Sunday, 28 June 2020

BACK ON THE BIG WATER....

Since the lockdown was lifted and we have been able to get back out on the bank i have been to the big water 3 times. First time was for a recce and to purchase my yearly ticket and get a key for the various gates situated around the water. I,m glad i took the time for a short walk around as i,ve settled on an area that i will be fishing for a while, which i know, and has also been been confirmed by a regular angler, holds carp, or at least they past through the area regularly. Situated well of the beaten track in a very difficult to access spot, and i,m pretty sure, judging by the lack of trails, that no one fishes this particular area.
THIS IS ONLY A LITTLE BIT OF THE UNDERGROWTH
I FOUGHT THROUGH
 It has been fished in the past though as there was a few, very overgrown, swims cut into the bankside undergrowth. I had actually found this area last year and thought it looked good for a session or two and did clear one swim to fish for a day session. I didn't catch anything then but i did log the place in the 'Old Memory Banks' for exploring at a later date.






HOME FOR THE WEEKEND
                                                           Anyways the following weekend saw me pulling into the carpark at first light and loading my barrow with enough gear to last a week let alone the 2 nights i had planned to stay. Pushing the barrow along the track was no problems at all but it was soon to become apparent that as soon as i wheeled of the solid pathway i was to experience issues. Now i knew it wasn't going to be easy carting all my gear to the actual swim through all the undergrowth but i didn,t realise just how difficult it was really going to be. within 10 yards the barrow got stuck in soft mud causing me to unload everything and carry it all to slightly higher and drier ground before the barrow could then be moved. Then due to there being no track i had to carry the rest of my gear to the swim area, through the tangled undergrowth, roughly quarter of a mile away. This took four trips to do and after half an hour i collapsed on the ground, next to a mountain of kit, a big huffing, puffing, sweaty mess.

Lesson 1   Take less kit.....

After a life saving latte and a stomach filling sammidge was consummed it was time to get stuck into the task at hand, clearing somewhere to actually fish. Tucked in my bag i had a pair of pruners and a fold up garden saw and using these it didn,t take too long for me to clear a nice swim to fish and a nice area to pitch the basecamp. Next job was to clear a pathway through to another swim, and clear the swim itself, just a short distance away. This was so i could keep my options open as to where i was going to place my rods. An hour later and this was also done. Next i turned my attention to making the trip to and from this area easier to access, so i set about creating/clearing a pathway through the undergrowth from the swims to the access track. Not quite upto the track though as i didn,t want it too easily seen, i want to keep this area a bit 'Secret Squirrel'. All of this work had taken me into the early part of the afternoon and now it was time for another latte and a bite of lunch before getting the marker rod out and finding out what was in front of me.

LESSON 2   ALWAYS WADE WITH A STAFF
WADING
STAFF

On with waders, which i,ve now found out leak, and out i splashed to edge of the trees either side of the swim. Water here was just below wader top depth but it gave me a good view around the trees, and it was a good spot to chuck the marker float out from. A little point to note here is that if you are planning on wading around in the margins of any lake or river it is worth doing so with a wading staff so that you can probe the lakebed checking the depth in front of you, and also to find out how soft the bottom is, as you ease forward. A staff is also handy to help you keep your balance if you stumble or get stuck in silt. My staff is actually a shooting stick i found a few years ago whilst walking the dogs locally. It was left leaning against a bush near a a small layby that was used to park in to access the fields beyond. I left it there for a couple of weeks before returning and seeing as no had returned and claimed it i took home. So waste deep in the lake i spent next the hour or so markering around the area to find a grand total off nothing of interest. The bed was pretty uniform and clean except for a big band of weed that reached out from the margins for roughly 4.5 wraps until it hit about 8ft in depth. So the decision was made and two spots at 5 wraps were liberally baited with spombed particles, groundbait and chopped boilies. I then moved along to the next swim and found roughly the same, except for a slightly rougher patch situated 7.5 wraps out in roughly 10ft of water. Out went more mix with the spomb before i baited up and chucked out my rigs in the 3 chosen spots. It was now late evening, i,d taken my time with all this preperation as i didn,t want to rush around, and i was knackered and hungry so out came the stove and on went a big fat ribeye steak for my dinner. Dinner quickly consumed it wasn,t long before i was away with the fairies..
TRAPS SET

