Sometimes you fall in a bucket of s##t and come out smelling of roses, other times you fall in a bucket of tits and come out sucking your thumb. Certain things become out of our control and sometimes doors open which is exactly what 2018 showed me.

For me, March started with the return to the Bayeswater syndicate in the hope of some of the targets I wanted. Top of this list was (and still is) the epic “Coconut” common. Unfortunately, I didn’t catch the “Coconut” but as I’m writing this the fire is still burning strong for me to return to the venue and have another go. My first bite from Bayeswater was a new one for me, which is always nice, and my number two on the hit list (and also a new zig PB!!) “Pin-Scale” at 44lb 10oz.

Pin-Scale 44lb 10oz

Over my two month spring campaign “Pin-Scale” was to find its way into my net three times! Twice legitimately and once more foul hooked. Bayeswater was very kind to me again and I had 11 bites in the campaign and I landed all of them. Unfortunately there was still no sign of the Coconut… but watch this space. Then, when they began to spawn at Bayes that was game over for me and at the time I planned a return later in the autumn, but future events would somehow put pay to that idea.

Summer was forecast to be hot, humid and long, not being a sun worshipper I opted for some shaded summer fishing at Cleverley Fisheries Top Lake. I won’t go into too much detail, as I have already written about my experiences there, but I had a very enjoyable couple of months fishing, catching very well. It was also great to fish with my cousin and he became well versed at using my Canon.

Again in past pieces on the Gardner website I have written a little about what happened at the end of July. Essentially, I was working for a large construction company and out of the blue around 100 of us lost our jobs as the firm folded.

Onwards and upwards.

Living in the carp fishing Mecca of Essex, I am fortunate enough to have a choice of dog walks around lakes with my two beautiful spaniels, Bert and Dylan. The Quarry fishery had been sold from the Cleverely Fisheries complex and purchased by a new owner, Mr Spencer.

Whilst walking the dogs round one evening I bumped into Mr Spencer, and after a long chat he offered me some work at The Quarry (which was very kind of him), and also some fishing too! He had shut the Quarry until May 1st 2019, there was and still is a mammoth task of work there. Suddenly it dawned on me, The Quarry is on my doorstep!

It has some cool old carp in it and it was going to be very quiet with around 18 people allowed to fish it on a working syndicate. Bayeswater was put on the back burner and although The Quarry had never really been in my mind, being a day ticket water, now it was like a breath of fresh air, 28 acres of quiet well matured gravel pit. I didn’t realise that working for a lake owner would keep me busier than when I was employed! Otter fence clearance, otter fence maintenance, a new track, mains electricity, and that’s without even looking at the vast amount of rubbish to clear from the day ticket anglers (which was f##king disgraceful!).

Either way, this was a golden ticket. All the fishing was overnighters, and as Jake (one of the bailiffs) reckoned the split of my looking for fish, to actual fishing hours was around 80/20. In reality I utilised the angling time as effectively as possible by fishing in the right places.

Shoulders 43lb 10oz

In this period I ended up catching 65 fish from the Quarry, weighing up to 43lb 10oz! I thoroughly enjoyed fishing there and being part of what will be one of, if not the best fishery in Essex (if not the country). I was also extremely fortunate enough to catch some of the old originals, which good sources tell me are 40 plus years old. Awesome…
That was my 2018.

In total I ended up having 118 carp between the three venues and I really cannot thank Lewis and Alan at Gardner Tackle enough for their ongoing support and help with products. Their service exceeded all expectations and Lew’s witty banter kept me entertained. Also a thank you must be relayed to DT Baits who are exceptional with their quality and ongoing reliability with bait. Tom is by far the most particular and precise bait connoisseur I have known.

Be lucky,
Jim Chisnall