I had arranged to spend the week at Linear with my good friend Kevin Grout as we had our UK Carp Cup Semi Final at the end of the week on Brasenose two. It was decided that we would practice on ‘B2’ for a couple of nights then go onto St Johns for a further couple of nights before the match at the weekend.
After finishing our practice on B2 we were very much looking forward to wetting a line in the famous St Johns Lake, which holds some of the most sought after carp in the country! Fish such as the Big Plated, Small Plated, Big Common and the Box Common – the list is endless. We eagerly made our way over to the lake and when doing so my cam belt snapped on my van, which resulted in me being towed to the St Johns car park. What a nightmare! These things always seem to happen at the most inconvenient time, but I wasn’t going to let this ruin my session.
Kev and I did a lap of the lake and surprisingly found only one angler up the shallows and with the warm weather forecast and northerly winds due to be getting stronger and stronger during our stay, this seemed like a good place to start. We had seen quite a few fish around the weed in front of the swims we had chosen and we set up very confidently thinking we could be in with a good chance of a few fish between us.
For most of the first day I roamed my rods around the swim where I had seen fish. I tried different tactics on my rods, with one being set up on a 2ft zig and the other being fished with a standard bottom bait rig and a small bag of boilies. As I had seen a lot of fish cruising through the weed beds in front of me, I continually fed chum mixers throughout the day to get the fish feeding. My third rod was set up on a beachcaster rig, which seemed to be the best option to fish on the surface for these very pressured Oxfordshire carp. As the day come to an end I managed to land an 18lb Common off the top and Kev had a 22lbs 2oz Common on a zig, so going into the night we were happy to be off the mark. We both had found some lovely clear spots amongst weed beds to fish to and once we had baited we were ready to see what the night would bring.
Only an hour into darkness my middle rod which was over quite a bit of bait tore off and I was quick on the rod and once again I was into another St Johns carp. The fish gave a good account for itself and due to me dropping the lead because of the amount of weed the fish had came to the surface and I successfully guided it into the landed net. Parting the mesh revealed a pretty mirror which tipped the scales round to 21lbs 1oz. The fish fell 7 inches of 15lb Sly Skin, a size 10 Covert Mugga and the hook bait was a 10mm CC Moore Equinox boilie tipped with an 8mm Mini Bite’s pop-up.
Nothing else occurred during the night, however I had seen quite a few fish showing at range. I introduced around forty 15mm Equinox boilies scattered over the area. I made a rig change on one of my rods, tying on a chod rig as the majority of the shallows were covered by weed. The rig was tied using a 4 foot length of 35lb CamFlex leadcore, a 20lb Trip Wire hook link, a size 6 Covert Chod hook and to finish the rig off I placed a XL Covert Buffer Bead over the swivel of my chosen 3.5oz distance lead.
I made one cast out to the fish and sat down to make a brew for me and Kev. We sat together chatting away enjoying our cup of tea when out of the blue when the rod with the chod rig on went into meltdown! I pulled into the fish and my heart was pumping as it instantly felt like a better fish, staying low in the water and plodding left to right and holding its own. After about 10 minutes I had the fish coming towards me for it to only get locked up on the back of a thick weed bed. I couldn’t move the fish any further and I waited 10 minutes to see if the fish would swim back out but it was not to be. I had to make a decision and I decided to swim out to free the fish. I made my way to the weed bed at around 30 yards off the bank and I managed to clear some of the weed around it. Kev kindly lent me a hand and led the fish and a big ball of weed slowly back towards the bank. I quickly made my way back, grabbed the net and scooped up the fish and a massive ball of weed that the fish had dived into. I was so chuffed to of finally got the fish safely into the net and It looked like a proper St Johns chunk!
Once the weighing equipment was ready we got the fish out and it sent the scales round to 34lbs 6oz’s – a new PB Common! We took a few quick photos and got the stunning fish back to its home.
I soon got the rig back out and enjoyed a can of beer to celebrate my new PB Common. The rest of the day was quiet and I only managed to lose a fish from the baited spot and there were also no surface fishing opportunities due to the strength of wind increasing. The weather was looking better and better up our end with quite a few fish still in the area I was optimistic for the night ahead.
Kev managed a number of fish through the night with the biggest being a 28lbs 12oz Common to show for his efforts. I was unable to get any more pick-ups until an hour before we left in the morning, when I unfortunately I lost the fish to a hook pull in the weed. We did more bites than the rest of the lake together and I landed my new PB Common, so all in all it was a very fun and enjoyable session.
After the session it was time to relax for a bit and get the final prepping done ready for the match at the weekend.