Carp Fishing - Atomic Tackle Carp Diary
Rob Marsh is back from France and his winter campaign sees him on the trail of a very big carp, very big.
As soon as I arrived back from the Abbey Lakes trip, which I wrote about in my last diary piece I was down at the Elphicks Complex arranging some possible overnighters during November. As I looked at the schedule with one of the owners, Mark, only a Thursday night was available due to block bookings and this almost put me off my hope of doing a few nights a week.
The week soon passed though and I arrived at the lake on Thursday just before dark and as there were no signs of fish I decided to set up in the centre of the lake, in front of an island. I had just got set up and was about to get the rods out when I heard a big fish come out of the water to my left. I walked up further and saw another come clear out of the water so I quickly packed the gear back on the barrow and moved two swims up. I was just unloading the gear when several fish started showing again even further to my left, so it was back on the barrow for my gear.
Once set up I got the rods out and decided to fish two with bags and the third over a couple of kilos of Hinders Salamiz hemp with chopped and whole Mainline Cell boilies.
The fish showed right up until about 10pm and then it all went quiet; the cloud cleared and the temperature plummeted. I decided to get my head down as I had to be off the lake by 7am as a block booking would be arriving. The alarm went off at 6am and after a quick cuppa I got packed up – always tough when everything is totally frozen as it was!
I was just loading the barrow when who should come round the corner but my old mates Steve Briggs and Tommy Dunlop. As soon as they saw me they asked if I had caught the biggun and they were both relieved when I said ‘no’ as they had booked the lake for a few friends for the weekend. Anyway I wished them luck and got off to work.
All day I had a feeling the big girl would come out during the weekend and that afternoon Tom texted me saying that one of their party had not been able to make it so there was a spare place and did I want to come down. I would normally have jumped at the opportunity but I had family commitments all weekend.
Saturday afternoon I was shopping in the town with the family when I received a text from Tommy saying that Briggsy had landed the big girl on a zig rig at an incredible weight of 59lb +. Part of me was really happy for my mate, the other gutted that my target fish had come out before I really even started my campaign.
My next trip was another Thursday overnighter and as it was already dark when I arrived I decided to fish the same swim as before. The spomb rod was still clipped up to the spot and my line was marked and in the clip so I spombed out a couple kilos of mix and placed a rod on the spot. The other two rods were again fished with solid bags.
That night was very quiet with only a few fish showing and morning came with another blank. After a chat with Mark, I managed to book Sunday, Monday, Thursday and all weekend as bookings were slowing due to the cold weather. Having this amount of time meant I would have a really good chance to get a proper go at the lake so I sorted the tackle and was counting down the hours until Sunday night when my Mrs reminded me we had a family party - so I had to ring Mark to cancel. Thankfully I still had the week to look forward to.
Monday arrived and I got back to the lake just before dark. I had bought a gallon of maggots to try on one rod to see if that might get them going and I decided to fish the same swim as the last two overnighters.
I spombed out two kilos of the Hinders Salamiz hemp and Cell boilies onto the same spot as before then put out ten spombs of maggots to my left; the other rod I just fished with a single Mainline pineapple pop up. Job done I sat on my bucket drinking a cup of tea when a big fish rolled over the spod mix rod.
During the next hour I was regularly receiving liners and it was not long before the bobbin hit the top of the rod and I was playing a very angry carp. It was a good battle and as the fish rolled about ten metres out it suddenly slipped the hook. I was gutted to say the least and I sat contemplating whether I had just lost the big girl! I got the rod back out and spombed another ten spombs to the spot then got my head down.
I was woken with my maggot rig rod screaming at me and after an epic battle I slid the net under a good looking common, which on the scales went 22lb 12oz. I did not bother with photos and just slid her back. With the rod back out and another five spombs of maggots on the spot I got my head back down until 6am then started to get packed up.
The weather was amazingly mild for the time of year with everything packed up, except the rods, I was loading the last few bits on the barrow when I heard that familiar sound of a Shimano clutch clicking away (I had packed my receiver away) and I turned around to see the right hand rod, fished to my spombed area, screaming off.
