2012 saw the lakes on the Longfield complex being sold by Cemex Angling to a private investor. With renewed enthusiasm, the face lift Fox Pool undertook during the close season was a credit to the bailiffs who worked tirelessly every weekend. I knew the stock was incredible, with a large number of the carp being over 35lb, so with the place looking superb, I couldn’t wait to get down there.
On the day of the draw I actually did better than usual, coming out 17th out of 22 anglers present! However, I wasn’t really bothered as I just wanted to sample the opening night atmosphere. With a hog roast, BBQ and fantastic company May 31st 2013 was one of the best opening nights I’d ever attended.
My next session was the following week, which was a mid week overnighter. I fished a swim I knew very little about called ‘The Stumps’. Trying to find somewhere to present the bait was always going to be difficult with little knowledge of the swims topography. The lake is crystal clear and as such, the Canadian pond weed was already taking hold. Eventually, after some rather extensive feature finding I found a hole in the weed some fifty yards out and another closer-in silt spot. After recent success on the rig I decided to present a KD pop-up rig over 50 PGB’s Choc-Orange boilies onto each spot.
With my trusty mini BBQ lit, I sat back and enjoyed a more chilled out environment than the one from the weekend. As darkness set in, ripples started to make their way into my margins from my right and I could hear the odd carp lump out in that zone.
A bright beautiful June morning arrived which, unfortunately saw me hastily pack up for work with not so much as a bleep to my rods. I was just content with the knowledge that I’d gained about the swim and the rough area that I’d seen the fish show in. I couldn’t wait to return on the Friday, when once again, I had an overnighter available.
The M25 was its usual chaotic self, with the drive taking more than two hours longer than it should do. However, I was surprised to see only four cars in the car park when I eventually arrived. I’d already had my mind set on the swim further up from the Stump swim I was in a couple of days previous, but I had arrived too late for that as it was already occupied. All the corner swims were taken (which suited me fine), so I ended up in a swim known as ‘The Left Noddies’.
Although the swim has form for being extremely weedy, it did give me access to the area where the fish had been showing. With the lack of clear spots in front of me, I eventually settled for an area some 70 yards out that I knew was clear some years back, although it certainly was not now.
I presented two Specialized Hook Baits S2 cork balled hook baits on chod rigs made up from 6 foot long 25lb green Plummet leaders, 20lb Trip Wire hooklinks and size 5 Covert Chod hooks. A healthy scattering of Choc-Orange hook baits were spread over the zone. Within one hour the left hand rod pulled up tight, resulting in short lived fight before the hook pulled.
The rod was immediately cast back out into the area and I enjoyed a quiet evening watching the sun go down. Sensing that things felt good, I was still surprised to hear the right hand rod rattle off the moment I climbed into the sleeping bag.
This time a spirited fight in the darkness resulted in me slipping the net under a good looking fish which registered 38Ib 2oz on the scales. The Chod hook, doing an exemplary job as always, was firmly embedded in the bottom lip.
It was a fish known as ‘The Dark Mirror,’ probably No. 1 on my wanted list, so I felt very humble to have caught it. After the photos were taken, and the rod re-positioned to the area, I crashed out.
The next thing I knew was the same rod screaming on the rests again at 6am, this time the fish was determined to wipe me out in a snag bush to the left of me before I regained control. The fish gave up eventually and succumbed to the awaiting net.
Fittingly known as the ‘Crazy Linear’, she turned the dial of scales around to 23.08lb.
Unsurprisingly, I was over the moon to my early campaign and can’t wait to get another chance at one of the lakes other gems in the not so distant future…