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Courtz's Carpy Captures 2008

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Sitting there bored on Saturday morning flicking through the TV channels I couldn’t hide where I wanted to be, after having a result the previous weekend, all I could think of was getting another session in at the club water before it closed down for a period of time; allowing the fish to get on with spawning undisturbed. My parents had gone away for the weekend so this created quite an issue relating to transport; I had debated strapping a stalking rod onto my push bike and going down for a day session, but in the end reasoned that it would not be the safest option to consider! After a slight amount of begging my sister had finally agreed to take me to the lake, now I just had to wait until 6pm when she finished work! I’d sorted my gear by mid morning, new rigs, bait out the freezer and camera batteries charged. I now just had a few hours to kill until I could be on my way. Browsing over the internet and rechecking my gear made the time pass a little quicker, and before I knew it the gear was loaded into the car ready for my sister to return!


It was just after six when I arrived at the lake and was a little disheartened to find another four anglers on, after the usual rounds i had decided on an area which took my fancy. This swim covers an area of shallower water towards a small bay, and having fished the swim several times in the previous year I was quite aware of the features it held. The only problem I encountered was that another angler was fishing the swim to my left for the day, and I thought it would be inconsiderate to start thrashing the marker rod through the swim, reducing the chances of fish moving through into the bay to which he was fishing. After having a quick chat he mentioned that he was packing away at any moment and I should cast out straight away, sound fella! Even so I still thought I’d let him make the most of his time so got my shelter set up for the night and everything sorted before considering removing the rods from their sleeves, already rigged up of course! Looking through my food bag it was rather low on supplies, only 5 tea bags, a tin of baked beans and a swiss roll! Nipping over to the local shop I was soon ten pounds lighter, with a bag of food big enough to cover a banquet. On my return to the lake I was pleased to see the member to my left attached to a fish, on the mat it was a nice scaley mirror and he started packing away in contempt. Third cast with the marker and I’d managed to get the positioning to the intended feature. The float swayed gently in the light ripple, positioned on the surface above a gravel plateau, which rose about a meter from the surrounding lakebed to a depth of twelve feet. Clipping up my rods I positioned one directly to the right of the mark, an out the bag dsm plum bottom bait with a small pva mesh bag containing four baits and six halves. Casting out it landed effortlessly inches next to the marker and landed with a firm donk, things were going good already! The second rod was positioned four feet to the left with a single matching pop up an inch off the deck, again the cast landed exactly as I had hoped, it seemed like I couldn’t do anything wrong!



Nothing too complicated here, but get it in the right place and you’re in with a chance!


Pulling off a foot or so of slack line I left the rigs to settle for about ten minutes whilst I gave the kettle and tea making gear its initial run off the session, sitting down whilst watching across the lake. I was pleased knowing that now the angler to my left had packed up I had a much larger area of water to play with, so if the fish decided to move in towards the bay to my left it was only my rigs in their path! I clipped on the bobbins making sure they were lying right on the floor with a few inches of extra slack. I’m a big believer in fishing slack lines when the conditions allow, and as I was only fishing at around 35 yards range I know they could only aid my rig presentation. Next job was to get some bait out there, so out comes the catapult and about half a kilo of DSM Plum is dispatched tight to the marker float. All that was left to do was bring in the marker, not such an easy task when your knuckles are red from the catapult backlash. With an hour or so before dark I was sorted and brimming with confidence, even though I still hadn’t seen any fish show I was already anticipating an early morning wake up call!



Slack lines and flying backleads, keep the line pinned out of their way!


Now the rods were sorted it was time to concentrate on some food for myself, rummaging through my bag of goodies and in no time at all I had a nice curry on the go, followed by a few extra items of junk food and several more cups of tea. Sitting on the edge of my bedchair the open face bivvy gave a full view of the lake, as darkness fell the wind dropped to a gentle blow; rustling through the newly budded tree branches above. The temperature remained quite mild into the evening, even with the presence of a slight easterly wind. The sky remained overcast, and checking the weather report through my phone confirmed that low pressure was here to stay for the weekend. Under the cover of darkness a few fish began to show themselves, mainly in the deeper body of water to my far right, but gradually I noticed a few more ripples appearing all over the lake. You really have to be on edge to notice them, if you’re not looking in the right direction then you won’t even turn an eyelid as they head and shoulder through the surface before returning to the inky depths. After about three hours of watching I’d noticed in the region of twenty carp shows with several in the body of water in front of me, interrupted only by the occasional splash of smaller silver fish, and not to mention the ducks! It must be mating season at the moment, and for that reason the four resident mallards are intent on trying to drown one another. There’s not even a female on the scene though, so maybe they’ve turned to homosexuality! For most of the night they were thrashing the water to foam close to a small willow at the left of my swim, would this be spooking any resident fish right out of the area I kept thinking? Whatever the case it had me gritting my teeth, whilst the thought of duck and plum sauce sounded like a great option. Eventually tiredness got the better of me and I slipped into the sleeping bag in the hope of an early dawn run, which seems to be the most prolific time period recently.



