Unsurprisingly, the week after my capture of Scruffy Bob I found myself back in the same swim. I arrived at the lake at dusk and after a very quick walk around I again observed some fizzing in a sheltered area of the lake called Turtle Corner. However, lady luck wasn’t on my side that session, or was she?
During Saturday afternoon I had a walk around the lake and popped in to see Lewis for a quick chat. It was whilst I was sat in his swim that I observed a carp crash out very close to the island at long range in front of a swim called Hole in the Bush.
I mentioned it to Lewis, but that swim was taken at the time so I went back to my swim and stayed there until the Monday morning. Lewis went to pack up to move round there – but instead fired a bungee into his eye (ouch) and went to hospital.
The following Friday I had a guest coming down for a couple of nights and on top of that my I had the enormous pleasure of my wife Sam accompanying me as well. I bet you can imagine that I was gobsmacked when I pulled into the car park and found that I was the only angler on the whole venue. Fantastic!
The barrow was soon loaded and I made my way down the path to the lake. As there was no one else around I just left my barrow at the back of one of the sand pits and went for a leisurely walk. It would be some four hours later that I finally made my decision on which swim to fish.
I wanted an open water swim with another swim close by, so opted for The Hole in The Bush. It was whilst stood in this swim that I may have caught a glimpse of a carp just sticking its head out very close to the end of the island again. It’s a fair old chuck, but I knew I could reach that area.
The camp was soon set up and I decided to get the rods out for a few hours before my guests arrived. It was going to be the first time I had used my new Century C2D rods ‘properly’, and with the wind hacking straight into the swim they were certainly going to be tested. I knew that to get close to the end of the island, where I’d seen that carp the previous weekend, I would be having to cast about 140 yards.
With 15lb GT-HD main line on my reels I attached a metre of supple Covert Camflex Leadfree leader with a blob of Putty every six inches, just to pin everything down properly.
I chose to fish nice tangle free snowman presentations incorporating a size 4 Covert Mugga hook which was attached to ten inches of 25 lb Trick-Link. A small swivel was placed on the hook for bait attachment and a rubber hook stop placed just on the bend of the hook. A 16mm bottom bait tipped with a white 12mm pop up completed those presentations.
On the third rod I had the same lead arrangement, but opted to fish this with a 16 mm white pop on a rig incorporating a size 4 Covert Mugga a small ring swivel and some shrink tube. This is a rig that has caught me quite a few rather large carp over the past couple of years.
I wrapped the two snowman presentations rods up to 35 wraps and cast one just to the left of the willow on the island and the second was cast towards the end of the island.
The third rod was cast towards the end of a distant hedge row, landing in some deep silt at just over 80 yards. I didn’t put any bait out initially as the flying rats were once again out in force.
The time soon past and it wasn’t long before I reeled the rods back in before going round to the car park and collecting my guests. Sam (my other half) and my guest Lianne Bullard were chomping at the bit to get round to the swims and get settled in.
Inevitably I had to endure some banter on the way round from one of the other syndicate members who said “ I wasn’t being very gentlemanly for not pushing Liannes barrow around for her”.
“Really”! I was carrying her rucksack and that weighed a tonne.
When we got round to the swims I asked Lianne if she needed a hand and I was assured that everything was okay and that she could manage on her own. I was told to get my gear sorted and get the rods out. For some reason I decided to change the position of my left and middle rods, I cast the left rod slightly further to the right of the island and in the fading light I let the rods do the talking and let them rip – watching as each lead entered the water really close to the island. The third rod was once again cast to the silty area.
I really felt the need to get some bait out to the area, but the wind was just to strong. As most anglers know, there is usually a small window of opportunity just as it starts to get dark when the wind can drop. Luckily this happened, and I managed to get a couple of kilos of 22mm baits scattered around the area of the two long range rods with the Pro-Pela stick.
Nothing happened during the night. I did hear a big fish crash out somewhere in front of my swim late into the night. Even though I managed to stay up until the early hours I didn’t hear anything else and called it a day and crashed out at about 2am.
The first run of the session came during the next afternoon at about half past one. I had just turned round and said to the girls, who were sat in the bivvy, that the hanger on the middle rod had just tightened up a little bit. This was quickly followed by the buzzer letting out an attention seeking scream.
I was already fishing at a fair distance and the carp was stripping line from the clutch and kiting right. This was a real cause for concern, with an island further round to my right and and a channel that the carp sometimes try to enter I really had to clamp down, drop the tip of the rod into the lake and pump and wind as fast as I could!
My luck held, and it wasn’t to long before a proper lump rolled over the net cord. Everything was quickly organised for the inevitable weighing and photographic session and one of the lads came round to lend a hand and we watched as the needle on the scales pass the magic forty pound barrier; settling at forty one pounds and ten ounces. After a few photos the carp was back in the pond.
I checked the rig and gave the hook a little touch up with the Point Doctor, then attached some fresh baits and sent the rig back out to the area. Less than an hour later the same rod rattled off resulting in a nice chunky mirror of thirty three pounds and eight ounces.
