Dave Lane Carp Fishing Diary | July

Dave Lane Early Twenty Carp

What a wonderful week to be British!

The British and Irish Lions have won the tour in Australia; and had me leaping all around the room like an over excited schoolboy, Andy Murray has become Wimbledon champion and, hopefully, we will win the ashes as well in a few days’ time to ice the cake off nicely.

To top it all off the sun is shining and it looks like staying that way for a week or two, I am off on holiday to even sunnier Spain and everything is at one with the world, well my little world anyway!

The carp fishing hasn’t been exactly fantastic though and, in true British style, I think we can blame a lot of that on the weather leading up to this current hot spell.

I think this burst of summer however, will be exactly what the doctor ordered and I am expecting to return to lakes that have finally seen a proper spawning and are full of hungry carp.

Now is the time to be out there looking at what the lakes contain, getting to know your quarry and, hopefully, nicking the odd fish out of the edge or, even better, off the top.

I love surface fishing and I hope there is still a bit of nice weather in store for me to try my hand at it this year.

Nothing is quite as exciting as watching a set of lips close around the hook-bait and feeling that wall of resistance as you set the hook. The explosive nature of a fish hooked at close quarters off the surface is awesome and I can’t wait to give it a try.

I have been getting amongst a few lately though, mainly from shallow water spots in the margins or on bars as the carp have seemed reluctant to feed at all in the deeper water, although I am sure this will soon change.

I had a close encounter with a couple of bigger fish on my new pit the other day, not monsters but still a better stamp than I have been seeing although it didn’t end the way I had planned.

I had just spent hours getting my carp fishing baits into position without spooking the fish and I was pacing the banks waiting for the inevitable bite.

When it did come however, it turned out to be a small mirror that had somehow impaled the hook in its flank. Needless to say he then managed to spook every decent fish in sight and I was left right back where I started.

I moved the next morning and managed to find a few more carp to fish for but, unfortunately, they were not of the same ilk, although I did bag my biggest so far at 23lb pictured above.

The previous week was also an exciting trip when I spotted a group of carp milling around a weed-bed next to a small island. A shallow bar connects the bank to the island so I was able to put on my thigh waders and wade right out to them and place bait with deadly accuracy. Back on the bank I could sit there in total confidence that I was fishing as well as I possibly could.

It’s so hard not to keep checking a spot, even when you know everything is spot on, I just need to see the fish and know what they are up to at all times.

Luckily I didn’t have to wait too long, although it seemed like days at the time, and by the time it grew dark I had managed to land three carp, two twenties and a nineteen pounder.

So, even with the weather keeping the fish in a strange mood, it is still possible to trick the odd one into feeding; it’s just a matter of finding the right spot on the day.

Keeping the bait to a sensible level also helps, if the fish are lethargic for most of the time then there is no reason to assume they will suddenly eat ten kilos of bait just because it has grown dark. Quite often when it is as hot as this they hardly move from their daytime haunts throughout the night and can often be found in the same spots as soon as it is light enough to see.

Anyway, I am off to lay in the sun for a while so tight lines while I am gone and, hopefully, stalk yourselves out a few monsters while I am away.

Dave Lane Carp Fishing Diary | Early June

Isn’t it funny, a few years ago we would have all taken this week off and crammed the lakes to capacity for the glorious 16th of June and the start to a new season. After an enforced lay off of three whole months, we would have all been champing at the bit to get back out there and wet a line.

I know a lot of carp fishing waters still hold fast to the old rules but, even so, there are very few anglers who don’t find somewhere to fish in the meantime.

Personally I am all in favour of a close season, I would just like it to be for three weeks in January so that I had a decent reason to stay at home in the warm.

I’m glad that things have changed though, the spring is such an exciting time to fish and, even though this year was not so good, we get to see everything waking up and the fish starting to feed once again.

More often than not the middle of June is spawning time and the beginning of the season often used to be marred by the carp starting their rituals just as we all turned up to fish.

