A Summer's Carp Fishing at Sutton
Russ Burlington made a wise investment in a Cemexangling ticket last year. Here's how he got on.
Sutton at Hone has always been at the forefront of carp fishing with monster mirrors and colossal commons headlining the angling press for many years. It has always been the Syndicate, Lake 2, that has stolen the spotlight and rightly so, but could that mean that Lakes 1 and 3 had been overlooked?
I had heard plenty of rumours of big fish coming from Lake 3 and it was seeing two pictures on the Tackle Box picture wall that got me thinking that maybe it was worth a visit or two. The fish that adorned the hallowed wall was a 37lb mirror carp and a huge koi. Both of which were stunning English fish...I just had to get myself a CEMEXANGLING ticket!
The way that I found myself approaching Lake 3 was to be the turning point in my season. I had to do something different, to stay ahead of the fish, but most importantly the anglers. I sat there on the bankside for hours upon end, watching the fish parade up and down on the far margin. It was obvious where they liked to spend most of their time. But what was even more obvious was that they were hard to catch!
I watched the other anglers on the lake like a hawk to try to understand why they seemed to struggle like they did. Everybody that turned up fished the same method, both rods cast 'towards' the far bank, bow string lines and a scattering of 20-odd boilies. Surely something different would produce? A plan was brewing...
Through close observation I had found an entry point into the main snag tree opposite Peg 2. The fish would enter from the right-hand side of the swim and come ito the snag tree on the same point every single time. It was like it was the carps' secret entrance!
Acting upon my new-found knowledge I cast my lead onto the far bank, walked round, tied on my rig and gently lowered my hookbait into position. The hookbait was a 14mm Solar Juicy Pineapple pop-up tied onto a Nailer and 3oz lead to pull the hook home. With the line tightened and bobbins set it was game on!
It was 9.35pm when the Delkim gave two beeps. I looked at the motionless bobbin when it suddenly smacked into the butt rest. I struck instantly and was met with a firm resistance. Whatever was on was stuck! After a few anxious moments things got moving and the fish started its way through the undergrowth and made its way towards me. Plodding and holding deep all the way Max did the honours with the net at the first time of asking. With headtorches on the fish rolled onto its side in the net and we saw the sheer bulk of the fish for the first time! It was a common and what a fantastic common it was. The golden scales glistening in the early Friday moonlight. On the scales it went 30lb 8oz, my first 30lb English common, and more importantly my first Sutton fish!
With my confidence sky high I returned on the 4th of August, a Monday, to find the lake empty. It meant I could put my plan into full flow and begin to introduce bait into one area. I returned armed with my favourite bait, the Grange, a lot of hemp, a rake and a pole. The idea behind my plan was to rake the area behind the bushes on the far margin and clear it of any braches or stray sticks. Then introduce my hookbait tight under the trees using a 15metre pole with the rig attached via PVA string. Add the hemp and the boilies and sit back and wait for the bites. Well that was the plan anyway.
It was at 3.40pm when my left-hand rod was away. The Delkim let out a few beeps as the line pulled out of the clip and then all hell let loose. Whatever was on the other end was making sure that it stayed there as no matter how hard I pulled it would not budge. It took a lot of persuasion (OK swearing at the fish) to come out, and holding the rod at full test curve until it finally pulled free. Darting to my right it kept deep, and after 15 minutes of hard fighting it came up in the water. It rolled 10 yards out and we could see it was a big fish, a mirror this time. Fish netted and up she goes, 34lb 10oz linear carp and a personal best as well. Two bites, two PBs and two 30s - how's your luck!
The next session culmiated in some of the worst weather that England saw in the summer. It was now Wednesday and no one was any the wiser about the capture of the linear and I returned into the same swim. I took a wander round before I set up and found a few fish in front of the Gravel swim (Peg 5) feeding in the margin. I grabbed a rod and dropped my cut-down hookbait next to the feeding carp.
What happened next was unreal. I began to flick half and quarter boilies to the fish and they began to take them on the drop! Within minutes I had a very fast bite and after a short scrap under my rod tip a 17lb 12oz mirror rested in my net. Happy with my morning stalking I settled into my session and got the rods out pretty quickly. My main rod was on the far margin as tight as it could be at the back of the trees. The heavens then opened up and I drifted off to sleep.
It was about 9.40pm when a huge electrical storm was passing over. I was talking to Danny from the Tackle Box, who was on Lake 2, when my far margin rod gave a positive sign something was on the other end. Thunder rumbling and lightning crashing down, it was not an ideal time to get a bite, but needs must and I was here to enjoy myself.
The fight was one of the wierdest I've ever had. It was so windy and rainy that I could hardly feel the fish on and I must admit I thought I had lost it. Needless to say, in the flashes of lightning I could see the flanks of a fish. In the light the fish shimmered a white, golden glow, it was one of the ghost Koi! I was so wet by this point that I just wanted to net it. She played ball and was in the net at the first time of asking. On the scales she went 26lb 4oz - what a truely unbelievable fish I'm sure you will agree!
I was buzzing and rightly so. Four fish and three of the big girls of the lake. I continued introducing the hemp and the Grange into the area and the fish responded well to the heavy baiting approach. Over the next three sessions I had four fish; a 18lb 4oz linear, a 15lb 4oz mirror, a 11lb 14oz ghostie and a 26lb common, all on the same rod.
After a couple of weeks resting the swim I returned to land three fish in one day, including a 17lb 12oz common, a 21lb 12oz ghostie, and a 25lb 4oz common. Then, as a snag appeared in the lake, which turned out to be a 13-foot branch, I lost another five fish on the spin over the coming weeks. Which left me well and truly frustrated. Any of the fish lost could have been the remaining big girls!
By the end of August I'd had enough and it was fitting that my last session would see me land two more residents from Lake 3. I had a repeat capture of the 21lb 10oz ghostie, after a gruelling two hours of stalking, which saw the fish pick my hookbait up three times, and get away with it! My final fish came as I was packing away on my final session at 9.55pm. It was a beautifully crafted 24lb 12oz mirror carp.
All of my fish were caught on simple tactics, although the methods were constantly being tweaked until I was happy. I settled on using 6-foot Clear TFG leaders with a 4oz running lead and to this was tied a 10-inch hooklink of 25lb Merlin. A size 6 Nailer tied blowback style with a 18mm Grange and a 12mm Solar Dayglow pop-up to top it off.
The rewards are there, you just have to work at it. The more effort that you put in the greater those rewards will be.
Sutton at Hone lakes are CEMEXANGLING waters.