It was the third day of a fishing session on my local 3000-acre dam. Up to now the fishing had been steady but not spectacular with a steady stream of small carp on my match rod and one or two doubles each day on my second rod set up for bigger fish.

John with a typical carp from the dam
The day started out dull and cloudy and several miles to the north over the dam wall I could see storm clouds gathering followed by thunder and lightning – surely not rain in Portugal in August? We take our umbrellas with us for protection from the sun not rain.

The storm moved down the lake towards me and I was engulfed in a deluge. I ran to shelter in my old Ford Transit and just sat there for what must have been a full hour, not being able to see anything out of the window. It was as though someone was standing there throwing bucket after bucket of water at the van.

The rain stopped just as quickly as it had started and after a few minutes the sun came out and the steam started to rise from the ground. The dam was completely transformed by this sudden influx of run-off water, for some 30 yards out into the dam the water looked like muddy soup and I swear the water level must have gone up several inches.

So back down to my rods, wind in and check the baits. Nothing had touched them so I cast out again; sweet corn was the bait on my match rod and maize on the big fish rod.

I fed the swim with about 20 pouches of maize using my trusty Carp King catapult; when the fish are really feeding you cannot over-feed them and on many occasions I have put in a pound of Maize or two full tins of sweetcorn, then cast in and had fish in seconds. Which is what happened next as I had a screaming run on the Maize rod and had to give the fish plenty of stick to keep it from running me around some horrible underwater bushes.

Isn’t it strange how carp seem to know where even the smallest snag is and run straight for it? This fish was the start of a frantic three-hour spell that ended with 12 Carp over 10lbs, with the largest at 17 lbs. Not the largest bag that I have ever taken on this dam but I wonder why the bigger fish suddenly started to feed? Was it a reduction in water temperature? Or just that they felt more secure in the muddy water?

For those interested in what I used for bait I took all the larger fish on good old plain maize with no colourings, sweeteners, etc, just 3 or 4 pieces on a size 4 hook, not even a hair rig.

I would love to see what you experts in England could catch if you came out with a 10 kg bucket of boilies.

For more info on fishing in Portugal email me on