I’d planned a two night trip to start on Sunday 19th May as the lake was getting a lot of attention at the weekends. Normally I had been arriving early on the Friday, only to find that by 3pm every swim on the lake was taken, which meant you were unable to move and obviously put the fish under extreme pressure. I hoped that with my new approach of arriving Sunday and taking the Monday off work the lake would l hopefully be less busy.

An early start saw me arrive at the lake at 4.30am to find it was still fairly busy, but there were still swims free, and most of the people had to be off by midday as the rules state that you are only allowed to stay for three nights.

I’d made about three circuits of the lake when I eventually saw a fish give away its presence in a swim which was not occupied, so I made my way round to have a closer look to see if I could pin-point the exact area of activity. I saw a bit of bubbling and a couple of fish subtly poke there heads out gently, not even making a ripple, this was enough for me so I dropped my bucket to secure the swim and went to fetch the rest of my tackle.

Phil's successful end tackle components.

Once there I grabbed my gear and loaded the barrow and was back in the swim in no time. The plan I had in my head was to quickly get a couple of single hook baits out to the area where the fish were showing.

I’d recently changed my mainline from Mirage Fluorocarbon to the new Pro Carp light blend as the lake was suffering from an explosion of candy floss silk weed that really liked attaching itself to the Fluorocarbon. After a few discussions about this new line it sounded like the make up of it makes it less attractive for the candyfloss weed to stick to (and Phil had been using it successfully too). I threaded this line through the rings on my rod and tied on my 4ft length of green Plummet leadcore. This was coupled with a green Covert Lead Clip, which had the lead arm cut shorter to aid lead ejection.

The rig was something I had been playing around with for a while and it looked superb and ticked all the boxes for a pop up rig. It spun nicely and had great all round movement. It comprised a size 5 Covert Chod hook which is no knotted to 20lb Trip Wire to the tag end I add a rig ring, then the tag end is passed back through the eye and blobbed with a lighter to form a D shape, then I tie this to a small size 12 Covert Flexi Ring swivel with a two turn blood knot and get it as short as possible. This knot then had green Critical Mass Putty green moulded around it until the pop up sinks slowly, lastly it is finished with six inches of Chod Skin 15lb which is ideal as it is a very supple skinned hooklink and I thought this would aid the presentation of the hookbait if it landed on uneven ground or on a slight covering of weed.

Now that was all complete I was ready to cast both rods out, I managed to get the two baits in position, so with that done it was time to set up base camp and get kettle on.

After casting to the area only twice with small 1 ½ leads the fish stopped showing and seemed to move further out. I decided to leave the baits in position, until later then, have a cast around in the zone to find any clearer areas and maybe apply a bit of free bait – but for the moment I wanted as little disturbance as possible.

The rig was something I had been playing around with for a while and it looked superb and ticked all the boxes for a pop up rig.

The day passed uneventful, so at 3pm I thought I would wind the rods in and have a little lead around in the area. Firstly, casting the left hand rod with just the lead on I found a very hard spot after a few casts. I then attached an old rig with a big hook and cast it back out to the same spot, dragged the lead along the bottom for about 2 feet then whipped it back up and reeled in to find a light coating of silk weed that was full of large bloodworm ,so this spot was clipped on my reel. Nice!

I then made some marker sticks out of my Gardner banksticks by taking the thumb screw out. These we’re the set 12ft apart (which is 4 yards) and the lead is the tied around one stick whilst you wrap the line from one to the other forming a figure of eight pattern until I reached the clip on my reel. This then told me how many wraps (the distance) to that spot and a rough guide at how far out the spots were was all logged into my IPhone for future reference.

The same process was carried out for the other rod because I wanted them both at the same distance about a rod length apart. The left hand rod was going to have bait around it and the right rod was going to be a single.

I cast these two rods out getting them in the position I wanted and feeling them down nicely, then I carried out the same procedure with my spod rod on the marker sticks so this would land bang on also, my spod mix comprised of whole, chopped and crushed Dynamite Tigernut boilies this was then spodded out with the aid of the new small Bait Shuttle spods all over the left rod.

After this was all completed it was time to relax and watch the water for any signs of fish. As evening drew in I was planning on an early night with the aim of getting up around 2am to watch the water until dawn. At 2am my alarm sounded and I got up all blurry eyed ready to make a tea and watch the water but unfortunately it was pouring with rain, so I had a brew and got back in the bag and fell back to sleep. It only seemed like minutes when my right hand rod signalled a few bleeps and my bobbin pulled up tight, it was actually 4.30am and it was still raining, so I put my coat and boots on and went to investigate. In all honesty I thought that a tench was the culprit, but as I shone my head torch on the tip of my rod I could see that the line had really kited round to the right, so I picked up the rod and bent into a solid resistance.

I removed the hook and treated the hook hold with Medic Plus.

I was shaking as it was my first carp of the new season, with a rig I had never caught a carp on before. It was a great fight and after around 10 minutes I had engulfed a large common carp in the folds of my net. I was buzzing – the net was secured and I made a tea to calm down. After drinking my tea I searched for a suitable cameraman, who was luckily in the next swim down. Once he was round I made another tea then got all the essentials out for the process of weighing and photographing in a safe and organised manner.

We got her out carefully and placed her gently on the mat, checked to see how the hook hold was, it was excellent so I removed the hook and treated the hook hold with Medic Plus. She weighed an impressive 29lb 12oz and we took a couple of pictures and released her back.

Once I had sorted all the equipment out, I wanted to get that rod back out there as quickly as possible, I checked the rig the hook was given a little going over with the excellent Point Doctor, then I carried out the same process of marking the spot with the aid of the banksticks to enable me to get the bait back in the same position. Once that was done, I retired back to bed for some much needed sleep.

I woke refreshed at around 11am and had a bite to eat. My idea was to leave the rods again until 3pm and repeat the process from the day before. Nothing happened all day and I saw what could have been a carp show at the back of the spot, so at 3pm I wound both rods in and carried out the same procedure as the day before. The rest of the day passed by and night fell.

As I was lucky enough to catch one the swims around me became occupied by other anglers, so more lines were in the area and there was also a lot of casting around going on as well. I believe the fish never returned due to the additional pressure. I called it an early night as I was due to be off at 6am to get to work.

The night passed without a sound and I was packing away early still with no signs, I was happy with my result, but I also had learnt some valuable lessons.
She weighed an impressive 29lb 12oz and we took a couple of pictures and released her back.