Carp Fishing - Soaking in Success
Bait-Tech’s Ian Hirst recalls a terrific session on a delightful fishery, which resulted in the capture of a dream fish
The Sitch is a naturally formed and breathtaking 26-acre estate lake run as a syndicate by RH Fisheries. Multiple catches of fish in the 12lb to 20lb range are common during the warmer months as the fish respond to heavy baiting tactics; however with only a handful of known 30lb fish to target, catching the big girls is far from easy.
After a recent success with a 27 lb 7oz fish the previous week I decided to return to the lake and see if I could employ the same tactics and get a similar result.
I arrived just as darkness was about to cloak the lake in a veil of darkness so I had to get the rods in position very quickly. The signs were not great as none of the local lads had managed a fish during the day, which is quite unusual as the water usually throws up a fish or two even in tough conditions.
I sat there sipping hot, freshly-made coffee listening to the tawny owls screeching in the dense forest which envelops the lake on both sides when I suddenly heard a great lump crash out of the water, possibly some 100 metres out; it was hard to be precise but I could make out the ripples due to the brightness of a nearly full moon and I guessed it was relatively close to where I had positioned my right hand rod!
As the weed was starting to die back I had decided to feed sparingly with only a light scattering of 15mm boilies over and around my hook bait with my plan being to re-feed another 20 or so baits only after I had received a take; fishing for a bite at a time.
I was confident the pineapple flavoured Bait-Tech CSL soaked pellets I had attached to each rig via a small mesh PVA bag would draw fish to my hookbait, which consisted of a trimmed down 15mm boilie topped off with a 10mm Sweet Coconut hi viz fluoro pop-up; it had certainly done the business on my previous two visits and I’m convinced it’s a major edge in my attraction.
There was a real nip in the air as the temperature quickly dropped close to freezing and I was grateful for the added thermal cover on top of my sleeping bag; I lay there hoping that the long drive down to the lake - a 180 mile round journey, which I had been enduring for the last six weekends - was going to be rewarded with one of the rare big girls.
There is an increasing number of 20lb plus fish in the lake with weights improving year on year but still only a low number of 30lb plus carp and as the fish tend to be constantly on the move due to the shallow nature of the water it is not easy to single any of them out.
The sound of a Nash Siren alarm is a beautiful one to be awoken by and as I threw off the covers and dashed to the right hand rod my very first thought was ‘has the lump I heard crash out in the night picked up my hookbait?’
As I lifted into the fish I knew it was good one as it literally peeled line off the reel at an alarming rate and I struggled to keep the fish under any sort of control. Eventually the fish slowed down and I began to gain line, then just as I thought we were getting somewhere off it went again. I could feel the line grating as the fish ploughed through weedbeds at breakneck speed and all I could do was hope I had a good hook hold, thankfully Nash Twister hooks are awesome and you rarely get a hook pull.
After what seemed like an eternity of slowly pumping the reluctant fish back to me I noticed the early morning sun was beginning to show itself, the setting was stunning as the red sky started to mingle with the misty waters. Despite the dawn it was still difficult to gauge exactly where the fish was in the light conditions until it rolled a couple of metres or so in front of me and I turned to lift my waiting landing net, which was frozen solid. Suddenly she surfaced again and a big golden-flanked fish showed herself in all her splendour; I told myself to be patient and she would soon be mine.
I never try to rush fish when they are in the edge as the hard work has been done and it’s at this stage when a hook pull is most likely. She eventually rose and gulped for air and I carefully guided her over the waiting net. I could instantly see she had a huge head and wide shoulders and I started to get a bit giddy. 'Yes' I said to myself and I couldn’t have been happier had I just scored a winning FA Cup goal for Man City...
I always allow any captured fish some recovery time in the net and on this occasion I was easily able to slip the hook out of the centre of the bottom lip, a classic hook hold, while the fish was resting. I carefully rolled the landing net up and checked her pectoral fins were flat to the body before I lifted her clear of the water and onto the mat and weigh sling.
The scales read 36lb 10oz and I was a very, very happy man indeed. After a few photos I got into the water with the fish for a couple of extra shots before releasing her - and by God was it cold.
I finished up with three more double figure carp during the short session and was away before lunch with the drive home feeling much more pleasant than usual.