Catching Old Original Carp from A Syndicate Lake

The spring had been kind to me, but while I was catching a few fish, I prayed that the weather would gain some consistency and hopefully encourage them to feed on the bottom. It was becoming quite obvious that the air pressure played a huge part in where they wanted to be. Anything below a thousand millibar and it was game on for the bottom rods, but much above it and they seemed to loiter over the deep water and virtually right at the surface too. It was handy though, as I could almost forecast, if you’ll pardon the pun, what I was going to be faced with upon arrival and prep my gear beforehand. If the sun was out and the pressure high, I arrived at the lake with three rods made up with adjustable zigs. If the weather was coming on strong, with big winds and low-pressure, then I would glug up a few boilies in preparation.

I arrived at the Syndicate carp lake on the Thursday to find the lake really busy. After a quick lap I still found a few undisturbed fish on the surface in a quiet corner. I flicked a few zigs out to where the fish appeared to be entering and exiting the little bay and left them be for the night. The following morning, I had a funny, stuttering pick-up, knowing full well that on an adjustable it was a bite. I lifted in to it and we began the battle in the early morning light. Playing fish on relatively light tackle in deep water can be a long, drawn out affair, but this one gave in fairly soon and before long I had a lovely 28lb mirror in the net. Shortly before leaving for work, I managed another bite too, this time a much smaller one of around 18lb. Content with the morning’s action, I packed the gear up and knew it wouldn’t be until the following week that I would be back.

Old Mirror carp from a syndicate lake

Despite it being April, it was still fresh out there and the zigs were working well

On the Friday afternoon I arrived to be met by only one other angler on the lake. I wasn’t sure how long this was going to last, so I hastily did a lap and noticed quite a few fish showing in front of a swim known as The Bog. I dropped my water bottle in there and quickly ran back to the van to get the gear. The pressure was nice and low and I had in my mind that I was going to be fishing on the bottom. As I assembled the gear, I kept an eye on what they were doing and it was clear they were on a couple of particular areas, showing regularly. In the past I hadn’t really fished to any spots here, preferring simply to cast at showing fish in the knowledge that even a soft drop would mean I was fishing.

I cast all the rods out to areas that I had seen the fish show, each with a different colour Signature pop-up and I scattered some Krill boilies around the zone. It is something that has worked well for me in the past, being able to get rods out quickly with minimal disturbance. The night passed quietly, but the fish continued to slosh out in the darkness. I got my head down and before I knew it, the sun was coming up and the surface was littered with frothy bubbles, the carp had been here during the night, but nothing had happened. I flicked the kettle on and rubbed my eyes to make sure I wasn’t going crazy, when the middle rod just went from nothing to everything, stripping line on a tight clutch. After another short battle, with just the occasional spirited surge, I landed a nice 29lb mirror. I did the pictures and slipped it back, before making some breakfast and packing up. The fish were active, and I had caught one, but for some reason I wasn’t feeling it. I quite often do that, if I plan to fish the weekend but catch on the first night, it is like I have done what I set out to achieve, I have got my fix and I can go home to the family and so that’s exactly what I did.

casting rod on a syndicate lake

I made a point of fishing over areas the fish were showing, and not just on known-spots

The following Thursday I was back down again for the night and the lake was busy. We were in to May now, which is traditionally the best month on a lot of lakes, but with this place being so deep, I felt like it was still a little way off from kicking off in any way. It was hammering it down with rain, but the fish were still up in the water, virtually on the surface. The bulk of them were out in front of The Bog swim again and after a quick chat with the lad in there, I found out he was off that evening. I decided to wait for him to go as it would put me right on the main bulk of the carp. With them being on the surface, I decided to rig a couple of adjustable zigs up and the other rod I was going to fish on the deck, casting to the island’s marginal shelf. I felt that the fish could easily drop down to feed at any point and if there were ever a place to do it, then the shallower area would be the one.

29lb old mirror carp from a syndicate lake

A classic-looking mirror, so typical of the lake, at 29lb 6oz

syndicate carp lake water

The fish could often be found in the quiet corners of the lake

I waited for the chap to pack his kit away and leave the swim before getting sorted and got on with the plan straight away. Two zigs went out to the area the fish were cruising around. I then flicked a Krill pop-up to the island, got a good drop and that was that, I was fishing.

boilies and throwing stick

Scattering baits with the stick, instead of Spombing, allowed me to get the rods out quietly

I then scattered 50 or so baits around that rod and settled down, content with my efforts to get everything sorted with the minimum of fuss. Next I got all the gear set up and organised, made a brew and looked out at the lake. I couldn’t have been looking for more than a few minutes when all of a sudden the island rod pulled up tight. I picked the rod up and it was just light lunges, erratic head shaking and all the tell-tale signs of a tench. A couple of lads were now stood with me and as I played it back to the bank, I gave them my thoughts on what was responsible. I chatted as I reeled in this fish slowly so as to keep the disturbance to a minimum, not thinking too much of it, until this huge mass of a fish rose up from the depths! I couldn’t believe it; this was a carp and a big one at that. I shuffled the net in to position and by the time I had done that, it was beaten, and I just scooped her in with no dramas at all.

