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Thread: random carpy stories

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    Default random carpy stories

    After yesterdays mag thread it seemed like everyone was up for a good read, so thought id post up old article that c.a. ****ed up, apologies if youve read before but it was put out in winter a few years ago so im sure it wll be new to
    most. Bear with me its a bit of an epic so might post in stages.

    It was july 89 and Chris and I were returnig from a nights rudd fishing on a cambridgeshire gravel pit,(I must point out that a nights rudd fishing entailed staying awake all night staring at a betelight float) this, follwed by a 45mile journey in a rusty old hillman avenger on a hot summers morn, had us both reaching for the matchsticks. We decided to stop as we were nearing a large lee valley gravel pit we both fished from time to tme,thinking a brisk walk around the lake would wake us up a bit, we might even spot a big tench or two.
    We pulled into the carpark and sat there for a minute or two soaking up the atmosphere and savouring the intoxicating mix of summer scents and sounds,with memories of past fishing trips, a refreshing draught for travel weary anglers. We were soon on our way round the lake and were surprsed to find the first couple of popular swims vacant, indeed bearing in mind we were only 5 or 6 weeks into the season there were no signs anyone had fished the lake for quite a while. Along with another friend Chris and I had fished the place on and off for several seasons, though none of us had fished the lake since the previous summer. I hadn't even bought a ticket for this season as we had all noticed the decline in the tench fishing over the past couple of years.
    The hurricane of two years previous had taken its toll on many of the mature willows that fringed tha waters edge rendering most of the few swims on the lake unfishable, it looked altogether neglected, which only added to the mysterious character of the place.
    While passing one of these fallen willows I was stopped in my tracks, open mouthed I gestured to Chris to come over. At first he could see nothing but as his eyes adjusted to the glare on the water he gawped at me and spluttered, "jesus how big are they?" I couldn't answer him and just stood there mesmerised. At that time I'd done a fair bit of carping in the previous few seasons but only on estate lakes and a couple of small pits, the biggest carp I'd caught was just under 15lbs indeed the biggest carp I'd ever seen was a 19lber. There below my feet, gliding gracefuly between two sunken willows were 8 carp, seven of which were bigger than any carp I'd seen before with just a small bank of stinging nettles between me and the fish.

    I gazed down trying to take in every detail. The smallest fish was a common of around 12lbs, the rest were mirrors of all shapes and sizes and all considerably bigger than the common. Then there were the big two, a pair of twins identical in every proportion. They cruised past,casualy showing off their flanks and their scab like scales, it was like watching a pair of barnacle encrusted humpback whales in a giant aquarium. I was pulled round from my mesmerised state only by the realization that I had a bag of floating catfood biscuits in my pocket, a habit I'd aquired since taking up this carpfishing lark.

    I gingerly tossed out half a dozen biscuits, and to my utter astonishment, the nearest couple of fish turned, and surped them up! A couple of handfull's later and they were fighting over them. My mind was racing, I had a tench rod in the car, a spare spool of 10b line for my carbomatic..hmm, hang on I didn't have a ticket! mind you Chris did and I could get mine tommorrow after all there was no one about! I gave Chris the bag of biscuits "keep em going, I'm off to get my rod" as I sprinted back to the car my mind was buzzing.

    All the times we had fished over here, never had we seen a carp, never had we hooked anything that we thought might be a carp, and more to the point we'd never met anyone who even knew of their existance. The car was further away than I'd realised, by the time I'd sorted out the neccessaries I was an exhausted, gibbering wreck. Chris informed me they were still "aving it" I couldn't believe my luck it was all going to be too easy. Chris then proceeded to tell me that the biscuits were running out. Great, I thought, I was a 50yd dash away from a major coronary, a group of whacking great carp lining up in the margins waiting to be caught, now I've got to set up in double quick time!.