TRAPS SET
Nothing happened overnight, just a few bleeps on the alarms, in fact nothing happened for the rest of that day. I spent the day clearing more of the undergrowth to make the area more comfortable to fish and relax in, trimming down branches that were in the way and stacking some of the windfall timber that litters the place. Evening arrived and i re-baited and  recast the rods to the same spots as well as giving them some more spombs of groundbait over the top. Nothing else happened that night or the following morning which was a bit dissappointing as expectations were high initially, but i,m not too bothered really as it was only my 1st return trip and it was also a newish area to me. hopefully better luck next time. Mid morning it was time for the gruelling walk of shame back to the van with all my kit, fortunately a little lighter with less water and bait to carry. Rather than just drive straight home i popped over to another area and had a little explore there to see if it might be worth a trip there, it is.........
CARPERS TOY

LESSON 3   NO NEED FOR A BAIT BOAT

I did take my bait boat along but only used it early on the last morning as i didn,t really want to give away where i was located. I ran her around the swims and right out to the middle of the lake searching the bottom but, as i,d already found with the marker, there really wasn,t anything of interest out there. Not to worry, this means that i don,t have to bring her again, to this area anyway, now. It was good fun to play with her though and i love the echo sounder feature i had fit on it.

The following week i was back in the same swim but this time just for an overnighter. With my kit trimmed down it was a lot easier to transport everything to the swim, but still bloody knackering. The previous week i had noted down in my phone where the spots were that i had found, so it was a quick and easy process to wang the rods out and bait over the top of them. In all i reckon i was fishing within 2 hours of turning up in the carpark. I,d arrived late afternoon this time,  as i had been to a river on the way up, so after setting up and downing another nice ribeye steak it was time for some shut eye. Around midnight i had a bream like indication on one rod but seeing as nothing else happened i left it alone and went back to sleep. I was, shortly after first light, sipping on a lette watching the water but other than small stuff rising nothing of note was seen. I had a little clear around the track and inspected another swim further down before reeling in and packing up at 10am. Interestingly the rod that had the bream rattle had the hooklink bitten through, i reckon a pike had taken a silver and picked up my rig by accident before its teeth cut it clean through. The walk of shame again before i set off to explore another area to fish in the future, there is so much water to go at here.

So to sum up ive fished 3 nights so far for the total of zero fish, of any shape or size. I,ve learnt more about the water each visit though, so i,m not disappointed, and i,m now formulating  a plan of attack for future visits.

TIGHT LINES ALL

Friday, 26 June 2020

FISHIES......

On my way to do an overnighter on my syndicate this week i made a pitstop at a small river located  en-route. My aim was to have a wee chuck around with the micro lures for a perch or maybe a chub if  my luck was in. Well i didn't catch anything, my excuse is that it was too hot and too sunny,  but enjoyed a couple of hours stalking along the banks of the crystal clear water and spying on anything resembling a fish. I did have a few follows from micro chub and small perch but no actual takers. I wasn't,t bothered though as i had a great time just watching the fish hold in the flow, before darting for cover as i peered closer.
CHUBLETS HOLDING STATION IN THE FLOW
 A large part of the river seemed totally devoid of fish where as other parts were teaming with roach and chublets. I did find a couple of nice size chub, around the 3lb mark i reckon, but didn't manage to get a picture of them. I also watched what i thought was a near double figure carp slowly drifting in and out of some streamer weed until it came closer and i realised it was a huge bream. The only one i saw, a right old 'Billy No Mates'.



CANADA GEESE
The stretch i was walking runs alongside a golf course and considering the amount of golfers walking around the amount of wildlife going about its business was astounding. There was a couple of Buzzards constantly circling a small copse of trees as well as 2, i,m pretty sure they were different birds, kestrels hunting over the bushes and scrub on the opposite bank. A kingfisher was regularly heard, and seen, flashing up and down the river and there was a couple families of canada geese drifting along with the flow. I spend so much time marvelling at these sights that i forget to try and take pictures of what i,m looking at.

ROACH/BREAM FRY
Later in the afternoon i arrived at my syndicate and couldn' believe how many roach/bream fry there was hiding around the marginal weeds. The picture doesn't do justice as to how many there actually was, thousands of the wee things i reckon. Hopefully a good percentage will survive  to bolster the, already increasing, fish stocks.
I love being an angler, you get to see sights that the 'average Joe' doesn't get  to witness....

