So, the eagerly awaited news that both Anglers and Golfers alike desperately wanted to hear was finally given, and it was a green light on socially distanced outdoor activities to go ahead. This was like music to my ears; any minor issues or discrepancies were soon ironed out and it was all systems go.

On the Wellington Country Park syndicate, the Bailiffs had ably organised a draw system to make things as fair as possible and Cheeky Chubby Chops Charlie did a grand job pulling names from a pot live on FB from his lounge. It was really exciting, awaiting your name to be called out or not as the case may be. The draw reminded me of the days when you would listen to the radio or watch the TV awaiting the announcement of which club your football team would face progressing into the next round of the cup. The Park allowed 15 anglers on at a time for 48hrs, and once the 48hrs were up you would make way for the next group.

I was hoping to come out in the top 5 so I’d have a good pick of the swims, but as the names were pulled I found myself coming out 8th in the draw which still put me in the mix and I stood a fair chance of a decent swim. The anticipation and the excitement was just like we used to enjoy with an old traditional June 16th start.

We were to arrive in the park an hour before we could set up, to walk the lake and return to the Boathouse area to make our choice based on what was left. So, I did a lap and did not see anything but pulled out my phone and made a list of choice areas should they be available.

There was lots of bluffing and double bluffing going on between members as to who was going where leading up to the final pick. I ended up in a swim known as Grassy which offered a slice of open water ‘real estate’ and access to the end of an island. I initially fancied the Snags, as there was a light breeze pushing the scum across the surface and into the snags bay in which Snags fished into and it looked promising, but being a bit naive Ed Wade convinced me it was too early in the season (the slippery sod!). So with Daisy, Up and Over and Laurie’s-Mate all occupied I talked myself out of the Snags thinking I would be too hemmed in. Safe to say Ed picked the Snags, after coming out one place behind me in the draw. But being sporting I laughed it off and gave him a bit of friendly banter afterwards.


It wasn’t long and I had all 3 rods positioned at different marks and a kg of 20mm ABS Custom Nut put out on each rod. No carp were forthcoming for myself although I did have 3 or 4 Tench, but in total there was only a handful out between the whole syndicate. Ed (or ‘slippery’ as I now lovingly refer to him) had the most spectacular looking upper-30lb common, which was a dark well-proportioned with lovely rounded fins and a perfectly formed mouth, and ended up banking two more smaller ones during his stay, confirming my original gut feeling to go into the snags would have been a good swim for the start. Hey ho… It was lovely to be back and on the second night a lovely social was had by way of a takeaway curry and a few lemonades with Darrel Peck and the ‘slippery one’ himself.

Driving out of the gates on my way home, I started to map out a plan of attack for the coming week.

Wednesday couldn’t come quick enough; as it turned out I only had 2 day’s work on that week so I arrived full of energy and anticipation.

Unfortunately, the start of the next 48 rota didn’t go quite to plan, as the 12PM start was brought forward 3 hours meaning those who weren’t already queuing at the gates had to make a dash to get in to secure a decent plot on the lake. If I’m truthful some people turn into selfish, ruthless individuals just so they can get the upper hand and in my opinion they lose sight of what angling is meant to be about, but that’s probably best left there!

After some deliberation I decided to give the Reeds ago for an hour after I was tipped off by Shannon, that there were fish in the zone, which there was on arrival. As I sat there, I thought they weren’t going to be there long and decided to move into the Snags swim, after seeing a few carp sat in amongst the woodwork. In my head I think I wanted to get some revenge after my decision making the week previous… It seemed like a good idea, although it turned out that ‘Nick the pilot’ dropped into the Reeds after me and nicked a couple of bites that day (good angling that man).

After baiting up 3 spots in the Snags with 12/20 mm nut boilies, I positioned all three rods with 7” Ronnies using size 4 Mugga hooks, and kicked back… Soon after my swim became utter carnage, and at one point all 3 rods were out of the water as the bites were coming thick and fast! Unfortunately, they were not by the carp, but by the resident Tench. One did look a real good’un, so I weighed it and the scales read 9lb 4oz, making it a new PB!


This hectic action continued up until dark, then just on dark my banker rod registered a bite, this time from a Bream! I literally could not believe my luck. So many bites and not a single carp, getting the rod under the trees wasn’t really an option in the dark, so I wrapped it up only this time taking off half a wrap knowing this would take me close but without the fear of hanging a rig up in the woodwork. After that the night passed fairly quietly, other than one more Tench and a few liners.

Dawn broke, and I was up watching the water with a tea in hand before first light. The morning passed and things had gone quiet, so I decided to re-bait the spots, wind in the rods, polish up the hook points, put fresh hookbaits on re-wrap the rods and send them back out. After that I had one more bite which fell off but left slime up the hook link, leading me to believe it was another Tinca.

By about 3PM, it looked a bit dead, so I wound in and went for a bit of a mooch with Leon ‘Rif-Raf’ Bartropp. It turned out there was a few good carp under the trees, including a good mirror and what looked like every Tench in the lake (which amused Leon no end). We returned to my swim and he decided to drop in next door, in a swim known as Daisy. After we both got the rods out and baited up and we had a bit of a chin wag about all things Carpy. Then Dan Cole kindly went up the shops and brought back fish’n’chips for the 3 of us! We sat in my swim and chowed down, leaving us all well fed.

I retired to my bed early and was awoken around 11-12PM, Leon had only gone and bagged a lovely upper 30 common, apparently it had fought like a demon. I had a quick chat and then got back into bed and once again got up before first light full of anticipation, another bite on first light and yes you guessed it, it was another Tench.

I started to feel a bit deflated and beat up if I’m honest, then out of nowhere I had another Tench like bite only this time I picked up the rod and the far margin erupted and the rod bent double as I made contact with a big angry carp… Finally, I was attached to my quarry. Leon came over and helped me shuffle into my waders and help pass my rod under the other as the carp powered out of the bay. I soon lent into the carp, with the tip held low I slowly put the brakes on it. As I did that the carp rolled and I could see it was a big’un! Then, on the second time of asking, it rolled over the net cord.

Everything was readied and we carried the enormous leathery looking mirror out into the even light, where we photographed and weighed it. The scales spun round to a healthy 43lb 12oz – and the carp looked as though it could have been a fair bit heavier pre-spawning, as it’s frame was massive. I was elated to have caught such an incredible looking carp which was later recognised to be a fish known as ‘Heart Tail’, which was one of the mirrors I loved the look of when I first joined. So, after 2 trips I’d received around 16 bites, with only 1 carp, but wow what a carp. One that was well worth the wait I think you’ll agree. It was time to leave and I went home a happy chappy.


Until next time, tight lines.

Ian Lewis