Adam's carpy tales
Well my fishing time has taken a turn for the worst! After the birth of my little boy on June 9th, I can safely say I’m angling on limited time.

The last week in July was the Preston Innovations Week at White Acres fishery, as part of National Fishing Month the top match fishing consultants travel down to the stunning Cornish holiday venue to give non-anglers, beginners and even some experienced match anglers tonnes of hints and tips to improve their fishing. I managed to sneak a rod in on a couple of days and bag myself some cracking little carp along with some skimmers and tench.

Now onto the good stuff! The first full week in august each year see’s the countries best junior carp anglers trying their best to become the British Young Carpers Angling Champion at Linear Fisheries, Oxford. The Event which is run by Angling Publications, my previous employer, allowed me the chance to meet up with old friends and even manage to bag myself a night’s fishing on one of the complex’s lakes.

Hardwick/Smiths is known in the specimen fishing world to hold some cracking tench that run into double figures.  That would do me nicely. To say I was looking forward to my first night in over two months was an understatement. I even had some worms from White Acres left over for added tench attraction. I was up early on Saturday morning to load the car with my gear. Upon opening my carryall ii was hit by a smell that is worse than any other; I can deal with rotting fish, bad toilet odours, even mouldy particles but nothing in the world compares to the smell of dead worms! It was time for a change of plan. Out came a tin of Sonubaits Hemp ‘n’ Mini Maize, a bag of 6mm Elliptical Pellets and some 50:50 Method Paste Groundbait. This would have to be my best option.

Arriving in my swim at 8.30pm, I quickly through up a brolly, threw my bedchair under and proceeded to sort my rods. I put out the bait mix to a silt patch at 40yards and cast two small Refresha Pop-ups over the top.The night was quiet but at 4.45am I had a take on my left hand rod, picking up the rod I felt a series of strong taps – very much like those of a good tench! After 20 minutes of playing the fish through various large weed beds I managed to slide the net under a huge… ball of weed. Was there a fish inside? At this point I had no idea. Peeling back the weed revealed a short dumpy mirror carp. Not my intended quarry but I was happy not to have blanked. A quick lift onto the scales showed that it weighed 11lb exactly – a gorgeous linear that will look great when it puts on a few pounds. Unfortunately that was my only fish of the session, but going home with a fish smelling net put a smile on my face!

Last weekend I think the missus had a funny turn; after waking up on Sunday morning she asked me if I was going fishing! My jaw hit the floor, this had got to be a wind up. It wasn’t and before she could change her mind I was in the shed sorting some gear for an afternoon stalking.I chose a small lake not too far from my home in Telford; it’s only a small lake but holds 5 very old carp. I’m not going to name the venue, but let’s call it – the reedy pond. On arrival at the reedy pond I grabbed my gear, and had a walk around the lake looking for signs of carp. They were not hard to find. The unmistakeable white and orange dorsal of an old Koi breaking the surface gave away their position. I crept right up to the fish, and carefully flicked a trimmed down, free-lined pop-up near the fish. Three of the 5 carp came right up to the bait, studied it can turned away; after an hour of fishing all I had managed to do was alert the fish that something was not right! Not the cleverest of things to do on a small, gin-clear lake.

I had to change my approach, and with the Swans and other birdlife not present, I went for the visual approach. From my time at Sparsholt and time spent watching carp from trees I have found that they are very curious and very receptive to colour! I chose a bright white Sonubaits Hot Chocolate Pop-up, this would look similar to bread fed to the ducks, one of these carp’s main food sources, but also stand out well on the dark bottom.
I flicked my favourite pop-up rig out to the far reed line where the fish were patrolling, slackened off the line and sat back. Not even half an hour passed before the line lifted and started to shake. A quick look out to the spot, showed an angry carp on the surface, trying to rid itself from the super sharp size 6 Xpert Specimen Hook in its bottom lip.

The fish fought extremely hard, powering up and down the lake, trying its best to get free. You could tell that this fish hadn’t been hooked in a while. After a 10 minute battle the fish was lying in the bottom of the landing net. Peering into the net, I had to look twice. Lying in the bottom of my landing net was the best looking fish I had ever hooked. Black across the back and chestnut coloured on the underside laid a long lean zip linear. I quickly weighed and unhooked the fish. 17lb 2oz it weighed, not big but this fish was much older than me. With nobody around I took a few self-takes of the fish; then slipped her back to join the others.
On such a small lake and with the fight I had just had, I didn’t think I would catch another so decided to pack my gear away and return home to celebrate with a cold can of beer!

Hopefully I can earn some brownie points and get back to the reedy pond. After all there are 4 more carp in that lake that I’m missing from my photo album.