Saturday, 16 May 2020

DANGLING AT LAST


So due to the Covid virus lockdown, and prior to that  being too busy, i actually haven't bee fishing for over 4 months, and i,ve been gagging to get back out and wet a line. Fortunately this week good old Boris started a 5 stage lockdown lift and this week was stage 1 and allowed us back out fishing as well as other hobbies which can be carrie out whilst applying the social distancing rules. This meant that i could dust down the fishing gear and get myself out there fishing. I just had to decide what i wanted to fish for as i have a quite a few options locally. In the end i opted to go to the local saltwater river and try for a thornback ray before they moved out of the river for the rest of the year. Luckily enough i had prepped all the necessary gear, and stocked up on frozen bait,  before the lockdown was brought into force. So yesterday armed with 3 rods and a rucksack i walked the half mile to my chosen spot which was a marshy platform which jutted out into the river and is a popular mark for the thornies. Half  hour later i had 2 rods set up and fishing for the rays and an old carp rod set up as a scratching rod in hope of luring anything that might swim by.

SQUID AND HERRING COCKTAIL



Baits were whole squid, herring chunk or a cocktail of the both fished on pulley pennell rigs for the rays and just a basic 2 hook flapper baited with frozen black lugworm and strips of squid, herring and mackeral fished on the scratching rod hopefully a school bass or maybe even a flatfish. I,d only just got all the rods out when my rod fished to the righthand side registered a pull down followed by a slack line, text book ray bite, which i duly grabbed and wound in the slack line until i felt some resistance followed by a small knock, signalling there was life on the other end, which i then pulled into. A heavy weight was felt followed by a couple of knocks and something pulling back, fish on. Heart thumping i carefully played the fished to the  marsh edge, fortunately there was no dramas getting the fish to the shore, before being able to hand line it up the final couple of feet of marsh 'cliff' and place my prize at my feet. Result!!! I had caught what i had came for, a beautiful little male thornback ray of maybe 4lb. Neatly hooked in the side of the mouth the hook was easily removed before i took a few pictures and slipped him back to his watery home.
WHOLE SQUID

A quick rebait and out went that rod again in anticipation of further action to come. I,d love to say from that point on it was constant bite a chuck but unfortunately that wasn't to be. Every 15 minutes or so i,d reel each rod in to check if there was any bait left but most of the time the hooks were bare, stripped by the crabs. Its only to be expected on this river as the river bed is alive with crabs of all sizes not to mention all the micro fish species that must be living in its depths. I,d arrived shortly after high tide, and it was only a small tide too, so really didn't expect to be able to fish the marsh spot for more than a couple hours as there is a big shallow area in front of the marsh drop off which does dry out at low water. So just as i was thinking of packing up as the mud was showing in from i noticed a little judder on my lefthand rod followed by the tip pulling steadily downwards. Initially i thought some weed might of snagged my line as there was quite a lot of it floating with tide but i then noticed a couple of knocks on the tip and quickly picked the rod up ready to feel if there definitely was a fish attached to my line. After a few seconds i felt another 'knock' on the rod tip followed by a steady pull so i reeled tight and pulled into another fish. A similar fight to the previous fish, heavy weight felt with a few knocks, and after a couple of minutes i had another small male thornback beached on the mud to the left of the marsh area. Happy happy boy was i.....

THORNBACK NUMBER 1

 After that fish i decided to pack up the kit and make my way back to the van as the water now pretty low and the sun was getting pretty hot. I,d enjoyed my few hours fishing and managed to catch 2 of my target species which is always a bonus when you set single species fishing. The one thing i did find strange was that i didn't even have a little knock on my scratching rod and that technique pretty much gets some action every time i use it in the river. Oh well i,m not going to complain though, two skate and a morning fishing in the sun in beautiful surroundings was plenty good enough for me.




