2004 Carp Journals – Part Three

A week into the new season and I’d already managed three twenties, a nineteen plus, and a nice double off the Top Pool - A dream start indeed! However, this just made me all the more eager to get straight back up and ‘have at’em’. The estate was closed for the first two weekends due to some big gigs they were putting on. They had been erecting a massive stadium by the Main Lake as we had left on the last session.

Not something you see everyday on the Capesthorne Estate!

With the first two weekends ruled out, I returned on Monday 7th June after the first closure to have another crack. I spent the first hour slowly making my way around the lake looking for signs of fish, which were few, and the ones I did spot still seemed more interested in spawning, the usual following each other around and the odd frivolous splash. The shallows were quiet with just a few tench kicking about and the odd bream. I spotted a nice fish in the bay so decided to set up on the Rodie Bush for the night. I was all set up by around 7.00pm and decided to have another look around to see if there were any stalking opportunities as there was plenty of time before dark. Another walk around the lake revealed little so I decided to have a look at the top end of the Main Lake, which is situated just below the Top Pool.

I peered out from behind the Boat House swim on the Top Pool which overlooks the shallows on the Main Lake. Straight away I saw a number of carp playing around. I made my way round to the first swim on the Rodie Bush side to get a better view and on poking my head around a bush saw absolutely loads of fish; they were all over the place • an opportunity not to be missed!

Fish were showing at the top of the Main Lake; it had to be worth a go!

The swim was only about 100 yards from my swim up on the Top Pool so I got a few bits of gear and headed back down to the Main Lake. I fired out a few pouches of my particle mix and sat back to watch the reaction. Within ten minutes the fish were showing an interest so I quickly attached my worm rig and flicked it out a few yards from the bank in just a couple of feet of water, right on top of the particles.

As I sat watching, a carp launched itself right out of the water about 10 yards from my bait; a cracking mirror in the high twenties! I watched intently as fish moved in and out of the area, their bow waves giving them away in the shallow water. A short while later two good fish moved in from my left and looked to be heading towards my baited patch; my heartbeat quickened.

As they approached the spot, the fish furthest out up-ended straight away, an absolutely massive tail and wrist breaking free of the water. My immediate thought was that is was close on thirty pound. It made a full pass right over the particles then the tail went back into the water as it swirled, turned about, and came straight back again over the baited patch. As the water clouded up, the smaller fish also made a pass, its tail also coming out of the water • another good fish, at least twenty pounds. Over the next few minutes I remained frozen to the spot as both fish kept mopping up the particles; the line giving the odd twitch as they fanned about right over it. Then it happened. As both fish were right over the bait there was a violent snatch on the line, then another, and then WHAM… the rod tip slammed down and it was away!

I lifted into the rod as the surface erupted, scattering all the fish within a 20 yard radius. The hooked fish headed out into the middle of the lake and then started kiting to my right. Although it was a powerful first run I was able to slow it and quickly start applying a little pressure, eventually turning the fish about twenty yards out. It was only now as things felt under control that I wondered which one I’d hooked, intuition telling me it was the smaller of the two. No matter though, as the smaller one also looked a good fish and it was certainly putting up a good scrap. I teased the fish close to the bank and waded out into the shallow water with the net. The fish kept ploughing up and down the margin but slowly began to tire, another minute or two passed and I slowly guided the fish over the cord and into the waiting net • another 20lb’er… Result!

I waded back to the bank with my prize; all I could think was that I’d now had a Main Lake twenty to add to my three from the Top Pool, all within a week! I lifted the scales and they bumped round to 20lb 10oz and I just started laughing to myself, unable to take it all in. I returned the fish and fired out a little more particle mix but the commotion had scattered the fish and it was a while before they came back near the baited area. As darkness was not far away I decided to head back up to the Top Pool and get my rods out. The night passed without further incident and before I knew it my mobile went off at 6.30am to signal it was time to pack up and get back home for work. I was still smiling to myself as I went about the mundane task of packing up, and I was soon back at home ready to start work.

