The Island at Rainbow Lake may sound like an idyllic setting – and it can be, but it is also right in the middle of the lake and very exposed when things turn nasty!
When I arrived it was lovely, sunny and warm with a high of 17 degrees and beads of sweat ran down my forehead as I placed the rods on their various spots. For the first time I was fishing the right side of the Island, generally the tougher side but with the reputation of producing some of the better fish.
There are more features in that one swim than you’ll find on most lakes and there’s no way they can all be covered but I settled for a couple that I knew and another couple which looked the part. Basically I placed the baits in a line across the swim to cover the main patrol routes and picked out the tops of bars and humps in 7ft to 12ft depths.
On the bait front I went for something different this time. I have mixed and matched baits before but this time I went for a three boilie approach, consisting of the Stabilised Key along with the Coconut Crème and Tangerine Dream from the Instant Action range. The idea behind that was the lake had been fishing slow by all accounts so I wanted to surprise them with a mix of colours, textures and flavours. All are great baits in their own right so why not together?
The temperatures dropped and the wind began to blow but as ever the Titan Two Man never budged an inch. The rain also started to fall, which was a sign of things to come but on Monday morning the R3 sounded and I was in to the first fish – and a good one at that, a 55lb common! For February that would certainly do! Things actually looked good and later that day another run saw me land a 28lb common while my fishing partner Mark also had one of 20lb+ on the same bait combination.
As the days passed it got colder, the wind got stronger and the rain got heavier! The wind was so strong that I had no choice other than to use back leads to avoid the rods being dragged out of position. The Titan held but our social bivvy got blown to bits one night and the endless rain sounded like someone playing drums on the roof!
All around the lake the action slowed with some anglers having nothing to show for their efforts. But we did get more action through to the end. With two fish the line became snagged halfway out due to the wind more than anything and one involved me cutting the line and re-tying it mid battle – it all ended well with a 46lb mirror though. Once again the size 2 Twisters proved their worth as the fish remained well hooked while I was doing my best to regain control.
By the end I was weather-beaten and worn out but sometimes they are the most memorable trips and I’ll remember this one for many reasons but thankfully amongst all the mayhem there were a few nice fish to photograph!