A Margin of Error

It’s been two weeks since my last session when I had a successful trip to Brandesburton 3&4 and cabin fever was setting in – a trip to my local syndicate lake was in order. The beauty of this lake is that it’s very close to home and it’s tiny (half an acre) so I only feel the need to fish a single rod. In fact, not only do I only take one rod, I also leave at home a lot of the ‘just in case’ gear and have bought some specific bits of tackle to help me keep the gear to a minimum. A Nash H-Gun Multi Mat can be used as a bag, an unhooking mat and a weigh sling so all of my gear fits in it and then once empty at the lake it becomes my mat and sling. In that goes a Wychwood specimen landing net which folds down nicely, a reel, an NGT 4 piece 9ft Intrepid rod, a Delkim, an indicator, 2 bank sticks, my tackle box, a catapult, a few handfuls of boilies, a pair of foreceps and a set of digital scales. The ‘bag’ goes over my shoulder and all I have to carry is my net pole and chair – no barrow needed for this flavour of carp fishing!

Summer evening carpy goodness!

Summer evening carpy goodness!

The day started with a breakfast at the local pub followed by a few chores around the house so I arrived at the lake around 12:45pm. I had no specific plans about how long I wanted to fish for, I was just going to play it by ear. I started on the opposite bank to the image above and within a couple of hours of casting out I’d managed a small carp and a chub plus another carp that fell off the hook a few seconds after the take. I only took a couple of leads with me and I’d lost them both so to continue fishing I had to put some shot on the line which I wasn’t very confident in. Because of this and the fact that the fish seemed to have gone to sleep I decided to head home and have some food. The beauty of a local lake and minimal kit is that moving swims or nipping off for an hour isn’t a laborious task.

Belly full and leads replenished I arrived back at the lake around 7pm. The temperature had dropped slightly and there were more clouds in the sky. Speaking with the owner before I left I found out that the carp will come into the margins later in the day so I put a bit of bait right in front of my swim on a rock where I could see it. I fished into open water but planned to keep an eye on the margin and if any fish did come in I’d have another option. It didn’t take long before a carp came in and helped its self to the free offerings while I kept as still as I could. I’ve never really done any margin/stalking work so to watch a fish feed right under my feet was fantastic.


Not long after the fish sloped off and I started thinking about how I was going to maximise the opportunity, I had a take out in open water and it felt like a good fish. Before I knew it the line went slack and once again my quarry had given me the V sign. I dropped my rig straight onto the margin spot and dropped a few more boils over the top. I was fishing a foot from the bank, it felt very odd but quite exciting – to watch a fish take my hook bait would be amazing.

Talk about fishing under the rod tip!

Talk about fishing under the rod tip!

I had to be close enough to watch the fish but because of that I managed to spook fish on a couple of occasions, I wasn’t too concerned though because they were the smaller fish and I felt that I still had a chance of a bigger one coming in. As I alluded to in my first blog post about this syndicate lake, the biggest fish swimming around is around 17lb and although that’s not big when it comes to specimen carp fishing, it’s the biggest in the lake and I want to catch it! At about 8:30 a group of 3 bigger fish all came to the spot together, they took a couple of boilies and then seemed to spook. I thought that I’d blown it until one of the fish came back about a minute later to have another look. My heart was pounding, there was only a couple of baits and my hook bait left! A few seconds later and the fish was over the hook bait so I couldn’t see it, there was an almighty explosion when the fish went mad, the Delk screamed and I fell on my backside trying to get to the rod! I had one angry double on the end of my line and it moved up the margin to my right at a pace while I tried to get it under control, all of a sudden it decided to go on a massively powerful run and before I could get to the clutch it snapped me off. I dropped the rod and sat on the grass for a minute to calm down and get my head around what had just happened.

I generally fish strong and use the best knots I can, in this case a palomar to the swivel. The line was 12lb breaking strain which I’ve used at this lake in the past without issue (I use 18lb on my main rods). I hate leaving tackle in fish but I do fish safe so the lead will have dropped easily and the hook was barbless so it should have got rid of it easily enough.

All in all it was an exhilarating yet frustrating day. There’s one thing for sure though, I’ll be back soon to search those margins but with beefed up line – that 12lb stuff is getting replaced ASAP!

Until next time, tight lines…