I saw a little attempt at spawning a week or so ago, on a new and extremely large pit I have just started fishing.

The lake itself is roughly two hundred and fifty acres and location is obviously the main aspect of success on a place like this. I am not entirely sure of the stock in there but I know it could possibly have a few old original carp left somewhere in its depths, mixed in with two sets of stock fish, both of which are at least six or seven years established and could also be a fair size by now.

I was over the moon to find a group of carp within a couple of hours of my arrival for my second session; they were cruising around in some shallow water next to a huge reed-bed that stretched along a hundred yards of bank.

Within half an hour of watching I had seen at least six or seven different fish and that was all the incentive I needed to haul my gear up to the top end of the lake and get a couple of rigs into position.

Big pit angling is my favourite form of fishing and, if you add the fact that I had no real idea of what I might catch, you have the perfect water in my book. The excitement when that magrunner bite alarm screams out its battle cry is electrifying and I still visibly shake when I am playing fish from a lake like this, even though I have been carp fishing since god was a little lad!

The first take came mid-afternoon and was a double figure common, looking a bit on the plump side.

The next fish managed to hold off until the early hours of the morning but then it all seemed to go a bit mad. By the time I packed up the following day I had managed to up the tally to seven fish, most of them were male mirrors in the eighteen to twenty two pound bracket, obviously ganged up before spawning as this constituted a real red letter day on a pit this size and with not a huge stock.

All of the carp I banked were in mint condition and stunning examples of what a carp really should look like, huge scales and fantastic colours and every one of them fighting fit.

On my last morning they started to show the odd sign of getting a bit ‘jiggy with it’ and, although they didn’t actually start to spawn, there was the odd little thrash about in the reeds.

I did hear from the bailiff that, a day or two after I left, they absolutely smashed the reeds to pieces in a wild sexual frenzy, lucky buggers, and I am sure that the fishing will now return to a normal state.

I am under no illusion that it will get a lot harder as the fish start to split up into smaller groups and I will be walking my legs down to stumps in an attempt to keep on top of them but I am looking forward to every minute of it and, who knows, maybe I will be lucky enough to hook a long forgotten monster one day soon.

Dave Lane Mirror | Fishtec

Dave Lane Carp Fishing Diary – First from North Met

North Met First Fish

Well I have been a bit lacking on the blog writing front recently and for that I apologies. I have recently moved house and been kept busy putting together cabinets and hanging shelves, erecting sheds and all the other paraphernalia that goes with the wonders of a re-location. I’m just glad that moving swims is so much easier!

My carp fishing has changed a lot in the last few weeks, as has the weather, and with spring finally sprung I moved on to the North Met pit in the Lee Valley.

I had heard a lot about the lake in the past but never actually set eyes on the place, although Google Earth is a wonderful tool for a bit of armchair exploration; it’s just a shame you can’t see the fish jumping on there.

It’s an interesting venue, being comprised of two separate lakes that are joined by a pipe that the fish freely swim through and plenty of islands, bays and channels make for a really varied and exciting layout.

My first trip coincided with a bit of early warm weather and, amazingly, I found some of the biggest fish in the lake all lazing in a snaggy half sunken bush at the bottom of a tiny bay, more like a finger of water really. Bearing in mind that the lake is around sixty acres I was surprised, and excited, to find a concentration of eight or nine fish in such close proximity, particularly as there was nobody fishing for them.

It didn’t take much figuring out as to where I was going to start my little campaign and I soon had two carp fishing rods set up in the nearest available swim and cast out in perfect positions to intercept any fish that left the snag and travelled back up the finger.

The important thing about snag fishing is to make sure you have taken the safest option possible and that anything you might hook is going to end up on the bank and not wrapped around an old sunken tree root. To this ends I had carefully scoured the water with my Polaroids and made sure my fishing line was clear of obstructions and, with everything set, I sat up close to the rods to wait.

To be honest I wasn’t actually expecting any action until the evening when the fish might decide to move out and I was just wondering if I may have set the traps too early when one of them went off.

