After blanking my last 48 hour session on Kracking, I was keen to get back down to the lakes at Angler Paradise and make up for my unsuccessful last session. Having only produced one fish so far this year I was determined not to be too hard on myself despite it being a challenging venue.

Kracking had been very rewarding to me thus far. With an estimated stock of just 13 to 15 fish I’d already managed to get my hands on 8 of the lakes residents and these were a 21lb mirror, 24lb mirror, 26lb mirror, 29lb mirror, 30lb mirror, 31lb mirror, 32lb mirror (recapture), 34lb mirror (recapture), 35lb mirror (recapture) , 36lb mirror , 37lb mirror; this leaves three commons of 36lb, 37lb, a potential 40lb – alongside two 40lb+ mirrors remaining in the lake.

With a stock of just 13 to 15 fish I’d already managed to get my hands on 8 of the lakes residents.

On my most resent excursion I arrived at the lake at 10am ready to do a feature for the UK Carp magazine. I needed to catch 1 carp from all 3 day ticket lakes on the Anglers Paradise’ Nirvana’ Day ticket complex. My original plan was to fish the Kracking first then move across to ‘Fat Boys’ and then to see out the challenge on ‘Xanadu’. Obviously, the most challenging part was going to be getting a bite from the Kracking, so I thought it best to begin session there.

There was a big easterly wind pushing down towards peg number 1 leaving me with a couple of swim choices. I could either get in the face of the wind and fish the shallower end, or get in peg number 4 and fish the sheltered end that the sun was warming. I took a lap of the lake to see if I could see any of the residents but the cold wind had clearly pushed them down deep. In the end I chose peg 4 and decided get comfortable and fish the spots I have highlighted on the map.

Both spots were fished with an identically baiting and rig approach. Each was baited with a mix of Hinders and Mainline pellets glugged in a mix of Cell and Tiger Nut liquids and Hinders Cream Supreme liquid.

Each spot received about ½Kg of pellet and a ¼Kg of chopped Cell boilies. The mix was dropped accurately using a baiting pole and were fished close together in a small hole in the weed. I topped up each spot with a handful more bait every couple of hours, just to keep a consistent smell going into the muddy water.

Covert Continental Mugga's are a key component to Ricky's rig, helping him land every take he received on Kracking.

My rig approach was one that I have become come very confident in during recent times. Combi-links, roughly 7 inches in length, tied with 5½ inches of 20Ib Trick-Link hooklink and an inch of Trickster Heavy braid (15lb silt colour) that was connected with an Albright knot. On the end was a size 6 Covert Continental Mugga and a 14mm Cell pop-up soaked in Hinders Betalin. This was mounted on the hook using a rig ring and stopped by a Covert Hook Stop positioned directly opposite the bard of the hook.

I added an inch section of shrink tube to the hook and steamed it, leaving a short section of the braid free to allow the hook to turn aggressively and covered the Albright knot with Critical Mass putty ensuring the pop-up didn’t lift the whole rig off the lake bed. This rig has landed me every take I’ve had so far. ..

So, with all the rigs in and the bait applied perfectly, I began to erect the bivvy in readiness for what I hoped would be a successful feature. After a few hours I had just got all the kit inside and finished arranging the gear when I heard one of the best sounds ever … my bite alarm!

I span round to discover the Bug slowly rising up to the rod that started hooping round as the locked up clutch held solid! I lifted into a heavy fish and the Covert Lead Clip dropped my 5oz lead.

After a couple minutes the fish darted directly across the front of the swim. My heart was in my mouth and my legs were feeling like jelly. After several surging runs, I finally got a glimpse of the beast I was connected to and instantly knew it was one of the two largest resident’s fish in the lake.

Ricky used combi-rigs tied with 5 inches of 20Ib Trick-Link and an inch of Trickster Heavy braid.

Close to 20 minutes after the bite she finally hit the surface for the first time and done something I have never seen a carp do before. Whilst floating on the top – about 15 yards out – the fish pulled its head and tall round to create a semi-circle, staying on the surface forcing me to pull it through the water. I was panicking that the hook was likely to come out after such a long fight. Eventually, I managed to get the ‘unit’ over the net and she was mine!

With the large fish safely in the net, I got in touch with the fishery owner, eccentric ‘Zyg’, to get him to come down and witness the lakes biggest fish. Before long Zyg and another member of staff, Richard, came down to weigh her and take some photos. The current complex record was held by this fish at a weight of 43lb last caught in December of last year. With the fish safely in the sling we lifted her up and weighed her in at a complex record of 45lb 6oz!

I was delighted and hugely surprised with the result! As you can tell from the images, Zyg and I were over the moon!

It was a crazy session and a great memory from such a fantastic place, for more information regarding the rest of the challenge check out the next issue of UK Carp/Angling Times.
With the fish safely in the sling we lifted her up and weighed her in at a complex record of 45lb 6oz!