    Hands shaking, I tried to tie on a hook, my heart was thumping so much that I had to keep holding my breath. Things quickly went from bad to worse as waltzing round the corner came the bailiff. My heart sank, he's bound to either spot the fish or spook them... I shuffled away from the bank as casually as I could, over to where my few bits of tackle were strewn. He asked for my permit and I told him it was in the car and would get it while he was doing his rounds, and show him on his way back, Chris shoed him his, and he was happy with that for time being, and walked on. I stood there not daring to move until he was out of sight.

    As he disappeared I leapt over the stingers, the fish were still there ! .I knew I didn't have much time, he'd be back within 15 minutes. The fish had now mopped up all the remaining freebies and I had about 40 small biscuits left in the bag. I tied two bisciuts to a freelined size 4 aitken carp hook, threw out a dozen freebies and plopped the hook in the middle of them. Due to the confines of the area between the two sunken willows the plan was to screw down the clutch, hook and hold, and Chris would swipe up the fish in the net before it even knew what was going on.

    As soon as the hookbait hit the surface a large mouth engulfed it, I braced myself and struck, the hook went flying up into the tree overhead, the line pirouetting neatly round a leafy twig. I cursed as I yanked the line out of the tree and the two hook baits came off and plopped neatly back into the margin where they were immediately consumed, the fish hadn't batted in eyeball. I tied on two more biscuits and repeated the whole sorry process, except this time the hook ended up in the stingers. by now I was falling to pieces, there were a dozen or so biscuits left and a couple of the fish were getting nervous,I thought I might have one more chance. All this time chris had bee crouched down behind the stingers with the net like a demented entomologist, waiting to pounce. I took a deep breath, threw the last of the biscuits in, and then cast. Due to the close proximity of the carp to each other I wasn't aiming for any individual fish, anything bar the common would do. The water was gin clear and I could see their every move, a good mirror had eyeballed the bait and was coming straight for it. before it could take the bait one of the big two charged in front of the mirror and the hook bait disappeared in a huge vortex and down into the black hole.

    Time stood still, I daren't strike, the line cut through the water, the calm erupted and the fish bolted towards the snag to the right, sending startled carp fleeing in all directions. The fish was somehow gaining line, momentum, the rod was creaking, and he was nearly in the sanctury of the snag two or three feet below the surface. The rod was pointing directly at the fish, I held on to everything and started to stumble backwards, the fish turned and chris sank the net ready to scoop him up, there was a jolt and chris swiped, I knew it was all over but was he in the net? He swiped again, I knew it was empty I lifted the rod the six foot or so of 10lb line had held out, but the hook was snapped at the bend, I was close to snapping myself!

    The fish had all disapeared into the snags and were not coming out for the last few remaining biscuits. We waited for a couple of minutes, but we knew the bailiff would be back soon and didn't want to draw his attention to anything so we trudged our way back to the car. neither of us could quite believe the events of that morning, Chris kept saying "How big do you reckon that was?",the truth was we didn't have a clue, we settled on over 25lbs, even with my limited carp experience I knew the two biggest fish were a fair bit bigger than that.. . . . I would be back!


    going to call that end of part one, as I said its a bit of an epic, will post some pics to break it up a bit and get back to the keyboard later .

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    the place looked altogether neglected

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    I stood there mesmerised !

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    Elite (Bronze) Cyprinius's Avatar
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    Look forward to it.

    Mind you, in part 2 could you give us a step by step photographic sequence showing us all the knot you tied the hook on with?

    Seriously though.. Just in case there's any magazine editors reading... THAT'S the sort of stuff we'd like to see more of!
    I started out with nothing.... And I've still got most of it left!

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    Elite (Gold) carp unit's Avatar
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    Good stuff Strider

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    Quality Strider

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    Strider, that almost had me wishing I had "Winfield" tackle again, brilliant mate, thanks!

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    Can't wait for part two.... I was right there with you, my heart in my mouth!!

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    Good stuff mate

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    Regards Tad.

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    Quality

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    Very good. Best thing since Karmalite.

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    cheers lads pt 2

    The events of that morning are as clear in my mind now as they were on that fatefull day 20yrs ago.During the following week I had my motorcycle stolen. so that weekend saw me cycling the 6 or 7 miles from my house to the lake with my stalking gear and, I hasten to add my permit. It had been a very warm week and during my abscence the lake had suffered an algal bloom which had turned the gin clear aquarium into a vat of pea soup! ... I wandered around most of the day but saw nothing. I knew I had bitten off more than I could chew, ...I never returned!