I had only been fishing for an hour and already I was into my first carp on a new water.

Because of the nature of the swim I didn’t let him gain any line and it was a bit of a hit and hold tactic I employed really. I could feel him twisting and turning in an attempt to gain some ground and then, with a wave of his tail, he rolled over on the surface and knew he was heading for the net.

He wasn’t the biggest fish I’d ever caught, in fact he was probably the smallest of the whole bunch I’d seen in the snag, an out-runner that was not considered big or old enough to sit in the main snag with the big girls, but he was very welcomed all the same.

It’s always good to get that first fish and to get one so quickly was a real bonus, although the swim did die a bit of a death after this and the rest of the gang melted away throughout my first night without stopping for supper as they passed me by.

I knew that the Met would only be a short interlude for me during the spring as I had a water lined up for the beginning of the tradition season but I intended to try my hardest to get a few more over the coming weeks. Plenty of walking and staying very mobile was the plan and I was really looking forward to putting it into action, everything depended on the weather though and the water temperature needed to rise considerably before the fish would leave the cover of snags, reed-beds and the like and start using the lake properly, hopefully it would happen sooner rather than later.

Don’t forget to take a look at my Carp Fishing Video Diary!

Dave Lane Carp Fishing Diary May

Well I had two more trips after my initial success on the North Met, only these were not quite as successful, mainly due to the fact that the fish were practically living in the out of bounds areas, either that or deep within a huge reed-bed, just trying to make the most of the pretty poor levels of sunlight we were having.

On my fourth visit to the water, a short one night trip due to the bank holiday stealing half of my session, the weather had picked right up and it was actually hot for a change.

I set about walking the entire circumference of the lake and determined not to set up until I had found something to fish for.

The first thing I noticed, being the day after bank holiday, was the litter everywhere, not from anglers I hasten to add but from the general public as the North Met is actually part of the Lee Valley parks and is used by a multitude of different people. Just why people think it is alright to leave all their discarded wrappers, bottles, bags and even used nappies laying around the place I do not know. If they turned up for their picnic and found the public areas looking like a rubbish dump then they would be disgusted and go elsewhere but they think it is totally acceptable leave it in this state, just who do they think cleans up after them every time?

Anyway, rant over, but I do so abhor litter in any form whatsoever and there is just no need.

I took a long slow stroll around the lake, with the dog charging on ahead at every opportunity and chasing anything that look stupid enough to run, squirrels, other dogs, ducks, sparrows, he’s not particularly fussy although he couldn’t actually catch his own tail but that never stopped him trying.

After a good hour or so of looking I climbed a small tree situated on the mouth of a dead end bay. It was a perfectly situated swim as it sits adjacent to a gap that the fish have to pass through on their way from one end of the lake to the other, a natural bottleneck with a small bay set to the side for resting and sunbathing in. A very shallow bar cuts across the swim about twenty five yards out and forms the mouth of the bay so that, once the fish have passed over it, there is nowhere else to go but into the bay, passing right through the little swim I was now standing in.

I stood up the tree for a bit and then saw what I was after as a carp appeared over the bar and slowly cruised beneath me, shortly followed by three more and this was all the encouragement I needed, I was off like a rabbit for my carp fishing rods.

Luckily I had stashed the barrow about five hundred yards away when I arrived, being almost at the end of my first circuit meant that I was nearly back to the fishing gear anyway and it didn’t take long to get everything into position.

Before casting I spent another ten minutes up the tree just to make sure I was picking the best spots and then I flicked out three rigs into the best looking interception points, scattering about a dozen free baits around each one.

It was one of those situations where you just know you are going to catch, definitely the best chance I had since starting on the lake and I wasn’t at all surprised when my left hand rod signalled a drop back after only half an hour of casting.

The fish had kited around into the bay, away from the bar and the small island in front of me, perfect really and it was a good tussle in deep clear margins that followed. I could see about ten feet down into the water so I knew it was a decent fish way before I got him into the landing net.

