Bigger Scales Are Needed for Brad


It all began on a Friday at 11pm when I set off and met up with the group on the A1 at Stevenage. Three loaded hire vans began the long 11-hour journey down to Moulin De Bley in South West France, everybody was buzzing for this trip and for some it was our second visit to this venue.

We had time to sit and chill before boarding and we chatted about everybody’s personal bests and goals for this trip, it was hard to contain the excitement knowing just how big these fish go in the lake we would be fishing.

Our train was called, we boarded and a quick snooze later we arrived at the other end of the tunnel feeling even more charged until looking at the Sat Nav and seeing the remaining – some 400 miles!

I had the company of two very good friends of mine who ensured one would at least stay awake for the journey down or so that was the plan but in all honesty they both stayed wide awake with Recardo’s famous playlist being torn apart by myself and Chris. We stopped twice on the way down for the usual requirements of Red Bull and coffee and more coffee.

A quick stop to the supermarket to stock up and we arrived. Everybody was eager to get out unload and set up But our ears soon picked up a conversation from Nigel the Bailiff saying it been extremely quiet this due to the hot weather and the carp spawning – instantly I knew along with the others this was going to be a tough week indeed.

After unloading the kit onto the quad bike and trailer Nigel took me and Recardo down to swims 5 & 6 – the heat was really beginning to kick in and after an 11-hour drive and unloading, I wasn’t ready to do too much. I quickly set my bivvy up, set up the cradle station before casting out single baits of Poloni tipped with Edibles Sweetcorn protected with a Castaway PVA bag of crushed Poloni boilies out in 3 fanned out directions it was time to get my head down for some sleep.

It was some hours later and I woke in what felt like the centre of the sun, the humidity was intense with sweat dripping from me I soon made my way out of the bivvy to have a good look into our swims and watch for signs of carp. Hours passed and nothing, not even bubbles were anywhere to be seen, but with logic thinking, the last group had only left a few hours before us and had probably created a lot of noise and thrown the last bits of bait in I kind of knew it’s going to be a few days before these carp are going to start munching on boilies knowing how many naturals were present.

The hours turned into days before any carp activity was seen in our swims and it was then I grabbed my purple bucket and the six pouches from the range including the Chilli Hemp, Parti-Mix and the new Spod Mix with salted maples, along with all of these into the bucket I added two tins of the Super Maize and one tin of the Scopex sweetcorn.

On top of all that goodness I added 2kgs of chopped Poloni boilies. I left the mix to soak up the flavours for a few hours but in the mean time I begun to catapult out a kilo of mixed sized boilies. I had taken my rods out a few hours earlier to reduce spooking any fish entering the area I wanted to allow them a free feed and to build up confidence in our swims.

It’s now Tuesday evening the heat is still in the high 20s and the humidity is staying here for the night. I had clipped the rods up for the baited areas these were then cast out with the last glimmers of sun light bursting through the forest which surrounds the lake.

I zipped up the mozzi mesh to prevent being eaten alive by the mozzis and ticks that made random visits to each swim around the lake. The night passed without a single bleep from the Delkims and I was up at 4:30am making a brew watching the mist slowly thicken and drift onto and over the lake, when the left rod absolutely tore off. The Delkim screaming what seemed to take forever to unzip the bivvy and get on the rod but was only seconds in real time.

I was pulling up into a stubborn weight – this felt like a good fish which was speeding towards the far bank, clearly not happy being hooked. Twenty minutes passed before my good friend Recardo slipped the net under the carp and with a loud “Come on, get in!” being broadcast around the lake I was over the moon and overwhelmed by the success after a long few days.

Laying the carp into cradle and weigh sling I removed the hook with ease and placed into the bucket to prevent any accidents. I set the scales ready, my hands gently shaking, Recardo then lifted the scales up the tension being taken the needle swung round to 32.8lb happy with that I said. Gently lowering the carp down and after some pictures the carp was then lowered into the water inside the retainer and given a few moments to settle before being released.

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The rig I was using was made up of a Gardner size 6 Mugga tied using Esp tungsten hooklink with a long hair to allow me space to fish either double 18mm boilies or to present a snowman presentation. On this capture the fish had taken the Snowman presentation which had been cast out with a stringer of Poloni boiles varying sizes.

