After catching one of my all time target fish on a one off trip, I really felt confident that my methods and tactics were spot on, as well as my confidence being sky high! I was delighted to finally catch the fish known as the Little Grey at 45lbs and in essence lucky too, as it was a turn up and fish session with no pre planning or real preparation. It’s certainly funny in the carp fishing game how sometimes you can get that bit of luck with a capture every now and then. I was really pleased, in that I don’t particularly enjoy fishing that lake as much now, but had always desired that fish so much, I knew I would have felt cheated if I had never put in a decent campaign for it. But to have it on my first night back really freed me up for the rest of the summer, so with that off my wish list I knew I could crack on elsewhere, and I knew exactly where I wanted to be.

I was delighted to finally catch the fish known as the Little Grey at 45lbs.

The new Kent water had really captivated me and to be honest I couldn’t see myself fishing anywhere else, not only was the stock so impressive, with fish capable of smashing my PB, but it was also the most enjoyable and beautiful venue I’ve ever fished, coupled with a friendly membership, I couldn’t have asked for more!

I’d had a couple of sessions on there, and had used these to really try and gain knowledge of the lake, by fishing different swims as much as I could. It’s possibly the first water I’ve fished in years that I wasn’t able to research, as I knew no one that had fished it at all. That made it all the more exciting, and gave me a chance to test myself as an angler on the unknown. I knew that having a good idea of features in specific swims would give me a leg up when I was able to find fish in them, and enable me to get my baits out with the minimum of disturbance. I could also see, even by mid May that the weed was coming up, and I wanted to identify a few areas where I could look to catch fish close in, thus giving me a good chance of getting them out when the weed reached its highest. With no leaders of any kind allowed, I felt that Mirage fluorocarbon straight through would give me the best line lay and concealment within the weed, but as with any fluorocarbon it has distance casting restrictions. I’d been able to use it on my previous trips as the furthest chuck I’d had was about 70 yards, and I knew it was going to prove a great edge in the clear water as well as an advantage in getting my lines right down.

I felt that Mirage fluorocarbon straight through would give me the best line lay and concealment.

The week after my capture of the little grey I found myself walking the Kent lake, searching for fish at dawn. There was no one else there and the lake looked stunning as the trees had green growth to them, and the flat calm lake shook as I saw two carp jump clean out in front of a swim that I’d never fished before. When fish roll or jump on this lake they often come out again straight after, and these fish were no exception, as both leapt clear twice leaving me in no doubt as to where I should be setting up. I had fancied this swim before, and was certainly an area I had identified as it was a pinch point between the bank and an island, and also had a shallow bay to one side which I knew the fish got into on warmer days. It covered some serious water too, and again it looked like an area where the fish would come close in, holding a series of bars some of which were only a lob out in front, as when the sun was up I could see them shining. I sat there for another half hour and watched, as its also a great swim for viewing the main part of the lake, but when I saw nothing further I bought the car round and unloaded into the swim, another plus for this lake, no barrow required!

Not having fished this swim before I had a quick lead around, and indeed the left side of the swim held some tasty bars, but the back of the second one about 60 yards seemed the most promising, as behind it the lead slid across the smooth silt as if it was a sheet of glass. I clipped up the rods to land on this silty area at the back of the bar, and then put out a couple of kilos of B5 in 12, 16 and 20mm sizes. I’ve really got into using a mixture of sizes this year, whether its a confusion factor or just something different from other anglers I’m not sure, but it is a definite edge.

A size 5 Covert Chod hook gives the ultimate hooking power.

I could easily fish 2 rods in this side of the swim, so I put one right in the middle of the bait and the other, with a washed out pink coloured pop up on, just on the outside of the baited patch. The right side of the swim faced an island that ran away from me, and at its closest point was about 50 yards away. It was the gap between this end and the bay to my right that most interested me, as I was sure the fish were using it regularly. First cast I was fortunate to find a lovely spot only about 15 yards out, again behind a bar, but when I went to put my actual bait rod out it took me several casts before I hit a really hard spot and was happy. Although all of it was clear, this one area really cracked down much firmer that the surrounding bits. I was really optimistic with this rod in particular, as the day wore on I saw several fish in the small bay to my right, and as evening came a few rolled in the general area as they began leaving and making their way out into the main lake.

However I woke up the following morning without a bleep, but it had been the most active night that I had experienced on there so far. I was hardly able to sleep for the sound of fish jumping, so it came as no surprise to find that several had been caught from all over the lake. However at about 9am I had a couple of bleeps from the rod out towards the island, but as I looked, I saw it was ripping off at such a fast rate the line had jumped the roller, and the clutch was absolutely fizzing. I was using really slack fluorocarbon mainline, with it hanging off the tips and the light bobbins lying on the deck, to give me the most covert line lay possible. I was using my favourite stiff link with a big size 5 Covert Chod hook that I know gives ultimate hooking power, so I don’t need heavy leads or tight lines to assist in hooking. Once the bait is picked up the big hook and the stiff material of the rig do all the work for you, and once the hook is in it rarely comes out.

Bringing the grey coloured mirror ashore...

The fish went off to the right towards the shallow bay, and over the bar that lead into it, as it rolled on top as it went across it, but once I had it back on my side I had it under control in front of me, and soon pulled it over the net. It was a cracking looking grey coloured fish that went 33lb 2oz, and I was delighted to get one off that spot which I had found for myself. That night I went for it with the bait, as I knew from the previous night’s activity they were having it, and I thought that maybe I hadn’t had enough out on the main bar rods to cause them to stop. I heard or saw nothing that evening, but at midnight the rod fished slightly off the baited patch was away, and from the moment I picked the rod up the fish was taking line from what I thought was a tight clutch. Never had I have a fish fight so hard, and even after taking a good 15 minutes to get it even close to my bank, I endured another age before I could start to feel like I was winning. Eventually I netted a common , that if I’d have lost I would have forever thought was an absolute monster, but at 32lb it was another stunner, long with an immense tail that was only going to be a battler. It was nailed on the Covert Chod hook, and I felt that I’d found an edge with the alternative pop up just outside the bait, perhaps. I added a 24lb mirror the following night, again from the central bars area before I left, and desperate for a return I counted the agonisingly slow days before I could be back.

It was a cracking looking grey coloured fish that went 33lb 2oz.

I was back a couple of weeks later, again in a new area that I had seen a number of fish frequenting on previous trips, that was a little fished corner that only required a couple of underarm lobs. It gave a number of different options, but despite seeing the fish in there I had 2 blanks in that swim, although I did feel that for some of the time I was on them. The second of these coincided with a week that the fish were incredibly active, but on natural food I’m sure, as no one had anything that week. I think I simply timed my trip wrongly, as the lakes surface was alive with swallows feasting on a massive fly hatch. It was frustrating though, as I moved twice on to showing fish, but without any result.

I did come away with a plan though, and as the weed was coming up, I identified some areas where I thought the fish would come in close with the weed up, and I would be able to present my baits the best with decent line lay. This is my favourite type of angling, close in and in clear weedy water, so as soon as the spawning is complete I’m looking forward getting back there and putting the plan into practice.

It’s also the time of year that other waters kick off and I was delighted to hear from my close friend Neil Haynes that not only had he caught a 40 plus from Dinton, he’d caught 2! Well in mate, these fish being amongst the finest lookers in the country as I’m sure you will agree.
I was delighted to hear from my close friend Neil Haynes that not only had he caught a 40 plus from Dinton, he’d caught 2!