THORNBACK NUMBER 2
The tides are getting later into the evening next week so I'm hatching a plan to fish one evening into the dark at a location on the river i found a couple of years ago. I fished it last year and had some good bass fishing on a bright and breezy day but i reckon that fishing there into the hours of darkness could result in a bigger bass or two being present.  Its a cracking spot with an outflow from a small lagoon which spills over some rocks into the river on one side and a lovely big slack water, on the dropping tide, area on the other as well as access to deeper water close in. It screams big bass to me so i,m planning on giving it a good try this year. The only downside to this mark is that its a 2 mile yomp to reach it, which isn't too bad if i don't have any kit with me but when laden down with all my fishing gear makes it a bit of a grueller.
THORNBACK 'SNOUT'

THORNBACK





















THORNBACK
THATS ME

Monday, 2 December 2019

WALTON PIER

After my whiting bash a couple of weeks ago i decided that i fancied another trip out sea fishing but somewhere different to my normal stomping grounds. A venue was chosen and a plan was hatched to take my Dad out for the day to fish Walton Pier as it was meant to be fishing relatively well for whiting, dabs, maybe the chance of a ray, possibly a dogfish or two and even the remotest chance of a 'sea unicorn'. That will do for us i thought and i set about thursday evening tieing lots of different rigs for me and 'old boy' to use.
RIG PRODUCTION
Friday dawned and as predicted by Metcheck the weather was sunny with a slight breeze, instead of the drizzly rainy days we had prior to this trip. Gear in the van, Dad collected and off we set to the North Essex coastline. Just over an hour and half later we were all set up three quarters of the way along Walton Pier, which i forgot to take any pictures of so here's one i took a few weeks earlier.






WALTON PIER
Straight from the off we were getting knocks and rattles on our rod tips, indicating that there was some hungry fish swimming around the pier. I proceeded to catch a couple of whiting and the odd pouting on lugworm tipped with either squid or mackeral pieces. Rigs were 2 hook flappers with the bottom hook being relatively long and low on the rig body so as to flap a little better on the sea bed. My aim was to hopefully catch a flatfish or two with this technique as i haven,t had one for a few years now and i do love flattie bashing. Dad and i were only talking about how good the fishing was for flounder and dabs years back and how poor it is now and how they rarely show up in our catching anymore, and that we probably wouldn't see one on this session, as we were driving our way there.
DAB



After a couple of whiting were landed i had an odd little rattle on a rod i had cast 50 yards or so out and upon lifting into the fish i felt a familiar rattly, fluttering kind of fight on the end of my line. Could this be what i was hoping for? Yes is the answer, and i was over the moon when i lifted a small dab over the railings, neatly hooked in the lip. A couple of quick pictures and a check on Google just to check, flounder and dab look quite similar when small, and the lovely little thing was sent back to its watery home. After that literally every cast resulted in either a whiting, or two, a pouting or a missed bite as we kept ourselves busy for the following few hours. A few of the whiting were over the legal size limit so they went in the bag for my Mums dinner and the rest went back home to the sea. I also had one rod fishing a big bait of herring and squid cocktail in hope of maybe a ray or even a cod but this didn't escape the hoards or hungry whiting either.

FLOUNDER
After a while i decided to set up a light carp rod and just drop a small bait down below the pier alongside one of the many legs to see what else might be swimming around down there. I've reading, and watching on Youtube, a fair bit about fishing for micro species and have been getting quite interested in giving it a go. My first couple of drops resulted in the usual culprits, whiting and pouting, then a more rattly bite resulted in me hooking and landing a beautiful little flounder, i,m pretty sure it was a flounder and not a dab. Another species and a cracking fight on my carp rod, i was over the moon. I continued to fish beneath the pier but the tide was on its way out by now and was pushing through pretty hard so i kept having to up my weight to hold bottom. I started to think that maybe i wasn't fishing very effectively, as the tip had been quiet for a while, when the rod tip started to get little plucks. With rod in hand i waited for the next series of rattles to which i replied with a small sharp strike, i was using braided mainline so didn't,t want to strike too hard or i may well have pulled the hook out of the fishes mouth. A little fight ensued, well actually just a few stronger pulls on the rod, and the fish was lifted over the railings and swung into my waiting hand. A beautiful little rockling lay across my hand as my reward. Again i was over the moon as this is another species i havn,t caught for years and another for the species list.
ROCKLING

Just before dark we packed up and made our way along the pier and back to the van, knackered and happy from our days sport. I think we landed in excess of 30 whiting, along with a few pouting, a couple of dabs, a flounder and the one rockling, not too bad for a couple of anglers who havn,t sea fished properly for a good few years. I'm getting a bit more into my sea fishing at moment and rather than thinking about braving the cold in search of pike my mind keeps wandering to fishing the cold seas for whatever lives within. I,ll keep you informed on how i get on whatever i may fish for. tight lines guys...

