With the arrival of winter (and my second child!) my carp angling has well and truly taken a back seat, I thought I’d rewind the clock back to last summer and write about my favourite capture of 2015. This fish certainly wasn’t the biggest fish I caught, nor is one of the prettiest, but it a capture that meant a lot to me.

Back in July, with one of my syndicates shut for spawning and the other not being my rota weekend, I decided to head to a local club water. I have been a member of this club for many years and have fished this particular lake a lot in the past, although over the last 8 years or so, I’ve only done a couple of nights each year, mainly as a break from my main target water.

That first trip I managed a ghosty linear of around 12lb, but had really enjoyed spending time there, so I decided to head back there the following week for another overnighter.

I arrived after work on Friday and was amazed to find that I was the only one on the lake. I done a quick lap and settled on an old favourite swim of mine. Not only were there clearly fish present in the area, but the island directly in front on the swim was always a good holding area for the carp.

After a few casts with the marker, I had managed to locate two old spots that used to produce action for me, although they certainly weren’t as large or as clean as I remembered them. I didn’t even know whether they were still productive spots, but they felt good enough to present a bait on none the less.

I baited both areas with a mix of 14mm Poloni boilies, hemp, corn and a sprinkling of mixed pellets. The whole lot had been soaking in a mix of water, fishmeal powder and Omega 3 fish oil. Not only did this add loads of attraction to the bait, but having it soaking in water gave it a lovely washed out look and feel as well as starting to break the pellets down.

Over the top of this was a 14mm Poloni pop up on a variation of the multi rig that had been doing well for me around that time.

With both rods cracking down nicely, I sat back and enjoyed another pleasant evening on the lake. At 3.30am I received what I thought was take, but within a couple of seconds it came off. As this happened, in the darkness I could make out a bird pop up on the surface and scarpered off to the other side of the lake, leading me to believe that it was a pick up from a bird and not a fish.

With a fresh Poloni pop up on the rig, it took me quite a few casts to get the rod back on the spot. I knew that there was a fair bit of weed around the gravel patch, so I kept on trying until I finally got a clear ‘donk’ down, which told me that it had landed bang on.

Favourite Fish of 2015 - 1I got back in the sleeping bag and snoozed for about an hour until the same rod let out a couple of bleeps. As I looked over to the area, I could see two tufties sitting directly above my baited spot and assumed that I had been picked up by a feathered friend again. However, the rod then suddenly went into meltdown and what was now clearly a fish, tried to head off down the channel between the island and adjacent bank.

The fight was truly immense, with the fish flat rodding me on a couple of occasions. There are a few good sized catfish in the lake now and every time it went on an unstoppable run, I kept saying to myself “please don’t be a cat”. Not only did I not particularly want to be dealing with a cat at that time of the morning, but I also knew that if it wasn’t a cat, then it would certainly be a good sized carp that I was attached to.

Favourite Fish of 2015 - 3The fish stayed deep all the way in and by the time it reached the margin, I still hadn’t seen what I was attached to. As it started to tire, it came up higher in the water and I caught my first glimpse of a good sized mirror carp. I estimated it as a high 20, but after a few finals attempts for freedom, it was soon resting in the bottom of my net. Looking above, it’s width made it look every ounce a 30lber.

On the mat, I recognised the fish as one of the larger fish in the lake and knowing that it had come out a few weeks earlier prior to spawning at a weight of 37lb, I knew that it still looked a good healthy weight. The scales settled on 34lb, which was the biggest fish that I had ever had from the lake. There are a few mirrors around this size in there now, but these were all smaller stockies back when I used to fish the lake seriously.

I slipped the fish into the retainer while I readied the self take kit and after a few shots where rattled off, the fish was safely returned to its home. Nothing else came of that trip, but it I still drove home a very happy man. Although I didn’t manage to get back there for the remainder of the year, I’ll certainly be giving it another crack next year.

James Conway


Favourite Fish of 2015 - 2

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