Since my early days in carp fishing, I’ve had a passion for carp and the history of the carp angling. It’s anglers such as Pete Springate and Ritchie McDonald that have been such a big inspiration to me. I fell in love with the UK style of fishing and the historic venues such as Wraysbury, Yateley Car Park Lake and Savay.

In recent years I have fished a few lakes in the UK such as Kingsmead 1, Horton Boat Pool and Horton Church Lake. Last year I fished the Quarry and the fantastic Ladywell fishery, both venues that belong to Ben Lofting, who is a very good friend of mine. Both trips were very enjoyable and although I blanked at the Quarry, I caught well at Ladywell and I soon made plans to revisit this venue.

As I don’t drive, I sometime find it difficult to find a partner to join me on my travels to the UK. Not all Belgium anglers are as mad keen as myself on fishing in the UK. It’s not due to the lack of big fish available in the UK, more down to the sheer effort and planning each trip involves.

My friend Peter and I started our trip at 8:30pm Euro time and began our journey to the UK to fish at Ladywell for three nights. The journey went smoothly and without any hiccups we arrived at the mighty Ladywell fishery at around 3am.

We quickly unloaded the bedchairs and grabbed a few hours sleep under the stars. I was awake at the crack of dawn and Peter was still fast asleep, so I left him to it. I made my first lap of the lake and it looked glorious. After a quick lap I woke Peter and we met with Owen the bailiff at the fishery lodge.

We did another quick walk of the lake and looked in every nook and cranny. We returned to the lodge and Owen promised us a full fry up for breakfast, which I was really looking forward too. In the meantime we started to set up in our chosen areas. I really fancied a swim known as the nightmare and it was long before get the kit sorted that I received at text from Owen letting us know that breakfast was ready. We made our way round to the lodge and were greeted by a lovely meal, thanks Owen!

After a sociable breakfast I was ready to get the rods out and after a quick plumb around, I soon found what I was looking for. The first rod was fished to a clean spot at 8 wraps, just off some overhanging bushes on an island. Tackle wise I used 15lb Pro Dark Blend, and my favourite blow-back rig tied using 25lb Ultra Skin (what a great hook link material) and a size 6 Covert Continental Mugga. My other rod was fished on a chod rig, tied using a Trip Wire end section and a size 6 Covert Chod hook. Bait wise I used a mixture of baits from the Mainline stable, mainly a combination of Cell and Hybrid.

The first night was a blank and I awoke in the morning to heavy rain. My friend Peter decided on a move and a few hours later he landed his first UK carp.

During the second night of the trip, I received a take during the early hours of the morning. It was great to get off the mark with a pretty 14lb mirror.

The area tight to the island seemed the spot to be on and on the third and final night it produced a further two fish. At 1am the rod was away with a 14lb mirror and after a recast the rod was away again with a lovely Ladywell common weighing 18lb. It wasn’t a monster, but that’s not what I seek in my UK fishing. I simply love UK fishing and how prestigious it is. My friend Peter also enjoyed the trip immensely and landed a further common to add to his tally.

At 8am Monday morning we had to pack up and get on the road, unfortunately we had to be back at work on Tuesday. Thanks to Ben and Owen for their kind hospitality and to Gardner Tackle and Mainline for their continued support.

Tight lines

Tommy De Cleen