He was a nice long and old looking mirror of thirty one pounds, almost a leather along his flanks with a great big head, what a way to start a trip.

With the photo’s done and the rig back out there I put the kettle on and sat back to bask in the sunshine but not for long!

May 30lb Carp for Dave Lane

This time it was the left hand fishing rod and that was where the danger really was, the shallow bar had a snag growing out of the top and, had he managed to clamber over it into the main lake than I really would have been in trouble, I was a real battle of wills for a few minutes and huge surges of water washed up the side of the bar as he tried over and again to gain the sanctuary of the open water.

Eventually he realised I wasn’t going to give in that easily and he tried to make it into the bay but he’d gambled his biggest energy reserves with the bar and I soon had him under control.

Once again I could see him way below the surface and this time I knew I had hooked a real biggie. Every time he turned and twisted below the rod I could clearly see his deep flanks and huge shoulders and I knew he was somewhere around the forty pound mark; quite a scary thing really knowing just how big they are so long before they are beaten.

Beaten he was though, eventually, and into the net he went with a last defiant slap of his tail.

On the scales he stopped just short of forty, just a few ounces mind and still a real whacker.

This one was more of a big pit chunk, a real deep bellied, broad shouldered beast and he looked just fine with the sunlight bouncing of his orange flanks.

Near 40lb Carp for Dave Lane at Fishtec

With two fish under my belt I knew I was staying put for the night, even the swim was tiny and barely more than a little grassy slope to the water.

The night was quite eventful as well, I had a further four takes before it grew light, two of these I unfortunately lost but a pair of twenties finished the session of perfectly. As if often the way at this time of year I awoke to a completely different day, the sun had been replaced by cloud and rain and the fish had moved off to find more suitable areas to live in but I packed up happy with my results.

Next week I will be starting my campaign on a huge 250 acre clay pit, full of bars and mystery with an unknown stock, right up my street!

Dave Lane Carp Fishing Diary – End of March

Here we are then, April has finally arrived, the official first day of spring has been and gone and the clocks have gone back to provide us with a glorious extra hour of evening light. Of course the next line should read “The sun is blazing down on the lakes, the daffodils are all out in bloom, and nature is resplendent in all her glory” but the reality is that it’s still snowing!

Never mind though, let’s just ignore that fact because the time has come to get out there with your carp fishing tackle and catch some fish, who cares what the weather man says, it’s April and the fish must be starving by now. I have had two more trips to the Estate Lake, possibly my last two for a while because it is nearly time to move onto pastures new.

One of the two visits doesn’t really require much in the way of a blow by blow reportage as I just cowered away in my Hard-core Bivvy, sheltering from a bitter North-Easterly wind and snow flurries, but we are not going to mention that again are we?

The other trip was far more productive, the air temperature rose a couple of degrees, the fish decided that it was in fact spring after all, and I caught not one, not two, but four carp in a frantic twenty four hour period.

Not only were the bites forthcoming but, for the first time this winter I managed to get two of the pick-up’s from a new area, rather than just out in the middle in the silt.

There is an island out to the left of the swim I have been concentrating on and it has a hard gravel shelf that runs around its perimeter. There are various trees and bushes that overhang the margins out there and these provide the perfect haven for carp. By clipping up and adding a yard at a time I managed to place a bait tight between two of these snaggy overhangs and present, for once, on firm and clear lake bed, a perfect trap for any island margin patrollers.

I have obviously tried this ploy a few times over the last couple of months but always without success so I was over the moon when this was the first rod to rip off. More than just another capture this was a sign that the fish were finally on the move and willing to leave the sanctuary of the deep silt in search of food and sunlight.

Over the next twenty four hours I managed another island bite and two more fish from the old spots in the middle. Although none of them were monsters I was still well happy with four carp to mid-twenties after the previous week’s non-entity of a trip.

24lber-Dave-Lane-Fishtec

It really does take such a little change in the elements at this time of year to kick start the chain reaction that results in a successful session, a few hours of sunlight or a swap in the wind direction can be all it takes.