After getting the rod back out to the area we all settled back into the confines of the bivvy for some well earned refreshments. The rest of the afternoon passed by pretty quickly and before you know it after a hearty meal and a few warm drinks the girls retired for the night.
I stayed up, lying on top of the bed chair with my wellies on just in case anything occurred.
At about 10pm the right hand rod absolutely tore off, which had me doing a weird dance trying badly to get out of my wellies and into the chest waders.
As it tore off the power and weight of that carp left me shaking and it took a minute or so before the carp slowed down and I just kept the rod down in the water and continued pumping it back towards me. There was a little while during the fight when it powered off down my left margin and with the powerful rods I was using I was loathe to put to much pressure on the fish but I was left with no choice!
The carp seemed to come to a sudden stop before tuning and coming back towards me and after some short heavy dashes in the margins it was a massive relief slip the net under a proper looking unit.
As I was just slipping the carp into the retainer and Sam (the wife) stirred after hearing me chuckling to myself. After securing the carp I went round and got Lianne and gave Dave a call for some assistance. I knew it was a big ‘un, but as we hoisted up on the scales I was left rather speechless as it pulled the needle round to 51lbs 10oz.
Whilst the photos were being taken I couldn’t help but start to laugh, that laugh soon turned in some hysterical laughing (jubilation) and Dave had to tell me to calm down as he was laughing so much that he couldn’t hold the camera steady enough!
Eventually with some really good pictures taken we got the carp back into its home and we watched with the head torches as it waddled away. It was one of the best sights I have seen as it looked immense.
Normality returned to my swim and everyone departed, I decided to stay up until the early hours as the weather forecast said that the blustery conditions should be easing right off at about 1am. It was actually about 2AM that the wind completely died. It was at this point that I once again got the Pro-Pela throwing stick out and for the next forty five minutes probably put about four kilos of 22mm baits out around the end of the island.
Although I was very tired I think I was buzzing that much that I couldn’t sleep properly and I kept reliving the capture of that last carp – and now and again I would start chuckling. It just seemed so surreal that I had gone over six years trying to catch a fifty pound carp and in a matter of three weeks I had managed to land two of them. Something a mate has always said to me is “the lake will always pay you back”. Me, well I always think, right time, right place and anything is possible, but it certainly is a crazy lake to fish!
The next morning flew past and the girls started to get their belongings together ready for their departure. We saw we a rather large carp crash out near the willow on the island and a little while later Lianne saw a carp head and shoulder in her swim. She had a bit of an occurrence on one of her rods where the indicator hit the rod and I thought she was in, but it wasn’t to be and a short while later they were both on their way home.
All hell broke loose in my swim that afternoon as I had two bites in very quick succession – and with some assistance from another syndicate member we managed to land a cracking looking mirror that once again pulled the needle on the scales round to 41lbs 10oz. Unfortunately, the other one fell off!
Once again I got the rods back out to the long areas; but this time I decided to put the closer rod out in the area of the other two rods. Within minutes that rod tore off and I was left with no illusion that I was once again attached to another good fish. Moments later I felt a weird sensation coming through the rod – just a vague heaviness but no actual movement. Imagine my surprise when I reeled in a carrier bag coupled with a big ball of line.
After getting that rod back out to the zone I was just going back into the bivvy when it rattled off again! Something just didn’t feel right from the off as I was just getting a juddering sensation coming through the rod as I was pulling back. After a minute or so the fish came adrift and I can only assume that it had been a trailer. I had only just cast that rod back out again when the middle rod went into meltdown mode but a few seconds later that also came adrift!
After getting that rod back out I sat on my bucket watching the water when the right hand rod screamed off and once again I was attached to what felt like a big fish. It was taking line and making its way to my right on a very long line. It was time to just dip the top section of the rod underwater and just increase the pressure and start pumping it back towards me. Everything held firm and ten minutes later a rather large angry looking ghostie common was sitting in the net. It pulled the needle on the scales round to 43lbs 8oz. Luckily, I had a couple of the bailiffs with me, and along with another member we made short work of the photographing and got the really colourful carp back into the lake.
After getting the swim tidied up (as it looked like a boom site) with everything that wasn’t needed put away as I would be packing up a half four in the morning to get to work.
A little while later one of the other lads joined me for a while and we certainly had a good laugh before calling it a night and retiring to our bivvies.
At about half past ten the left alarm let out a couple of bleeps before once again one toning. The carp initially powered off stripping line from the tight clutch and I could tell that it was going right again. We soon had that under control and coaxed it into the margins where it refused to surrender going on short powerful runs but they were getting slower each time and eventually her head popped to the surface and big framed mirror slipped into the net.
After securing the carp in the retainer for a couple of minutes I went to the next swim on my right and got Pete to come and help (again) with the weighing and photographing. A weight of 46lbs 12oz was recorded and after a few pictures the carp swam away powerfully
That was it for me and I was all packed up and on my way to work by 6am.
I don’t think I have ever laughed so much on any session as I did that one. I had had some absolutely fantastic company and probably just had the session of a lifetime.
Keep believing, you just never know!