Big Carp Result
Bait-Tech Carp Team member, Ian Hirst, returns from a five night session at Elphicks with a memorable result.
The reason this session came about was due to a chance encounter during a session over in Extremadura, Spain, last November when I met up with a fellow Brit called Dominic. We got talking about all things carpy, as you do, and he told me about Elphicks, a seven-lake complex in Kent, on which he had had some success on a previous visit.
The main specimen lakes on site are North and West End Lake and thanks to Dominic spending half a day queuing with other eager anglers when the lakes opened for bookings on 02 January we were able to book five nights – Sunday to Friday - on West End Lake...result!
The lake has just ten swims with a maximum of five anglers allowed and when we arrived we all had a quick walk round and, after a rover style draw for swims, I headed off to the end of the lake I was hoping for. It was a balmy day and by the time I had got all the gear and bait round to the swim I was ready for a change of clothes - I’d forgotten to load my barrow so three trips were required!! It was like an endurance test, but the trips to the gym seemed to have paid off!
The wind was blowing down to the opposite end of the lake from my left to right but I was not perturbed as the forecast indicated this would change the following day and remain for the next few days, ideal! I sat there quietly watching the water for the next half hour or so planning my attack but as I had a few days I was under no pressure to get the rods out early and it was early evening before I had decided where to place the baits and what I was going to put in.
Now these fish come under some serious angling pressure, the lake is booked solid for the 48 weeks of the year that the fishery is open so they have seen it all, or so they thought!
My tactics were to feed a swim with lots of Bait-Tech Super Seed Parti-mix and not fish it immediately, I would normally present a Bait-Tech growler on a least one rod over this type of bed of bait but fishery rules do not allow nuts - although if you want to be clever a tiger ‘nut’ is technically classed as a tuber not a nut - but if you get caught don’t say I said so!
I made up a spod mix comprising a 2.5 litre bag of Parti-Mix, various sized halibut pellets and to this I added some Special G groundbait, along with a good dose of Chilli flavoured CSL liquid. What carp could resist?
I put about 15 spods onto a marker close to the left hand side of a small island; carp love features and I knew they would patrol this feature at some stage. I then left this spot with no lines in it so the carp could feed and return time and time again and, hopefully, their guard would be down by the time I decided to put a lead onto the spot.
The second spot was tight to a large reed bed with a small patch of lily pads to aim at.
After a couple of casts out I eventually dropped one inches from the pads, clipped up, and set off down the bank to put a bank stick in the ground to act as a marker. Luckily I was also able to walk round to the spot and place a few handfuls of the Parti-mix and some broken and whole boilies onto it.
Time slipped by and I had no action, except from a pesky little coot that ate most, if not all, of the chopped and whole boilies. I was still confident though that lots of different sized particle seeds were scattered nicely around the bait, in fact a small slick could be seen whenever the coot went down and disturbed the bottom so I knew that eventually a visiting carp would arrive and set about hovering up the particles.
The night passed quietly without so much of a single bleep from the Siren receiver, and as the day progressed I was tempted to reel in and check the baits were still intact, but didn’t want to disturb the swim so I left them as they were.
The sun was beaming down and a tan was on the cards when out of the blue the alarm suddenly burst into life, I hit the fish and immediately knew I had to give it some serious pressure to keep it from making the sanctuary of the reed beds; lots of side strain and expletives ensured he didn’t make it, and after what seemed an eternity he gave in to the pressure and kited out into open water and some 15 minutes later he lay in the net as pearls of sweat dripped from my forehead. The fish tipped the scales at 32lb 8oz, beating my old PB by 4oz, to say I was pleased was an understatement.
No fish showed on the lake at all for the rest of the day and the island was very quiet but time was still on my side so I left the baited swim alone and fished to the other side of the island with a three bait stringer slack-lined so as not to spook any fish that might eventually home in on the scents of the spod mix that lay on the bottom on the opposite end of the island.