Talking of which, look out for the weather this coming weekend as they are forecasting the first bit of South based wind for months, on the strength of this I am predicting some big catches all over the country so make sure you are out there to cash in, remember where you heard it first!

I will be out filming the new TF Gear DVD all next week, we have some exciting new products to showcase and, hopefully, there will plenty of action on the rods as well, I can’t wait!

Dave Lane Carp Fishing Diary

Well, it’s been a few weeks since my last blog as I have been a bit busy with my writing schedule, carp shows and trying to extricate some carp flesh out of the Estate Lake.

What a terrible month it has been for weather again, this winter seems to be the longest I can ever remember and every time we think we are through the worst of it, along comes yet another cold snap.

As I write this the date is showing on the computer as the 8th march and the little weather symbol is threatening yet more snow at the weekend followed by temperatures as low as minus five for my next session on Monday. I don’t know about the rest of you but I can’t wait for a nice bit of sunshine where we can all sit out side in the evenings in a pair of shorts with a cold drink and watch the sun slowly setting over the lake as you wait for your carp rods to scream off.

I think the fish are in a bit of a quandary as to what’s happening as well, February is usually a very productive month but not so this year.

It started off well enough, in fact it started very well indeed and on my first trip of the month I managed to bag myself three nice carp.

I had set up in the same area that I had my previous captures form, figuring that the carp were not going to move far in cold water. The first day was un-productive but, just as the sun started to creep across the horizon; I had my first take and duly landed a common of around twenty four pounds.

As seems to be the way on this particular venue, one fish usually means there are more to come and a couple of hours later I was away again on the same rod. This time it was a mirror that graced the banks, not quite as big though, he weighed in at eighteen pounds.

Although this is quite a small fish in comparison to some of the beasties in there I was still well happy with my result. Two fish in a morning in February is good angling in my book, no matter what size they are.

Although the day had started nice and sunny, by mid-afternoon the clouds had thickened and a wickedly strong wind had whipped up, to be honest it looked like even more snow was on the way.

About five o’clock I had a third take, this time a real belter and the fish I’d hooked into was obviously far bigger than the previous two. He charged about all over the place, three times I managed to get him close to the net before he turned and belted back out into the middle again.

Eventually though, he waved the white flag and slid over the net cord and, just as he hit the bottom of the mesh, the skies opened.

Huge great flakes of snow like white mice were whipped across the surface, almost horizontal in the force of the wind. I pinned out the landing net with the fish inside and darted for the cover of the extended porch on the Hard-core bivvy, from here I could crouch down out of the weather but still keep an eye on the net. It fell so hard and fast that I thought I might, at last, get the snow carp picture I so wanted but it turned out to be far too windy for it to settle. After about ten minutes it eased up and battled my way out into the wind to take the photos.

Dave Lane 34 Mirror Estate Lake

Although there was no snow on the ground there are obvious signs of it bouncing off my jacket so I suppose I am getting closer every time. To be honest though, I’d rather give up on the snow photo and catch one in the blazing sunshine instead; surely it can’t be long now can it.

This lovely orange coloured mirror tipped the scales at a shade over thirty four pounds and he turned out to be, not only the last fish of the session, but the last fish of the entire month so I have no idea what went wrong there.

The lake just seemed to shut up shop totally, although I did manage one more bite the following week but that turned out to be a twenty pound pike!

Hopefully at some time in the next two weeks I will be moving onto a new water for the spring and summer, I have a good one in mind that is stacked full of thirties, a few forties and, hopefully, the odd surprise, I can’t wait, and I’ll keep you posted as to how I’m getting on.

Good luck with whatever waters you target this coming year and lets all hope for a nice warm spring.

Dave Lane Carp Fishing Diary – January

Well that was that then, the second coming of the ice age soon put paid to my little run of catching carp.

I turned up last Monday full of confidence of finally achieving my lifetime ambition, a big carp in the snow. The white stuff was falling out of the sky in flakes the size of white sugar mice and an even crisp coating covered the banks, but not enough to put a damper of my carp fishing enthusiasm.

