First Session on my New ‘Syndicate’

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, West Yorkshire isn’t great for carp fishing. Yes, there are places to go and fish for carp but once you cross off the busy commercials (as in match type commercials which contain carp) and the ones that are more dangerous to
fish than Hazard Rock in a storm you’re left with a small handful of places and those need booking a month or so in advance. Syndicates seem few and far between (there might be a few no publicity syndicates but hence the name I don’t know about them) so when my friend Gaz said to me that there was a local pond that was run by a small syndicate and the owner was a friend of a friend, my ears naturally pricked up. Now this lake is small, I mean really small (probably about half an acre) and the syndicate isn’t a carp one, just a general coarse fishing syndicate but the few carp that are in there run up to mid doubles and it’s not far from my house so I just had to try and get my name down. After expressing my interest, it took a few weeks before I heard anything but then I got the text message – I was in!

As it’s fairly local I took a drive up just to have a look around. There was nobody on the lake so I did a few laps and put a bit of bait in a few margin spots and a spot in open water just to see if they liked what I had to feed them. A small handful of Sticky Baits Krill boilies in 12mm and the same of the Nash Instant Action Crab and Krill in 10mm. I saw the odd small carp spook from the margins as I was walking around but not much else. I then got to a snag in the corner of the lake and spotted a couple of koi carp and a common which was right in the edge and staring at me! It slowly moved backwards and out of site but I was happy, at least I’d seen some fish! That was on the Wednesday and I was fishing there on the Saturday (I am writing this post on that Saturday after the session, how’s that for being on the ball with my blog posts!) Anyway I decided to go and have another look around on the Friday night after work and put in a bit more bait. The water on Wednesday was only shallow enough to visibly see the bait in one out of the four spots I’d baited so I headed there first to see if it had been eaten. The boilies had in fact vanished, perfect – as least they like the Krill. I assumed that the other spots had been cleaned off too so introduced some more bait onto each so that I had options when I came to fish it.

Small but perfectly formed, my new syndicate water.
Small but perfectly formed, my new syndicate water.

Saturday came and I put the gear in the car. I tried to scale it all down as much as I could so that I could stay mobile and just do short sessions without having pack a load of gear away. I also didn’t want to upset the regulars with my bite alarms and bivvy, there are a lot of retired people who fish the lake and they deserve the surroundings to remain peaceful so I wanted to be as unobtrusive as possible. I just fished 2 rods and although I needed the alarms, they were turned down so that you could hardly hear them and I used the receiver on vibrate only to alert me if I had a take. The bivvy and even brolly was left at home as was the huge unhooking cradle I normally use. I have a foldup Nash one that I use for stalking so that was packed as again it’s smaller and lighter. I met Gaz there who had already walked the lake and decided to setup where he’d seen a few crashing. There were two other anglers on and with the lake being so small I couldn’t fish near where Gaz and the carp were. Because I’d baited both ends of the lake though I was quite happy putting a rig on the 2 spots I’d primed at the other end and setup with that in mind. The first rod went out into open water with a supple braid, snowman blowback rig and a few boilies went out around the spot. The second rod went underneath an overhanging tree where I’d heard the 17lb fish had previously been caught. To avoid snagging up the tree on the cast I chucked my lead onto the bank at the side of the tree, attached my rig then put it in by hand. This was a helicopter leader setup with a Krill Pink One popup as the hook bait. No freebies were put out over this rod.

Gaz had decided to do a bit of float fishing before targeting the carp and he’d managed a couple of ide. My rods had been out about an hour and nothing had happened. I wondered if I should have brought my float rod too just to see what else was in there and give me a better chance of catching something on my first trip. I quickly had a word with myself – I was here for the carp and I’d only just got here man! A few minutes later one of the Delkim’s burst into life and I jumped down the mud-built steps to lift into the fish. Somehow my left hand ended up on the blank above the handle as the fish decided to play Mr Angry. It went on a huge run and the mono burnt into my fingers slicing my skin – good start! I manage to tame the beast and get it under control. It came closer to the net and I knelt down to bundle it in, that was until 1) I stung net hand in the nettles next to my peg and 2) Mr Angry got angrier and went on another run. Luckily the skin on my hand managed to stay bonded together this time and I played the fish for another couple of minutes before finally slipping it in the net. I knew while I was playing it that it was a good fish (for this lake) and it looked very nice indeed as I laid it on the unhooking mat. The barbless hook was taken out with ease and the weighing resulted in a respectable 14lb 6oz. Considering the biggest fish in the lake is 17lb I was happy with that and a good result after only an hour of angling for my new found targets. Gaz came over to take some pictures and congratulated me on the capture. I slipped the fish back and got the rod back out onto the same spot which was the open water one. A few more boilies were peppered around the spot and I sat back down to reflect on the capture. OK reflection in this instance means Tweeting and texting pictures of the fish but let’s not be pedantic.

A 14lb 6oz mirror and my first fish from the lake
A 14lb 6oz mirror and my first fish from the lake.

Before long the same rod was off again and I was hooked into what felt like a smaller fish. It didn’t last long and the hook pulled after ten or fifteen seconds. That’s fishing; you win some you lose some. The wind was starting to get a bit cold so I put a jacket on and made myself comfortable in my chair. The Delks were going nuts in the wind but I like a sensitive alarm so didn’t bother adjusting the sensitivity and just watched the indicator in case of a proper run. I wasn’t disturbing anybody as the volume was really low so I was happy to leave them as they were. After about half an hour I had an absolute belter of a take and the Delks dual tone sang to me in the autumn sun, bliss. A small common was soon in my net and released not long afterwards without a weighing or photography session, it was a nice fish but not really needed at the size it was at – see you again when you’re a bit bigger old chap!

I decided that it was time to reel in and go home to eat, and drink, and wash, and watch Thinking Tackle etc… etc… I really enjoyed a few hours up there and will be going back mid-week to put a bit more bait in. My plan is to keep it going throughout the winter so that the carp don’t shut down and stop feeding. A 17lb carp to a lot of you will be ‘just a double’ but on a lake so close to home and the biggest carp there, it’s my target fish and I plan to do everything I can to see it on the bank.

Until next time, tight lines…