The year of 2015 couldn’t of started off much better for me. I slipped the net under my first carp on the 2nd of January, which resulted in a new lake record and personal best mirror known a Single Scale weighing a massive 49lb 12oz. I couldn’t quite believe it after spending Christmas with the family and some great friends. I was still on my Christmas break from work and it was fairly quiet down the lake, with only myself and my Good pal Ross fishing. With the light closing in so early at this time of year and being on my own, I got some good kip as I wanted to be up for first light. I was awoken a bit earlier than that though, as at 4am the left hand rod was away and it was a battle from the word go! The fish kited hard to left and with so much power I couldn’t stop it taking line. I plunged the rod tip under the water and with the rod tip bent right I knew I was into a good powerful fish and had my suspicions to which one it was. She managed to get herself right down the tree line to my left. I saw Ross’s head torch shinning across the lake and a he called over “Salmon?” and my reply to be “Yes mate it’s snagged up, it’s got to be Single the way it’s going!” I kept constant pressure on the fish and luckily she freed up and continued her strong powerful runs! After wearing her out I managed to slip the net under a massive dark mirror. I only needed a quick glance into the net to confirm which one it was and shouted “Single” over to Ross. Looking down at the size of her and the big single scale glowing at me there was no mistaking her! What a lovely way to start the year!

My next standout session was on Wednesday the 3rd of June. I had the dentist early in the morning before work, so I planned an overnighter. I arrived at the lake after work on Tuesday night and jumped into a swim I had caught from the previous weekend. It was a nice and easy setup as I knew the spots and could get the rods out quickly and with little disturbance. I trickled a small amount of bait over each spot, simply hoping for one bite. With the traps set for the night I got my head down as I had work the following day.

I was awoken during the early hours of the morning with the bobbin on one of the rods pulling up tight. With the weed being up at the time, it was a slow battle as the fish went from weed bed to weedbed, but again keeping constant pressure on the fish and relying on the amazing Covert Chod hooks and Incizor’s, which always do a great job of keeping you in contact! As the fish broke the surface around 15 yards out all I could see was a big tail at the back of the weed I had brought in. I slipped the net under the whole lot and with a sigh of relief I started to pull the weed off her. I slowly began to see a big common, which looked like it could be a new personal best common! On the scales the needle swung round to 38lb 2oz, which set a new personal best common! I slipped her in the retainer and made a few texts as didn’t have to long until I had to leave. Luckily my mate Jim popped in on his way to work to do me some photos. The images came out lovely (some of my all-time favourite pictures) as I cradled a fish known as Chubby Chops.

After catching some lovely carp from my syndicate, I thought I would have a break and tackle a club water known as Rockford. It’s little tougher than the syndicate lake I had been fishing and this time round it didn’t kick off from the word go. After a lot of silent nights accept from the odd bream here and there I had soon clocked up 17 nights. The weather changed for the better on my next trip, with a nice weather front moving in overnight bringing strong winds and rain. Just as the weather started to clear mid-morning I had a take which instead of being the usual bream like bite, line started disappearing from the spool. I quickly picked up the rod and was shaking as I leant into my first Rockford carp! I was fishing at a range of around 140 yards, so it took some reeling in and I didn’t get a great deal of a fight until it got under the rods tip. I managed to slip the net under her and I was over the moon! I could see it was only a little mirror for this lake, but either way I had my first fish in the net. With the rain and wind I got some quick shots and slipped her back.

I didn’t get back down to Rockford for a while and got sucked back into the syndicate as it can get really busy during the summer months. However I’m sure I will be back next year for another go.

Before I take you onto my most recent capture to date, I thought I would run you through my two favourite rigs which have accounted for most of my fish this year. The first one is the ever reliable hinged stiff rig and I prefer to tie my boom section using a dedicated boom section material called Trick-Link. I tied the end section using 25lb Trip Wire and my favourite hook pattern for this presentation is a size 6 Covert Chod hook.

My second rig is a simple bottom bait/wafter rig. I also tie this using 25lb Trick-Link and a size 6 Covert Incizor hook, with a ring swivel and bead on the hook. I also use a large sinker around half way up the hook link to help kick my hookbait out away from the lead.

I sometimes change my boom section to a coated braid depending on the situation or lakebed I am fishing over. My favourite is Sly Skin as I like it’s semi stiff nature and again I feel it goes a good job of kicking my rig out and lying flat along the lakebed.

My most recent capture resulted in my prettiest carp of the year and it was great to land it whilst on such an amazing social with my mates Ross and Rich! We set up right on the end of a strong South Westerly wind with gusts Up to 69kmh all weekend. The fish had certainly followed he wind and a lot of the fish were showing over Ross and Rich. They had been there for a night already and they were having a great trip. Rich had landed the immaculate common at 38lb 12oz and was a new pb to boot. As the boys had already landed a few I was confident of a bite, however after a sleepless first night due to the strong winds I awoke without any action to the rods. The following night I found a new spot, which I felt was more in the zone and after a few Spombs of crushed Live System and maggots over the spot I was all ready for the night.

The rod on the new spot pulled up tight at first light and the rods tip bent right under my left rod due to the severity of the take! It was storming off and peeling line from the spool kitting left and then changed direction and headed into the right hand margin. It gave me a strong fight under the rod tip and I caught a glimpse of it in the clear water and could see it was a lovely scaley one and I was eager to slip the net under it. I breathed a sigh of relief when she went over the net cord and was pleased to have one of the venues beautiful scaley mirrors in the net. After a quick weigh, I slipped her into a sack until first light.

I woke to a text from Ross asking if I had received any action in the night. He’s had one in the sack and another two throughout the night. With that I jumped up and headed over to tell him my good news. As I walked into his swim he was into another. I happily helped him with the net and slid the mesh under a massive common known as the Scar, which was also a pb common for him weighing 42lb 14oz and first UK 40lb common to boot. With two new PB’s set and my pretty scaley one weighing 30lb 8oz, I think it’s fair to say it was a weekend to remember! It was a great social with some amazing friends, which finished off a perfect years angling.