MY DAD


Wednesday, 27 November 2019

WHITING, WHITING AND MORE WHITING.......

Last week i fancied a spot of sea fishing on my local River Crouch so one evening set about getting the gear ready for a little first light dangle at a local mark. I like to tie a few rigs at home so i don't have to fumble around by the water so a few 2 hook flappers, for the whiting and small fish, were made up as well as a couple of big hook pennels for anything larger swimming by.


The temperature gauge in the van was reading 0 degrees as i drove the short distance to the river and the heavy frost crunched under foot as i walked to my chosen spot just as the sun was just rising over the horizon making getting out of bed early worthwhile. The tide was already 3 hours down from high water and i had only planned to stay for a couple of hours so the rigs i,d tied the previous evening were quickly attached and launched out at various distances. Bait was strips of mackeral and squid as well as some frozen black lug on the small fish rigs and a cocktail of large fillets of mackeral and squid for the big fish.

 From the off the rods were rattling away and after missing a couple of bites i connected with a small whiting. A quick unhook and back out went the rig. I then proceeded to catch at least one, sometimes 2, whiting on every cast to the flapper rig with only the odd whiting to the bigger bait, but they were bigger whiting.
 One of the larger whiting had this small 'goby' protruding from its throat so i carefully eased it out and thread it onto a hook and cast it back out, and i caught another whiting on it too. The bites started to slow down as the tide flow eased and after 2 hours of quite busy fishing i packed up and headed home for my breakfast and a nice cup of latte. I lost count of how many fish i caught but it had to be a couple of dozen with a dozen or so sizeable fish taken home to make into fishcakes for 'Her Ladyship'.

I was quite surprised that only whiting showed up in my catch, i would of expected a couple of pouting or maybe a basslet or two as well.

















A beautiful couple of hours spent by the water catching a few fish, what more can a guy ask for.



Friday, 8 November 2019

SMALL RIVER ROVING, RETURN

At the beginning of this year i fished a small river in Essex, which i had been meaning to try for a few years, in hope of catching some nice perch and chub as i,d heard a few reports and walked the river and it looked good for both species. Luckily i did pretty good on that session and caught both my target species, and not bad sized ones too. Well last week i decided i fancied another trip there to see what else this tiny little river had to offer.

My target for this short afternoon session was the perch, probably my favourite species to fish for over the past few years. Now that i know the river holds a couple of decent specimens i feel that its worth putting in the effort to see what size these sergeants actually grow too. Arriving at midday i set of on the 1.5 mile trek to a small side pool, which i had caught small roach, rudd and gudgeon from on my last trip, to tempt out a few small silvers to use as live bait on the main river. Arriving at the pool it was obvious that no one else and fished there in a long time as the bankside vegetation was untrodden so after a little clearing i had a lovely flatfish spot to stand and fish from safely. I say safely as i knew the water was quite deep, turns out its around 6-8ft at your feet, and there was an inlet pipe running heavily into the pool next to where i was standing so slipping in would of been quite a serious error.

 Quickly setting up a little trotting rig a dropped the bait just out from my nearby bank at a depth of roughly 3ft, baited with a single red maggot, and literally before the float had time to settle it slid away and i happily swung in a tiny chublet, result. Over the past hour i caught a good few dozen chublets, roach and rudd with 10 or so going into the livie bucket and the rest being returned. I was enjoying myself immensely catching these small fish and for some reason thought i,d deepen the rig and see what was lowered down in the water column, now that was a real game changer. First chuck in and my float side away as per usual but as i lifted into this fish i was met with some good resistance and something pulling back hard on the other end of my line. A short battle and up popped a lovely roach off around a pound or so in weight but as i went to slide the net under it the hook pulled, bollix. Annoyed at losing a decent fish i dropped the bait back in roughly the same place and almost immediately the float shot of again and i was into another strong fish which turned out to be another good sized roach. The next half hour was spent catching quality sized roach upto three quarters of a pound, wish i,d taken pictures of them now, until the action just stopped for no apparent reason.  Now for some reason i again decided to deepen the rig and first drop in i hooked and landed the reason, i was soon to find out, why the bigger roach and the smaller fish earlier had 'done the offs'.