Another Capesthorne twenty! A Main Lake 20lb 10oz mirror.

I returned to the water later that week on the Wednesday, as the coming weekends closure meant we were unable to fish again. Joe was up there when I arrived and had already managed to bank the infamous Crinkle Tail off the top, in addition to one of the Sprat Pack • an excellent result. There were fish showing in the mid-shallows area so I decided on the Paddock and set up whilst Joe attacked them from the other bank with floaters. Rich paid a visit and we chatted for a while as we watched Joe casting out near the snag on the far bank, shortly afterwards a fish took the bait. It was now that Joe realised his predicament, he could not get out far enough to land the fish • time to get wet! The fish briefly made the sanctuary of the snag but after a rather protracted battle Joe netted another Top Pool inhabitant at just over 10lb. Rich had already gone round to help a bedraggled and thoroughly wet through Joe with the fish so I busied myself with firing out some particles to each side of my swim on the edge of the pad lines. I then decided to le
ave the swim for an hour to give the fish some confidence over the bait after all the commotion on the other bank. I headed off with my stalking gear and again found fish all over the spots on the Main Lake where I’d been fishing on the Monday. I fired some particle over the same spot and in went the trusty worm. I had a half-hearted take shortly afterwards but met no resistance on the strike. I placed a fresh worm on the spot and within minutes the tip whipped round again as the water over the bait erupted and line started pulling from the baitrunner. I lifted into the fish and stopped its run almost immediately • very tench like. Sure enough I was soon slipping a decent tench into the net, which I weighed at 7lb exactly. Joe soon headed off home and I returned back up to the Top Pool shortly after that. On arriving back at The Paddock I found four fish milling around one of my margin spots, one a cracking mid-twenty mirror. I very carefully baited up my rods and waited until the fish moved out of the area before flicking my baits out.

As the sun dipped down behind Capesthorne Hall the fish were all over me and I felt confident I would receive some action during the night. I was not wrong. I awoke to a couple of bleeps on the right hand margin rod • the swinger had dropped right to the bottom registering a complete drop back. I lifted into the fish and wound down hard, finally making contact with the fish right under my feet. As soon as it felt the pressure it kited straight to my right and into the pads • the power was unbelievable and there was little I could do but let it go. It stopped a few yards into the pads and held steady. The pads were thick and there was no way I was going to get him out the way he’d gone in • a quick glance at the line in the torchlight revealed it to have gone round several stalks and leaves from the edge of the pad line then right the way through to where the fish was now held up, just below the surface. I quickly surveyed my options. There was nothing for it; I’d have to go in. I stripped to my waist, grabbed the net and slowly made my way out to the fish, treading on the pad roots in order to stay on top of the silt. I was soon over the fish and I gently eased the pad leaves away to reveal an absolutely stonking mirror, which, in the rippled green torchlight looked a thirty for sure. Not good for my already frayed nerves. There was no way I could get the head of the net in; the pads were just too thick. I decided I would lay the net on the surface just by the fish, then try and lift the fish into the net, a method I’ve used with success in the past. I readied the net and eased away the pad leaves and slowly moved my hand down the carps flank feeling for the line so I knew which way to lift, I then cupped my hands under the fish and slowly lifted it • once I felt the weight I knew it was a proper lump. During the split second that I thought I’d got the General in my hands, the fish, which had been completely un-phased up until this point, decided enough was enough and gave a massive lunge upwards. It shot up out of my hands, fell back down into the water, and shot backwards through my legs, spitting the hook in the process.

I was left mid-water, soaked head to toe, with an empty net. My mind was completely numb, I don’t remember getting back to the bank, but once there I remember launching my rod off into the undergrowth somewhere, after which I slumped down on my bedchair and put my head in my hands. For what seemed like an eternity the whole episode was on constant re-run in my head, and after an hour of ‘what-ifs?’ I finally came round to the fact that I’d probably just lost the biggest fish in the lake.