The drive through the Estate was pretty hairy as, half an hour before light; mine were unsurprisingly the first set of tyre tracks on the lane. Even in four wheel drive it was more than a little slippery but I arrived in one piece and with no dents or scrapes.

Pushing the barrow was easier than normal though as the sloppy mud on the paths had frozen solid and I trudged straight up to the swim I had been so successful ion the previous two visits.

Surely this would be the week that I returned victorious with a camera full of images a big golden carp against a Christmas card background?

I knew I was up against it though as the forecast was for a rapid deterioration in the conditions and hideously cold temperatures during Tuesday night, this combined with a swing in the wind to the East meant there was a very real chance of the lake freezing over.

To start though it looked perfect, the snow kept falling and the baits all went out in the right spots first time. I put the bivvy up to shield my kit from the snow and settled in for the duration.

The first bite time came and went, shortly followed by the afternoon chance without as much as a sniff.

As soon as grew dark I knew I was in for the long haul as I have only had the one take in darkness and the nights seem so interminably long at this time of year but a film on the mini DVD player and a good book helped to pass the time.

Once again the morning feeding spell came and went and I busied myself by making a snowman for company, it was looking really good until Paddy decided to eat both his stick arms!

Fishtec-Snowman

Once I had re-cast all the rods with fresh baits there really was very little to do apart from sit and wait some more and consider the sanity of doing another night as they were predicting temperatures of minus eight that night.

Luckily I had come well prepared and the layers of thermal fishing clothing I had on kept me nice and warm despite the biting easterly winds.

Once again darkness fell only this time the forecast came good and by midnight I knew that my chances of that magical snow photo were as far below zero as the thermometer was.

I snuggled down for the night and, as I awoke on Wednesday morning, I was actually surprised just how nice and warm I felt, I had my trusty Hard-core Sleeping bag tucked up around my chin and the fleece lined cover keeping in all that lovely warm air, it was quite a shock when I peered out of the bivvy doorway and saw fifty ducks all walking in single file across the middle of the lake, my quest for a carp had failed but I suppose my testing of the new winter range of clothes and sleeping bags had been a roaring success. I was tempted to just stay in bed and pretend I was still fishing but, eventually, I had climb out and start the long and arduous task of packing away a frozen bivvy and breaking the ice to retrieve my lines with fingers that felt like frozen sausages.

As they say though, you have to be in it to win it and there is still plenty of winter left to try again, and plenty more snow on the way.

January – Carp Fishing on the Estate Lake

Well it’s all back to normal again, the tinsel is keeping the mice warm in the loft and the tree is all folded up in its box again. I had a bit of a lay off from fishing over the holiday period but I was breaking my neck to get back out there at the beginning of this week, especially with the mild weather we have been having.

I set off on the Monday morning for Northampton and a return to the Estate Lake, arriving just as it was getting light. Apparently nobody had even thought about carp fishing the place for two weeks and I wondered if the carp would still be holed up where I caught my last three fish from?

Obviously this was going to be my starting point and it didn’t take long to get three rigs out there on the spots.

I was sticking to my successful method of a standard hair rig with a bottom bait and the addition of a small PVA bag of 10mm baits, just to give the carp something to home in on through the thick silt.

With the fishing rods out I quickly set up the Hard-core Bivvy and then stuck the kettle on for a brew but something seemed different, quieter than usual, and then I realised there were no sheep. Usually there are woolly Ovines wandering around everywhere, sneaking up behind your bivvy and startling the hell out of you with a sudden loud bleat but, for some reason, they had all disappeared today; maybe Lamb had been on the menu at a big New Year’s Eve dinner at the manor house!

I didn’t have to wait long to find out if I was in the right spot, sheep or no sheep, the carp were definitely still there as I had my first take about ten o’clock in the morning. After a bit of a tussle in the silt where the fish sent up huge sheets of bubbles as he tried to bury himself under the mud, I managed to steer him into the margins where he just plodded up and down for a few minutes before waving the white flag and rolling up into the net.