old 38lb mirror carp from a syndicate lake

The Italian at 38lb 3oz – I thought it was a tench the whole way in…

Amazingly, it was a fish known as the Italian at over 38lb, what a result! It was just getting dark, so we had to do night shots of her, but I was over the moon to have caught one of the bigger fish for the lake.

carp rods setup on a syndicate lake

The fish frequented the margins of the island a lot too…

I was in a good swim, one that had been doing fish regularly and they seemed to be there, so I wanted to do the full weekend. Two more nights passed and nothing happened, typical really, but the fish definitely seemed to drift away more and more as the weekend went on. Still, it was nice to catch one and I was sure to be back the following week. I had a couple of weeks away, fishing elsewhere, so I didn’t get back until the 23rd of May, which was a Thursday. It was a warm afternoon and I found a group of fish sunning themselves in an area known as Willows Corner. I climbed the tree and I counted 15 fish and they looked really catchable. My initial thought was to put a couple of zigs high up, but something in my head told me that they could be up for a floater.

carp fishing floater baits

After finding a few carp milling around in a bay, I flicked a few floaters out to gauge a response

I grabbed the floater gear and flicked out a few Krill floaters and they soon began taking them. I flicked out a white Krill pop-up, which is a colour I know they like. I watched as two fish ejected the hookbait in quick succession, so reeled it in a changed it over to a Krill hookable floater, which matched the freebies a lot better. I was staring at the water for so long and concentrating hard, I had to have a few seconds break. As my eyes wandered about, I felt a pull on the rod and as I looked up, the controller was sailing off under the surface, I was in! I lifted in to it and the battle began. Light tackle, big carp and deep water was never going to be a quick affair. The rod arched over and I had to give line whenever it wanted it.

Playing a fish on a syndicate carp lake

One of them took the hookbait and it was clearly a better fish!

I was a slave to this one. Whatever it wanted to do I had to cater for it. Every time I felt like I had gained control and the fish was close, the tip would yank down and the clutch span, this thing was not coming in easily. I don’t know how long she was on for, but I caught a glimpse of the fish and knew it was one of the big mirrors. Everything felt like a blur and eventually, she was spitting water and lain there prone, on her side and beaten. I slid the net under the colossal carp and she was mine. It was a fish known as Brush Strokes, a huge-framed mirror weighing 45lb 8oz, a new PB for me and I was over the moon. The second biggest carp in the lake and a really impressive one too. I fished the night, but with nothing else occurring and content with what had happened, I packed up and went home. I had worked hard all spring and to have finally caught one of the real big ones, I felt like I had really earned and deserved it.

old mirror carp 45lb from a syndicate carp lake

It had a huge frame and is one of the biggest in the lake

45lb mirror carp from syndicate carp lake

The mirror, known as Brush Strokes, weighed a huge 45lb 8oz and was a new PB to boot

I had a week off and didn’t get back until June, when the new ticket started. I had my lad with me and knowing the fish were still in the deeper water, I cast the zigs out to a good area and spent some time with my lad for his first night’s fishing. In the morning I managed to catch one, a nice mid-twenty scaly one and I got my lad in with me for the picture and he absolutely loved it. We only did the one night and I wasn’t going to be back until the following Friday. The new ticket saw a big drop in the membership numbers for the coming season, which made the place lovely and quiet for the weekends. Upon my arrival on the Friday, there were only a couple on, and the fish were in the Willows Corner again. It seemed to be a regular thing; the fish would be in there during the afternoon, but vacate the area for the night.

30lb mirror carp from a syndicate carp lake

This 30lb 10oz mirror was another victim of the stealthy baiting strategy

I flicked some zigs out for the evening and within an hour I managed to catch a nice 28lb scaly mirror. The weather then changed during the night to a north easterly wind and the pressure dropped, with the wind now hacking in to The Bog area. I quickly moved round, and the fish were showing regularly in front of the swim and it looked prime for fishing over some bait. I kept an eye on the main areas that they were showing on and cast some wafters at them. I scattered some boilies over each rod with the throwing stick, all the while the rain was hammering down. That afternoon it slowed up for a little while and there was a break in the weather, which brought me a take. I had a spirited fight with a lovely 30lb mirror.

mid twenty old mirror carp from a syndicate carp lake

This mid-twenty was a particularly scaly one for the venue

The rain began again as I did the pictures and set in for the evening. At around 6pm one of the other rods was away, this time a 27lb common was responsible, making it one of the most productive sessions I had had for a while. I had switched to wafters over the pop-ups now, as the fish seemed to be looking for food and a wafter is less obvious than a pop-up. I had been catching on bright ones in the spring, but now I had changed to match the hatch Krill hook baits and it was working for me. I felt like it had been a good spring, landing 16-fish, including a few of the bigger ones too. My plan was to keep going, maybe flit on to the big pit in the summer for a while, but this lake had a hold on me and with so many big carp in the pond, I would be crazy to not keep going and try to catch as many as I can.

carp angler with boy holding mirror carp on a syndicate carp lake

I got to share this moment with a mid-twenty mirror, with my son on his first overnight session

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