Their constant disturbance kept me awake for a lot of the night!


It was about 4am when I awoke to the dawn chorus of birds singing, looking out I could just about make out the lake in front through the dim light. The mirrored surface only broken by the occasional moorhen scattering through the marginal reeds. I was quite surprised to see the bobbins had remained motionless through the night, considering how confident I had been. Then again I was fishing slack lines so didn’t expect vast amounts of liners. I sat there for over an hour begging for the alarms to spring into life, two hours past and still no indication on the alarms. I had however seen a couple of shows directly over the baited spot, which brought on the dreaded thoughts; is the rig tangled, have they cleared me out……I remained confident and dismissed these images from my head, if it came to it I’d leave the rods out until having to pack up that evening, after all I was contempt with the casts I had made the day before so why change it! Besides I had introduced a fair amount of bait so surely the forty or so resident carp hadn’t clear up all of that without making a mistake I hoped.


The sun gradually crept up above the trees behind me as 6am passed. I was still knackered from the limited sleep through the night, so lay back on my bedchair wearing just a pair of boxers and socks to reduce the effect of the 5 season bag in this mild weather. No sooner had I closed my eyes than the right hand rod absolutely ripped off at quite some pace, I wasn’t risking loosing this just to get my boots on! Running over to the rods in just my boxers and a pair of originally white socks, I lifted into the fish which steadily slowed on its first run and began plodding on a tight line in the centre of the lake. Apart from a couple more staggered runs the fish was drawn gradually closer, until it was plodding around in the deep margins darting to either side of the swim. Tightening the clutch enabled me to prevent its intention of reaching the willow roots to my right, and after a few more minutes I was staring down at a lean mirror in the bottom of my net, whilst stood there shivering from head to toe. Pegging the net in the margins I quickly got dressed and put some shoes on. Onto the mat and it was hooked firmly in the side of the mouth, obviously taking a liking for the DSM Plum bottom bait. On the scales she went just over 13lbs, not big at all but a nice lean chestnut mirror saving a blank session.



Small, but good looking!


Clipping the line against the dental floss marker, the rig was rebaited and after attaching a small pva bag was recast towards a far bank marker, the line hit the clip gently just as the lead crashed onto the surface, again landing with a satisfying thud. After slackening the line I took the opportunity to introduce around fifty more baits over the plateau with the catty, before thinking about getting some breakfast sorted. About ten minutes later I again began to notice signs of activity over the baited feature, it started off which just a few small splashes; which increased to streams of bubbles breaking the surface and a further three carp roll! I was sat there cooking a fry up expecting a take at any time, it came seconds later! I noticed the mainline pulling up through the water and dodged the stove to get to the right hand rod, lifting into the fish just moments after the bobbin shot violently towards the blank. Another erratic fight ensued and after a few minutes of sudden surges I had a nice dark common on the mat. Into doubles figures it was a stunning fish, but one I had already caught six months previous, so slipped it straight back so I could get cast back out without delay. Even throughout the fight a few fish continued to show in the area, so after checking the rig was fine it was rebaited straight away. Again the cast landed effortlessly and I was hopeful of another run, with any luck I would manage a fish closer to the average stamp of around high doubles.



By introducing quality bait into the right area the fish were on the feed big time.


The weather still looked spot on; a mild wind along with occasional drizzle made me think my luck wasn’t up just yet. After finishing off my breakfast there was little more I could do than sit and watch the water. I was confident with the rigs so didn’t was to miss a chance by reeling in and walking the lake. Sitting on an area of higher ground behind my swim made observations a bit clearer. However in the next hour of two all I spotted was one fish cruise through into the bay to my right. Despite the lack of fish showing I was kept amused by the constant antics of the resident ducks, still intent on claiming their authority by chasing each other the length of the lake. It was whilst watching this now regular occurrence the right hand rod again signaled further action; the bobbin pulled up tight to the rod blank, which had me scrambling down towards the beeping alarm and lifting into the culprit on the other end. After a few frantic turns of the reel handle I felt a dull nodding as the fish drifted in with no effort at all, seconds later all went slack! Never mind, I was pretty confident it wasn’t a carp anyway, more than likely a nuisance roach or bream. Examining the hook point and rig thoroughly revealed nothing was at fault, so again the rebaited rod went back out to the spot. So far all three of the takes had come to the right hand rod fished tight to the bait, with the bobbin on the left hand pop up rod remaining motionless since the evening before, luckily not even disturbed by any of the fish landed picking up the line during the fight.


