James tames two targets!

James Small enjoyed a memorable session recently on a local day ticket lake — accounting for two of his targets! Good angling James!

I arranged to do a 48 hour session on my local day ticket water called West Lake which I set as my target water this year with quite few decent fish to go for.


The Pretty One

When I arrived the fish were in a swim I had enjoyed some success including landing my personal best mirror at 34lb 10oz known as Pretty One. The first night of the session was quiet but the weather wasn’t with heavy winds and rain. But as soon as the sun came up and wind eased I was able get some bait out in a hole in the weed about 65 yards out.


Long, lean 28lb mirror


The big common

Within an hour I was in, after a long battle I landed a long lean pretty mirror at 28lb. During the second night at 1am the same rod screamed off tearing line from the spool and I was in the waders off out in the water in the wind and rain. It was savage, but after a long fight I eventually gained some line and about 20yards out I saw a massive common roll on the surface. I knew it was one the big commons and I soon had a PB common in the net 34lb 8oz!

I got the rod back out with 1kg boilies over the top then got some photos, a quick cuppa and back in the pit, but shortly after at 3am the same rod again screamed off but I couldn’t seem to get in the waders so into the water I went fully clothed and was lucky to quickly land a mirror at 26lb.

I then decided to re-do both rods and put my other rod just off the one I was having the runs from and spread another kilo of boilies over the top.


C Scale

It turned out to be the right decision because a couple hours later that rod was away and I landed another mirror and my 2nd target fish of the session landing a fish know as C Scale at 35lb — a new personal best mirror. So far in 12 nights over 8 weeks I landed 36 carp 3 x 30’s and 13 x 20’s all taken on a bottom bait rig made with E-S-P Soft Ghost fluorocarbon and size 6 Cryogen Classic hooks’.

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Zig 50 for Alex!

IMG_3303Alex West tempted one of the home counties most prized and pressured big carp recently, with the monster falling for a delicately presented zig rig.

After arriving at the lake Alex spotted six fish from a tree and then noticed one take something off the surface. He chose the swim opposite due to less weed leading up to the area and while thinking where to put his first rod he saw four seagulls hit the surface and a carp rise, taking something off the top. A rod was quickly positioned the first rod on the show. Within five minutes of casting, whilst pushing his first bank stick in, Alex noticed his rod tip rise a few inches.

After striking he met a solid resistance. A 15 minute battle ensued before a huge Mirror rolled into the net. It weighed a mighty 50lb 8oz.

Alex fished a small piece of black foam soaked in Mainline Amino Stim attached to a 12lb Drennan Double Strength hooklength, size 8 Hook and ESP 15lb Syncro XT mainline.

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My year so far — Tom Stokes

spring 100

48lb 4oz!!

West Midlands carper Tom Stokes has had a great year so far, targetting a huge, intricate southern pit in his continued pursuit for ‘that’ common…

It’s been a good start to my third season on the Big pit. Towards the end of April I managed my first bite after baiting a likely looking swim for a week or so. That resulted in a lovely mid 30 common. I continued to do a bit of time in that swim over the following couple of weeks, but unfortunately that was to be the only bite from that area.

spring 042

The first fish of the year..

The next bite came during the middle part of May, after walking the near 100 acre pit all morning I eventually stumbled upon a group of fish visiting some snags near the entrance to one of the many bays, a couple of these were big fish, with one exceptionally large mirror amongst them.

Two short D rigs were lowered onto the clean gravel shelf under my feet, just yards from the snags, and that afternoon I managed to get several of the fish to feed over the gravel, including the big mirror, but to my frustration neither of the rigs got picked up. By 10pm all the fish had left the snags as far as I was aware, and it looked almost certain my chance was gone. I considered a move but by now it was virtually dark, so instead I left the rigs in situe for the night and decided to have a good look in the morning. This proved to be a good decision as at 1am I recieved a bite on my right hand rod, and after a tense 5 minutes slipped the net under what felt like a very heavy fish.

After grabbing the headlamp I was amazed to see the big mirror from the snags the previous afternoon sat sulking in the net. And when I weighed her at a massive 48lb 4oz, it also turned out to be the biggest fish I have ever caught!


Returning the 48

Happy days indeed, but unfortunately that would be my last bite from the lake for a while, as over the next few days the fish began spawning, signaling the end of the spring for me.

Post spawning the fish tend too spread out and it becomes a completely different lake altogether, but after a few weekends of searching I soon managed to get back on a few fish during the middle of June. This time it was at the opposite end of the lake to where I had been concentrating my efforts in the spring.

Over the course of a month up until now I’ve managed a further 6 fish from this bay, including a black original common of 29.10, a couple of big spawned out mirrors weighing 36.8 and 37.4, two smaller mirrors of 26.8 and 31.4, and a very saught after common known as the Saddle back, again well spawned out at 34lb 10oz. I also managed to lose a very, very big fish the following morning after catching the Saddle back, when unfortunately I got cut off in the weed, it still really hurts now but that’s a story for another time…

A great beginning to the season for me, I just hope it continues. All fish were caught on either size 4 Cryogen Stiff Rigger or size 4 Cryogen Classic hooks attached to 6 ft lengths of the new dark green ESP leadcore and Syncro XT in 18lb.

Now where’s that big old common.…’

For more info on the mega successful Cryogen hook that Tom uses:

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