Feeling more confident I opened the bucket containing the hemp and spod mix and begun to spod out around 30 spods over the area I had the 3 rods set to. I wasn’t being too precise on spodding into one area as I wanted to have a large bed of bait down over an area which would encourage the carp to work for the bait.

Once the spodding was done I then proceeded to catapult and stick out the boilies onto the area which I would then re-cast all 3 rods onto with a general spacing of 10ft between each one.

Two rods would be fished with double 18mm baits tipped with a yellow Edibles slow sinker and a single rod would have a snowman presentation consisting of a single 18mm Poloni boilie tipped again with a pop-up version of the yellow Edibles corn.

I sat back absolutely shattered still suffering with the humidity and the 30 plus degree heat I decided to get the kettle on for a brew for me and Recardo.

The day passed with no more action and with daylight soon to subside into night I pulled the rods in for a bait check and if necessary a refresh of hook bait.

Recasting all 3 rods onto the area for the night I sat back unwinding with a brew talking to Recardo enjoying the clouds break above to reveal a huge open scene of millions of stars with very little light pollution around the star filled sky was simply breath-taking.

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Shortly before 11pm we retired back into our bivvy’s and settled down for the night – well that was the plan but the carp had other ideas as shortly after 12:20am the middle rod melted away the Delkim receiver vibrating like crazy. I was up like a shot and straight out lifting the rod and feeling like a blue whale had taken my bait the battle commenced.

Having heard the alarm and my gentle calls of ‘Recardo are you awake mate?” he was soon at my side holding the landing net poised and ready.

With a click, my head torch illuminated the swim and for the first time I saw just what was attached to my line and words can only describe that moment of utter amazement my legs began to shake uncontrollably with Recardo also trying to keep me calm – the carp rolled into the net only just though.

Recardo and myself lifted the carp into the weigh sling which had been wetted in the cradle and carried out the same procedure of unhooking and treating the hook puncture area with the carp care kit from Gardner.

Once again the scales held up by Recardo and myself with the tension taken up and with a gentle lift the carp was up but there was a moment of silence and Recardo looking at me blinding me with head torch said “We need bigger scales yours are maxed out!” That moment I just froze knowing my scales were 55lb maximum I repeated: “sorry, bigger scales?” he said “Yes Bigger Scales!!”

I looked at him and asked what’s yours go to he said 55lb – “Houston we have a problem”. Knowing our good friend Chris had bigger scales we zipped the retainer up and both lifted the carp into the water, as Recardo would need to run round to the other side of the lake to get the scales.

I sat with the retainer in the water in one hand and shaking in the other one I managed to call my partner back in the UK at gone 1am she knew either there was a problem or I had caught a new pb. Recardo’s head torch was getting closer so I said I had to go and that I would text the final weight shortly.

We re-wetted the cradle and placed the retainer into the cradle ready to be lifted I was shaking so bad, we hoisted the fish up with manly grunts emerging I heard 55lb, 56lb, 57lb …and then 57.4lb!!! Overwhelmed and in shock we gently lowered the carp down and ensured plenty of water was poured over it.

Recardo then took my canon camera and took the pics that would forever keep this moment in my life.

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Carrying the carp to the waters edge I was still absorbing the moment, gently lowering it down and unzipping it slowly the carp gently flapped its huge tail and faded into the darkness.

Standing upright Recardo congratulated me and we just stood silent – then thought it’s beer time – a refreshing cold beer after a moment in my life I’ll never forget.

Following on from this the fishing for me slowed right down with the daytime temps almost hitting the forty mark, suffering 3 losses before beginning to pack away I felt complete and happy with my watercraft and confidence during the week.

After an early morning wake up we had all packed away our kit and bivvys and begun the long drive home.

For anybody wanting to know for the week I used:

8.5 kilos of Poloni boilies mainly 18mm.
8 bags of mixed hemp and particle was ample with added maize and sweetcorn
1 x bottle of hemp oil
1 x krill and tuna oil
1 x edibles yellow corn pop-ups
1 x edibles yellow corn slow sinkers

What a memory!

Tight lines

Brad Evan-Hart
Carp Team

 


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