February 2001

Following a week of settled warm conditions, and with the rivers still raging through chocolate coloured, I made the slightly mad decision to go carping! I couldn't resist putting a rod out at my syndicate pit in Berkshire to see if the better weather had caused a carp or two to start moving.

At 80 yards, I could see some movement

Sure enough, I saw some movement 80 yards out over some silt, so I fanned my three rods over the area. I tried a different approach on each rod – one with a single hookbait, one hookbait with a PVA stringer and one hookbait in a PVA bag of dry fishmeal. At 11:30pm I had a run on the PVA bag rod, which had a 10mm Hutchy high-attract Secret Agent pop-up as bait. It was fished on a size 8 ESP Raptor T-6 hook with a 15lb Kryston Snake-Bite hooklength and Kryston Score leadcore leader. I used a 3oz flat pear in-line lead and 15lb mainline.

Anyway, as I said, at 11:30pm I had a run…..striking into the fish at fairly long range I could tell it was a decent fish, as it kept low and steady. As the fight progressed and it neared the bank, the fish became increasingly lively and at one point I didn't think I'd ever get it in the net!

That's why you need a big unhooking mat!

Eventually, after 25 minutes, I did subdue her and, in the torchlight, could see a new personal best smiling back at me! She bottomed out my 30lb Weighmasters, so I sacked her up until the morning, which meant that I could also have some help with the photos (I hate self-timers – cheers for coming out, Phil!) and, of course, some heavier scales.

On the new scales, she was 30lb 12oz – less than I had imagined, but still a new personal best by 8 ounces.

Photos taken, she went back with a splash.

I had planned to stay for several days, but overnight a high pressure system moved in, meaning very cold night-time temperatures. I was pretty sure that this would kill my chances of any more action, so having achieved my target of a run, I went home a very happy angler.

Back she goes - 30lb 12oz. Second thirty of the season.

That fish was my second "thirty" of the season and has made me fall in love with the syndicate, and its fish, even more! I can't see myself going to many other venues this Spring and Summer, although I've got a month to catch a 2lb roach from The Windrush!

The state the rivers are in, I think that's one target I'm not going to achieve. Oh well, you win some, you lose some….

Until next time, tight lines,

Fred - 2001