I count myself extremely fortunate as I have had an absolutely fantastic year this year, having fished on two very different venues that both have syndicates made up of like-minded anglers that get on and enjoy their angling…
On a couple of occasions, turning up late at both venues I have been nudged in the right direction. I guess it’s one of the main advantages of getting on with everyone and sharing positive information – now and again a bit of friendly help comes back that leads to a golden ‘opportunity’ and that’s pretty much what happened this weekend on Welly.

Friday evening saw me rush home eager to get to the lake after missing a few weeks due to other commitments (I have been ‘on it’ this year so a three week break was a killer!). As I drove there I had that wonderful knotted stomach – the excitement and anticipation twisting my insides into a ball.

Questions like ‘Would it be rammed?’, ‘Where would the fish be?’ and ‘would it be dark before I got plotted’ raced through my mind…

As I chugged the old Dagenham Dustbin through Bramshill I was mainly thinking about ‘Bramble Bay’ – especially as a warm SE breeze was forecast for Saturday, but any area away from pressure would do…

Once in the swim the rigs were easy to sort out – a ‘Clone Rig down each margin (left and right) with a few pound or two of Carp Company Nut Mix boilies.

The gear was off loaded on the barrow and I raced to the hut to book in and pick up the carp care items. When I stopped off and had a chat with Ade (and smiley Mrs Ade) and ‘Jamie the Bailiff’ they mentioned a couple of fish had been seen along the far margin and that was all the information I needed. I gibbered excitedly to my captive audience for ten minutes and then realised the time and rushed off. So excited I nearly popped!

Once in the swim the rigs were easy to sort out; a ‘Clone Rig’ down each margin (For a step by Step on how to tie this excellent rig, click here: http://gardnertackle.co.uk/product/trick-link/) with a few pounds of Carp Company Nut Mix boilies.

In fact I baited with an additional kilo of baits in small clusters all the way down to my right, as any margin browsing fish would be likely to be travelling all along the nearside in the bay.

I struggled to sleep. The excitement I felt being elevated by the occasional fish showing nearby – and when a beast came out over the top of the middle rod I got out the bag and sat in the darkness waiting for a bite. At 3:15 it came.

The middle rod ripped off and the old adrenalin rush kicked in. It was certainly good to be back…

After a spirited battle I was popping a size 6 Chod hook out the fish’s mouth – it was nailed; and having walked the rod out and flicked it out on to the spot, I did a few self takes of the fish. With that done I sat there in the pre-dawn period and listened as the fish seemed to leave the bay through the channel by Daisy Point. Maybe a move would be on the cards at dawn?

The morning wore on and I was getting jittery, nothing much had happened and there were just a few bubblers right down in Turtle corner. The bay looked too quiet and I was becoming quite fidgety.

The middle rod ripped off and the old adrenalin rush kicked in. It was certainly good to be back…

The right hand rod bleeped a few times as a fish made a mistake with the balanced hookbait and a bow wave appeared to my right as a fish swam diagonally across the front of the swim (the super light Nano Bug being held up tight to the alarm by the weight of the Mirage). I picked the rod up wound the slack up and all hell broke loose as a decent fish stripped 40 yards of line off the spool as I struggled to get the leaky old chesties on…

After a bit of stumbling around (maybe muttering a profanity or two) I was in the water just in time as the fish swept in on a tight line and pulled hard trying to get under the trees to my left.

I was surprised how much time it took to bring her out and round but with that done the fish still surged powerfully around for another few minutes before bobbing up and displaying a back that was beast like in width…

I gently coaxed her over the net and lifted – totally missing my prize (we all do it don’t we?). What a prized plonker!

Next attempt worked though and a very thickset fish sat in the folds of the net.

Jamie was stood behind me by now and as I rolled her on her side we saw the fish’s depth and both estimated it as a near 50! Oh my days

On the mat (before lifting her out the water), I popped the hook out from a couple of inches back, treated her mouth, and up she went on the zeroed scales.

The needle hovered enticingly near the 50lb mark; quivering just over the number a couple of times, but I called it as 49lb 14oz and Jamie agreed. No complaints there.

With the photos I treated a couple of other marks ion the fishes body and cradled her for a last few moments.

‘God I love it here!’ just about summed up my feelings. It’s not every day you catch a whacker is it!?
The needle hovered enticingly near the 50lb mark; quivering just over the number a couple of times, but I called it as 49lb 14oz and Jamie agreed. No complaints there.