It was getting on for midday when the next bite occurred; I was sat on my bedchair reading an issue of carp addict magazine when this time the left hand bobbin pulled up tight to the blank. Thinking that another bream was the culprit I took a moment to put on my boots, already wearing my spare pair of socks! Definitely not wanting wet feet for the remainder of the session just for a bream! As I walked over to the rod the alarm sounded again in succession as line gently ticked from the tightened spool. Tightening up I lifted into the fish and was flat rodded in an instant! Bending into the fish it continued to take line from an already tight clutch and kited effortless towards the deeper water to the right of the swim. This fight was a lot different, staying deep and swimming along gradually without flinching; I was convinced it was a much better fish! In the first few minutes of the fight I hadn’t even gained an inch of line, but eventually I played it back a few feet at the time until gradually the line marker was back on the reel; signaling the culprit was still some thirty or more yards out and showing no sign of surrendering! A further five minutes of dogged runs occurred before I had the fish to within a rod length out, using the depth to its advantage I couldn’t budge it from the lakebed! After what seems like an eternity; but more than like a few minutes the fish began to show signs of tiring. I caught sight of the leadcore leader breaking surface, with the carp firmly attached some four feet below, before going on another twenty yard run.



Hooked about on the edge of the ripple, but it wasn't going to stay there in a hurry.


Now I’m not sure of what you think about being able to tell a carp from the way it fights? Personally I’m not a subscriber to that theory, but joined by another member he mentioned it was fighting like the lean fully scaled; a fish I’m after. Regardless of what was attached I wanted it in the net, although his comment did make me ease off a little! With the rod taking on a nice curve I eventually caught a glimpse of the fish a rod length out, at first it seemed like a huge anticlimax. Viewing the fish for a moment lengthways on and I’d of only put it at mid doubles maximum, however this soon changed when it broke the surface! The big grey shoulders and creamy white belly indicated it was one of the original mirrors from the lake, of which there are probably 8 or so still present which are getting on for 40 years old! The majority of the rest of the stock is from the 80s when some fish were moved from another lake the club lost ownership of. Getting a better view of the fish showed it was built like a breeze block, and with a belly which almost matched its length! I eased off a bit in fear of the hook pulling under pressure, and after guiding it away from the marginal tree roots it kissed the spreader block first time!


Peering into the net my initial estimates were scrapped, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this fish was pushing 20lb. Securing the net in the margin I got the unhooking gear sorted, already in position from the two previous fish, with the camera ready and everything wet I went over to fetch my prize. Folding down the net I lifted her from the water and over to the mat, my thoughts were confirmed as the fish was much heavier than its length would suggest. Unfolding the mesh reveals a mouth which could swallow a golf ball, two inches back was my size 7 hook embedded deeply into the base of the mouth; he sure wanted that bait! I had to use a pair of forceps to even reach the hook hold; he wasn’t going to come off in the fight. With the scales already zeroes she goes into the sling and after a few seconds the reubens flicker at 21lb 7oz. What a result; a twenty plus mirror to accompany the slightly smaller common the weekend before. Regardless of the weight to have one of the originals is an achievement in itself; such is the character of these fish.



21lb 7oz



Look at the width!


With help from another member I rattled off about a dozen shots on the camera, before holding her back into the deep margin, admiring her individuality as she took a few mouthfuls of water. After pausing for a few moments she belted off leaving a spray of water behind as her creamy belly glinted just under the surface.



Swimming away with the finesse of a small pig.


I sat back on the bedchair soaked from the waist down with water, pleased with the capture of a big mirror after so many good commons from the lake the year before. Thinking about it I’m pretty sure the fish represents a new personal best mirror, having caught more than a dozen commons over that weight up to high twenties, my mirror pb has always been lagging behind somewhat! Despite repositioning the rod no more action was forthcoming that day in the final hours of my session, but what was I to care!


Even if I cannot make it back to the water before the end of the month, this session still acts as a fitting end to the eleven month period I’ve fished the lake so far. Landing twenty four carp averaging over 18lbs, with ten over 20lb to a top weight of mid twenties is a good enough result already, top rod! Even throughout the six week closed season the baiting will continue, in anticipation of a good start to the new mid June, hopefully I will land a few more of my targets in my second season on the lake!



The tell tale signs of a good session!


Until next time,


Tight lines



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Great write up courtz well done,drawing ever closer to your target fish is a good feeling, Nice to catch one of the originals,I have started on my new lake now which holds mostly fish of over 40yrs age in a pond 6-7 acres crammed with natural food, so i can appreciate how happy you are with one of the originals, and i know how wily and elusive they can be :wink::wink: Keep up the good work :D:D

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Hahahahahaha what an Idiot. The stupid thing is, I had told myself last night that its the closed season!


Just to put everyones minds at ease...I didn't go river fishing, I was about to when brian reminded me that its the closed season :lol: I just got all excited after having a dream this morning about catching a really nice chub, and seen as I've not been river fishing yet, it was all I could think about...Thankyou Brian :lol::oops:

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Very nice results courtney. You are a true angler :D


. . . :shock::shock: You wouldnt want to see what hes like when hes around my swim :lol:


Edited due to text talk


Please remember NO text talk :wink:




:lol: Alright jordan, did you notice my mention of you in the first chapter :lol::lol:


It was your idea to use the throwing stick and pelt boilies at chris whilst he was sleeping :lol::lol::lol:


And the snowball fight had to be done :lol::lol::lol:


Last session of the season this weekend, friday until sunday.


I bet it will be packed :shock::(

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