Since starting my carp fishing journey, this Hull & District Anglers Association water has inspired, intrigued and frustrated me all at the same time. The 8 acre gravel pit in East Yorkshire was once home to the most famous of Yorkshire carp, Jumbo which was discovered in the pond after a netting weighing over 40lb – in the 80’s and in Yorkshire this was huge! Fish these days run up to mid 20’s I believe but you don’t come here to catch the biggest fish you can, you come here to fish for stunning old warriors who have been living here for years. I first heard of HDAA and Brandesburton whilst reading one of the angling weeklies, someone had caught a 20lb’er and that a year book was £38, this was music to my ears so I decided to join. A friend who lives close to me joined at the same time and we made the first trip to the pond in February of this year. Despite the 140 mile round trip I fell in love with the place. We didn’t buy night tickets so this year at least we’ll only be fishing days. The first session was uneventful, we fished the ‘4’ end and didn’t get a single bleep all day. A few weeks later we made another trip this time deciding to fish the deeper ‘3’ end from the fieldside pegs. The deepest part we found with the marker float was 23ft with a gravel bar running down the middle. With it being winter still I fished at the bottom of the bar with a simple boilie approach, matching the hook bait with a few freebies. At 5:45pm one of my alarms gave a couple of beeps and I lifted into what felt like a heavy fish, it was plodding about for a couple of minutes then everything went slack, I’d lost it and I felt absolutely devastated. I stared out of the window all the way back to Leeds wondering what could have been. I just had to put it right and crack the place so I promised myself I’d give it a good go this year. Having a busy job and young family coupled with the fact that it was a 3 hour round trip meant that my time there would be limited especially as I only had a day ticket but I’ve tried to go as much as I can and have so far racked up 6 days on there now. Sessions 3, 4 and 5 also resulted in blanks although session 5 was brilliant as the fish started to spawn – I reeled in and packed up early to let them get on with it but it allowed me to get some brief glimpses of what was in there. So, onto session 6 which was on the 2nd Aug. I’d recently been on a tutorial at Linear Fisheries in Oxfordshire with Fox and Sticky Baits consultant Tom Maker. The amount of carp that man catches is beyond belief and I wanted to know how he did it. I wanted to put into practise what I’d learnt so I approached things slightly differently to how I normally would. Firstly I walked the lake and didn’t worry about how long it might take for me to see a sign of carp. All the mags tell you to find the fish but other than session 5 when the fish were spawning I hadn’t seen any carp show at 3&4 so thought it would be a waste of time, in the past I’d just end up getting the rods out in the most convenient swim. It took me about an hour to walk the whole of the lake; I spent a few minutes in each swim/bay but didn’t see any fish. About half way round though I did see a single reed stem knocking, I watched closely and it moved one way then the other, sometimes against the wind. It had to be a fish, maybe not a carp but a fish and it’s all I had seen so that was my sign, I had to fish there. I saw it in a bay and could get to it from a peg known as Point so I dropped a bucket in the peg and headed back to the car for the rest of my gear. While walking back to the car I stopped to chat with the guy fishing opposite, he was in a peg called Gaza and I just wanted to find out where he was fishing so that I didn’t cast over the top of him. It turned out that he was one of the bailiff’s. While we were chatting, a big grey cloud came overhead, a thunderstorm was on the way so I rushed back to the car and got my gear to my peg as quickly as I could. As I was pushing the barrow the thunder started, I found my peg and rushed to get the brolly out of its bag, just as I got it out the heavens opened and the rain started falling heavily. Without even pegging the brolly down I jumped under it and hid there for the next hour sat on a bucket until it calmed down. Here is a quick video I took, it was hammering it down!
I drank tea and scoffed a Pot Noodle, even though I didn’t have my rods out I felt OK, for some reason I was quietly confident of some action – maybe it was because I’d seen some signs of fish and managed to get a peg close by? Maybe it was because I was fishing there the next day too? I’m not sure to be honest but I felt confident and we all know how confidence can work in our favour. I probably got my first rod out about 5:30pm and was happy to fish with one rod at first – again this was down to confidence, I normally get all 3 out as quickly as I can but I just knew I was in the right area and was happy with my cast in relation to where I’d seen the reed stem knocking. I did eventually get a second rod out choosing a short cast to my right hand margin with a solid bag but at about 7pm my first rod alarm screamed into action and I was into a very angry Brandes carp.
First of all the fish tried to take me into the lillies close to where I’d hooked it, I managed to steer it into open water and it plodded about for a while whilst making the odd dart towards the bottom. It then started coming closer to me and darted off towards the lillies to my left. Again, I put trust in my 18lb ESP Syncro main line and pulled hard to avoid losing it. All the time I was playing it Tom the bailiff was watching and saying how much it looked like a 20lb’er by the way it was fighting – this made my legs shake even more! Eventually I managed to get it in the net and the feeling was immense – looking down at my first 3&4 carp, a lovely common. The fish ended up not being a 20 but I didn’t care, I was over the moon that I’d finally caught one – it was just short of 14lb and an absolute stunner.
For those who are interested here are a few points about the setup I caught it on:
- Leadcore helicopter leader with a 3oz distance lead
- The rig was a simple popup rig consisting of a size 5 SSBP, a 4 – 4.5” hook link coated braid with a bit stripped near the eye for a hinge, a bit of silicone over the eye and also a bit to trap the hair to the shank just before the bend
- Hookbait was a 12mm Sticky Baits Krill ‘White Ones’ popup
- About 50 freebies were spread across a small area around the hook bait, these were 12mm Krill shelf life boilies
The main thing I learnt here was the importance of finding the fish. Funnily enough while I was sat there waiting for something to happen I thought to myself that if I caught a fish today I’d be fully bought into the whole walking the lake business at the start of every session. Needless to say that’s now going to be a big part of my carp angling, it’s without question the most important part of the jigsaw and I’ve learnt my lesson the hard way – choosing to ignore it and ending up with blank after blank. The other thing I learnt was the importance of being happy with your cast – my first cast didn’t ‘feel’ right so I wound it in and it was tangled. The second cast was too far to the left and in the past I’ve been guilty of just leaving it thinking that it would be OK but I wound in again and got it right on the 3rd cast which was the spot where I caught the fish.
I was due to stay and fish the Sunday too but decided to call it a day after catching that common. I ended up getting back to Leeds about 11:45pm absolutely exhausted but still buzzing from a great day’s fishing. My wife knew how much I’d wanted to catch one from there so I told her all about it when I got home – she even seemed to listen for a change which was nice; she normally switches off as soon as the word carp is mentioned!
Here are some pictures I snapped of the pond; hopefully you’ll see why I’ve come to love the place.
Until next time, tight lines…