I arrived at the venue to find the car park empty; great start – the choice of swims was unlimited.
I set up in a small corner, fishing to a snag. This particular swim hadn’t been fishing well but I knew that it does produce the goods when the carp gods smile down on me and with the weather warming up, this could be one of those happy times.
I knew the spots I needed to fish to, so I was a bit over-keen on getting the rods out and made a schoolboy error, as we all do when we’re in a hurry.
I used a supple hinge rig, with a size 6 XC7 hook whipped to a short, stiff section of 26lb Chod/mono, with a 25lb Super FS boom tied with a small loop to attach the quick-change clip. I used a wafter-style bait setup comprising a half bottom bait and half pop-up, which has accounted for nearly all my fish this year.
Within 30mims the left rod was off and as I lifted into the run, the fish was gone. My hurriedly fitted small lead was the issue and I knew that straight away. Live, learn … and swear just a bit at my stupidity.
After fitting a proper 4oz lead, the rod was recast, and I catapulted a couple of dozen Sonubaits 24/7 boilies around the hook bait. Within 40 minutes the rod was off and a stunning 21.2oz mirror nosed its way into my net. Lesson learned, and I’ll never be stupid again … erm. … probably.
Anyway, I soon had that rod out, with few pouches of bait on the spot and it wasn’t long before I was in again, with the culprit a scrappy 10lb common.
Better and better
Later that day the same rod was off again and one hell of a fight gave the Prologic C3 rod a testing bend, and with snags and trees each side of me, I enjoyed plenty of heart-stopping moments, but the cracking 26.10lb mirror finally yielded and it proved to be the biggest of the trip – but by no means the last. The fishing just got better and better, with another run on the left rod from a 22.4 common which didn’t realise it was hooked until it saw the net and then went mad.
Within minutes of recasting, the same rod tore off again and after another bonkers tussle a feisty 15lb common hit the back of the net. After each run I would scatter three pouches of 24/7 around the area and just as it began to get dark the right rod leapt into life and yet another a hard fight produced a 22lb mirror. This session was obviously going to be one to be remembered!
Just to remind me not to get cocky, the next fish, a small common, popped the hook at the net, and within 20 minutes another run on the right rod hammered home the lesson as another mid-double common spat the hook as I was about to land it and with a hook pull coaxing a carp from the snag it prompted a change to the ultimate hinge rig, and I suffered no more losses.
Pulled for a break!
During the night a posse of small commons, 15lbs and down, decided to keep me awake and by 2am I decided I needed some kip. It’s not a thing I like to do but I reeled in the rods because Richard Johnson and I had an open day to attend in a few hours’ time, and nobody enjoys chatting to a zombie. I still recast at first light, though, and the left rod was off straight away and I landed another member of the common posse that was loitering around. With that it was time to pack up, and after 16 runs and 12 fish landed, it was like going back in time to how this water used to fish before its carp wised up. What an absolutely wonderful session that was!