2018 was a tricky year for me. I left college and started working away from home, which made it really hard for me to get the rods out as much as I would have liked to. However, I did manage a few good sessions that I would like to reflect on in this article.
January started off slowly with a few blanks, however in February I headed off to my local syndicate water for a 48 hour session. After a walk around I decided on a swim called Gate as it had a lot of deep water in front of it where most of the carp in the lake had been holding up during the cold weather. I positioned three rigs into a deep silty spot and spodded out a mixture of maggots and hemp over each hook bait. The night passed quietly and although the fish were quite active they didn’t seem interested in the bait and the rods remained quiet.
I decided to give the swim a rest, so I took a walk around the lake and I spoke to another angler who had managed one during the night on a zig. Although fishing zigs during the night didn’t sit well in my head, I thought that it was worth a try since nothing had happened. I got back round to my swim and chucked a marker out to see what the depth was. I quickly tied a zig up at half the depth and added an attractive ball of maggots to the top of the hook bait for some added movement.
I got the rods ready for the night and waited in hope for one of the rods to go off. At 2am the following morning one of the rods was away and after a crazy battle, it was soon safely in the net. After parting the mesh, I was greeted by the sight of a huge common. I got everything ready and got her safely on the mat to weigh her. Up on the scales she went 40lb 8oz! A new PB common, which I identified as a fish called The Scar Common! I safely slipped her into a sack and made a few calls to see if anyone of my friends were available to help with the photos. Luckily a few of my friends were only too happy to help and I got some amazing photos. One even made the front cover of Carp Talk!
The second session I would like to talk about was when I visited a lake called Hightown. I had originally planned on a trip to a venue called Northfields, however I had a few spare hours, so I stopped off at Hightown for a quick walk as it was on the way. The scenery was stunning and I spent about an hour walking around it. I ended up staying as I saw a few fish at far end of the lake, so I set off to set up in (what I didn’t know at the time) one of the best swims on the lake. I had heard that Hightown wasn’t an easy lake, so I didn’t really expect to catch anything.
I soon had two rods positioned on the end of an island and the third just off an overhanging snag that was around 100 yards out towards the island. I put a few spods of Live System and particle out over each spot. Only a few hours later I had my first take, which resulted in my first fish from the venue. It was a nice 20lb common and I was really pleased to have landed one in such a short space of time!
An hour later and the same rod was away again and after an epic battle, I slipped the net under a lovely 31lb 4oz common. I couldn’t believe it! I’d heard there was only a couple of 30lb+ commons in Hightown, which made the moment even more special! As I was weighing her the middle rod screamed off, which resulted in a nice little stocky mirror.
The night passed quietly with only one more fish gracing my net but I was over the moon with this session and can’t wait to get back there this year. I caught these fish on a long bit of Camflex Leadfree, a Covert Lead Clip system and a simple Blow-Back rig tied using 25lb Ultra Skin and a size 6 Covert Dark Incizor.
The last trip I would like to talk about was a 48-hour session on my local syndicate water. I managed to get to the lake late after work and after getting everything sorted I soon had two rods out over bait and the third on a small solid bag cast towards a weedy area to my left.
At 7:30am the following morning I was woken by the sound of my ATT screaming off, which resulted in a nice scaley 29lb 4oz mirror. I spent the rest of the day getting my rods and spots sorted out properly. I tied up a couple of Combi-Rigs with Invisi-Link boom sections, Trickster Heavy supple sections and my favourite size 6 Rigga BCR hooks.
At midnight it started to kick off and I landed my second carp of the session weighing 36lb 4oz! I quickly got the rod back out and only half an hour later one of the other rods was away resulting in a lovely long 28lb mirror! After getting the rod back out I decided to put a bit more bait out over the spot and after I had finished spodding the same rod was away again resulting in a 30lb mirror, which rounded the session off perfectly.
Most of my time in 2018 was spent either working or staring at motionless rods. I did manage to go to France twice, however both times I only managed to catch one of the lakes smaller residents. Fortunately I no longer work away anymore, which will allow me more time to get the rods out in 2019. I hope everyone reading this has a great and successful 2019!