An Autumn Weekend at Brandesburton 3&4

Whilst on my tutorial session with Mark Pitchers, I had a text conversation with my carp fishing buddy Gaz about arranging a session at Brandesburton. We last fished it back in May which was a very successful trip so we were itching to get back to make sure that our luck last time wasn’t a one-off! We agreed to take the Friday off work and travel there on the Thursday evening even if it meant setting up in the dark. As it turned out, Gaz also took the Wednesday afternoon and Thursday off so headed to the lake late afternoon on the Wednesday to secure the lake’s only double peg (yes yes I hear you hardcore carpers saying that you shouldn’t pre select your peg before you get to the lake but we fish for enjoyment and there’s a social element to it too, plus we know the spots well in that peg and thought that the fish might be there at this time of year so there was some justification for it!) It turned out that there was nobody else on the lake so Grassy Bank it was and Gaz managed to get his bivvy up and a single rod out before dark. That night there was no moon and not much wind which meant it was pitch black and very quiet – enough to spook any man and Gaz later admitted that it was quite creepy so he got an early night! I’d told him to keep me up to date throughout the next day but I didn’t hear from him until mid-afternoon when a picture came through of a 13b mirror, not a bad start!

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Gaz’s first fish of the session

I was desperate to get to the lake but really didn’t fancy setting up in the dark so I decided that the best plan of action would be to go for a curry and beers with some of my old friends that I don’t see too often and head off on the Friday morning. Naturally, Friday morning turned into Friday afternoon and I arrived at the lake at around 2pm. Gaz hadn’t had any more action but had seem plenty of activity in front of him so I got the gear out of my car and setup next to him in the double peg. I got my first rod out but literally within 2 minutes Gaz had a take and the fish decided to go through my line. After a bit of a panic, we managed to untangle the rods with the fish still on – result! After a short battle Gaz there was a 19lb common sat in the net, Gaz was over the moon as it was his biggest yet from the venue and I was chuffed for him. We did the pictures and slipped her back. I got the rod back out and I couldn’t believe it when just 5 minutes later it ripped off! A short while later I had a lovely 14lb mirror in the net – what a start, a fish each within a few minutes of me being there, that’s no coincidence of course 😉

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Over the next few hours I’d had another 2 bites, I lost one of them and the other was a 12lb common which I caught just after it got dark at around 7:30pm. Because I was fishing against the far margin close to overhanging trees I decided not to try and get the rod back on the spot so just fished with 1 rod for the night (I was only fishing with 2 during the day anyway – i figured that 5 rods between us in that swim was pushing it somewhat). We got all the rods sorted for the night and sat back to have some food and chat the night away. Once bed time came I got warm inside my Fox Ventec 5 season bag (it’s soooo warm) while Gaz kept getting liners on the same rod, he was getting that many he ended up winding it in to get some sleep! The last time we fished the lake the bite times were early morning so I was expecting some action, it never came though and we didn’t even see many shows which was surprising as Gaz said they were boshing out all over the place the previous morning.

Gaz was leaving that afternoon and wanted another fish before he started packing away. He got his wish but it wasn’t a carp – yep you guessed it, a bream! Ah well he’d still had a good session so he headed back to Leeds.

As I now had the swim to myself, I decided to put a 3rd rod out so I cast it to where Gaz managed his 19b’er – it would be rude not to! I fired out a few of the Krill boilies over and between each rod and sat back to have some food. The evening was uneventful but I was awakened at around 11:30pm by a screaming take. It didn’t put up much of a fight and I thought it was a bream at first, it turned out to be a single figure carp which was still very welcome as it was over 24hrs since my last fish. I quickly returned it, got back into bed and the next time I woke was when it was light. I got the rod back out straight away so that I was fishing with 3 rods again to give me the best chance of getting another bite before I packed away at mid day. I had a chat with a few of the other anglers on the lake and it turned out that over the last few days we were the only ones catching – I’d love to say that it was down to our ability as anglers but sadly that’s not the case, we were simply in the correct swim for the conditions! Mid day came and it was time to pack up. I did so with a smile on my face as it had been a good session.