There are so many occasions this happens and I love just love that sound! As soon as I picked up the rod I felt solid resistance, the fish plodded to my left and felt very heavy indeed and was pulling very hard. By this time it was way up to my left and was taking line at will but was now venturing over towards two anglers in the far corner of the lake so I needed to apply some pressure at this point or risk the fish picking up the other anglers’ lines.
I applied the pressure and turned the fish whereupon it now plodded back towards where I originally hooked it. It was certainly putting in a good battle and I was starting to think it was a very good fish. As it neared the margin there was a huge vortex as the fish tried to head back to the centre of the lake but after a good ten minutes of battling it was finally starting to tire. After several more lunges for freedom and several scary moments as the line pinged off of a fin, I had the fish rolling in front of me. I only had my small headlamp on so as the fish approached the net I couldn’t see that clearly but it certainly looked a good one, maybe even 40lb plus.
Once in the net I was well happy and proceeded to get the mat off the barrow and my scales and cameras sorted. I put my larger headlamp on to get the fish out of the water and as I lifted the mesh onto the net to have a closer look at the fish - like you do - I saw a massive bulk of a fish and the more I lifted the mesh the more belly of the fish kept appearing. It must have been ten seconds before it dawned on me that I had landed the big girl. I slipped her back and grabbed my video camera and did a bit of filming of the fish in the net and then got my head around what I needed to do.
Mark and Neil, the owners, had gone out for the day but I knew my mate Mark was fishing the West End Lake on the same complex. I was still finding it hard to believe that I had caught her and decided to weigh her before I rang anyone; I don’t quite know why, I just still had doubts whether it could be that fish or not! As I lifted her out of the water though there was no doubt, she was massive!
I unhooked her and slipped her into the recovery sling and hoisted her on to the scales, which shot past the 60lb mark. I looked in disbelief and made sure I got the scales in shot with the video camera. As the fish settled the needle was bouncing between 60lb 8oz and 61lb. I was so elated that I made the decision of 60lb 6oz but to be honest I was not really bothered about those few extra ounces, I had caught an English 60lb plus carp.
I put the fish back in the lake in the recovery sling and called Mark asking if he and his mate could come up to help with the photos and filming. I got my chest waders on and got everything ready and when they arrived we got her out onto the mat. As I lifted her up for the photos I had forgotten just how heavy a fish of that size is and it took all my strength to get the trophy shots. We then got her back in the water and as she swam off strongly I thought there is no doubt that this fish will end up being the next British record fish.
Back on the bank and after congratulations from the lads I was left alone so I texted a few mates and then proceeded to pack up for work. Suddenly I was receiving messages from everyone and the rest of the day was crazy, messages, texts, as well as loads of phone calls congratulating me.
I was informed that it was the biggest fish to be landed in 2011 so far and it was not long before the angling press caught wind of my catch: Anglers Mail, Angling Times and then all the usual carp mags that I have worked with in the past. It was crazy and the following day I received a phone call from a reporter from the national press and the story made the Daily Mail and Daily Mirror and then my local newspaper, the Courier. The publicity was crazy and all a bit surreal as to me it was just another target fish off the list! I did not know what all the fuss was about really!
The one thing it did leave me with was no winter target; I had three nights still booked and it would not be right to cancel so I did fish but deep down I knew that this would be my last session on the lake and after a chat to Mark I was already planning my next trip to West End lake.
The lake is three acres in size, a small intimate lake with a good head of fish and with eight 40lb plus fish and a cracking mirror of 52lb plus to go for but it is not a good time of year to be starting, however it is my only real option.
As I sit and write this blog it is the end of November and after three nights on the lake to no avail, it is going to be a struggle I think. I will have a good go but with two short three night sessions on Abbey Lakes in France planned, hopefully I can still land some fish through December and hopefully land my foreign target of the Amazing Shoulders at 80lb plus.
Good luck to you all and have a good Christmas and a Happy New Year!
By the Same Author
- Carp Fishing – Rob Marsh’s Atomic Tackle Diary
- Carp Fishing – Rob Marsh’s Atomic Tackle Diary
- Carp Fishing – Rob Marsh’s Atomic Tackle Carp Diary
- Carp Fishing – Atomic Tackle Carp Diary
- Carp Fishing - Atomic Tackle Carp Diary
- Carp Fishing - Atomic Tackle Carp Diary 2
- Carp Fishing - Atomic Tackle Carp Diary