This was a nice welcome back present and a great way to start the New Year but I couldn’t help but wonder what I might have missed out on over the previous few weeks. On the scales he registered twenty eight and a half pounds and, after a couple of pictures, I slipped him back into the cloudy water.

With such a quick result I had high hopes for the rest of the session; especially when the next rod ripped off at three in the afternoon. This fish fought far harder than the previous one and I really did think I had hooked one of the really big commons for a while but, as he eventually came over the net cord, I could see he was another mirror. Incredibly pale in colour, probably due to the lack of light getting through the muddy water, he weighed in at just over thirty and a half pounds.

Thirty-and-a-half-January-Carp

Now I really was confident and I could see a session to remember stretching out ahead of me but, as is the way with carp fishing, the lake had other ideas. It was as if that last fish had pressed a panic button and all the carp retreated to the bunker for the next two days as, apart from two bream, the alarms remained silent.

The weather just got better and better and I still find it hard to believe that nothing else fed although I certainly am not complaining at two big fish in the first week of January.

I hope the rest of the month goes as well, although they are forecasting some horribly cold conditions over the next few days so let’s just hope the lake doesn’t freeze over as that’s about the only thing that will stop me being out there again next week!

Dave Lane Nets Two 30s!

Happy New Year to you all, 2013 is here and once again we have survived through another ‘end of the world’ scenario.

This time it was the Mayan calendar coming to its last page on 21st December but, despite the lunatics sitting on a hilltop waiting to be rescued by aliens as the world crumbles around the disbelievers, we are all still here and live to fish another day. I reckon this must be at least the fifth such event I can remember, what with George Orwell’s ninety eighty four, the millennium bug, Nostradamus predictions and the lining up of various planets to ensure we all perish in a ball of fire. It does make me chuckle but I suppose it gives Yahoo news something to write about eh?

Personally I had a great end of the world party down at the Estate Lake, having struggled for a few weeks prior to this trip it was as if the fish had decided to have a last supper as well, just in case.

The last capture from the Estate had been my twenty two pound mirror over a month before but on the Tuesday morning, after my first night of the session, I received my second ever bite from the lake. I was wandering up and down the bank looking for signs of fish when the Sounder box from my Mag-runner bite alarms screamed out in my pocket as something made off across the lake with the bait.

There was no pre-amble or hesitation, it was just a full on take as line was ripped from the clutch. The following fight was not quite as impressive as the run however, and before long a chunky mirror with a big floppy tail rolled into the net, a chunky mirror that looked incredibly familiar as it happens. I’d only gone and caught the same fish again, two carp in five weeks and it was the same fish both times!

I was pleased to have had another bite but a bit disappointed with the result and, after weighing him a full pound lighter than the last time, realised that even he had probably not fed for a while so the others must have been on a strict diet.

Later that evening though, about seven o’clock and in total darkness, I had another pick up and this fish felt a lot heavier, plodding about in the shallow water and silt in front of me. As it rolled into the net I caught a glimpse of golden scales and realised I’d got a common, and quite a big one at that.

On the mat I could see he was way over thirty pounds and, on the scales, I was proved right when he spun the needle around to thirty six and a half pounds.

Thirty six pounds plus is still a huge size for a common in my book, I think I have only ever had three or four bigger in my life so I was well chuffed. I popped him into a hard-core safety retainer for ten minutes while I sorted out the camera equipment and then took a few shots before sliding him back into the lake.

Nothing further happened that evening and, after a nice warm night’s sleep, I woke up quite surprised to find that I hadn’t had another bite as the conditions were perfect, mild and overcast with a light wind, about as un December like as you could imagine.

I had to be off the lake by one that afternoon and I was all packed up on the barrow and hovering behind the rods as my time ran out. In fact I waited until about ten past before walking towards the first rod, just as the line lifted and started kiting around from the tip, the alarm sounded and I was in again, talk about last second!

