The start of a new challenge is always exciting and after hearing about a special big scaley mirror and then seeing some photos, it was one that I was desperate to have in my album. The venue in question was a large 60 plus acre boating lake with a relatively low stock of carp. There were several factors to consider, such as the numerous buoys out in the lake, which cut off a large chunk of the lake and made this area very unsafe to fish, families occupying swims, tonnes of people swimming in the lake day in day out and last but not least the party goers keeping you up at night. However, I was determined not to be put off.

During my first year I wanted to investigate the different areas of the lake and work out the most productive zones. It quickly became apparent that there were a few swims that produced a lot more fish than others and it wasn’t too long before I had the first one under my belt. a real old looking 25lb mirror. However, the rest of the year was unproductive for me.

The following season I used the knowledge I had built up from the previous year and I targeted the more productive areas of the lake that I had learnt about. I was constantly learning along the way and during the autumn I had a few more fish with some wicked upper double scaleys and a chunky 30lb mirror. There was one morning in particular I will remember for a very long. I woke to an absolute ripper of a take at first light. With real thick mist rolling across the lake, I was barely able to see my rods, which where ten yards out in the lake. I scrambled out of bed to get the waders on and ran out into the lake. After a short battle a mega old scaley mirror was recovering in the net and only 10 minutes later she was joined with a 30lb 14oz mirror. What a magical sight that was!

I decided to stay on throughout the winter and it proved very hard going but I did nick one just before Christmas, although it was a recapture it was my biggest from the lake at 33lb 14oz.

The third year was a much more productive year for me and with the last 2 years of knowledge it made me realise these fish loved the bait, so I decided to up the amount I was putting in. Every time I went down the lake for a weekend I would put 5kg out straight away and on a few occasions I had bites very quickly. That year saw me land 13 carp with the best being a 30lb+ common, which was and a real character fish. During late autumn the lake shut up shop and all the fish decided to push right out into the middle of the lake, which was some 300 yards from any accessible swim and 200+ yards past many buoys. This area was only accessible if you had a bait boat and there was not a chance I was buying one. Especially considering how dangerous it would be to fish out there with any hooked fish carp easily being able to get tethered up around a buoy out in the lake. I decided to pull off for the winter and spend my time elsewhere.

This particular lake has a traditional close season, which would mean more prep to get ready for June 16th. However, this year we were met with a global pandemic and lockdown quickly put a stop to all angling. After the first lockdown passed, I was more organised than ever before and this was the start of my fourth season on the lake. Little did I know what was going to happen. I arrived for my first session on the opening weekend and I managed to get into the favoured area for the big’un. As I was fishing at range I wanted to use a rig I was confident wouldn’t tangle in flight. I used a lead clip arrangement and a Blow-Back Rig tied using eight inches of Ultra Skin Stiff and a size 6 Covert Dark Wide Gape Talon Tip hook. With knowledge of the big girl predominantly coming out on pop ups, I decided to change one rod to a helicopter set up and a Hinge Stiff Rig tied with a short 3 inch boom of 25lb Mirage and a doubled over 1 inch section of 25lb Stiff Link.

With 5kg of bait out on the spot the rods were out ready for the morning bite time. The first day was Uneventful, so I left the spot as it was and re-done the rods with fresh hook baits ready for the last morning. It all kicked off and after landing the first I got the spod rod and walked out into the lake to get some more bait on the spot. whilst doing this the other rod was away! Trying to get back to the rod with water at the top of the waders was not easy, but it was well worth it and a gorgeous 26lb mirror with enormous fins was my prize! I soon had the rods back out on the spots and I managed another two bites that day, which resulted in a couple of small commons.

The next weekend was even better, and I managed to get back into the same swim as the previous weekend. I went through the motions and fished exactly the same, however this time we had a big South Westerly wind cutting across the area and to reach the spot I had to be stood out in the lake to the top of my waders. Casting the distance wasn’t easy, but after a bit of persistence everything was set ready for the morning bite time when I hoped they would turn up and turn up they did! That day I landed four carp, with some lovely character fish and a mega long 28lb mirror, but it didn’t end there! After talking to a few friends about the big girl, we all agreed that she was due out and one of my mates even mentioned that I was having it the following day.

The rods were soon set again for the night with another hit of bait. I could only imagine what was to happen if I caught the one I’ve been after. I was woken at 4am by a few beeps on the receiver and a very slow take on the lefthand rod. I was quickly on the rod and lifted into a heavy weight. All that kept crossing my mind were thoughts of the big girl. It came in relatively easily, until went on a several 40 yard surges. I soon had the fish back under control and before long she popped up at the net and I knew which fish it was straight away. I quickly slipped the net under it and let out a proper big shout “YEEEEESSSSSSSSSSS” and of course a little carp dance that we all do when we catch that one target fish.

After a few calls to some close mates, we reeled off some mega shots and got her safely back home. I left the rods out whilst I sat there and watched the world wake up and I took a few moments to take in what had just happened. Whilst doing so, one of the rods was away and I landed a nice little common, which was a great end to the session. A mega carp from a mega venue and one I plan to be going back to in a few years time for some of the other rare residents, but until then it’s onto new challenges!