Earlier this year some good friends came over for a Chinese takeaway and a few beers. During the meal my mate asked if Stanley and I would like to accompany them to a special private lake during late spring, for a spot of coarse fishing and have a go for the carp if we fancied it. Naturally I was well up for this and Stanley was equally excited, especially as my mate’s god son would be going too (who is similar in age) so a proper little adventure was arranged.

The dates for the trip soon came around and we found ourselves making our way to the private lake. I was grinning ear to ear like a Cheshire cat full of anticipation and excitement on the journey up there. On arrival we headed through the final set of gates and I was met with something that grabs the imagination, the sort of place you could imagine holding something a bit special!

After parking up we grabbed an ice cold drink and did a lap of the lake, before finding a likely looking area for float fishing. We unloaded the coarse fishing gear and got the kids fishing. The stock of perch and roach were plentiful and kept the boys occupied. Once I was happy they were set, I went off for a proper look leaving my mate and the lads to it. As I reached the far corner of the lake, I could see a few carp sat amongst the dense weed basking in the midday sun. The water was gin clear with visibility down to 6 or so feet and I was buzzing to have a go for them.

I sprinted back to the van and fetched the floater gear, and after some observation and patience I had a few fish taking dog biscuits glazed in a fishmeal liquid whilst I hid behind some rushes. There was a slight breeze which made it difficult to present my free lined trimmed down ABS pop up. My line of choice was 10lb Hydro Flo and a super sharp size 10 (and equally strong) Covert Dark Wide Gape Talon Tip which was attached to the hookbait with a blob of rig glue to secure it to the back of the shank. The carp were being very cute around my little hookbait and in the end I moved further down the bank positioning myself at a different angle, which enabled me to cast into a hole in the weed. With the wind on my back, which helped to stretch out the line and allow the hookbait to act more like the freebies. From nowhere two carp emerged and as one passed underneath the other took it without hesitation. After a spirited scrap amongst the weed the tackle held strong and the carp met the spreader block. A few pics and the scaley mirror carp was returned no worse for its experience.

The disturbance pushed the fish right out of range and they stopped taking mixers, so I decided as I’d had one, to go and set up camp and find some spots to prime for later. After choosing my plot, which gave me access to a large weed bed out in front, I had a lead about and found two hard clean areas large enough to present a hookbait on. One rod went down the right hand margin and out in front at 8.5 wraps range. My rig of choice was the ‘Multi Chod’ which was tied using 25lb Stiff Ultra Skin, a Size 4 Covert Dark Chod hook, running on 3 inches of CamFlex leadcore, which was tied to my go anywhere line GTHD in 0.39 (18lb). I added a Drop Out Chod Clip to the leader, so I could lose the lead if necessary, which would make the playing/landing process a bit easier given the weedy circumstances. I baited each spot with a kilo of my ABS custom 15mm fishmeal boilie.

The day got hotter as it wore on and I had to wait until early evening before my ATTs sounded a take. After landing the culprit, which turned out to be a low 20 common, the other rod was away and this resulted in a double figure common.

As the evening wore on I received two more takes, which sadly both resulted in hook pulls due to the abundance of floating weed. The action didn’t stop there though and I kept at it through the night constantly baiting and fishing accurately after each fish. By the morning I’d had eight carp and a tench. I wound in and gave the spots another good hit of bait and took Stanley for a cooked breakfast setting us up for the day.

After returning from breakfast the conditions looked good for more bites, I quickly attached fresh hookbaits, checked the hook points, wrapped up the rods and re-positioned them. It wasn’t long and I was away again resulting in another lovely mirror. After the pics were done I repositioned the rod I put some more bait in and went through my camera counting up the fish. Suddenly the right hand rod was away but unfortunately by the time I’d stopped the fish and turned it the hook pulled. I was pretty gutted as it felt like a good fish. Time was running out and it still looked so good, so I asked the ‘Home minister’ AKA the wife if we could arrange childcare for our daughter as she had work and needed cover, which would allow us to stay until Monday. Lady Luck was looking down on us as later that day when I’d come to terms with the end of the session, the phone rang half way through packing up and the wife granted permission that we could stay until Monday. As you can imagine I was overjoyed and practically doing cartwheels around the swim as 48 hour sessions for me these days are few and far between.

I got back to the swim and decided to concentrate all my efforts (and bait) into the productive spot out in front. I wrapped the second rod up to the same distance, so if I had a bite on the first I could quickly reposition a hookbait and keep a rod on the spot at all times. I went back to the van and got another 5kg of bait and decided to give the spot a good hit of around 3kg’s and leave it to rest until late afternoon and spend some time coarse fishing with Stanley.

After recasting it wasn’t long before the rod was away with an absolute belter of a common that fought really hard, repeatedly stripping line off me. Fortunately the head bailiff was on hand to help with the landing, weighing and photographing. For the record it went 27lb 14oz and had the frame of a much larger carp. The fishing was unreal and this was followed by a few more carp, which were obviously well tuned into the bait.

Dinner was ordered and on its way, an Indian mixed grill for me and Chips for Stanley. I gave the spot another hit of bait, wound in and sat with our friends. Once we were watered and fed Stanley and I returned to the swim and re-positioned the rod as quietly as possible. Just thirty minutes later I was away with another stunner. I left this in the net under the watchful eye of Stanley and got the other rod straight out and scattered some more bait over the spot. Just before dark I was away again, this time with something very special. Whilst playing it I could see a big scaley mirror twisting and turning in the clear water trying to make the sanctuary of the dense weed beds. After a knee trembling 10 minutes of cat and mouse in the weed, Stanley waited patiently with the net and together we lifted her into the folds of the mesh.

I peered in and instantly ran to get my mate as I’d landed unquestionably one of the most amazing looking carp in all my years of angling. We carefully weighed her at 32lb 4oz and took a few nice images before returning her back to her watery home to one day make someone else’s dreams come true.

More bait was dispatched, the rods were sorted and we battened down the hatches before the storm arrived. As the thunder started I was away again, this time resulting in a low twenty common, which was followed by another two double figure commons. The owner and head bailiff came round in the morning and the head bailiff congratulated me and assured me that I’d had it right off and one or two in a session is the norm, not 21 bites from an estimated stock of 70 carp.

I ended what can only be a described as a red letter session landing no less than seventeen carp with lots of 20’s, a 32lb 4oz and a tench. Fingers crossed I get another invite!