I eventually got up, took in a deep breath, calmed myself, and went to look for my rod. I rigged up again and placed the rod back out on the margin spot. I was working on auto-pilot not really thinking what I was doing, my head was somewhere else. After baiting up and making a brew I sat cross legged on the boards just taking in my surroundings. It must have been an hour since the lost fish and by now I was questioning my own mind; had it been the big mirror, was it the general I’d just lost? I guess I was just trying to make the loss more bearable. I was still sat there as it started to come light and I became aware of fish still milling around my swim. The next thing I know, the rod on the left of the margin rattles off as a fish headed out towards the Dug Out. I hit in and begrudgingly gave line as it powered off, definitely a good twenty. I eased on the pressure and slowed it before it reached the pads on the far side and then began pumping it back towards me. All went well and it was soon back near the margin. I picked up the net and readied myself for netting. Then before I knew it, I was reliving the nightmare - The fish lunged to my right and followed the exact path of the big mirror. My only solace was that it spat the hook there and then, rather than making me go back out into the lake again. Small comfort, mind!

The only thing I wanted to do with that session was to put it firmly behind me, and I did. In fact, until writing about it now, I’ve not really thought about it much. A few years ago when I lost the Big Common at the net it stayed with me for ages and I ended up ruining my fishing for some time. This time around I decided to concentrate on the ones I had banked and to just carry on and get on with it.

Chris with the impressive ‘Crinkle Tail’

I gave the place a miss for a week or so, just to charge my batteries in order that I could go back on with renewed vigour. When I got up there on Friday 18th June during the early evening, Chris had already been on a couple of nights and had managed to take Crinkle Tail from the Paddock at 19lb 8oz. Since then the fishing had dried up at the top end and when I arrived Chris had just relocated to the New Boards swim. I had a look up the shallows and saw little. As such, I decided to set up for the night in the Black Hole and see what developed. I placed a bait in the channel on the far side and one in the margin to my right.

Rich joined us for the weekend and set up to my left in the Sticky, fishing to a couple of spots on the far pads he’d been pre-baiting with particles. The night passed without any action, until the very early hours of the following morning when Chris woke me; the grin stretching from ear to ear told me he’d bagged one. I wound in and went round to his swim to have a look. The second I saw the fish I recognised it as one that Mat had taken off the Point a year or two back at around 15lb, now however it was bang on 17lb and looking absolutely pristine. Chris had made the move and it had paid off, I was well pleased for him. We’d had a bit of rain during the night, and in the first hours of light the mist was rising in massive wafts off the surface of the water, the place looked fantastic, even a little eerie.

Chris with an early morning stunner

I suggested to Chris that we’d get some cracking shots in the field next to his swim so we went over and got a few photos before returning the fish to the lake. Chris rebaited and I went back to my bivvy. An hour later and he’s back again with the same grin on his face... ‘You’ve not?’ I asked, already knowing the answer.

This time it was a cracking 18lb 8oz mirror, the spitting image of ‘DT’. The mist was still everywhere so we took a couple of pics in the woods right behind the swim before returning the fish to the water. I congratulated Chris and went back to my swim to make a brew. I was made up for Chris and still confident of action on my own swim as I had baits on the same pad line just a few yards up. Whilst finishing my brew I received a belting take on the channel rod. I hit in, felt the thud of a good fish, then all went slack. I didn’t even give myself chance to get wound up about it, I just put a fresh bait on, cast it back to the spot and went back to sleep for an hour.

Two in two hours! Chris with another early morning lump

A few hours later I was perched on my bedchair watching the water when I saw a massive swirl right over Rich’s spot on the edge of the pads, the same instant his alarm sounded as a fish made off with his hookbait. Rich was quickly on his rod but like mine, the hook pulled on the strike. Gutted.