    The next nine years were spent fishing most of the large gravel pits in the lee valley, gaining experience and confidence every season. Success came on every water and was hard worked for, always in the back of my mind was "that lake" Over the years, rumour and hearsay abounded of fish that stripped your spools of line before ceremoniously smashing you up! of canada geese being plucked from the surface like baby mallards, if it inhabited the lake it grew to monster proportions.

    Eventually I met an angler who had actually carp fished the lake, he was a colourfull but cagey character who said he had fished the lake for several seasons catching nearly a dozen carp to 31lb. He added that the lake had held around 50 carp with 4 known 30's up to 36.14, but that 3 of them, including the biggest one had died two years previously and he'd stopped fishing it since. His account seemed realistic enough, indeed the fish deaths would tie in with many that occurred that year on waters linked to the relief channel system.

    The previous close season had seen me walk the banks a couple of times seeing just one fish, a mid twenty mirror that didn't look too healthy. The prospects of me fishing the place seemed remote but I bought a ticket just in case. I popped over the lake a couple of times that summer and bumped into the same two anglers on both occassions. One of them was fairly approachable and after sounding me out a bit, revealed that this was their second season on the water and had both taken two fish apiece the previous season, these fish were between 19 and 23lb though one of them had lost what felt like a much better fish. This year they hadn't had a sniff and were thinking of calling it a day as they travelled all the way from kent, he did add that they had seen no one else fishing for carp.

    The following week the lake I was fishng at the time had a blue green algae bloom so I decided on a two night recce session, which although I enjoyed immensely, saw no signs of fish whatsoever. Other fish in other waters were calling me and I never returned that year. Later that season I was fortunate enough to catch a new brxbourne lagoons record at 37.08 which at that time apart from the friday lake leather, and stansted's maylin's fish which I had already caught, was the biggest carp in the valley. I knew now I would be content to blank my *rse off over "that lake"

    The water had alway's been known to me as langrdge lake, its real name is holyfeld lake which I think sounds much more dramatic, and suits the place down to a tee. The first thing that strikes you about the place is the bloody size of it, the sailing club list it as 180 acres but my guess is more like 150, the next thing is the amount of islands, I've never counted but my guess is somewhere around 70/80, all infested with every winged creature known to man, and probably a few that aren't. Although I dont particulaly like the word the only way to describe the place is awesome.

    To add to the anglers problems the lake is divided up into five sections, four owned each by different fisheries and one owned by the sailing club, each section having a different access point which gives you access to only one section at a time. To walk the banks of the lake involves driving through the gates of each section walking their bank returning to your car, driving to the next section and so on. apart from the sailing club which of course is out of bounds to anglers. The round trip must be something like 20 miles driving and 4 or 5 miles by foot. Obviously to put in the effort required I had to know there was still a few fish left in there, I didn't care about monsters I just wanted to catch a carp from the place.

    My mates had been winding me up saying they'd give me 4 nights max before I went running back to somewhere like broxbourne with my tail between my legs, but I knew the time had come, it was almost like my carpfishing destiny, pre ordained all those years before.

    Most days in the close season I would be over there looking, as the weather warmed up I had a few good sightings and my mind was made up. Most of the fish seemed to be around the mid twenty mark with a few doubles, and 3 different fish that looked like they might go 30. One day late in may I watched the fish spawn, what a sight, going mental all afternoon, oblivious to my presence, on several occassions dousing me with spray. I counted 19 different fish that day, the most I'd aver seen, I certainly believe it was the majority of the carp population.

