended up with a load of night bites. We’ve had hardly any action during darkness at all while we’ve been here and last night we had 4 bites before first light this morning, so pretty tired, but some good fish to weigh in as well and i’ve got a decent 30lb by the looks of things to complete my set and yeah, Crowy has got a real monster. yes, chuffed mate, really nice end to the session.Lets have a look at them.So we’re just going to weigh him in and see what he’s weighing. Oh he’s a monster!61, 61lbs mate yeah nice way to end the session!

It’s been a tough session to start with for me, didn,t have many fish at all for the first two or three days and then the last 48hours really has just kicked off for me. Had some quality fishing topped by this one this morning, at 61lb and these are the sort of fish that you come out to Rainbow lake for, some massive carp in here, it truly is an awesome venue.