This was to be my fourth session of 2015 on my syndicate water. The previous three trips had proven to be fruitless with the weather and fish not playing ball! The combination of cold winds and plummeting night time temperatures, the fishing had been difficult and at time you wouldn’t have thought there was a carp in the lake with only the odd fish showing. Things were changing though and the forecast was looking a little better with some warmer days which would hopefully start to warm the water and finally get the fish moving around properly.

On arrival at the lake there was a steady warm wind blowing and I felt confident of seeing a few fish, so I donned the Polaroids and wandered off around the lake in search of some carp. First impressions weren’t as expected and there didn’t seem to be much moving about especially at the “gate” end of the lake but as I reached the top end it became apparent that there were several fish cruising around making the most of the warm rays coming from the spring sunshine especially on the “shallows” an area that benefits all day from the sun.

As I walked further around the lake fish were showing all along the far bank, not only cruising on the top but also along the left hand margin tight to the reeds, occasionally throwing themselves out of the water no doubt cleaning themselves off after sitting dormant for the winter. Fish were also coming in close on the nearside margin and I finally opted for a swim that I could not only cover a lot of water from but could also see the majority of the lake from, so I could keep an eye on proceedings and decide on a move if necessary.

I decided to drop the first rod close in to my right with a scattering of chopped boilies and pellet over the top. Just as I was doing this a fish rolled right over a spot that I have has been very productive in the past. There is a plateau at around 60 yards range which rises up to about eight feet deep in twelve feet of water and fish can often be seen showing over it and that was exactly what this one had done, so this was where I would put the middle rod! I decided on just casting a single for a start in case of a quick pick up from the showing fish, with the view to putting some bait out later on if nothing occurred. The third rod was cast to the left hand margin up on the marginal shelf very tight to some reeds. I already knew the distance to this spot, so I got out the Gardner Wrappers (measuring sticks) and hit the spot first time. There hadn’t been many (if any) fish out so far and everybody had been chucking bait at them, so on this rod I decided to just fish a single 20mm Rosehip boilie that had been glugging all winter in conjunction with a small PVA stick of matching boilie crumb, with the theory being that maybe the fish still only wanted a small mouthful of bait as they were waking up from there winter slumber.

The rigs on all three rods were as always kept very simple comprising of a size 4 Covert Dark Mugga hook tied knotless knot style to some 15lb Subterfuge Supersoft in conjunction with a Heavy Plummet leadcore leader and a 3oz in-line Bolt Bomb. My bait for the session was to be Mistral Baits Rosehip on one rod and on the other two the new Carp Nutz boilie they are doing, this is going to be my chosen bait for the forthcoming campaign. I always like to try a Rosehip on at least one rod early season as it quite often produces a bite early season.

Once I had the house up I set about sorting some dinner, this was to be a combination of boil in the bag rice alongside a tin of Tesco’s own Jerk Chicken. Now I hadn’t seen the three chillies sign on the tin and they weren’t lying about how hot it was. As I tucked into it my mind turned to the after effects of this Caribbean bankside treat, not only on me but on my Jack Russell Bailey who shares my sleeping bag! Nothing had occurred on the plateau rod, so just before dark I added half a dozen spods of chopped boilies to the spot, made a final cuppa and headed for the sack. Fish were still showing and I drifted to sleep in a confident mood that something would happen either through the night or early morning.

I wasn’t disappointed when, at six o’clock the following morning the left hand rod cast on along the marginal shelf was away. It was almost as if the fish was still asleep from the winter when I first lifted into it as it hardly fought at all. This was about to change once the fish reached the margins and an immense battle commenced. After a cracking scrap and a few bum twitching moments (not the greatest idea after the previous evenings “hot” dinner) I slipped the net under what looked a good mirror, almost certainly a good upper twenty if not a little bigger. After wetting my sling, I zeroed the scales ready to weigh my prize. As I lifted her from the water I could tell she was a bit bigger and almost certainly a thirty. On the scales she went a pleasing 32lb 8oz, a lovely mirror still carrying her winter colours. After a few photos I slipped her back into the margins and she swam away strongly.

The fish seemed to have stopped showing as much, so I decided to reel in and have a wander priming a couple of marginal spots with some of Mistral Baits new particle mix as I went. The plan was to return to these spots a little later to see if anything was feeding on them. Unfortunately, I didn’t need to as the swans and a lone Canada goose had found the spots before the carp had a chance to! There were one or two fish starting to get along the far margin again, so I cast a single hook bait back on the spot and opted for a solid bag on another rod cast into a small gap in the reeds where the fish had also been visiting the previous afternoon. Unfortunately nothing else happened until I packed up, whilst making my way back to the van with a view to heading for home I spotted a group of around six fish cruising around on the top close to a sunken island (another area that gets a lot of sun, is shallow and warms up very quickly). I dropped the barrow and headed for the van to get some mixers. After a good twenty minutes or so I managed to get a couple of fish feeding quite confidently. Maybe the session isn’t quite over I thought as I headed off to the van to get my floater set up. I was to be disappointed though as on my return the bird life on the lake had once again put paid to any plans I had as around fifty seagulls had spotted the mixers and were having a feast and at the same time spooking the carp.

I was a little disappointed my chance of a surface caught carp had gone, but at the same time headed for home very happy with my prize. After a few fruitless sessions and some serious head-banging it had finally come together and I had landed my first “decent” fish of the year in the shape of a beautiful thirty pound plus mirror.

Until next time, tight lines!