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Carp Stories

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Good read this.

Maybe we should add to it? Anyone got a story worth telling - your first carp? your first biggun? the one that got away?

Anything interesting, inspiring or funny......

Love reading carpy tales from the man on the street, particularly at this time of year when there's not much else to get excited about.

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With pleasure chill....


My first 40.


We're talking several years ago now. I'd joined this new syndicate knowing it held a couple of 40's after spending several years chasing 20s and 30s. Don't get me wrong, I was more than happy with what I'd been catching, but I knew if I wanted to catch what I consider to be a real monster that I needed to take a step up. It wasn't an easy water, big and full of weed, definitely the hardest I'd ever fished at the time, but it was exciting just knowing that carp of that size were swimming around somewhere in front of me. I'd actually seen one of the bigguns during a walk around the lake when I first went to scope the place out to decide if I wanted to join; I was up a tree checking out a group of fish milling about in front of an island, maybe 10 or 12 of them, when up popped this absolute beast of a mirror. It stuck out a mile and I knew it was the biggest fish I'd ever seen with my own eyes. Needless to say I joined the syndi on the spot after that.

My first session with the rods was at the end of the April, I'd seen a few fish at the shallower end of the lake so set up as close as I could get. Had a plumb about and found it was weed city. Proper thick Canadian to just under the surface everywhere I could cast apart from the margins. I put rods on clearer margin spots to my left and to my right. The middle rod was cast to the clearest area I could find in front (which wasn't very clear at all lol). I blanked that weekend but continued to see fish in front of me over the heaviest weed.

A simple plan was hatched - before I left I baited the margin spots heavily in an attempt to draw the fish out of the weed. Chucked a few baits on the open water spot too. Over the next three weeks I popped down every two or three days to top the spots up. The spots were getting clearer and I was pretty happy that I appeared to be on to something after just one session. Anyway, three weeks later I thought I'd have another pop.

It was mid May now and I remember the conditions like it was yesterday. It was warm with a lovely south westerly blowing across the lake. My mate came with me this time and fished over the other side. Not wanting to mess about I went in with a bit of bait from the off. A couple of kilos on each of the margin spots and a kilo on the open water spot. Out go the rods and I was happy to sit it out. I saw signs of carp in front me almost immediately so confidence was high.

The day draws on and it's now late afternoon. I was on the phone to my mate across the way, no action for either of us, he's coming round for a cuppa. I put the phone down and I'm watching him bring his rods in when I get a bleep on the middle rod. As I'm walking across to investigate it goes into meltdown. I hit it and pretty much immediately we're at a stalemate, it's completely weeded up and I'm cursing myself for not hitting it quicker. I did what I usually do in this situation, I apply pressure, not too much, just enough to hoop the rod, and just stand there - I can wait as long as you can mr carp! After a few minutes I sense movement of the line and feel the fronds of weed giving way, then all of a sudden it's on the move. I pump it back slowly, glad that it didn't end in disaster but still very aware that the battle isn't yet over. My mate shows up in the swim, muttering insults and something about being lucky. He gets on the net and scoops it up first time. PUKKA - It's a lovely mirror, black as your hat, and no tiddler either @ just under 27 lb. Not bad for a 1st fish I think to myself.

We do some pics, put her back and have a cuppa. It's only when I see a carp top on the open water spot that I realise I'm yet to put the rod back out, which I swiftly do. Mate goes back to his swim and I'm left there relaxing with that 'I've just caught my first carp from a new water' grin on my face. I popped another kilo on the spot and sat back to enjoy the rest of the session.

The sun goes down and it becomes clear that I'm defintiely on the carp. I'm seeing more and more fish top over the open water spot, it looks great out there. Problem is I aint seen nothing on my margin spots, nothing at all. I now have that dilemma that we've all faced at some point - do I ditch the margin spots which over the course of three weeks I've invested God knows how much moneys worth of bait on??? I sit it out for a bit wondering if the carp might be coming into the margins at night, but by 11 pm I know I have to act - I'm seeing loads of carp in front of me. In come the margin rods. The spot in front aint massive and I know i can't get them all on the clean so I tie on a couple of chods. Out they go, one either side of the middle rod, followed by a load more baits. I go to sleep.