At around 9.00am the signs of fish had died off a little and I decided it was time to go for walk and find the fish. I left Rich and Chris and made my way up to the shallows. The rain came in again, quite heavy this time, with a chilly wind that made it feel more like March than the middle of June!

I kept on up to the top of the lake and spotted a few fish kicking about, but the rain was really coming down now so I headed back down to take shelter. When the rain had eased I got my stalking gear together and headed back up to the shallows. Over the next few hours I had a go at them from various swims and eventually got them feeding from the Top Sneak. It was a strange experience stalking in the pouring rain, watching three or four fish clouding up the bottom through the broken surface as the rain pounded down. It was difficult to say the least!

I don’t remember the take exactly; I was standing behind the rod under a tree trying to shelter from the rain a bit. I just remember seeing a massive ‘bosh’ in the water right where the bait was and then realised line was screaming from the baitrunner. That was good enough for me and I lifted the rod and bent into a fish that was doing its best to reach the Boat House on its first run! I let it take a little line (four lost fish on the bounce was not an option here!) and then gently firmed down on the spool and turned it. I started pumping the fish and it came back towards me with relative ease, giving the impression it was not massive, but right now anything would be a welcome bonus!

My luck held on this occasion and I soon slipped a nice mirror into the net. Just as I got the fish up behind the swim, Rich appeared on the scene, which was great timing as he could now take a picture for me! Rich did the honours with the scales and called it at 15lb 12oz - To many it may not seem like much, but to me it was a right result - I’d really worked hard for that fish, moving from swim to swim in the pouring rain, and on slipping it into the net I got rid of all the trauma of the three lost fish - I was now catching again.

‘Stalking in the rain’ a cracking Top Pool mid double.

The following weekend I was keen to get back up, I was doing Friday through to Sunday, and Rich was due down on the Saturday to do a night. Gaz, one of the regulars, was fishing the Boat House when I arrived so I stopped and chatted for a while. It turned out Dan and Rich (another Rich!) had been on in the week and had a couple, Rich had a 16lb’er off the Boat House and Dan had a 21lb from the Rodie, fishing over a massive bed of bait. I’d half fancied the Rodie myself but was now a little hesitant knowing a fair amount of bait had gone in. I decided I could chance it as I had two nights, so opted for the Rodie, with a move in the morning if nothing developed. Come the next morning all was quiet and I’d only spotted one fish. I spotted a few across the bay near to Left of Point, and so decided to move. It was dry at the moment though rain had been forecast and it felt as if it was not far away, so I quickly packed up and moved to Left of Point. I’d just got my second rod in as the first drops of rain fell and I happily retired to the comfort of my shelter and made a brew. At about this time Gaz had a screamer from the Boathouse but the hook pulled on the strike. The rest of the session passed without incident really, Rich turned up and snuck a nice tench off the Point but no carp showed.

As July approached I had to get a few jobs around the house done before we went away for a week’s holiday so the Top Pool was out of bounds for a while. However, I started doing quite a few short evening sessions up at Blackwood, the little Club water I run with some friends. I had been given some samples from www.SMARTBaiT.com to try and thought Blackwood would be the ideal place. The bait performed well and over a few sessions I took a number of good doubles on the bait. Whilst I could not get up to the Top Pool I kept these little sessions going and it was great just being able to turn up, fish for an hour or two, and have a couple of fish.

One of many Blackwood Doubles I took on SMARTBaiT

The stalking bug was really biting now, at Blackwood especially as there are so many features from so many pegs to go at. In addition to the SMARTBaiT I was also using my particle mix to good effect, having one eye towards the Blackwood carp match in August.
Over the next week or so I managed a couple of mid-week overnighters on the Top Pool taking the odd small one but before I knew it I was on holiday, a ni
ce week touring round Cornwall in the Scooby, and no sooner had Lisa and I returned before we were off again down to London to stay with some friends whilst we visited the Urban Games held on Clapham Common, the upshot being that it was almost August and I’d gone four weeks without fishing!

