Tommy is visiting the Quarry pit again this spring, here’s installment one of a two part article detailing his previous pilgrimages to the UK.

Continued from part 1… During the week I did two features; one for Carp TV with my friend Joe Morgan, and a nice little feature for UK Carp (now Carp Feed). It was during this feature that Vince stalked a nice common, so he was off the mark as well, which was really welcome. He was struggling to get a bite on his main spot and I suggested he should move to another swim, but elected to stay in 15 and managed one more bite off a small mirror.

As the week came to a close I lost another one and caught 2 more small commons. I had really great time fishing with Vince, meeting up with some friends that I had made in the UK. On the Saturday it was time to go home ‘back to reality’, but not before a quick stop at the Mainline mansion to pick up my bait order.

As this trip came to an end I was already brainstorming about my next trip and throughout this week I talked to my good friend Peter van Der Star about arranging an autumn trip back to the Quarry – and the plans for the next trip was already in the making. First things first, I wanted to try to catch my first one out of the Albert Canal and it did happen for me after some blanking when I landed my first carp in the shape of a big 44+ mirror on the 28th May! A week later I had 7 more out of the Albert in less than 24 hours fishing, again a few good fish up to 45lb, but that is another story to tell.

Now that I had caught a few fish from the Albert I could relax, as the pressure of catching from this tricky water was off now, and the plan to fish in the UK in the autumn needed to be taken forward. I talked to Peter about it and he was very happy with the arrangements, so on the 14th of October we set sail on my second trip of the year to the UK this year and man was I buzzing to be visiting the Quarry again.

We got to the lake during the night and it was raining, so I put the shelter up in the ‘Sticks Swim’ and Peter slept in the van for a few hours until first light. It was pitch black so I could not see a thing but I heard a few fish crash out to my left and right. I woke up before first light, as you do when you are buzzing to start fishing, and I saw that the water level was well down, and that the shallow bay was even shallower than in May.

When Peter woke up we did a lap of the lake when Peter woke up, but I had made up my mind already where I wanted to fish as it was the only area that I had seen activity. And I felt that it was better to start in a swim that I had fished from and fish before and I knew fish like to visit.

Peter´s first choice of swim was the Corner, a fair few swims down from me, but we came to fish and not just for a social. Rods came out to play and traps where set easily as I knew where to put them in this swim. In the end I elected to put them where I had fished before and I managed to feel the drop, so I knew I was on the gravel.

There was only one problem, the weed on my side of the gravel was up and this could mean fish I hook could go into the weed and cause a few problems. This was born out on the Sunday morning when I had a bite, but after some pulling I lost it in the weed. I was gutted but put that rod back on the spot as I was sure I was going to get another chance.

My rigs where perfect, the bait I used was perfect only the fish did not play ball at all as the whole lake was fishing real slowly. Peter moved a few times, but he could not buy a bite either despite working hard, by moving every day and trying to find them fish.

On Wednesday I text Ben to ask him if it was possible to fish one of his other waters he kindly came back to me with a reply ‘yes you can fish another lake’ to which I replied excitedly ‘which one?’. The answer was you can fish the Top Lake if you like! That was awesome. We knew the lake had some stunning fish in and an opportunity like this doesn’t come every day so, I told Peter and we started pack up to make the move a few miles up the road to the Top Lake.

I knew ‘Geezers’ had died earlier this year, but there were still a few other gems to be caught from this ultra hard syndicate lake. As we had been given the opportunity to try so thought that we had better make the most of it.

We stopped at the Co-op in Hatfield Peverel and bought some food and drink for the rest of the week and then went looking for the lake. We found it quite easily, as the directions Ben gave us where spot on, and as I opened the gate and drove and the track (past the famous Cleverley Mere) we got to the Top Lake car park and there were no other cars in sight!

We did a lap of the lake looking for signs and made up or minds on which swims we would fish.

I was told fish in here follow the wind, but it was a cold north wind blowing so I chose a swim at the back of the wind and thought I’d see from there as we had 3 nights left so anything was possible. Three rigs found their way into the lake and the waiting game could begin again on this stunning looking lake. I was buzzing again and we were in with a good chance of a fish. We had a bit of a social this time and Peter tied everything in the book to catch one. In fact the only thing we did not try was zigs.

I even moved on the Friday morning as I had seen a few fish show down the other end, so had tried hard as well – but to no avail as we blanked are socks off. That’s fishing; and on Saturday we packed up and had one more stop before the long journey home.

Rig wise I had fished with the same presentations that I had in May – a rig that caught nearly all my fish this year. Bait used was the new prototype Mainline baits – so I knew there wasn’t anything g wrong with bait or rigs. It was just the carp did not want to play ball and the carp god did not want us to catch this time (I did pray to them). Luck, it seemed, was not on our side. Even though we blanked I had a great time in great company and fished two totally different lakes.

On this last note I would like to thank a few people on helping us on the way, first of all Ben Lofting for the opportunity to fish his fantastic waters, Gardner Tackle & Mainline Baits for their ongoing support!! Owen Davies and his girl Ali, Chris Cox, Jon Cook, Peter Hub for the visits and the long lasting friendship and Dave Levy (thanks for the picture and tips to fish at Top Lake).

Tight lines,

Tommy De Cleen