Monster carp worth the preparation

PUBLISHED: 14:58 04 February 2011

Sea Fishing Andy Browning with a wrasse

Sea Fishing Andy Browning with a wrasse


An extract from my angling diaries: In September 2005, my pal Peter arranged a guest permit for me to fish with him at a private carp lake where they grew big.

Peter trotted off to the far bank, asking me to join him at “some nice places to fish from” he said.

“Sorry,” I replied “I’m off to creep around to find some carp before I start fishing”.

It was 10am. I’d bought some stewed hempseed and some hard carp pellets. I got my Kelly kettle going, put half the hard pellets into a bait box, just covered them with boiling water, then made a coffee.

I put some hard pellets in with the hemp and set off on a slow tour of the lake. I spotted the odd big carp in the margins of the more overgrown banks and put in some of my hemp/pellet groundbait.

Peter was fishing from an open area of bank perched up on his fishing chair. Eventually I came to several willows growing half submerged in the water.

There were several large carp in this snaggy area and I knew that was where I should fish. So I put in most of my groundbait.

Next I set up some strong tackle – a stepped up split cane MK IV rod with a 3lb test curve, an Ambidex Mk 9 reel loaded with 18lb line (these reels built by Youngs in the 1960s are a joy to fish with, due to their silky smooth gearing and free running line roller).

I slipped a small rubber float stop up the line followed by a small quill float free to slide by its bottom ring, then another float stop slid up six feet from the end of the line to which I ‘palomar’ knotted a strong size 4 hook.

Lastly I rolled four small sausages of tungsten putty to lightly pin the last four feet of line to the bottom.

I went on another tour of the lake looking for signs of fish feeding on my groundbait, but it wasn’t until I got back to the willows that I saw those signs – bubbles, clouded water and small whorls in the surface film.

The bottom there shelved down to seven feet. I adjusted my float stops accordingly. Then I baited my hook with a walnut sized lump of paste moulded from the soaked pellets.

Opening the reel pick up I threw my baited hook out by hand, then slowly drew it back into the base of the shelf.

I sat quietly on my cushion on a groundsheet hidden behind a willow bush using my bait box as a rod rest.

Within 20 minutes my float stole slowly away and I hooked the first of 14 carp I was to land during the next eight hours, including four 20 pounders, three 18 pounders, four 15 pounders and three 14 pounders.

Twice I got smashed up in the willows by fish more powerful than my biggest of 26lbs.

Peter? He had one five pounder!

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