We have only fished Brandes twice this year, once in Spring and the other in Autumn. We fished it more last year yet didn’t catch a sausage then yet in just 2 sessions this year we have had 21 bites. A couple of those were bream, a few were lost but a good few of those saw the net too so all in all I’m chuffed to bits with our ‘year’ on there. I’ll be renewing my night permit and hoping to get there a bit more regularly next year. I might even get the odd winter day session in between now and then. You never know, I might even catch that 20lb fish I’m desperate for…

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I love this venue.

Until next time, tight lines…

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A Session at Majestic Pool with Mark Pitchers

Anybody into modern day carp fishing will have heard of Mark Pitchers. He’s the star of Fox’s The Challenge and contributes regularly to various monthly magazines. I’d heard that he offers tutorials so decided to get in touch to discuss various options. His schedule was quite busy but he had a place available on a group session he was running at Majestic Pool near Hull so I put my name down and started to get excited. Between booking it and the day arriving I had a family holiday and a busy time at work so I didn’t get the chance to think much about it, needless to say it came around quite quickly.

The other 3 guys were set to arrive at Majestic around 11am, I had work commitments in the morning but managed to wangle the afternoon off so set off from Leeds at 2:30pm. It was close to where I fish at Brandesburton so the journey was familiar and the weather lovely. I arrived at 4pm and introduced myself to Mark and the other guys. Mark pointed me in the direction of a peg called Sainty’s and told me to get my house in order and he’d be round soon. It was my first outing with the Fox Royale Classic bivvy so I spent some time making sure I put it up properly, after all there was no rush – we had all weekend! If you’re interested I thought the bivvy was great, you get a lot for your money – more information here

Fox Royale Classic Bivvy
I was really impressed with the Fox Royale Classic Bivvy

Not long after getting my bivvy up and my tackle in order, Mark appeared and started to give me some details about the lake, the stock and his recommended approach for the weekend. We set about looking for some spots and before long we’d found 2 clear gravely spots and one close to a snag where a fish had shown as we were looking for the open water spots. We clipped up, put the Spomb on and proceeded to put a bit of sweetcorn on the open water spots. We used the distance sticks to get the rods setup which just left the rigs to decide upon. Mark has had plenty of success using a simple but effective balanced plastic corn rig, the way it sits is lovely as I saw when he showed me in the margin – it’s just like a claw, waiting to take hold. The rods were cast and we discussed the approach for the margin spot. Because it was close to a snag the gear had to be heavy so a hinged stiff rig was selected with a few boilies scattered over the top. We were racing to get sorted before dark but we managed it and were happy with the spots that we’d chosen.

The first night saw me awake for most of it, not because of bites but because of the wind, rain and coots diving on my bait. The Delks are rather sensitive and were beeping regularly. Unfortunately this wasn’t replaced with a roaring take and come the morning my mat was still dry (well it would have been if the rain hadn’t have come down like it did…) I decided to leave things be and lay back down as I’d had a terrible nights sleep. Mark appeared before long though and showed me how to get the sediment off my lines in a morning. I asked if anybody had any luck throughout the night but unfortunately not. I was surprised, the venue holds a good amount of fish and the weather looked right for it. Mark suggested that we sit on our hands and don’t put any more bait out – if the fish had eaten the bait then we should have got a bite so the likelihood was that the bait was still sat out there uneaten. The day passed quietly but for Mark it was all but quiet – he was running around like a madman trying to find fish and get all 4 of us angling for them in the best way possible. It was very weedy so he had to spend a lot of time finding us good spots, especially the guys on the opposite bank to me as that seemed to contain the most of the weed.

My home for the weekend!
My home for the weekend!

