With winter well on its way, it was time to get out for a few nights before the seriously cold weather was due in. As anyone who lives in the South West knows, we haven’t got a great variety of good day ticket waters at our disposal thus making the venue selection relatively simple. I choose to get back to Furzebray lakes in Devon, which has a great stock of stunning big carp in lush surroundings. As I work every weekend, I’m fortunate enough to be able to fish mid-week which is a huge plus as the angling pressure is much lower, even on the best lakes in the area.

The goal was to try and replicate my first ever session on Furzebray a couple months previous. I managed to land a beautiful 27lb mirror and three others on a 48 hour session, which will be featured in Total Carp Magazine in the New Year. More than one fish in a couple nights is normally a very good result, so I was understandably happy. As this was my second visit to this fantastic lake, I was still trying to learn as much as possible about this tricky water. I phoned the owner Tony, prior to the session to get some ‘bumf’ and find out what had being going. After a quick chat I got the message that the drop in temperature had slowed the fishing down somewhat and only the odd one coming out. In my mind I was still confident I could get one, even if the weather had changed suddenly.

Ricky's combi-rig favourite presentation.

I arrived at the lake at mid-day on a Tuesday to find four anglers spread evenly over the lake, all of which were unfortunately blanking. With a new wind pushing into house bank I decided to jump back in peg 2, the peg I managed to catch a few from last time. It was a 50/50 guess between peg 2 and 10 (in the face of the wind or on the back of it). Although a fish had come from peg 10 just 24 hours ago, I knew the plan I wanted to play out. I decided against peg 10 even though it was the obvious choice, another angler (holidaying in one of the 5 Star lodge’s) was fishing a day session in peg 7, which is near the same area on the other side of the island as peg 10. I wanted to stay away even know the island looked a banker, but having too much pressure could ruin it for the both of us, so I went to try my luck in peg 2.

With all the rods out by 4pm, the waiting game began! As darkness fell and the rain stated to fall the holiday angler called it a day and retreated to his comfy bed in the lodge, the lucky bugger. Peg 10’s water was now all free of any pressure.

Peg 2 just didn’t feel right and as darkness fell there were no shows, liners and very little to go, so a moving was already on the cards. Having caught three fish during the night on my last session, I talked myself into staying the night in peg 2 and moving if an uneventful night proceeded.

I was woken at 4am by rain pelting down on the shelter and my first thought was I had to move. In the dark and the pouring cold rain, at 4am I packed up and headed round to peg 10.

Dawn broke as I got the final rod in place. My rigs were made up from a size 6 Covert Mugga tied ‘Feary style’ as called by friends (basically a d-rig bottom bait combi rig) using a supple section of 15lb Trickster Heavy supple braid, tied to a stiff section of 25lb Trick-Link boom material. Two rods were fished over boilies/pellet (all soaked in Betalin) and the other was over corn in the right margin. The boilie rigs were six inches long and were baited with a 12mm wafter. The corn rig was four inches and fished with whittled down 12mm wafter.

I levelled the rods and whilst doing so the middle bobbin smashed the blank.

Soon after the rigs were out I saw a fish show close to the rod positioned an overhanging tree, so I happy I was on some fish!

At around 11.30am I had finished getting set up, when I looked up and noticed my rods were look a bit wonky. As I’m a total tart, I levelled the rods and whilst doing so the middle bobbin smashed the blank. The tree rod was away and I was in!

After a spirited fight, I managed to slip the net under a lovely 17lb fully scaled mirror. Effort did equal reward!

I was confident I could get another from that spot, so the rod went back out and once again kissed the branches on the way in. I use a piece of Gardner Fluoro Dissolving Foam to ensure the hook wasn’t fouled by any debris. With the rod back out, I added twenty or so baits and went about tying up a couple fresh rig’s.

An hour later, the buzzer let out a succession of quick beeps as another fish made a mistake. I picked up the rod, however instantly I knew something wasn’t right and five seconds later nothing. I had lost my fish in nearly four years and I was gutted, totally gutted. I binned the rig and soon had the rod back in place with another scattering of bait.

The night time on my last trip proved fruitful, so I was confident going into the hours of darkness. As Furzebray has free WIFI, I was busy chatting to a friend on the other side of the lake on Facebook messenger, when I had a liner again on the middle rod. I replied to his message and hinted I was close to receiving another bite. Literally five minutes later the middle rod was away and I was once again connected to another Furzebray carp. After another good fight I slipped the net under an upper double common. The lake holds more 20’s and 30’s than doubles, yet I’d landed two in a row, which is quite unusual.

Covert Mugga's - a truely epic hook pattern.

The Covert Mugga had nailed this one as per normal, so I put the loss down to a freak accident. Looking back through my records I’ve landed over two hundred landed fish in a row on the Mugga’s before this session’s loss, a truly epic hook pattern. After a quick weigh and a photo, I slipped the common back and attempted to get the rod back out in the dark under the overhanging tree with accuracy. With the aid of a powerful torch which was rested on a bucket, it was a relatively easy process. Another scattering of bait and I was fishing again.

Two hours later the right rod pulled round (on the corn in the right margin) and once again I was into another fish, but once again it was another upper double common. In total the lake has less than ten doubles and I had managed to catch three in one session!

Not so long after, I re-placed the rod and added more corn with a handful of pellets. Maybe another one could say hello before work time.

With sleep time looming I was quite happy with the outcome. The lake can be hard at times and as I type this, two weeks has passed without a fish being caught. Considering from Friday to Sunday the lake is always full and has a handful of anglers on it every day, the carp can be quite elusive.

Somewhere around 1am, the middle rod was away again and this time it was a vicious take. I scrambled out of bed as quickly as I could before the rod got pulled from the rest. Instantly I knew this was going to be a better fish and after a short fight I netted an angry carp. A low twenty pound mirror was left sulking in the net as I got my camera gear sorted.

The rest of the night passed quietly and at just before 6am I packed away my kit as I needed to get back home and into work for 9am. With one forty, ten different thirties and thirty plus carp over 27lb, Furzebray is a great place to fish, especially for any South West (Devon, Somerset, and Cornwall) anglers.
After a spirited fight, I managed to slip the net under a lovely 17lb fully scaled mirror. Effort did equal reward!