After walking and watching the lake for the past three months I have started to build up a picture in my mind of where the carp like to be. So after exploring the areas and speaking to a few of my mates, I had narrowed down the spots I really wanted to be in. So my plan was formed. Slight problem though. The draw for swims!!!Now my past form at the draw isn't great. Three draws and three times I have come out last. This is not only soul destroying but not great for the fishing either, also it was a Bank Holiday so it was going to be busier than just a normal weekend. So out comes the little grey bag that has aptly been called the “bag of doom”. It really is imperative I come out early in the draw so I can get into the areas I have painstakingly been observing the fish. To my utter shock I came out 3rd!! And to my even bigger shock I got the swim I really wanted!!
The wind was blowing a North Westerly and was due to change to a hard South Easterly the next day right into my face. So with this in mind I started to flick a marker around just to see what I had got in front of me. I really didn’t want to make any commotion in the swim but due to the nature of the lakebed and its incredible depth variance I didn’t have a choice. It’s very rare I use a marker rod; I tend to let the carp tell me where to put my bait. Usually I just use a bare lead to get an idea of the condition of the lakebed, then I use Yard Sticks to get pinpoint accuracy, because as I’ve said you may be fishing to a hump no bigger than your groundsheet, with twenty feet depth around, so you really do need a visual marker for baiting up.
The spot was 10 feet deep and dropped off to more than double that, it was really clean so by my reckoning; this was where the fish I had been watching over the week had been feeding.
That morning I had already prepared a spod mix of; half a bag of 12mm Code Red boilies, two tins of F1 corn, a tin of Hemp and a bag of 4 mm S Pellet Feed so it was all mixed in together with the amazing F1 corn and hemp juice.
Rigs and hook baits were comprised of Avid size 6 CRV hooks fished on a slip D rig, Avid bait screws and the awesome Code Red Wafters. With this set up I don’t need to add any weight to the rig, it balances beautifully and slowly sinks to the deck and rests on the bend of the hook. I’m so confident with the presentation with this set up that I really can’t see me using another on a clean spot. Nails um every time.
As night fell I could just make out fish showing on the spot so I was a little surprised not to get a take during the night. I lay there awake just listening to big thuds out in front of me and fell asleep fully expecting to be jumping out in the night. But not until first light did the delks start to give liners, then a few minutes later it was game on. The right hand rod was away and after a short scrap I netted one of the new stockies. As per usual the hook hold was perfect and it went 15lb 5oz. I took a few mat shots, treated her and slipped her back. A good start but yet again I was starting to feel a little robbed of some of the chunks that are really in here.
Midday out of the blue the middle rod was singing and again after a short fight again I netted another stocky of about 12lb. I decided that the group of stockies had probably cleaned me out on the spot so I put another bucket of spod mix out and hoped that a group of bigger fish may come and feed on my trap. I re-baited all three rods and put the kettle on and watched the water.
I must have nodded off as the next noise I heard was the jangling of a spoon in a teacup as my two mates Mark Ayliffe and Steve (The Apache) Cliff appeared ready to abuse my water supply. I’ve known these two culprits for many years and I really wouldn’t like to be a carp when they are around. They have been bailiffs on the water for years and have really helped me out a lot, not just on this water but as real mates should and I love um to bits. After the 18th cup of tea we were chatting rubbish as usual, and Mark said “you just wait till you hook a goodun in here, the takes are really slow and just tighten up” with that the left hand rod just gave a few bleeps and tightened up!!! We all just looked at each other in shock.
I was on it like a flash and straight away I knew it was a good fish. It powered off on a massive run then went solid. I thought for a split second it was snagged but it was just the sheer power as it started to move to the left. I was gaining line now and after a few minutes it was almost at the margin. But this carp knew what the crack was and powered off on a big run into the deep margin. This went on for a good 5 minutes, every time it got close it powered off again. Then finally after the most amazing scrap I’ve ever had, she went into the net. Steve did the honors with the net and slowly turned round to me with a big cheesy grin and said, “welcome to Pit 1”. We sorted her out and got everything ready. I finally opened the retainer to see what I had. Mark said straight away it was one of the old originals and was probably over 40 years old. She was stunning that’s all I will say and I was totally blown away. On the scales she went 32lb on the nose and after a little treatment we all slipped her back ready to fight another day. Come on!!!
Unfortunately the next morning I lost a really good fish in the snag to the right of the swim. I had seen it a few times after another epic battle but that’s carp fishing.
I really can’t stress the importance of keeping in touch with the lake you are fishing. Walk it as much as you can and let the carp tell you where they like to be.
Mat Woods has a great birthday session with Code Red
Adam Firth bags a new PB Barbel from the River Trent using Code Red Dumbells.
See more catch shots in our Gallery Pages