    I hadn't bumped into anyone else all spring apart from a couple of tench anglers, so after spawning I decided on a spot of prebaiting. As with most established gravel pits there was a reasonable head of tench and bream residing in the lake, I decided to go straight in with the boilies, guessing it would be an alien food source to all fish in the lake and hoping it would take the bream and tench a bit longer to accept. At the time I was a partner in a small bait firm and so the last few weeks of the spring were spent rolling,rolling and more rolling which meant my time visiting the lake was limited to evenings when unfortunatey, I was seeing no signs of fish. For that reason I didn't go mad with the pre-baitng, just 2kg every other night on a couple of likely looking spots

    As I wasn't really sure who, if anyone was fishing at the start of the season, I decided to get over there early on the 15th, after a big breakfast up the cafe with some of the north met lads, I pulled into the carpark and was pleased to see no other cars present. Most of the swims were badly overgrown and the one I'd chosen to prebait was no exception. A pathway to the swim had to be cleared, then the swim itself dug back just enough to get my brolly in.

    After a couple of hours toil, the swim was now fishable and the day was turning out to be another scocher. I sat down on my rucksack, wiped the sweat from my brow and was just admiring my horticultural handiwork, when a good fished head and shouldered right over one of my baited spots, ...I felt a smile creep across my lips. After this activity it was time to keep a low profile but had no choice but set the brolly sideways near the waters edge. luckily there was a clump of reeds and a small bush to hide my presence and once I'd put the camo net up, it blended in quite nicely

    Sometime in the afternoon, I was lying on my bedchair, recovering from the mornings exertions, when I glanced down at the margin directly below me. To my amazement a carp was nosing around in 3feet of water just two foot from the bank, I sat there frozen! The fish was a mirror of about 25lbs with a wierd shaped head, and one I'd spotted several times over the past few weeks, he mooched around for 10 or 15 seconds and carried on his way. I peered over the reeds just in time to see him vanish behind an island 20yards to my left. As soon as the coast was clear out came the bait and I crumbled a couple of handfulls of boilies and dropped them in the edge along with a few whole baits. I sat there watching intently, trying not to move too much, an hour passed and my mind was drifting. Laying back on my chair and dared myself to dream about the possibility of banking one of these elusive creatures....

    From the corner of my eye a carp ghosted in over the baited margin, a better fish, in fact one I didn't recognise. There was no hesitation, head down, muching away to its hearts content, I scanned its flanks for recognisable marks, it had quite a frame on it and I guestimated it around 33lb. Within a minute or so the once clear marginal water had been transformed into a billowing mass of cloud and debris with the odd glimpse of a huge fan like tail wafting around in excitement. Boy this fish was really enjoying his dinner, it clearly knew what boilies were about. What more could I ask for? Good fish in my swim, scoffing baits like theres no tommorrow and only a few hours till the off, Isn't life wonderful ?

    After a few minutes I decided to semi spook the fish from the baited area, hopefully for him to return later when my hookbait would be waiting for him. I flicked out a couple of small pellets in an effort to shake his confidence, but he was oblivious to them, a few more, still no reaction. Just then help arrived in the shape of 3 canadian geese, they had spotted the hand comng through the reeds and the surface dimpling as the tiny particles were dropped and had come to investigate As soon as they reached the baited area, the fish appeared from the cloud and descended to the hidden depths beyond. I could have frightened the geese off but wanted to see how far down the marginal slope they could reach. They ate what they could and moved on. After a while the water cleared and the point where my baits would be safe from their voracious appetites was duly noted. The amount of bird life was obviously going to be one of the biggest headaches down this end of the lake.

    sorry lads forgot how long this was, and how slow I type

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    going to get my missus to type the rest she's quicker than me

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    Elite (Bronze) saint-oli's Avatar
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    Great thread, funnily enough i was thinking yesterday it would be a good idea for a thread. Would like to also have some input from tp, old git and riverside going on the pictures and comments they have made on the photo threads. Hope this one keeps going

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    Strider type faster... I have to go home in 30 minutes lol.

    And i know this pit extremely well.

    Excellent writing

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    Nice Strider! Looking forward to part III!


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    great read very inspiring

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    see guys 2 or 3 articles like that a couple of technical pieces and a good editorial and you have the makings of a quality mag, now all we need is someone to put up that 80 grand they promised me 6 years ago!!!!!
    quality strider.

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