It had turned out that deeper down in my swim was a hoard of good sized perch, probably curious as to what all the commotion had been over the past couple of hours. Every drop down with single red maggot resulted in perch upto half pound snatching the bait. Now this was great fun catching perch of this size but i did wonder if maybe there was any bigger specimens swimming amongst its smaller brethren so i changed tactics and dropped in a small live bait to the same area as an experiment. First little trot and the free roaming chublet attracted a slightly bigger perch of maybe just a pound in weight, great i thought and persevered onwards with another little livie. More perch followed but nothing over a pound in weight and i was beginning to think that maybe 1lb was the ceiling weight for them in this tiny little pool.

 I,d just turned to grab a bottle of drink out of my rucksack when out of the corner of my eye i saw my float shoot under again and a quick strike met with a pull back at the other end of my line. Now this fish pulled back a lot stronger than the previous fish and too be honest by the way it was fighting i thought i,d hooked into a small jack pike, but i was over the moon when just below the surface i saw a big perch twisting and turning trying to tangle me in the nearside vegetation. Eventually i slid the net under a cracking perch or possibly 2.5lb in weight, it was exceptionally thick across its back, quick picture and i slide her back and i was happy. I was tempted to up sticks after this fish as it had run around the swim a lot and my thoughts were that maybe it had spooked everything but i had noticed another perch below it as i netted it so though ill have another cast just in case. Straight away my float disappeared and i played another good perch in of around 1.5lb. Happy days, thought i, ill carry on fishing but for the next 15 mins or so there was not even a tug on my line.

Have you ever had that feeling that something was wrong in your swim, when for no apparent reason you feel as though the area had just emptied of fish? Well that was how i was feeling now so thought it was time to give the main river a try when out of the blue my float slid across the surface of the pool. Now this was different as all the other bites had been sharp pull under bites but this time the float was sliding along just below the surface, i was pretty sure i knew who the culprit would be. I applied pressure in the opposite direction to which the float was going and all hell then proceeded to break loose. Whatever was on the other end shot across to the other side of the pool, then back to me, then back to the other side before trying to snag me in the nearby reeds. I was right in thinking that a pike had taken my live bait but i wasn't expecting it to be one this size in such a small body of water. It took a good 15 minutes to finally get this powerhouse of a pike into my waiting landing net, which it only just fit in as the net was only meant for perch, after numerous attempts at wrapping me around the weeds at my feet and a couple of overhanging branches nearby but i eventually managed it. What a beautifully conditioned, well proportioned pike of 13.5lb she was too with not a blemish on her flanks and a full mouth of needle sharp teeth, i,m pretty sure that she's not been caught before. I was one seriously happy bunny after this capture and after a quick photo session i slipped her back into the pool and then proceeded to flop down in the grass and have a breather as i needed it.

I fished a couple of areas on the main river afterwards, with no joy, but to be honest my heart wasn't in it now after the sport i,d just had in the previous few hours, i was already more than content with what i had caught and the 'need' to catch anymore was just not there. I got back to the van just as it was getting dark and sat in the back reflecting on the afternoons fishing whilst sipping a latte and thinking how can such a small piece of water produce so many good size fish in such a short time. The eco-system must be perfect in there as all the fish caught were in excellent condition and fighting fit. I will return to fish the river again soon but ill rest the pool for a while to let it settle back down.

Tight lines guys.................


Sunday, 20 October 2019

France 2019

So last week myself and a friend took the long 12 hour drive to the lake we fished so successfully last year. Thoughts of big fat carp crawling up our lines were foremost in our minds. I,d had a good session last year landing 17 fish, if memory serves, upto 42lb and was looking forward to hopefully a repeat performance. Once the long haul was over and we had arrived at the lake it was time to set up all the usual paraphernalia needed to survive a weeks carp fishing. After a couple of hours lugging bags from van to swim, setting up bivvies and generally getting sorted it was time to relax. First order of the day was to have a little perch fishing with lobworms from the dam wall as last year a few large stripes were seen following marker floats so it was decided to try for them. After an hour or so we,d had half a dozen perch to half pound and a couple of small jack pike, no big perch showed but it was a bright sunny day so we weren't expecting much anyway. A short walk back to our swim and it was time to get the rods out for the carp.

