‘An angry devil looking male linear!’ – Alfie Russell

I’m pretty sure most of you guys will now know that I’ve been privileged enough to join E.S.P and Drennan. I’ve found myself in the most comfortable and welcoming position I’ve ever found to be in whilst being involved and working in the carp fishing industry, I’m mega grateful. Now onto the fishing!

This year started off pretty excitingly I had some great plans ahead. A astronomically warm spell in February woke up most certainly every carp in the country! With spring plans to fish a gravel pit not far from my north London home that was sparsely stocked, but containing one prized fish of low forties, standing out compared to the small ‘cricket bat’ commons that resided in there. I knew it was going to wake up being shallow and there was a good chance she’d come out early before a campaign of some description took place. Unfortunately someone else had fluked her out and admitted he didn’t even know what was in there! A shame really as it was a mega carp I’d have loved to caught and the lake suited my fishing -  left alone in real terms and genuinely quiet  as far as today’s waters go! But the capture got out and the pictures were all over the internet and just another place that becomes more pressured, making it ten times harder to reach that reward! And with not much time on my hands preparation is the key to success.

A corking male common of upper 20s!

So... I decided to jump into the deep end with no 'target fish' so to speak. Just planning and going on my instincts from the past I decided to do some time on the public waterways. Canals in particular being a starting point. I’ve had some incredible carp from canals in the past and probably have been more than lucky. To say they are contagious is an understatement containing very nomadic, low stock stretches, with beautiful fish sometimes even being big too!

I decided to keep a eye on the weather adn from the past I have had great results on hard stretches during certain times of the year. Having a inkling that carp will gather pre spawning to areas that have weed growth and bream spawning in the same area gave me the window of opportunity to have a decent chance of winkling a few bites early on without the effort of baiting. So I done just that!

To the exact day I dropped into a stretch that I’d had past success on and instantly I knew I was in with a chance, carp rolling on the section within relatively close distance it was just a matter of time...

I received a bite a few hours after casting out. Where the stretch is very weedy the fish tend to just bolt straight into it and it’s all happy days from then on leading them in and that’s exactly what this one done. A corking male common of upper 20s! Buzzing on a short reckie night I thought I’d give them some bait, which turned out to be the right thing to do. A few hours later with the rods lent on the towpath the line pinged out the clip and slowly started to trundle off. At first I thought it could be a bream but I was a few seconds later flat rodded through the weed and all come to a halt. Grinding through the weed I could feel the odd kick and I was back in contact with the fish, ever so gently leading it back to the net with a heap of weed caught over the top of the leadcore I swooped the whole thing and began to rip away the strands. Well... I was more than ecstatic with the mega old canal creature that lay in the folds of the net! One I had seen a picture of a few years prior. A angry devil looking male linear of 32lbs!

An unreal canal specimen

By far one of the best looking carp I have ever caught and with it being from the canal makes it ever so more precious! Something I will always remember! After this success I decided to try and dedicate some more time to the canal over the last month and managed to get amongst some more corking canal carp! Nothing massive but they all have there well treasured place in the photo album.

I will keep you updated on my travels and what I get up too over the next few months !

Good luck ! Alfie!

A smaller but equally special carp in its own right...