A great result on a private lake

This week, I’ve been to a venue I’ve been looking forward to getting to grips with for a long time. I can’t name it unfortunately, but it’s a private Staffordshire club water which can be seen from the road (so I have no idea why I can’t mention it, but there you go) and offers some fairly impressive fishing… apparently. I’ve had two very short sessions on the water previously, both during snowstorms, where unsurprisingly, I caught nothing, and missed the odd bite I did see as my teeth chattered; hopefully, in warm sunshine, things would be different.

As usual, I’d done a bit of homework, and discovered that bream were being caught from the roadside bank, so I wandered slowly along, hoping to spot some signs of feeding fish. As I walked, I passed a thicket of brambles, and when I reached their limit, the water was absolutely boiling with fish; some bream, some carp, but either way, it looked like a Jacuzzi! I had intended to feeder fish, a standard bream approach, but with all the surface activity, I couldn’t wait to try the pellet waggler, so started firing out sinkers every few seconds, and casting over the top. Not a touch. I’ve been informed that the pellet waggler is often effective, but neither I, nor the adjacent anglers could get them going, so it was time for a change of plan; out came the trusty feeder rod, and a small method feeder loaded with groundbait was fired out and the tip left to settle. Again, very little occurred for over thirty minutes, then the first tentative twitches told me that the feeder had been discovered, then, ten minutes later, the first bream, a fish of around 3lb, was netted.

 

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Bites were slow to develop, and few and far between, so I changed to a cage feeder with a longer hook link just in case the fish were backing off the method feeder in clear water. Again, a half hour wait, but this time no twitches, just a slow steady pull, and it was a simple decision to lift the rod into yet another chunky bream. Despite the amount of activity in the swim, I hadn’t yet latched into a carp, so, as I often do, I dribbled a few walnuts of groundbait, a handful of maggots and a pinch of corn into the margins below my rod tip; just in case! The bream were coming with some regularity, one every thirty minutes, and, as I pulled into another, I finally saw a dark shape drift beneath me; it looked like the carp had arrived in the margins! I steered the bream to the side of the swim, well away from the carp, unhooked it and slipped it back quietly, before sitting well back to watch…
There appeared to be four carp, none looked particularly big, but I wanted one on the mat. I tried to lay my feeder near the fish, but they spooked off the line, so I tackled up a small crystal waggler, loaded it to fish the ‘lift’ method, and lowered it off the end of my rod. The carp were all ‘head down, tails up’ and within a minute, the float lifted and lay flat, and I struck into a fairly fed up carp! As you know, I’m an advocate for Sonik rods, and my S3 1.5lb tc Specialist soaked up any initial lunges (despite using only 5lb mainline) and within five minutes, a scraper double lay netted. The other three had drifted off, but I was confident they would return, so put in a little bit more bait, and resumed my bream fishing.

 

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They were back. Just a few minutes after the disturbance, the carp drifted in again from my left, and recommenced feeding. The cage feeder was withdrawn, the float deployed, a signal that my size 14 hook loaded with maggots had been snaffled, and sure enough, it popped up and laid flat for a second time! Once again, a slightly bigger double was defeated, and the remaining two fish slipped away… This was repeated on two further occasions, until all four carp had been deceived, the biggest a chunky 16lb 2oz, which fought strongly for more than ten minutes, and all tamed on just a small barbless hook and relatively thin line thanks to the forgiving action of my S3. (If you haven’t done so by now, check out www.soniksports.com I’ve dropped enough hints!) Overall, I tempted my foursome of unwary carp, and around two dozen bream, all averaging 3-4lb, to give a combined weight of over 100lb; a good result on a water I’ve yet to get to grips with, but a sure sign progress is being made. Hopefully, I’ll tangle with one of the bigger residents next time; there are reputedly carp to 30lb, but certain rules mean that they are rarely landed, instead discussed amongst smashed up anglers as ‘monsters’. I’ll be sure to let you know if I do…

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Clint Walker

I am a freelance angling journalist/copywriter. I currently write two weekly columns in a UK national carp magazine, monthly features for a top trade magazine, I have my own newspaper column, compile video reviews for a weekly coarse angling magazine, and write for a variety of online media and other publications. I am also currently sponsored by Mainline Baits, Sonik Sports and Vardis Tackle.

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