I was not too bothered mind, Birch was just around the corner and the week building up to it was spent doing a few short sessions on Blackwood. I took several fish over a couple of sessions, including more doubles on SMARTBaiT so my confidence was high.

The doubles kept coming

In past years I’ve gone to Birch eager to catch and tried everything to get amongst the fish. This year was slightly different as after last years fish kill we knew things were going to be much tougher, and as such, I’d settled on just chilling for the week. If we had a few, then bonus.

August the 8th arrived and we were off to Birch Grove once more. On arriving at the water we found the new lodge built in memory of Mary Paisley, a fitting tribute to a great lady and a welcome addition to the facilities at this great water. Once ends had been picked, Miffer and I set up in the Compound with Shaun and Daz on the Main Boards. That night we read the log and were not surprised to learn that no big fish had been out for some time; with the last party on before us having just a couple of twenties between them. Not that this bothered us much, we just concentrated on having a good time.

As is always the case on Birch, time fly’s by at an alarming rate. Miffer and I struggled on the compound, not really spotting any activity until the Tuesday morning when we saw a nice fish in front of the Cattle Drink where a set of pads come out from marginal trees. Miffer had a bait placed there in front of the pads in about 5 feet of water over some of my particle mix so we were confident of some action before long. Shaun and Daz had had better luck on the Main Boards, taking a couple of fish over the first few days, the best a nice mid-twenty common to Shaun. Although made up with the fish, Shaun could not believe his run of commons was still going on the water, every fish he had last year from Birch was a common, and here he was with another!

Shaun’s run of Birch common’s continued!

It was not until the Wednesday morning that Miffer and I spotted activity around the Cattle Drink again. This time there was a carp on the bank side of the pads in just a foot or two of water. Ever one to go after them in shallow water, I suggested to Miff that a bait placed right under it’s nose on the other side of the pads might just do the trick rather than at a depth of five feet. Within ten minutes Miffer had the bait repositioned in about a foot and a half of water over a handful of particle mix.

Fish continued to show in the area so it was no surprise when the rod tip whipped round about half an hour later signalling a fish. Miffer quickly hit in and was straight into a good battle with what looked to be a decent kipper. The fish managed to make the sanctuary of the pads so I immediately took to the boat with a net; after waiting three days for a fish, there was no way we were going to lose it!

I rowed out and positioned the boat over the spot where the pads were moving about, carefully moved them aside, spotted the mainline, gently lifted it upwards to reveal a big common, grabbed the net with the other hand and scooped it right under the fish in one swift movement • the whole job took less than thirty seconds from start to finish! Once back on the bank Miffer praised the netting and we readied the sling and scales. The needle whipped round past 21lb and Miffer was grinning like mad. We would have been confident of more from the spot but we swap ends on the Wednesday. This was fine though as Shaun and Daz had seen some action from the Boards.

Miffer with a 21lb Birch Grove common

During the early afternoon Miff and I took a walk down to the lodge to get a few beers. On approaching the cabin Miffer suddenly stopped me and pointed over to the step, where on closer inspection I noticed a Kingfisher! We watched intently and slowly moved closer, the bird made no attempt to move and we were not sure if it had perhaps hit the window or something. Miffer did the Animal Hospital bit and very gently picked up the bird. We checked its wings and body and it seemed to be fine. Miffer opened his hands and it suddenly flew up to a nearby branch and sat looking down on us. We watched it for a while, during which time I was able to rattle of a few pictures, before watching it fly off up the lake • an amazing experience!

After a quick check over from ‘Dr. Miff’ the Kingfisher was away!

