Red Letter Day

The lake was getting really weedy so Joe was raking small spots clean

Joe Atkinson was fortunate enough to land one of the biggest braces of carp in 2014. Here is the story behind that memorable morning…

I arrived at the syndicate after work on Sunday to find five other people already on the lake. With only nine swims, this was relatively busy, but the swim the fish had been holding up in earlier in the week was free. You should never turn up to a water with your heart set on a certain swim, because there are so many different factors to choosing the right one on the day. Nevertheless, I’d had this one in mind for a few reasons; finding a number of fish there the previous week being the main one. The swim had good form early and late on in the season, and it is also known for having produced most of the bigger fish in the past. This included the elusive Tiger Fish and its last capture had been a year ago that month.

Fresh weed growth made landing them a pain, but the fish love it

The fish were on the naturals so Joe glugged his hookbaits in Hydro-Ink to mimic the snails

I stood watching the water for any signs, and it didn’t take long before a fish stuck its head out in the area, not far from where I had seen them the previous week – just what I wanted to see. This was the deal sealer for swim choice, and with that the barrow was loaded and carted around.

I’d had a really good look around in the boat the previous week, sticking some bait out in a particular area where the fish had been holding up. After another quick trip out in the boat, it was clear they had been on the bait, which was a real confidence booster going into the session. With all this in mind I settled into the swim and the spots were found and decided on. Once the rods were out and baited, it was time to play the waiting game and let my observation lead the way.

It was a quiet night with no real signs of any fish, but early the next morning the carp decided to show themselves. Showing at close range, it was impossible to miss the signs; they were in close down to my right where I hadn’t got a rod. Due to them being so spooky I didn’t dare position a rig among them, as a lead cast in the area could have ruined any chance of getting a bite. However, I was confident they would turn up again the following morning, so I would be sure to set my trap before then.

The Tiger Fish at 51lb 6oz – a new PB and lake record

Once the shows stopped, a spot was found and I’m positive the fish had been feeding on naturals, as the spot I had found was thriving. A solid bag was going to be my weapon of choice. The bag mix consisted of Bloodworm and Krill Pellets, Krill boilie crumb, Krill and Bloodworm Active Mixes, a few grains of hemp, Pure Hemp Oil, Hydro-Ink and Pure Krill Liquid. The hookbait was a Krill wafter, almost looking like a snail after being glugged in Hydro-Ink to darken it off. I wanted to get the mix as dark and as natural as possible.

The following morning the rod on the new spot went into meltdown – I was into one. This turned out to be an epic boat battle that kept me on the edge, thinking that I had lost it at the final stages due to a massive ball of weed coming up, then realising shortly afterwards that I had my main target in the net, the Tiger Fish. I was blown away. She tipped the scales at 51lb 6oz, which was a new personal best for me and Bayeswater syndicate lake’s new lake record and first fifty. I was on cloud nine. Little did I know it was about to get even better…

Not long after putting back a fifty, Joe was bent into another big carp

A small balanced pop-up proved the downfall to the lake’s largest common

The Coconut Common at 44lb 10oz – another PB for Joe

Not too long after all this had happened, the rod on the baited spot bent around and the alarm sounded. I was into another one, and it didn’t take long to realise what I was attached to: it was the Coconut Common. I couldn’t believe it! After a very nerve-racking fight, I had her in the net. This turned out to be another new personal best at 44lb 10oz and my remaining top target. It had slipped up on a White Signature pop-up trimmed and balanced to sit above a flat hook. This was presented over around 7-8kg of mixed particles, Krill and Bloodworm Pellets, and chopped and whole Krill and Vor-Tex boilies covered in Hemp Oil, Pure Krill Liquid and Cloudy Krill Liquid.

It was a session that will stay with me forever, and a result I can only dream of repeating.

What a session!

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