My Nephew’s First Session – John Bassili

I’ve had a hunch for a while now that my 11 year old nephew Nicholas had taken a interest in fishing as for a few weeks now he had been asking questions about it all.

Fresh from his summer holidays, I decided to take him along with me for the day to the lake I’d been fishing lately, to give him a taste of a carp angler’s world.

Not being a weekend angler I wasn’t sure what to expect as my fishing is normally done during the week and I normally have the pleasure of having the lake to myself. So I made arrangements with his mum that I was going to pick him up at 6am on the dot. The look I got was priceless. She said, ‘he’s never going to get up for that time!’

Well, Saturday came, and I’m tapping on the front door at 5.58am to be precise. The door opens and he’s all dressed and raring to go. Having found out that he couldn’t sleep from his excitement, I just knew he was a future carp angler in the making!

A relatively short drive to the lake’s car park, a quick load of all the gear on the barrow, and a push up the hill. I found myself starring at a two bivvies in the swims I normally fish. Damn! I looked to the right in disgust to find another bivvy then to the left, my eyes focused on another, and another one further down! I felt mortified and gutted!

At this point I didn’t know what to do, I knew if I could have fished the swims I knew well, I could’ve pretty much guaranteed a fish. We decided to have a look at the back end of the lake and luckily we found a swim, albeit void of carp but at least we could set up and fish.

The chosen tactics were the same as previous trips. One rod on the bottom with a polony pop up and 1/2 kilo of freebies for starters and the other rod on a adjustable zig using white foam soaked in X-Cite Tuna oil while spombing my magic mix I’ve been using.

I tried to stay positive but the reality was, it felt like doom and gloom. There was not one fish in site and by 10am and it wasn’t looking bright. I decided though, to persevere – not that I had much of a choice! I knew this was a hungry water and there was a chance I could attract them with my bait.

No one else was doing it, so the spombs became more and more frequent…. splosh, splosh, splosh! I think it was a touch of desperation to be honest! As I wasn’t seeing fish, I decided to lower my zig to 3ft below the surface. Within 5 minutes a one toner on my right alarm! Get in!!! Rod in hand and a carp on the end, I was ecstatic!

I looked at my nephew to pass the rod over and just felt it all go slack. NO! I could’ve cried for him. Without wasting any time, lead went flying out, bobbing clipped and ready.

It was now past midday and I began seeing signs of carp just below the surface, not too far from my baiting zone. I did not let up on the spombs! In fact I changed to the large one! With spod rod in hand about to launch another at them the same rod burst into like! Yes! And this time we won the battle! His first carp landed safely in the net. My job was done. I came here to catch him a carp and we succeeded. A mid double common.


With pictures done, rod back out, it was time to enjoy the day.  An hour went past and this time the left rod on the polony pop up tore off! Now I’m thinking we could bag up here. This fight proved to be epic, but we were the victorious once again! A stunning golden common looked exhausted in my net. Ounces short of 20lb, we were buzzing.


Nicholas was bouncing around like I had never seen before.  And there was more to come! The zig rig was going off every hour! The spombs of bait were flying out and we were smiling from ear to ear.  The total tally for the day was 7 fish landed and 3 lost.

And the icing on the cake was the last fish of the day to Nicholas a 22lb common! His first twenty. With a punch of the fist, I think he was delighted.


This session was probably my proudest to date yet, having gone in a swim that was void of carp, my baiting tactics worked and I managed to draw them in. For the record only one of the other anglers on the lake caught two fish that day.

So until next time – keep baiting!

John Bassili
Carp Catcher

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