Once we had set up and settled in on the Main Boards we decided it was time to start the coarse match. Each year we take a little course set up as the place is stuffed with some nice roach, rudd and eels. We set up just off bottom and started hitting a few small roach on the drop. Each time one of us caught a fish we’d pass the rod to the other to have a go and the afternoon soon turned into evening. The next day we decided to go after them again as Miffer was keen to bag a big eel, not something I was over-keen on. The fight is great but unhooking the buggers is another thing all together!

Miffer was hell bent on catching a big snake, and every time a series of tell-
tale eel bubbles broke the surface he’d move the bait closer. Before long he achieved his goal; the float shot under, the rod arced over and he bent into a decent eel. The battle was long but the eventual victor was never in doubt • Miffer: 1, Eel’s: 0. It was a good one as well, certainly over a pound. Once returned it was my turn to have a go but the swim had died a bit with all the commotion. I told Miffer there were some Groundbaits somewhere in my bivvy that Julian at SMARTbaiT had given me to try. Moments later Miffer appeared with a big box of Active Groundbaits and we were away. Miffer mixed up a batch and tossed it into the swim and within minutes we were back in action. The next few hours were a blur as the roach and rudd went mental, doing everything possible to hang themselves on the hook • it was one of those magical moments where you just can’t stop catching. They were not massive but we must have had over twenty pound of fish between us during a few hours fishing. A welcome distraction whilst the carp fishing remained slow!

Another misty morning on Birch Grove

The night passed without incident and I awoke at first light as mist rolled off the water and upwards into the air in huge folds. I got up and made a brew and sat looking out over the water peeved that the carp rods remained silent. As I sat watching I could see loads of small roach and rudd topping just off the front of the boards. After a while I realised the water was thick with them and thought sod it; if the carp don’t want any, I’m going to have myself a monster rudd! Within minutes I had the bait in position, fishing about two feet under the float. The action was immediate and constant. I hit the small stuff straight away and every now and then would get a shy bite off a bigger fish. I moved the bait closer to the end of the boards, just off the back of the boat where the pads started. It was tricky on placement; I had to underarm flick the float under my rod pod and land it between the boat and pads, but if I got the cast right, the bigger fish appeared. I kept at it, feeding up the swim little and often with a mixture of maggots and groundbait and kept picking off the little roach and rudd in the hope of catching a biggie.

After a run of five or six little rudd I decided on a change of tactic and baited up with a caster. Once back out, the float suddenly dipped and was away again, I struck expecting little resistance and was surprised when the tip on the little coarse rod whipped round towards the back of the boat. At first I thought it was a slimey but there had been no bubbles to indicate the presence of an eel so I remained hopeful. I powered hard into the fish so as not to let it reach the sanctuary of the pads and shortly afterwards the gold flanks of a cracking rudd broke the surface to the right of the boards. My heartbeat increased and I quickly grabbed the net and after a great little battle slid the fish into the waiting net and gave out a little shout! The fish was well over a pound, closer to a pound and a half, and looked absolutely stunning in the misty morning light with its huge scarlet fins.

Miffer later told me that he had woken a few times shortly after first light, and although he could not see me on the end of the boards, kept hearing me saying things like; “get in!”... "Av it!” and suchlike, as I banked a succession of fish. Then, the next thing he knew I’m stood there waving a massive rudd under his nose! Miffer joined in shortly after that and the match lasted all day, spoilt only by a couple of lost fish on the carp rods. I was not too bothered though, I was more interested in having a decent roach!

Shaun with a cracking upper-twenty Birch common

Whilst we were busy bagging up on the small stuff, Shaun and Daz scored from the compound with a couple of nice carp. Shaun bagged guess what? Yup, another cracking common of around 28lb, his run continuing! Daz however, had had a nice mirror off the Cattle Drink of around 24lb, so we went down and took some shots of the fish before returning them to the water. Before we knew it the weekend was upon us and we had just two nights left. This was the first time I’d gone this long on Birch without a fish so I was hopeful of some action after we cast the baits out just after tea. It’s never nice to blank but it would not be the worst thing in the world. Although the fishing had been slow, the week had been my most enjoyable yet on the water so it just goes to show it’s not all about the numbers, at least not for me anyway.

