I arrived at my syndicate water early last Wednesday morning and after a quick walk round, it was very noticeable where the carp were held up. The groups of fish had started to get bigger and bigger and this could only mean one thing with the water temperature still rising that spawning time was only around the corner. I decided to squeeze in a session before all hell broke loose and with cool-ish nights combined with a refreshing breeze, I hoped I’d timed it just right. As I was trying to single out the big girl in the lake this year, I continued my approach of sitting it out in the known areas over bait. Getting bites when on the fish hasn’t been too much of a problem, but sitting it out over a big bed of baits goes against my normal style of angling.

I set up in a swim just off of where the fish had been showing (only a 100 yards away) and I felt happy that I wouldn’t be scaring them off whilst baiting up. The aim was to set a trap for them to move onto and I dispatched around 6 kilos of Trigga and a good helping of ‘goat food’ onto my main spot at 65 yards range. Another spot on route had just a couple of handfuls spread amongst the sparse weed and my third rod was positioned down the margins, with a trail of 10mm Trigga running along the bank.

My plan soon came together when a guy turned up and decided to set up directly on top of the fish and it wasn’t long before my swim was full of shows and rolling water pigs. If you can remember from my winter blogs the carp in this venue are a bit on the spooky side and it doesn’t take much angling pressure to move them around the lake. With all the disturbance done before the fish turned up, I was rubbing my hands and hopeful of a bite. Just after dinner my Mugga blow-back set up was away on the smaller trap to the big trap spot. After a battle from hell in the warm sun a 32lb 8oz mirror was gladly looking up from my net (gladly for me anyway as the thing nearly pulled my arm off). After a few quick shots he was soon returned, running off to tell his mates about the dangers in my swim. I just hoped they wouldn’t listen!

As the sun beat down the carp were soon drifting around in the upper layers and all seemed quiet as the afternoon rolled into evening. Without a single bleep it was quite evident that as night fell the carp were still in the upper layers. With a chilly-ish nigh forecast, I was hoping the carp would drift into the deeper water and they would give into their greedy side.

At midnight I was woken by a screaming alarm signalling a take from my main baited area. In my sleepy head I was hoping that a biggun was going to be the culprit. I picked the rod up and a minute or two later a 26lb common rolled into the net, happy with the capture but not so much at the same time. It did teach me not to set my sights too high too quickly anyway. I was sure one of the real big fish would come sooner rather than later.

At dawn another smaller sample graced my net, this time a 23lb plus mirror. It was as old as the hills and looked great as the sun rose over the tree tops. With a fry up inside me I was soon checking my margin spots I had been priming. This year the fish seem very spooky close in and I can’t blame them as they had a right spanking last year.

Every half hour I popped down for a look, but had yet to see a thing. A few coffees and a kip later and it was soon past dinner time. I planned to get some bait in ready for the night and then nip to the shop, which would also give the swim a chance to rest. After giving the swim a good top up of bait, I thought I would check my margin/stalking spots before popping off for some supplies

What a difference a few hours had made. The last margin spot I looked at, had what must have been all the big un’s drifting around the area looking very much at home. Rushing back with a net and a couple of rods, I soon had a couple of rigs in place just feet from the bank. One was even lowered right behind a lump as she wouldn’t leave the area! Minutes turned to hours and the hours turned into the whole afternoon and I was still sat waiting and watching. Lump after lump swam round and round with only the odd one heading down for the odd tit-bit!

Watching and learning, I finely bit the bullet and moved a rig onto the main route they were using. I normally try to avoid doing this as there is a high chance of spooking them. I made a short cast as they moved out for a few seconds. Another hour passed and it was very noticeable by their body language had changed and their drifting turned into a much swifter pace, almost aggravated in fact. Within seconds four carp hit my rig area all with their heads down. Beep beep beeeeeeeep and I was away and in the shallow water I saw the prettiest fish in the group make off with my hookbait! A stunning dark zip linear rolled in the shallow water as the big girls made a quick exit! She pulled the scales round to 26lb 13oz and soon put the smile on my face.

Back in my main and now well rested swim, I got the rods back out and the night soon rolled by after a day sat in the hot sticky sun stalking. Without a single sign of spawning around the lake I settled in for my last night on the bank. I must have been very tired and I couldn’t believe I slept right through. I woke up late without a single bleep, which wasn’t the best feeling I had that trip! I planned to pack away mid-morning as I had planned to take my daughter Lucy down the Mangrove Swamp for the weekend fishing, she loves it as much as me to be honest! Soon a few guys came round and whilst we were chatting, the rod on my main baited area went into meltdown. With phone cameras and the like going from all angles, a 33lb 15oz mirror known as Cut Tail rolled into the waiting net. What a fantastic way to end the session and again it married up with the other bite times, so that something else logged in my head for the next trip! The guys took some great water shots, so thanks again and I will look forward to returning the favour next time.

I loved every minute of it and I feel like I’m getting closer to one of the big girls. I few twenties and a couple thirties, even in this day and age isn’t to be sniffed at and I can’t wait to get back for another go.

Until next time and be lucky…