Late afternoon and with 24 hours gone, it was time to try some new spots. Mark said that he approaches each 24 hours as a different session and this was no different especially as it had been quiet. One of the rods was left on the same spot but recast and with a bit more bait over the top, one rod was cast further out to see if the carp were sitting close to the middle and the last rod was fished towards the no fishing bank at the bottom of the drop off. Rigs and bait were the same so it was just up to the carp gods now to make something happen. The sensitivity was turned down on the Delks and the rods placed lower to the ground to try and minimise any false bleeps. It worked well and I got a great night of sleep – good for my body but not great for my unhooking mat which was still bone dry. Mark couldn’t understand it, the weather was good, we had found some nice spots, baiting was sensible and rigs more than proven – a combination of these things should have produced fish! We didn’t make any changes for the first part of the morning but by mid morning the water was like glass, completely still. Normally in these conditions you can see signs of fish feeding, the backs of carp just breaking the surface or more visible signs such as a crash. There was absolutely nothing though and it confirmed to us that they just weren’t having it. Mark wasn’t happy, he wanted us all to catch but that’s just fishing and the main purpose attending a tutorial in my eyes is to learn first and catch fish second and boy had I learnt. I’d been taking down notes all weekend and I have plenty to come away and perfect in my own fishing. For the last couple of hours we put zigs on two rods to see if we could get a bite right at the end but it wasn’t to be. Mark worked his socks off for us and if he can’t make it happen, nobody can. If you’re thinking about booking a carp tutorial then definitely consider Mark’s services – he’s such a passionate and knowledgeable angler that you can’t not learn anything from a session with him. He’s a nice and funny guy too so you’ll have plenty of laughs in the process!

I want to end this blog post by not only thanking Mark for a great weekend but by also thanking the guys who run Majestic Pool. I’d never fished there before but will definitely fish there again. Although we didn’t catch, this was out of the norm and I’m sure a return trip applying everything I learnt from Mark would make for an enjoyable and productive trip. Majestic is such a pretty and well thought out place. The owners have clearly put their heart and soul into creating a top class fishery. With over 110 fish in 3 acres it’s well stocked with English carp and 75% of the stock are over 20lb – not bad eh! The swims are great and there’s a path running around the whole of the lake for easy barrow access. You can find out more about the fishery by visiting the Majestic Pool website.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend, I learnt an awful lot, fished with the man who makes The Challenge (which I watch religiously) and experienced a new lake. No fish but still, what an absolute result.

Until next time, tight lines…

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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.

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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…

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First Session of 2015 at Brandesburton 3&4

Sat on the sofa in my pyjamas with an episode of Thinking Tackle on in the background you’d think it was a normal Sunday evening in the world of Mr Northern Carp Angler. You’d be wrong though, because I’m actually sat here buzzing after a great session at Brandesburton 3&4, only 6 hours ago I was at the side of the lake packing away my gear.

My friend Gaz and I started fishing Brandes in early 2014 on a day only ticket and in all honesty we struggled. With the venue being a 3 hour round trip we only did a handful of short sessions and although I lost one on my second session, it took until August to catch my first fish (which you can read about here). We decided to apply for night permits and do some longer sessions this year to see if we could crack it. This weekend we had a rare opportunity to do a 48hr session so we grabbed it with both hands, booked Friday afternoon off work and headed East. We arrived just before 3pm and with bucket in hand, started the usual walk around the lake to see if we could find any fish. The first peg we came to was Grassy Bank where a chap was doing a day session. He’d had 3 takes and there were still signs of activity in the swim so he recommended that we moved in after him. We decided that it was a good option as we’d fit the 2 bivvies in and there were enough likely looking spots to allow us both to fish a couple of rods each. We still had a quick walk around but in all honesty we’d made our decision so we were always going to go back to Grassy.

As we returned to the peg after our walk around, the chap fishing there had a take. It came off after only a few seconds but it was confirmation that we’d made a good decision. He was kind enough to offer that we bring our gear round to secure the peg and was happy for us to sit with him while he finished his session – this gave us a good opportunity to pick his brains about a few spots to give us a starting point. After a brew he started packing up and we got our bivvies out – we normally get the rods out first but the heavens were about to open and we wanted to avoid a soaking! We let the rain calm down a bit and then started setting up the rods. The far margin was the order of the day and we covered 4 nice looking spots with a couple of rods each, there are a lot of lilies and snags near that margin but the spots we chose felt clear so confidence was high.