Daz with a 24lb mirror from the Cattle Drink

I need not have worried about the blank, for on the Saturday morning one of the pads rods tore off and I was in. Unfortunately all went solid as it made the pads and so Miffer returned the compliment and took to the boat with a net. Miffer did a bit of lurking about around the edge of the pads and for a while I thought it was a lost cause. However, Miffer had other ideas and after following the line back into the water and having a feel around, suddenly lowered the net and pulled it back up with a fish in it… Winner!

I congratulated Miffer on the netting and we were both made up with the capture. On the scales the fish went 19lb 14oz and although just shy of the twenty mark neither of us was bothered, it was more about how it was caught rather than its eventual weight. Shaun appeared on the boards and told us that Daz had just bagged a scraper twenty off the Compound so we decided to get a brace shot before returning them to the water.

Daz and Myself with a pair of Birch Grove mirrors

That was about it for Birch with no action coming to any of the group on the final night. It was no matter though as Miffer
and I enjoyed a nice night on the boards just chilling and having a social before we went the following morning.

Once home I only had a week until the third Carp Match at Blackwood Pool. There are four matches during the year with the best total weight taking the trophy at the end of the year. The matches are legendary in terms of the socials, though the competition can be quite fierce at times. I’ve won plenty of the individual matches but I’ve never lifted the overall trophy as I’ve never been able to fish all the matches. For the last ten years my annual trip rallying on the Isle of Mull has always meant I’ve missed the last and most productive match of the year, so the closest I’ve ever come is second overall. This year it had been my plan to fish all the matches, but as usual, fate conspired against me. Some of the lads changed one of the dates at very short notice which meant I was doing work parties elsewhere on the first match, and the same thing happened with the second whilst I was on holiday in Cornwall, so not the best start!

A nice warm up for the carp match at just over 15lb.

As the week before the third match passed, I spent a few short evening sessions up on Blackwood to try and get a feel for things as I desperately needed a good haul if I was to get back near the leading weights, which for the two matches previous stood at just over 32lb. I managed a few nice fish during the short evening sessions, taking fish to just over 15lb • a few of those in the match would certainly do the trick! The problem with the carp matches is always the same however, a little bit of commotion on the bank and the fishing just turns off. As the weekend approached I was confident for the match ahead, I’d been taking fish from all over the shallows that week on simple maize rigs fished over a handful of particle mix, and as there were a good five or six swims around the lake where I could use this method in the shallow water, I was hopeful of getting a peg that would allow me to use the same tactic in the match.

As luck would have it there was a low turnout for the match and I bagged Peg 20, a peg I’d been doing a little bit on during the week and so was confident of fish. Carp were showing all over the swim with a few around the island so I decided to wade out and scatter a load of the particle mix in about two feet of water right off the back of the island which would do for one rod. My successful method during the previous week had been to catapult just one pouchful of my particle mix and fish the maize over it, so I did that for my other rod just out from the margin.

The signs looked encouraging, the first few hours passed with fish regularly in and out of the area and I received my first take at around 4pm, a nice little mirror of around 5lb. I then had a small tench an hour later and lost a carp at around 7pm, there were certainly fish in the area! A small 2lb mirror and a 9lb mirror during the night gave me the lead and another nice common of 9lb the following morning pretty much sealed the match win; in total I had five carp for just over 33lb.

One of five fish during the Carp Match to give me the eventual win

Since winning the Carp Match last week I’ve done a few short evening sessions up at Blackwood and have taken a few more carp but I’m now keen to get back up to the Top Pool as I’ve not been up there for about a month now and I’m eager to keep the momentum going and try to bag a few fish during Autumn. I’ll let you know how I go on in the next piece.

Until then, tight lines…

Julian Grattidge