After a hectic four months when I had not really been fishing due to family commitments before I knew it 2014 had arrived. After the first session of the year had resulted in a blank I was eager to get out again and nail my first carp of 2014.
With most venues flooded, and consequently shut to angling, I made a decision to head to the Mets lake in West Drayton, Middlesex. The Mets is lovely mature gravel pit with a great stock. It isn’t an easy lake by a long shot, but can be rewarding if you get it all right.
Its neighbour, the popular day ticket water Thorny Weir, was fishing a little slowly and I was told by the bailiff that the odd fish had been out over the winter period – so with this in mind I had a little walk around and ended up in a swim called the Royal Box. It’s a swim I know well, so with absolute minimum disturbance (i.e. just two casts) the traps were set and I was fishing to my chosen spots.
Gardner's 16lb Mirage Fluorocarbon mainline with a 6 feet leader constructed with the new flecked CamFlex leadcore.” alt=”The terminal tackle used was Gardner's 16lb Mirage Fluorocarbon mainline with a 6 feet leader constructed with the new flecked CamFlex leadcore.” width=”776″ height=”582″ class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-13373″ />
The terminal tackle used was Gardner‘s 16lb Mirage Fluorocarbon mainline with a 6 feet leader constructed with the new flecked CamFlex leadcore. A 2oz ‘chod’ coated pear lead supplied the casting weight and the hooklink was tied with 25lb brown Sly Skin and a size 6 Covert Continental Mugga hook. The hook bait was mounted on a small Covert ring swivel held in place with a couple of Covert hook beads (incorporating the swivel allows the Mugga to turn as it’s designed to).
Bait wise was an easy! Carp Company ‘Chewy Specials’ 16mm pop-ups were placed on the two areas of the lake followed by three big pouch full’s of bottom baits.
With the traps now set I was ready to wait for a bite, and was pleasantly surprised when one of the rods was away 10 minutes later. After a lively scrap we netted a nice looking carp, with my first bite of 2014 resulting in a lovely 26lb common.
I thought ‘Done it!’, but I’d didn’t end there.
Three hours later I was back in playing another decent fish. This time round it was another cracking original Mets common that stopped on the Reuben’s at 29lb.
After a bit of commotion (due to the mud) I repositioned the rod. By this time darkness was creeping in, so with the traps set it was time to get some food on the go. Well I tried! The same rod rattled off again and after steady pressure I gradually gained control and slipped the Out Reach net under yet another common. Back out with the weighing equipment and we settled on a weight of 31lb. Talk about blown away!
Three originals on the bounce in winter! I thought ‘Wow!’ to myself as I wasn’t really expecting such frenetic action…
After some sleep I was up early doors, coffee in hand watching the water like a hawk, looking for subtle signs of carp activity in the area. I’d noticed the the odd twig knocking about as fish shuffled about in and around the bushes and was brought out my trance by that sweat tune of the buzzer wailing, waking up the valley. This fish turned out to be a corking little 26lb mirror after slipping her back I sat there holding onto the shelter, riding a squally storm that was accompanied by heavy rain and hail. It got really violent for a while and two trees even came down close by. Exciting stuff!
That was it for action for the day – just the one bite. I figured this may have had something to do with Mother Nature giving the bay a proper beating. As the bites had been coming to the one rod I made the decision to use just one rod. By taking the other line out the water I hoped that the fish would stay confident and lead to a few more chances.
The next morning arrived with further heavy rain. I was sulking because it was outrageous either and the swim had turned into a muddy quagmire (to say the least).
That afternoon, around midday, the rod was off again. This time I had my work cut out and I knew it was a good one as it was plodding around for 10 minutes or so. The extra reach afforded by putting the extension piece on the Gardner Outreach landing net was a life saver in this swim as it was partly under water. Finally she rolled and after taking a few gulps off air she was mine.
I carefully unhooked her in the net (as I was understandably eager to get that rod back on the hot spot and capitalise on the action) and put her in the retention sling to recover from the battle and get her colours back. All the while I could hear my phone going into overdrive with messages etc. With the fish nicely settled I checked my phone when the rod was off again!
Now this was an angry fish and was determined to run me ragged, but with steady pressure I was soon in control. As it rolled on the surface I could see that it was a really scaley warrior, so with my heart racing and repeating the words ‘get in, get in’ it rolled near the net and then went off again. A couple of tense minutes passed when it finally rolled into the net.
After a quick cuppa, to let the fish calm itself, it was time for the pictures. It was a really good mirror, and when we lifted up the sling she settled at 35lb 6oz.
I was really chuffed with that, and after slipped her on her way I broke the net down and brought the scaley one up onto the mat. When I looked at her I was speechless. What a fish! At 30lb 8oz – what a way to end a winter session! Three 30’s and three upper 20’s in January and another mission accomplished.