Having received my new Farnham Angling Society ticket I couldn’t wait to get to the lake and look around the water that I planned to concentrate on.
Upon arriving I strolled around and spoke to a few of the anglers; many of them had been fishing on the Farnham ticket for several years and they were very friendly, offering a lot of helpful information about the lake. They informed me that weekends could get very busy, so armed with this information, and as I was going to fish from Friday to Sunday, I made sure to get the lake in the early hours on Friday morning.
The first trip landed on my birthday weekend, and I was having a social trip with Ray and Dean (my brother and nephew). We all arrived at the lake and the car park was already very busy! We got our buckets and went for a stroll around. All of the so called ‘decent’ swims that we were told about were already taken, but we did see a few fish topping on one side of the lake – coincidentally it was the side that had the least pressure. We put our buckets in the chosen swims and nipped back to the cars and got the rest of the gear out.
I knew the lake had some quite silty areas, so had both rods already set up on helicopter rigs with 2ft Plummet leadcore leaders and 2oz Ranger Distance leads. The hook links were six inches of 25lb Chod Skin, looped onto a size 12 Kwik-lok Flexi ring swivel with one of the new small Target Anti-tangle sleeves over it.
On the hook end of the rig I had a small green Covert Hook Aligner over the shank of a size 6 Covert Incizor with a long hair tied to a small Covert Rig Ring that went on the curve of the hook. Hook baits were snowman style using a 14mm Tiger Baits Polar boilie topped with a matching 14mm Fluoro yellow pop-up to stop help keep it above the soft sediment.
My first cast landed just off of an island but there was something not right as I felt it down, so I reeled it straight back in. As I did, it locked up and eventually came in with a lily attached. There was no sign of any lilies on top and I had no clue of the size of the bed of pads that were out there. Ray searched for the lake on his phone and saw a picture of it on Google, we then realised the pads were huge and they went around the island and took up the three swims opposite.
My next cast fell short of the island by a couple of rod lengths, but was still amongst the lilies and I felt it down and it seemed perfect. I was happy with the cast and felt confident of a bite!
After only having one small catfish over the next 24 hours I knew I had to change something. I was getting indications of fish in and around my area but was yet to receive a take. I could see fish just below the surface and needed something to attract them down to my bait. I already had a small PVA mesh bag of crushed boilies and decided to crush down a pop-up and add this to the bag mix in the hope that the bits of pop-up would rise from the bottom and the carp would come to investigate.
I wanted my line to be pinned down to the lake bed, so I used a flying back lead and also added a Drop-Out Back lead with my line fished tighter than normal.
Because of the angling situation I had to be right beside my rods for when I had a run, as I’d need to be on it straight away!
After only 10 to 15 minutes after casting out I was sitting on my bucket, having a nice cup of coffee with Dean and Ray when my receiver screamed off and I was into one. At first I thought it could be one of the big cats as the fight was savage – like I’ve never had from a carp before.
After a few minutes of fighting it through the pads it started to come straight in. Well straight into the snags to the right of me that is!
I still hadn’t seen the fish and wasn’t sure if it was a carp or not…
Just as I eased it up to the surface, Dean said “it’s a carp, and it’s a big one”! The fish then bolted to the left and went round my other rod. At this point my heart was in my mouth! My brother kindly lifted the other rod out the way and Dean grabbed the net, this massive head and shoulders came up to the top and Dean did a great job of netting it for me.
I was so chuffed first trip on the ticket and it was one of the big ones from the lake. I thought “Happy Birthday Carl”!
As Dean lifted the net they both said that’s got to be a thirty, but I still wasn’t sure. He placed it on the mat while I wetted the sling and grabbed my scales, the carp was an absolute stunner. After zeroing everything properly I gently put the carp in the sling, Ray held it up and the needle stopped bang on thirty. I couldn’t believe it my first trip and a 30lb carp. Not a PB, but what a stunning mirror it was!
I had a couple of pictures done then put the fish back in the sling and into the lake for it to catch its breath back. Once we had both fully recovered I carefully returned her and sat back to reflect on what a great experience my first session had been.