The first night was uneventful other than a few liners. The rain hammered down all night but I was lovely and warm in my new Fox Ventec 5 season sleeping bag. The thing is huge but dear me it’s toasty in there! Well worth looking at if you’re in the market for a winter bag. I never sleep too well in the bivvy but I was in the land of nod at 6:50am when my left-hand rod screamed off. I ran out into the damp morning to play what felt like a good fish. Unfortunately it managed to let go of the hook and I was left feeling disappointed but also pleased that I’d had a take – there was still 30 hours to go so this gave me confidence. Within 40 minutes I’d had 3 takes and 3 losses – the confidence had turned to frustration and I feared that my chance was gone. An hour or so later Gaz had a take but he was smart enough not to lose it, the problem was that it was a bream! A big bream granted but a bream all the same and on the day not our target species. Not long after returning it though he had another take and this time it was a carp which turned out to be a single figure stocked fish. He was over the moon as it was his first Brandes carp so size didn’t matter. It all went a bit quiet so we got on with drinking some tea and putting the world to rights.

Grassy Bank in which we found some productive spots.
Grassy Bank in which we found some productive spots.

Early afternoon and Gaz had another take, this time by something much bigger. He said that he’d never felt anything as heavy on the end of his line and was determined to see it in the net….. yep you guessed it – he lost it! Of the 6 takes so far that day only 1 bream and 1 carp was landed – both by Gaz, the pressure was mounting… I did see some more action before the end of the day though and managed a small carp and a bream. With the action we were getting it was a no-brainer where we were going to fish for the night. All rods were carefully cast until we were 100% happy with their positions and we just managed to get them in place before dark, although I did manage to walk into my buzz bars and knock all 3 of my rods off after spending so long getting them perfect, idiot! It was dark by then so there was no way I was going to redo them so I kept my fingers crossed and hoped that I hadn’t disturbed the rigs. Not long after nodding off (midnight), I had a take on my left-hand rod – I just new that one would go with how happy I was with the accuracy of the cast. I soon realised that a small bream was on the end which was frustrating as I had no chance of getting it back on the spot so I was one rod down for the rest of the night. After returning the fish I got back into bed and was out like a light until 6:14am when I was woken by a screaming run. This was definitely a carp and it tried to take me into some snags, I piled on the pressure and after a short fight the longest carp I’ve ever caught was sat in my net. Because of the length I thought it might be bigger than what it weighed but to be fair it didn’t really have much of a belly. I was still over the moon though with a lovely mid-double common.

As you can tell by the hair (well, what’s left of it) and the bags under my eyes, I’d just got out of bed!
As you can tell by the hair (well, what’s left of it) and the bags under my eyes, I’d just got out of bed!

Shortly after casting back out to the same spot I had another take, again it felt like a good fish but this one also managed to stick 2 fins up at me and it got off. The rest of the day passed uneventfully and come mid-afternoon we started packing up. It was a great session with 12 or 13 bites between us in total and although we only landed 6 of them (and 3 of those were bream), we’d learnt an awful lot. Gaz had broken his Brandes duck and I’d broken my Brandes PB – not bad for a weekend’s work.

So, what did we learn I hear you ask. Well the first thing is bite times. Fishing day sessions last year and having to travel from Leeds we were missing the early morning bite time – the most productive time of the day by far based on our new found knowledge of the place. The second thing we learnt was how the fish move in that particular part of the lake and some of the spots you can catch them from. Pictures were taken and bite spots were marked – next time we fish that peg we’ll know exactly where to put the rigs to increase the chance of us catching. Other things we learnt was that the fish there don’t spook on tight lines and they’re bloody wise – they know exactly where to go if they want to get off of your hook!

It will no doubt be a few months before we’re back but we’re already looking forward to it. After all, we need to catch those monsters we lost this weekend…

Until next time, tight lines…

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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…