The next day I fed more Parti-mix to the pads swim and again this did the trick despite the coot working himself to exhaustion with his constant diving over the bait. No matter if your lake has diving birds you can remain confident using this sort of approach that all those variously sized particles will still lie on the lake bed and keep the carp grubbing about for ages and returning time and time again. So it proved as the pad swim produced another battling carp in the heat of the day this time going 23lb 14oz.
As the temperature increased and the wind turned, blowing right down to my end of the lake, my confidence rose even further and as soon as fish began to show in front of me I cast to them with small pva bags of Parti-mix soaked in salt but they wouldn’t touch it - it seemed that as soon a lead went in off they went!
Day three arrived and it looked good for a fish, warm winds were putting a nice chop on the lake and I saw a fish roll near the pads swim, I had baited the area each evening with a few hookbaits and few handfuls of Parti-mix and felt sure it would produce a fish.
The alarm eventually went off signalling a slow run and, at first, I thought I had hooked the coot until it finally gained enough strength to lift the 3oz flat pear lead which, incidentally, probably weighed more like 5oz as I had coated my leads in the clay and detritus from the lake bed and then ‘baked’ them in the sun until they were hard -camouflaging on these tricky venues certainly gives you an edge!
This fish battled even harder than the others and I was confident another good fish was on and as my friend Carl scooped up my prize I knew that this one was also another good 30. The scales settled at 35lb 8oz and I was chuffed to bits; an immaculate mirror with a huge humped, broad shoulder and beautiful markings; I was so happy to have caught her.
After weighing we put her in the retainer sling so we could let her recover before we took some pictures and moments later the left hand rod, positioned tight to the reeds at the far end of the lake, burst into life, I couldn’t believe my luck.
This one seemed to fight differently to the others and I was able to slip the net under her before she knew what was happening; she went ballistic in the sling but eventually settled down to show herself at 37lb 11oz. Two 30lb plus fish on the bank, both personal bests, it was just an unbelievable moment. I was blown away, three 30’s and each one bigger than the last.
I really wanted my mate in the next swim to catch a fish as I sensed a bit of doubt was creeping into his mind, so off I went back round to the pads and dropped more Parti-mix over the reeds, out went the lead right back on the money and said he could have the next run.
I was so confident we would get another pick up that same afternoon I would put money on it and sure enough within an hour the Siren sounded and Carl began battle with another ‘creature’. We eventually netted the fish and were both blown away by the markings on yet another fantastic looking fish. Another 30lb mirror with a hint of a ghostie and lovely orange flanks stared up at us and we were both so pleased.
I hadn’t forgotten the island swim; the only problem was that each fish I had hooked had torn through this swim in a bid to for freedom around the back of the island. As darkness fell I fed a bit more Parti–mix via a small Nash spod and cast a bait over the top but I didn’t get a touch through the night or during the following day.
My brother Steve, who was fishing on the opposite side of the lake, had started to catch a few fish by fishing tight to the reeds on his side of the lake; again feeding lots of particle, small halibut pellet and Super Seed hemp but frustratingly for him had not managed to tempt any of the lakes larger specimens.
As the sun rose in the sky and the day slipped by it seemed the fish were not interested in feeding and were cruising around up in the water so I changed my island rod to a trimmed down Hi Viz fluoro pop up fished on a Zig rig. It was then that I saw a good fish show back over the spod and particle mix on the island swim. However, I was so confident I would pick up a fish on the Zig rig I ignored it and even offered my brother the chance to put a bait over to the spot if he felt he could reach it from his side of the lake.
He hit the right spot at his second attempt and I felt certain that the heavy lead would spook these shy fish but how wrong was I, just as the light began to fade, I heard him shout he had a good fish on and after a dogged fight he slipped the net under a cracking fish and the scales swung around into the forties - a new PB for Steve – the needle settled at 43lb 8oz, handshakes a-plenty were exchanged and plenty of back slapping, what an immaculate fish.
What a session, great fish, great weather, great banter and to share the moments with my brother and good friends made it even better. I think the difference between this being a tough session and a brilliant session has to be down to a few subtle rig changes and without doubt the bait…Bait-Tech Super Seed Parti-mix gave me the edge without a doubt.