New Season, New PB – Mike Salisbury

Bait-Tech’s Mike Salisbury reports on three of his latest sessions including the opening day of the season on Priory Park where he bagged something special…

I’m not sure where to begin when recounting one of the most memorable 24 hours in over 32 years of fishing, but I’ll certainly try! My wife has recently embarked on four months of training for a new career path, which involves her being away from Monday to Friday. Rather than returning to an empty home each evening last week, I decided to hit the bank for at least two nights between work. Earlier in the week was successful and hectic, as I managed three fish from Crowsheath Fishery, although not the bigger ones I was hoping for. By the time Thursday evening came I was seriously flagging due to the lack of sleep I’d had, but I decided to go fishing again nevertheless. I had heard that the specimen lake at Honeypot Lakes in Essex was producing some really good hits, so that’s where I decided to go for a short overnighter. Choosing my swim was easy as the westerly wind was blasting into the left-hand bank, so I set up in the swim known as “The Rocks”.

From previous knowledge of the venue I knew that zigs can be really effective, especially at night, so I fished one rod on a 6ft zig with a trimmed-down Triple-N pop-up. Sure to form, the rod roared off at 2.30am, with the result being a plump 21lbs common. Once the fish was back I tried to settle back to sleep but the onset of dawn around 90 minutes later meant I drifted in and out of sleep until 6am when I had to get packed up and head to work.

Work on a Friday always means fishing, as I have a class of BTEC Fish Husbandry students to take out to a local venue. This time we opted for Crowsheath Fishery given my success there earlier in the week. I soon had the rods out on the same spots as I’d fished – I was confident the fish were still in the area and that the students would have a few. Unfortunately, they seemed more preoccupied with feeding the geese than fishing on this occasion, so when one rod roared off I was straight on it! A very spirited battle from a low-double common ensued, and no sooner had I got the rod back out it was off again! It was no bigger than the first fish, but it was now finally starting to sink in to the students that they needed to be on the rods as the fish were having it! They stuck at it for the rest of the day and were rewarded with some quality carp, albeit unusually small for the stamp of fish in Crowsheath.

After work I was shattered, and probably should have gone home….but then I noticed the date. It was the 16th of June, which meant that after a painfully long close-season, Priory Park was open again for fishing! Having made a few quick phone calls, I discovered that the lake wasn’t as busy as I thought it would be. That was it – I was down there like a shot and setting up in my favourite swim! I would be fishing between two pals for the night which would be even better as provided I could muster the energy we’d have a great social. Last season I had done exceptionally well on the Triple-N, so I kept my approach exactly the same. I baited two spots with a mixture of 18 and 15mm boilies, fishing 15mm Washed-Out pop-ups over the top on a multi-rig. Just a few hours in my right hand rod roared off, and I was soon grinning from ear-to-ear as I had my first Priory Park carp of the new season in the net! It was a lovely plump common which really made my day. Shortly after I banked another fish – this time a mirror which went just over 10lbs. As dusk approached I had my third bite – this time a much better fish – a gorgeous scaley 22lbs mirror which I hadn’t seen on the bank before.

I was pretty exhausted after this, so I hit the bag, but I wouldn’t be asleep for long. The next thing I knew it was 2am, and I was staring at a lump at the bottom of my net. It couldn’t be could it? Yes – it was “John’s Fish”! I’d caught him back in February at a weight of 30lbs, when it was at the time the lake’s biggest resident. I was gobsmacked to have this fish again, but even more so when myself and 2 friends checked the weight on two different sets of scales – 31lbs! This was a new UK PB for me and I was absolutely chuffed to bits. I was clearly on a roll here, so I put the rod back on the spot and an hour later I was in again. It wasn’t a biggie this time, just a low double common, but with a session like I was having I wasn’t complaining.


That’s where the bites ended, and when I woke up at 8am I was left to reflect on what had been the most amazing 24 hours I have ever experienced in fishing. Three lakes, eight fish, and a new UK PB! Moreover, all bar one fish fell to the same bait, same rig – Triple-N pop-ups on a multi-rig. Simple, effective, rewarding!

Tight Lines

Mike Salisbury
Bait-Tech Carp Team

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