Having started a new job two months ago, my fishing had been non-existent much to my dismay, however as I was once again moving jobs I found myself with a two week gap before starting my new position. I had been part of a very private local syndicate for a few years and seen it mature since it was bought by a friend. The plan was to fish this venue for the first time over the two week period and relax. A feature had come though from the Angling Times, so my time would therefore be split between the feature and the syndicate.
My notice period finished and the very next day I was dusting off my gear and heading out into perfect conditions. The private syndicate had been fishing hard of recent and had built up a three week catch delay from the last capture. As you can imagine I was not expecting much being the first time on the venue and its recent fishing form. My session started at 3pm on the Wednesday, the plan was to fish two nights and one day before packing down and heading off down the country to my feature destination. As darkness fell I started to receive liners, so I went to bed feeling confident my small areas of Cell could entice a fish down.
Out of the blue my middle rod pulled up tight and not long after I slipped the net under my first carp from the private venue. I was delighted to have 21lb leather nestled in the mesh of the net. My Cell pop-up soaked in Hinders Betalin proved too attractive for the stunning carp. My successful rig was very simple and incorporated 15lb Subterfuge and Trickster Heavy hook-links fished combi-rig style with a super sharp size 6 Covert Continental Mugga (these hooks give amazing hook holds). I add a Gardner Covert Hook Aligner which helps to turn the hook and I mount the pop up on a micro swivel on the shank of the hook.
Having caught one on the first night I was super confident in landing another. Unfortunately another capture was not meant to be, but I finished the session still really happy that I had managed a bite from a venue that had proven very tricky in the last three weeks. At 1pm on the Friday I was all packed up and ready to make the two hour drive down to Anglers Paradise in Devon to shoot a feature. As the sun started to drop I managed to get all my gear down into peg 2 of Kracking Carp Lake. This venue only holds thirteen carp so it was always going to be hard. With ten of the thirteen fish being over 30lb it’s a mint big fish day ticket venue. The challenge that faced me was even more difficult than on my syndicate, as the Kracking Carp Lake had not produced a fish for two months!
With all the gear set, I positioned both rods up close to some snags and spread a couple of handfuls of mainline cell chops over the top. The rigs were identical combi-rigs, however I attached a stick mix to each rod. It had been a long day and I had driven 100’s of miles, so I opted for an early night. The fish rarely come out at night, so I zipped down and was soon in dream land. To say I was expecting a bite would have been a massive lie, the lake had not produced a fish for a long while and it was too dark to try and locate them before setting up.
Only four hours into the session, the left hand rod peeled off and after a long twenty minute fight I slipped the net under a 30lb mirror. I was delighted to say the least as the two month fish drought had ended and I had landed fish number 8/13 on what was my 12th night. The down side was I had caught the fish at night and it was too dark to get any good photos or video footage. Neither the less I was buzzing and super confident for the remaining two nights.
The weather then became super nasty for the next twenty four hours. My bivvy got flooded three times and the wind was so bad I feared opening the bivvy door as could have quite easily got blown out! Going into Saturday night my confidence had diminished and rightly so as the night was uneventful except from the blast of thunder that set my car alarm off.
I awoke to find the wind and rain had eased so went for a walk around. In all honestly I had lost the vibe from peg 2, so when I got to the opposite end of the lake I suddenly felt a carpy vibe. I can’t explain how, but I knew as soon as I got into peg 4 I had to move and risk getting wet. So I did, I moved in the rain to peg 5. I got the rods out in peg 5 at about 10am (leaving 24 hours remaining) and I felt confident once again. The day passed quickly with no fishy signs but even more flooding and I went into the night semi-confident. I fell into a deep sleep at 9pm and woke up bursting for the loo at 6am the following morning. It was still dark but I knew my chance would come in the next three hours. After peeing for what seamed and age, I ducked back into the bivvy when the right rod pulled up tight to the blank. I instantly hit into a heavy fish that moved slowly. I could clearly see a big fish encased in a large ball of weed on the surface and before long I had it in the net.
As this fish is the main photo for the feature it can’t be released but I can say it was bigger than the thirty from night number one. By the time I had unhooked it, the sun started to rise and some of the fishery managers at Anglers Paradise came down. They shot some great video footage and photos which I am extremely grateful for. It seemed my stick mix had done the damage again. For full info into how to make my stick mix keep an eye out for the feature coming soon in Angling Times.
After I slipped the big fish back I packed down again in the wind and rain and headed back to Somerset a happy man. A brace of 30’s from a venue that only holds thirteen fish was a good achievement. It was the first time I had ever managed a brace of fish from the venue, so was well chuffed and glad I manned up through the poor weather.
I arrived back in Somerset at about 1pm with no intention of going back out untill Tuesday. After a shower and a much needed shave I found myself bored on the sofa. After a quick thought, I was back in the car speeding down to the syndicate lake for my second session. It had not done a fish in the three days I had been away, so again want really expecting much even with lady luck on my side. The venue is far from easy and normally does less than ten fish a month.
I managed to get back in the same swim as before and intended to fish the Monday night, Tuesday night and go home Wednesday day as I had a delivery to collect. I then hoped to get back for Wednesday night. Well the trip turned into a session of a life time as I landed five twenties and a 30lb common, which was a new lake record. All fish were caught fishing a pop-up rig over a small scattering of chopped Mainline Cell. Pop-ups were Cell again but most importantly soaked in Hinders Betalin. A hit of fish this large has never been done before except when a member did seven nights. It really was a session of a lifetime.
After leaving on a super high with lady luck on my side, I headed home on Tuesday morning for a weekend of partying. The lake did one fish in the few days I was away, so as you can imagine I was keen to get back out. With a storm coming on the Monday I instantly dismissed fishing as it would have been to dangerous. At 7pm on Monday night I looked out the window and didnt see any signs of a storm, so I loaded up and went out fishing. Maybe crazy but I had the bug. This session would be shorter compared to my last trip. I intended to do the stormy Monday night, Tuesday day and Tuesday night.
Well the storm did hit on the Monday night but fortunatley my bivvy stayed firm in the strong winds. This session was even more successful as I landed three more twenties fish, two small stockies and an original mirror weighing 30lb 3oz. I was buzzing my and felt like I had won the lottery. The run of eight nights and five days resulted in thirteen fish. Four fish weighing over 30lbs, seven twenties and two stockies. As I mentioned luck played a huge part as always, however a combination of strong reliable tackle, great bait and perfect weather helped contribute to an amazing two weeks fishing.