Nothing happened that night or the following morning and i,d reeled in my rods to have a little walk around the grounds before the forecast rains set in. Upon getting back to the swim i,d put my rods back out, bar one, when the heavens opened and i took shelter in the avid base camp we had set up to sit under and cook in. The rains stayed for a couple of hours and in the end i thought i,d just 'pub chuck' my last rod 30 yards or so out infront of the swim with a bright single pop-up on just to get it fishing. A couple of hours later an alarm sounded and up i shot running to the wrong rods before realising it was the 'pub chuck' rod that was having line stripped from the reel, i had been having a wee snooze at the time so was a bit dazed and confused. I picked up the rod and leant into a strong fish which decided it wanted to swim to the far end of the lake no matter what. A nice fight ensued with me gaining and losing line regularly before i slipped the net under a nice size mirror carp. It turned out that not only was this a nice sized carp but also my new PB at 45lb 14oz, i really was a happy bunny. Not a lot happened for the rest of the day and night, but it didn't matter to me.

45lb 14oz mirror carp


The following morning was nice and mild with only a slight breeze and perfect for a spot of stalking at the shallower end of the lake. We,d booked the whole lake to ourselves so we weren,t restricting to fishing from one area. Before the trip i,d got it into my head that i wanted to catch a French carp on a float fished lobworm, it didn't,t have to be a big carp any carp would do. Well this was the perfect day as the evening before we had seen lots of bubblers showing which obviously gave the carps location away and today i was going to try for one. Quietly walking along the track i could see a few bubbles here and there and once arriving in the first swim there was a few definite feeding fish chucking up bubbles as they grubbed around in the silt. Just to the right of the swim was a big patch of bubbles only a rod lengths out from the bank so i quietly dropped my float a foot away and settled down to see if it got any interest. Within 60 seconds my float slowly slid away and i lifted into a carp that took of across the lake. This wasn't,t the usual low double figure carp i,ve caught in the past, back in England, using this method, this was a beast and it let me know it. I think i played the fish for 15 minutes or so, not really sure to tell the truth, and in that time it took numerous powerful runs across the lake flat rodding me on a couple of occasions. Thoughts of a big 20lber or maybe even a scrapper 30lb were running through my mind as the fish got closer and closer and finally it rolled into my waiting landing net. Shit, that's huge was my next thought.

39lb 10oz floatfished worm caught mirror carp

Lifting the net out of the water and placing my capture on the waiting mat was no easy feat i can tell you. Opening the mesh of the net revealed a beautiful, big, mirror carp far bigger than i expected to catch and she was in fine condition. Quickly unhooked, slipped into the sling and onto the scales she weighed in at a very pleasing 39lb 10 oz. A few quick pictures and she was away back into her watery home and i flopped onto the grass knackered and elated. I could of packed up fishing there and then and come home as i was that happy, in fact i walked back to our main swim made myself a coffee and just chilled out for the next few hours, happy and content. A few people on hearing about this capture have said 'shame it wasn't a 40lber as it was so close' but to be honest it doesn't,t matter to me one bit, it was a massive carp caught on 'old school' tactics and was caught by design. What more could you ask.

Nothing much happened on my rods for the next couple of days, a  couple of upper 20lb carp tripped up and took my bait, but everything was exceptionally quite not what i,d hoped for really but i was already happy with my previous captures so it didn't,t really matter to me. My fishing partner on the other hand was catching at an astonishing rate including fish in the 50lb and 60lb bracket.

Bites for me had been practically non existent for a while and the couple i had resulted in a hook pull and getting snagged on a sunken branch. Thats until i had a slow take at 2.30 in the morning and after a rather un-spectacular fight i landed a big grass carp. Not only was this a big grass carp but it was also the only grass carp in the lake, and it was at its biggest weight too resulting in a lake record of 41lb 12oz. It may not of done much in the water but once on the mat it proper beat me up. These fish look huge, and sp impressive, on the bank as they have such a length to them.

41lb 12oz lake record grass carp
I,d like to say that i caught some more spectacular carp, but i didn't, i only caught the 5 fish. But what fish i had caught though, a near 40lb carp caught on a floatfished lobworm, a mid 45lb carp caught on a chuck it and chance it cast, and a massive lake record caught grass carp. I might not of set the angling world on fire but i am more than happy with my catches that week.