Despite the unbelievable amount of rainfall we experienced early on in the year and the mayhem it caused, plus a disputable parking ticket I received, 2014 has been a phenomenal year. Many amazing things happened for me, like finding out my wife and I are expecting a baby girl in February 2015, buying and finally moving into a larger family home and smashing my English personal best carp on more than one occasion, which included three English forties!
During the early part of the year I accomplished a personal achievement by the way of landing a particular common called ‘Cut Tail’ from a local lake, after setting out to catch it by way of a baiting campaign. On just my second session after two weeks of baiting an area my plan came together and after my sixth bite and sixth carp landed it was job done. It wasn’t quite as big as I had hoped, but it was more about the capture and what it meant to me rather than a national comparison. I had started messing about with a hinged stiff rig only using a length of coated braid in this case Disruption in 15lb as the boom section, with a couple of small blobs of Critical Mass Putty which helped it to sit flush to the silt it was fished over. As always I used my favourite hook pattern, consisting of a size 6 Covert Incizor. This particular rig was fished rotary style and went on to be an absolute winner for me.
Not long after this short stint on the local water, I moved onto my new syndicate lake and after only a few sessions I managed to get to grips with the place and managed a brace of thirties in early February, with the biggest weighing 34lb 4oz. Only a couple of weeks later I caught my first English forty pound carp, a fish known as the ‘Lumpy Half Lin’ alongside an ancient looking 26lb 6oz mirror. Landing my first English forty was a life long dream and an ambition achieved!
Little did I know that my very next capture resulted in the lakes largest resident, a fish called the ‘Vein’ at a monstrous weight of 46lb 4oz, which was caught live on camera filming with ‘Staggy’ for the GT YouTube Channel. I was absolutely blown away and after the feature ended I stayed another night and received another bite which resulted in another stunning 31lb 14oz mirror. I’d just like to say Alan made a fine job of editing the video and shared what was for me the highlight of my angling career.
Well my run of luck continued and it felt like everything was finally clicking into place.
It wasn’t long and spring and the lake was getting progressively busier, but I still managed to get amongst them and caught some lovely carp including commons up to 34lb 8oz.
I ventured out onto other waters and really got back into stalking on some quieter venues and managed to really hone my edge and bit fishing skills.
Later that year I was approached by Velocity Baits, despite being happy at Mistral it was an exciting and interesting opportunity that I couldn’t refuse.
Although I got off to a fairly good start I really wanted to show what I could do given my limited time and after much graft and perseverance it started to come good. Later that year I went out filming on the Isle of Wight to Combley lakes with Leon Bartropp. This was a great experience and a good laugh despite only managing one carp weighing 22lb 14oz over the two nights.
The next big outing was the MNDA Fishing with the Stars at Oxford Linear Fisheries and my guest was young Brandon Butler, who is a very talented angler. He has since featured heavily on the GT Youth Page and has become a good friend of GT. What was especially good was meeting some of the other GT team and having a good chat at this fantastic event. I hope the GT team can’t get out collectively one day and have a bit of a social and perhaps brain storm a few ideas for the future!
It was back to the syndicate for me and with fresh ideas and new dreams of two particular fish, one a common and the other a mirror. Both are stunning big framed fish, weighing over forty pounds.
The common which goes by the name of ‘Penny’ is an extremely nomadic creature, which gets caught from literally either end of the lake, so really this would be a bit trickier in terms of location. However, the mirror named ‘Enoch’ definitely seems to favour curtain areas. I decided to concentrate my efforts on one particular area, fishing this in the hope I could single out the mirror. Going away and getting right back in to the stalking and setting a trap with bit baits really paid dividends in the end. I spent some time priming and fishing one particular area. The plan was a success and my target fish was finally mine, a really dark mint looking mirror which was one of a four fish hit in a relatively short session. Interestingly the spot I thought I’d catch it from only ever did 2 bites despite all the rod hours spent fishing it. The first bite was a big powerful fish that sadly made sanctuary of a snag on the underside of a coots nest and the other being my quarry, Enoch. Thanks for the pictures ‘Scooba’ Mark!
Shortly after this personal achievement I managed a few more carp, but before I knew it we moved and renovating the new house took precedence.
I did manage to escape the house for a few short sessions recently resulting in a number of carp but only into double figures.
I’m looking forward now to the birth of our daughter and a chance to have another go for ‘Penny’, getting out doing features and representing the brands that back me.