It is a pretty rare occurrence for me to have a Friday off work. I arrived at the lake just after 6am, got the barrow loaded and headed on down to the lakeside knowing that I had three days fishing ahead of me. With only four other anglers on I had quite a few options of where I could fish. Rather than head straight for the windward bank, I spent the next six hours walking around the lake. I had time on my side, so I was in no rush.

I kept being drawn to an area known as Bramble Bay and two swims in particular known as Turtle Corner and The Up and Over look particularly inviting. The wind was kind of cutting across the bay, however in one corner there was hardly any wind hitting the surface of the lake. There was also a noticeable increase in the temperature in that area too. The final decision on where to fish came after I went and got the barrow and as I came around the path near Turtle Corner I observed a several patches of tiny bubbles hitting the surface, followed by quite a few bigger bubbles.

I opted to set up in the Up and Over swim knowing that I could wade out and cast down into the corner I had seen the activity in should I want to. Once the bivvy had been set up I got the rods ready and decided to fish two with pop ups, a white 16mm on one rod and a pink 16mm on the other. The third rod was going to have a snow man type rig made up with a ten inch hook length tied with 25lb Trickster Heavy knotless knotted to a size 4 Covert Mugga. A small ring swivel was used to tie the hookbait onto and a Covert Hook Stop was placed on the shank of the hook just above the bend. The rig was completed with a 16mm bottom bait tipped with a 12mm pop up.

Having fished this swim before, I knew that there was a bar straight out in front of me, but I wanted to fish just off the clean gravel in the deeper siltier area. After a couple of casts with that rod I was happy and I clipped it up and measured the range accurately around my distance sticks. I made a small PVA stocking bag which contained just four crushed boilies and a couple of whole boilies, attached it to the rig and cast it out to the area. The baiting up of all the rods would have to wait until it was dark as the flying rats were out if force.

I didn’t bother casting right down into Turtle Corner as I didn’t want to risk spooking any fish that might down there. I chose to fish down towards the area but quite a bit short, along the treeline at about 40 yards range. I felt that at least if the carp were still there they would probably come out to where the rig was going to be positioned. The middle rod was cast the same sort of distance as the right, in between the other two rods as I really didn’t want to put any pressure on the carp should they be moving in and out of the area of Turtle Corner. I was using Mirage fluorocarbon main line, so I knew that that lines were going to be pinned down tight to the lakebed, so that was one little issue I really didn’t have to worry about.

Just on dark I managed to get around a hundred or so baits around each area where the rigs were positioned with a little help from my Pro-Pella throwing stick. Just before 1am I had a big pike go through my left hand rod. After stripping off a bit of line and getting the leadfree leader attached I once again got a little PVA stick made up, attached it to the rig and cast it back out to the area. As I returned to the bivvy the low warning lights were registering on my receiver, so after changing the batteries I was to later find out I had made the mistake of turning it back on and forgot to turn the volume back up. I eventually managed to drift back off to sleep.

After what seemed like only minutes I was wide awake again. It was half five and my body clock had kicked. After a cup of tea was made, I sat there watching the water and a little while later I noticed a blue light. I looked down at the receiver and noticed the first led was lit up. I reached down and turned the volume up and after about a millisecond ran out of the bivvy with the receiver screaming in the back ground. As I picked the rod up, I tightened the clutch down and I could feel the cold water between my toes as I had forgotten to slide into my chesties. That was soon forgotten as the carp started to strip a fair bit of line from the reel.

It was hard to tell where the carp was in the low light conditions, so I stuck the rod tip under the water and lifted the rod back up in order to see where the line was entering the water. At this point I was thinking that I was going to have to go in for it and as the fish surfaced I was dismayed to see that it had managed to get past an overhanging branch between me and the next swim down. All I could do was put the rod tip down into the water and crank the pressure up. It was a hairy few moments before it felt as though the carp had kited away from danger and when I lifted the rod back up it was indeed straight out infront of me.

A few minutes later the fish was on a short line and a rather large creature rolled over the net cord. I had a feeling that it was going to be a bit of a unit, but I was stunned when I peered into the mesh. After securing the net I got the necessary bits ready for the weighing. I took the weigh sling/retaining sling down to the water’s edge, bit through the main line and placed the weigh sling under the net. After slipping the hook out, I got the weigh crook out attached the weigh sling with the carp inside and watched in amazement as the needle on the scales steadied at a weight of 56lbs 4oz. Just to be sure I let the weigh sling slip back down into the cradle and lifted the weigh crook once again and the weight registered exactly the same.

I was left completely stunned. After seven years of trying I had at last bagged myself my first UK fifty pound carp. I slipped the chest waders on and made sure the carp was secured in the deep margin. It wasn’t too long before Dave, Paul and Jay came round to help with the photographs and I think it’s fair to say we were all suitably blown away. We managed to get some pretty good shots before getting the big old carp back into the lake. Me, well I was absolutely gobsmacked! Here’s hoping a few more come my way this winter.

Keep believing, you just never know!