I had been persevering down the lake for a few weeks previously doing work nights, and to be honest I was getting a bit fed up of how poor the weather had been and as a result the lack of fish activity. I’m more governed by my work schedule these days, so I hadn’t really paid much attention to the weather forecast coming in. So much so, that I didn’t even know there was a storm due. It’s not the first time I’ve gone fishing under-prepared for a tussle with Mother Nature!

I got to the lake in good time after work and was greeted by the sweet smell of a slimy sling and the legendary Doc grinning ear to ear. The crafty old boy had snared one (only the second fish the lake had done this year). I quickly got the low down off him and it appeared that the brewing storm was causing a subsurface response in the shallow lake.

I was beginning to get a sense of déjà-vu because these conditions had the same characteristics of a wonderful session I had nearly a year ago. Surely it couldn’t happen again! With this in the back of my mind and going on the info of where a couple of fish had been seen, I went round to the bush swim. A usually productive swim that had been pretty poor in terms of captures this season, so poor in fact that I can’t even remember the last time a fish had been caught from there!

With the wind increasing, I had to get the rods out sharpish because I wanted to try and hit some long spots in the swim and the crosswind was far from kind. I chose a short helicopter setup with a 12mm pink pop up attached to a size 6 Covert Dark Mugga mounted on a Munnie rig (a variation of the Ronnie rig). Once the rods were out, I sticked out approximately a kilo of 18mm Live System boilies in the zone. It was the first time in weeks that I believed I had a genuine chance of a bite as the conditions were just getting better and better. At 11pm I had a bleep on the rod and was convinced the bobbin had moved. At that very moment a one toner got me scrambling out of the bivvy into the gizzards of Doris and I was battling my first carp of the year. Thankfully the scrap was straight forward and a 30lb+ carp was in the net. With a lack of anglers and a grizzly Lewis on the other side of the lake, I was instructed to only wake him up if it was one of the A team because of a “hard day at the office”. I decided to let the princess sleep and did a few self takes.

I woke up at first light looking across the windswept lake thinking these conditions couldn’t be any better. With the chance of a daytime bite I patiently waited until the wind had died down enough to get the rods and a bit more bait back out on the spot. Another kilo of Live System was dispatched with the Pro-Pela stick and the pop-ups were back on the spots. I kept my eyes peeled through a letterbox view keen to see if any more fish decided to let me know if they were present. I was fortunate to see a small ghostie show no more than 20 yards from the spot, so my decision to stay put was looking like the right move. At around 4pm the middle rod on the island was away. This time I had a more powerful creature attached but the Mugga held firm as usual and I coaxed one of the most splendid looking commons I have ever seen over the cord. By now the long cold nights of the previous weeks were a distant memory and all was worthwhile, the glorious common weighed in at 42lb 08oz.

With the light levels fading I was just hoping for one more favour off the carp gods to give me an opportunity to get the rod back out to the spot. I stood in the water, rod at the ready with 4oz of lead cocked until the wind dropped enough to pull the trigger. Thankfully after a few minutes of waiting an opportunity arose and the pop-up was back on the spot with one cast and the lull in the wind even gave me a chance to get a few more handfuls of Live System out there.

After dark the island rod was away and it felt like an eternity to get in. A little pink pop up on the Munnie rig was never in doubt to land this beast and eventually the huge frame of a mirror carp broke the surface in front of me. I immediately swooped with the net and the leviathan was sitting safely in the folds on the mesh. In the wind and spray it was hard to identify which fish it was, so I got everything prepped and tried to weigh it. It was at this point things got real and my poor little arms were wobbling all over the place with the needle frantically swaying around the 60lb mark. She was going to be a two man job, so I safely secured the fish and made a phone call to Lewis who was already on his way down to politely “hurry up” to help weigh and do the photos of this creature. A few of the other lads on the lake came round and helped to do the honours, which was handy because I was shaking and feeling sick with nerves at the sheer size of this carp. The final weigh-in revealed 59lb 8oz of February carp! An afternoon brace of over 100lb of phenomenal fish from an equally phenomenal venue.

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