Wake up in the morning and I'm amazed I hadn't had another fish but it's looking like another lovely day and I have another night in front of me so it's not over yet. I do see the odd sign of fish in front (still nothing in the margins) so I'm happy to play the waiting game. I do re-cast the chods, just to hedge my bets presentation wise. The day passes quickly, as they always do when you're angling, and before I know it it's 4 pm. I'm staring across the lake when the alarm hails my attention - I remember the run clearly. Two beeps,a pause, two beeps, a pause, MELTDOWN!

As soon as I hit it I know it's a biggun, it was like striking into a concrete block, solid, but not locked up in weed, as this concrete block was kiting ever so slowly to the left. I really couldn't do anything with it so just held on - it wasn't taking line, but at the same time it wouldn't let me take any. Further to the left it went until it was right over one of my margin spots and I was starting to worry if it was going to try to reach a snag situated a little further along the bank. It didn't, thank God, and it headed back out to open water. Over the course of the next 15 minutes it was a bit of a stalemate, no issues with weed (which was a God send) but it just didn't want to do anything. It wasn't actually pulling that hard, it just wanted to wallow about and not come any closer. Finally it started to tire and I was able to gain some line without feeling like I was going to snap the rod. It came in slowly, a yard at a time, and by this point I just knew it had a to be at least a 30.

By the time it got 10 yards away it briefly broke the surface and I could see it was a mirror - result I thought, as all the real bigguns in here are mirrors. It still took another 5 minutes wallowing under the rod tip, using it's weight to avoid the surface, but eventually I manage to get it in range and at full stretch scooped it up. I put down the rod and the net. My arm was absolutely killing me, I hold up my hand, I'm shaking like a leaf. I struggle to roll a fag but manage it, have a couple of tokes and decide it's time to see what I've caught. I grab the net by the arms and lift gently....."Jesus Christ" I think to myself, "it's massive"! 

I know it's a PB but have no idea how big it is, I've not seen anything this size up close. My PB is 34+ but this looked bigger, my brain is a bit scrambled. You could have told me it was 35 or 45 at the time and I'd have believed you, I just had no idea. I called my mate and talked gibberish at him but he got the message that I'd caught something and was on his way round. 10 mis later and he shows up and I direct him to the net. He's as impressed as me and a barrage of swear words is followed by a hug and a handshake. He really helped me out here and took charge of the situation, sorting the mat, camera gear, scales etc.... while I wandered around the swim in a complete daze not knowing what I was doing.

With everything sorted I've come to my senses and I break down the net for weighing. I go to lift it out of the drink and say without a moments hesitation to my mate "it's one of the 40's". It weighs a ton, miles heavier than anything I've caught before, it has to be a 40! I transfer it to the sling/mat, we hook it up on a bar and we lift it together. We let it settle on 41 lb 7 oz, and I'm over the moon as you can imagine. Totally blown away. It's massive, it's pretty, it's (at the time) a fish of a lifetime.

We do some pics and I get the waders out and we do some returners/water shots. I let her go and she swims back strong. Speechless.

I spend the rest of the session on a high, as you do, with a grin from ear to ear.


Funny story - one of the other anglers (that I didn't know) did his best to ruin my special day by showing up and telling me that it was basically pure luck that I'd caught the biggun so quickly, that I hadn't earned it, and even suggested I'd taken that capture away from others who deserved it more. That really wound me up, I was floating on a cloud one minute then being told my greatest angling achievement to date was pure luck the next - so I proved him wrong by catching it again 3 months later at 42 lb 2 oz. BOOYA!



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Never forget the time i turned up at Pine pool only to find a round of the BCAC was being held that day, the car park was full of proper carp anglers  all waiting to draw pegs, so i headed over to Canal pool and cheekily sneaked my rods out, it's members only, had a fish on by lunch time, which i lost at the net. half hour or so later the ranger comes around to tell me it's members only, so i played dumb, apologised and moved over to the next pool, Broomey Croft, finished the day with a nice long common out of there, i pride myself with having two nice carp out of two hard waters in the same day, even if i did lose the Canal pool carp. 

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