A Memorable Bank Holiday Weekend by Tom Oliver

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A Memorable Bank Holiday Weekend by Tom Oliver

The weather was looking pretty carpy as I woke up on Friday morning with overcast skies, warm winds and a very good chance of some rain. I drove to work with only one thing on my mind and that was how the weekend was going to pan out! I had arranged to finish early to try and beat the crowds but as I pulled in to the car park at precisely 3pm I was met with the worst possible sight and my excitement literally disappeared within a split second. Every swim on the lake was taken and I thought I was going to be unable to fish for the weekend but started on a lap of the lake anyway to see when people were due to leave. Most of the anglers I had spoken to were staying for the duration making the most out of the extra day they had at their disposal.
I was awoken at around 4.30am to the sound of my left hand alarm in absolute melt down.

I was stood in a friend’s swim telling him how annoyed I was with the whole situation and how it would now be two weekends on the bounce I would be unable to fish due to angling pressure. Within a split second he kindly offered me the option to double up with him and fish the left hand side of his swim. He had arrived a day earlier and secured a swim that the fish had been spending a lot of time in and the weather looked bang on for it too! As I’m sure you can imagine I almost bit his hand off and had my gear in the swim within a few short minutes. We made the decision to only fish with two rods each so as not to cause too much extra pressure in the area as the fish were being fished for from all angles.

I decided to fish with my rods on two different spots, both over a small amount of bait for the first night that I planned on upping each day of the trip. I also wanted to try and use something the fish would approach with less caution as I was pretty sure from previous results that they normally backed off of fresh bait for at least twenty four hours. With this in mind I decided to use a mixture of small pellets up to 4mm in size and add to this some 10mm, 15mm and 18mm chops of Cell from the Kent Particles stable. To give myself the edge over my rival anglers I boiled up some lake water and scalded the whole mix to start the breakdown process thus giving it the effect that it had already been sat in the lake for twenty four hours. It also helps to release the oils and scent from the bait and would hopefully draw any passing fish in to the area.

A new p.b for Craig - The Immaculate Common weighing 35lb 8oz!

We settled down fairly late that night after a take away and both felt confident of some action the following morning. I was awoken at around 4.30am to the sound of my left hand alarm in absolute melt down and was soon stood beneath the beautiful full moon playing an angry carp. Everything went smoothly and I was soon slipping a lovely 24lb 2oz common in to a sack in the deep margin. I sat up with Craig and we were seeing plenty of shows on the left side of the swim and it looked very good for another opportunity. At around 7am Craig was away and it was clear from the off it was a very good fish. A large common was soon coughing water as it slid over the net cord and was well over the 30lb barrier. We weighed the fish at 35lb 8oz, a new p.b for Craig and it was identified as “The Immaculate Common” and what a truly special fish it was!

Not too long after doing the pictures of both commons Craig’s re-cast rod was once again being torn from the rests as another large carp made its bid for freedom. A similar battle followed as another 30lb+ fish this time a heavily scaled mirror lay beaten in the folds of my Out-Reach net. Karma definitely rewarded Craig for his kindness in sharing his swim and I was genuinely very happy for him and also to witness these great fish in the flesh. The awesome looking creature was weighed in at 33lb on the button and was identified as “The Football Linear”. That was the last of the action for that morning, well that day in fact as the sun got very warm and the fish spent all of their time skirting around the surface layers of the lake. We tried all manner of zigs and floater fishing but all was to no avail. Late in the afternoon we reeled in to rest the swim for a few hours and applied some more bait, this time around double the portion of the same mix as before. We retired early that night after putting the rods out and were confident that the fish would return in the morning and hopefully feed on the spots once more.

A stunning 24lb 10oz common was soon followed by this 24lb 8oz mirror.

An angry common weighing 21lb 12oz known as “Stumpy” due to its deformed pelvic fins had me stood in the cool night at around 2.30am. The rod was repositioned and I went back to sleep full of confidence and around 5am I was once again in battle curve just as it was starting to get light. A stunning 24lb 10oz common was soon followed by a fairly plain looking long 24lb 8oz mirror. The fish seemed to start off on the left hand side of the swim then move across as the morning developed. This was proved true as Craig was in to another fish and his third thirty on the bounce was soon added to his tally and this time “The Big Common” was his prize, all 34lb of it!

Craig’s right hand rod soon followed suit and another thirty this time a 33lb+ dark mirror I had caught earlier in the year was his prize. Just as we were putting it back my middle rod was away again and I was elated to see one of the prettiest mirrors I have ever seen in the folds of my net. It was only small at 20lb 8oz but “The Little Peach” was worth ten of the plain ones in my opinion! I unfortunately went on to loose two more that morning one of which was a very big fish that had stripped nearly eighty yards of line from me on its initial run.

At 20lb 8oz the Little Peach was worth ten of the plain ones in my opinion.

We both reeled in around 1pm and rested the swim for the day to allow the fish to enjoy the sunshine as did we. I gave them another hit of the same mix in readiness for the remainder of the session and spent most of the afternoon drinking tea and preparing fresh rigs. I have been playing around with combi-rigs recently and having great success with some incredible hook holds. I have been using 25lb Mirage for the boom sections and the 20lb Trickster Heavy for the supple section next to the hook tied with the Albright knot. This is coupled with a size 6 Covert Incizor with a short piece of Covert Supa Shrink. I have been using bunches of fifteen or so maggots to tip my favoured 10mm pink Cell pop-ups again hoping the fish would treat them with less caution. Before casting I dipped the whole lot in to some Shellfish B5 boilie glug for boosted attraction with a natural and fruity flavour.

I have been playing around with combi-rigs using 25lb Mirage boom sections, 20lb Trickster and size 6 Covert Incizor's.

Just as we were about to call it a night at around 10.30pm my left hand rod was once again singing its merry tune. The fish instantly felt of a better stamp and before long “The Brute Mirror” was being admired on the mat. We decided to weigh it straight away at 33lb 14oz and get some night shots as it was too long to sack the fish for even in the deep margins we had in front of us. After returning the fish a celebratory brew was in order and we sat chatting excitedly about the prospects of what could follow at the morning bite time. Unfortunately we both awoke around 6am and everything seemed strangely quiet compared to most mornings that had passed so far. There were still a few fish showing to the left of our swim but nowhere near as many as before but we remained hopeful never the less. Unlike previous mornings we were seeing fish show on the opposite side of the lake and it was becoming clearer that the bulk of the carp were now on the opposite side of the lake. Around 8am I was just making some breakfast when my middle rod sprung in to life. A battle ensued that was totally remarkable and if I had lost the fish I would have been sure it was one of the lake’s A-team. As it turned out it was a common weighing 21lb 12oz and the last fish of my bank holiday session. I pursued with the baited spots until around mid-day then fished with zigs for the afternoon as there were plenty of carp cruising around in the upper-layers but all was to no avail. I was more than happy with landing seven of my nine bites as many people had struggled for a single bite due to the added pressure. Between the pair of us we managed fourteen bites and five of which were from fish over 30lb with the rest falling in to the 20lb+ bracket. I can’t wait to get back and hope I can continue the recent run of success I’ve been having, by thinking a little outside the box I have been able to make the carp feed on my bait over others even when times have been difficult.

The fish instantly felt of a better stamp and before long “The Brute Mirror” was being admired on the mat weighing 33lb 14oz.

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