After 3 months away from angling from mid-December 2017 due to family health, any future angling laid very much in the balance of my wife and mother-in-law’s road to recovery, which at times was a bit touch and go, and a big worry. I’m glad to say my mother-in-law made a good recovery after surgery and my wife is better but still has a few ongoing problems with her back. With this progress I was able to get out fishing for the first time with friends on March 16th at RDAA J12 fishery and boy was I excited!

Upon arriving, our party of 4 soon to be 5 did around 3 laps around the fishery contemplating where to fish. There were no obvious clues as where to go, so I decided to fish off the back of the wind up the shallower end on the South bank with my mate Shaun (Smokes) who was due to arrive later. The head Bailiff had informed us that nothing had been out to a paying punter this year and it wasn’t looking good. I stayed optimistic and after getting the rods out, one off the right hand marginal shelf and the other two fished out in the pond all on clean hard spots. I decided to give them some bait too, despite being advised to fish singles. I split about a kilo of 12/15mm Hydra-K between the 3 rods, and just on dark as we were about to eat dinner the margin rod melted off and my first carp of the year was hooked and successfully landed after a mega scrap. The fish was a nice chunky mid twenty mirror and Oli, Chris and Arron all came over for a group picture and to share the moment. I soon repositioned the rod which was a helicopter set up complimented with a Ronnie rig tied using a Rigga BCR hook which I’ve grown very fond of.

Later in the flood lit darkness courtesy of the M4 and the business park my middle rod was away which resulted in a small common. Things were looking good, well at least until a new weather front came in, bringing strong winds and lots of the fluffy white stuff. Safe to say after the temperatures plummeted no further bites were forthcoming for any of the group, so to get the two bites was a right touch. Sadly the ‘Snow Carp’ wasn’t to be.

My next trip was a quick day session on the 23rd March to my local syndicate Swan. I arrived on first light and did a lap to find the main lake particularly busy, and to be honest it looked bleak and lifeless. I kept looking and I decided that if I didn’t have anything to go on then I would review the situation and maybe fish elsewhere.

In a small sheltered part of the back bay I saw a fish crash out followed by another and a few others sitting just under the surface. I quietly got a few bits of the barrow and flicked out a couple rods into the area and loosened off the clutch and laid the rods on the deck. It looked promising and around 10 minutes later my right hand rod clutch started ticking away, so I leapt down from the where I was perched and lifted the rod full of expectation only to be met with nothing on the other end! A savage liner or a trailer perhaps? After repositioning the rod the fish moved further round to my right, so I quickly packed up and moved down a couple of swims. Arriving in the new swim I decided to fish just one rod on a spot I’d caught from before with just a tiny pva bag for added attraction. I didn’t have to wait long and the rod was away. After a very slow ponderous fight I slipped the net under a lovely golden common, which spun the scales round to 33lb 8oz. I was on cloud nine and understandably chuffed to bits.

My first night on Swan was on the 10th April and once again it resulted in a quick bite again on little more than a palmful of bait. Not long after getting the rod out I was cradling an ancient looking mirror, which was a repeat capture and I estimated it to be a low twenty. With such a quick bite and still the night and morning to go, I thought I was going to catch a few, but sadly that was the only bite of the session.

During my next trip I found the fish again, but strangely I couldn’t buy a bite off the bottom. This got me thinking that zigs might be the way forward, so I promised to try them on my next trip on at least one of the rods.

The next trip was a real good’un and I found the fish very early on basking amongst some low-lying weed, and I decided to try a zig fished at about 3.5 feet, which would mean it set correctly would sit just a little higher than the weed. I’ve never really been a fan of zigs and to be honest this has probably gone against me in the past and possibly cost me the odd opportunity I decided to take a leap of faith and seconds after flicking out the slither of black foam tied to a size 10 Covert Dark Wide Gape Talon Tip, no lie the rod almost got pulled from my grip seconds after the cast, which was followed by a big bow wave. I’m not sure if it was a take or a liner? I wound it in and checked the point which was still needle sharp before repositioning it.

The carp were still grouped up enjoying the sun and I sat back full of anticipation when suddenly the surface layer of water above my zig dropped and my alarm sounded with the hanger doing a funny shuffle. On lifting the rod there was a huge eruption on the surface, before the fish made a frantic run taking about 40 yds of line going from weedbed to weedbed. I held on taking my time applying steady pressure and after a heart stopping battle the tackle held up and another nice big common lay beaten in the folds of my net. This one spun the scales round to 30lbs 8oz.

After the savage battle the fish had moved off, so I decided to up sticks and move into the main lake for the night. I positioned one rod to a clean spot on a snaggy treeline with a balanced bottom bait and the other two fished out in front. The following morning the buzzer sounded and I was away on the snag rod which after a hairy scrap on my nearside margin trees resulted in a low twenty common.

After doing a few quick pics I got the rod back out and not long after casting it was away again, which resulted in a nice low twenty mirror. I dearly wanted to stay as there was a good chance of another bite but sadly I had to go to work and start a job in preparation for the other trades coming in.

Over the next couple of trips to the syndicate all I could muster was another bite on a little zig in the edge but unfortunately on this occasion the carp won and he done me in a heavy weedbed. Since then I’ve acquired tickets for some new waters, so I shall be putting pen to paper on those sessions in the very near future. Until then tight lines.