After a few successful seasons on the front lake and with my amazing journey across Germany behind me, now felt like the perfect time to go after the remaining 27 known carp from the original stock that were left swimming in the back lake. Two large mirrors, named Backer’s and the Big Girl, and two large commons, very originally named the Long Common and the Big Common being the largest residents. There were also a lovely spread of mixed size and gorgeous carp backing them up.
It has been fourteen years since I have cast my mind back to this 11-month period (July to May) of fishing, but I will share what detail I can recall.
I spent the first month or so, climbing trees, watching and learning. Avoiding the weekends was amazing, but I always chose to start the week by dropping in on a Sunday morning to scope out what, if anything, had occurred by those angling over the weekend. Just like many other small pits, the lakes at Thatcham used to generally shut up shop if there were more than four or five anglers on. Therefore, I knew if I played things correctly, I could make my midweek time really pay off. However, the weed growth now was insane, but that said when elevated in the tree canopy you could make out holes and some other channels. What was also very obviously was just how much clearer of weed the margins were. After a month or so, I mapped out most of the lake and knew all the right climbing trees and which pegs could hit particular spots etc.
Back then, I had a little love affair with large halibut pellets. I seldom used them as hook baits, but I used to stomp the larger 22mm pellets into broken pieces and feed them along with a decent grade of large grain home-cooked hempseed. My hook baits varied, I used everything from balanced tigers, plastic yellow corn and I was one of the first customers in my area to start using Cooperloy’s “Perfection Groundbaits” gear. At the time, I was using the Crayfish Mix and Alan coloured them black on my request. The colour did wash out naturally in the water over a few hours, but hours I found those few hours priceless I terms of the colour combating the relentless birdlife that were quick to home in on brighter beds of bait.
My first capture came towards the end of July, and was in the shape of a pristine 22lb common. A classic morning bite, but it wasn’t mega early, as I remember the sun starting to feel very warm very early that morning.