This fish fought a lot harder than the other two, repeatedly tearing off across the lake and refusing to be netted. Eventually though, the rod wore him down and I brought him up and over the net cord. Because I am fishing a smaller venue than usual I have recently swapped over to a set of three pound Nan-Tec rods, lighter than my usual distance versions and a pleasure to play fish on, I do like to see that tip cranked right over and feel every twist and turn from the carp, it makes it all so much more fun.

In the net I could see that I had landed something special, the biggest mirror in the lake weighing in at thirty five pounds and twelve ounces, what a lovely Christmas present and, if the world really was going to end in three days’ time, I was going to perish a happy man.

mannor-carp-dave-lane

 

My First Carp on a New Estate Lake

Well it looks like winter has finally arrived, the flooding and wild winds have been replaced by freezing temperatures and half the lakes in the country have a lid on them already.

I have managed to find myself a water at last having spent a couple of months in the wastelands, so to speak, a nice little Estate lake in Northampton. The setting is about as stereotypical for an English estate as you can get, like a film location for a period drama. There is a huge manor house atop a small hill and rolling lawns meandering down into a six acre lake, dammed at one end with a small stone bridge and inlet stream at the other. Sheep wander freely over the entire area and often straight up to the bivvy door at first light, their sudden Bleating can almost send you through the bivvy roof in shock!

I have even had a take from one when he decided, out of curiosity, to turn my reel handle with his nose to see what would happen, what happened was me and the dog came flying out the bivvy and fifty sheep went charging off up the hill in panic.

Over the years the lake has seen the passing of millions of gallons of water fed from the stream and the fields and then pushed over the outlet onto the lower ground of the valley below but what it has left in its passing is silt, I wouldn’t like to even guess how deep but I know for a fact it has gone from 14 feet deep to 5 over the last couple of decades, and that’s the deep end!

Most of the six acres are between three and four feet deep and hold around sixty fish including one very big common of around forty six pounds, so how after nine nights spread over five weeks have I not even seen one single fish roll or jump?

It always amazes me on these little shallow lakes, just how elusive the carp can actually be, although I am not sure that the middle of winter is the best time to start looking really.

I have managed to catch one though and it’s always nice to open your account on a new water; I had a lovely fish of twenty two pounds one oz mirror on my second trip, fooling me into thinking that I had sussed the place and I would have a hat-full by now!

Dave-Lane-Fishtec

My last two visits have coincided with the arrival of a new ice age and I am actually now at home writing this when I would normally still be fishing but yesterday half the lake froze over and by midday I still had ice coated lines and freezing fog masked the far bank. The forecast last night was for minus four degrees and, looking out of the window, I can see they were right and there is no way the lake could survive that.

One thing I will say though, having just fished in such bitter conditions, is how warm and comfortable I managed to stay while I was there, I was genuinely amazed when I woke up to find the lake, my bivvy and everything all around encased in ice. The lid was frozen onto my water bottle and yet I was snug as a bug in my sleeping bag and oblivious to it all.

Thermal carp fishing gear has come on in leaps and bound over the last few years and I look back in horror at just how unprepared we all used to be, in Argos sleeping bags with an old blanket over the top. I now use the Hard-core sleeping bag with the Comfort Zone Peach-skin cover and, to be totally honest, I wouldn’t actually like to be any warmer for that would mean stripping off layers of clothing which is all well and good until you get a run in the night dressed in just a T-shirt and your Sponge Bob Square pants, pants!

The beauty of this system, for me, is that it still crushes down into the bed-chair when I pack up and, as long as you un-clip the cover and tuck it inside the frame, you can fold the bed totally flat so that it goes back on the barrow nicely.

As for actual winter clothing I am now spoilt for choice, being in the fantastic position of having to test the new ranges of kit I have so much warm gear to choose from that I couldn’t catch a chill in the Arctic.

My personal choice at the moment though is the big Force Ten jacket for in the daytime when I am out and about in the elements and the Thermo-Tex survivor for dossing about in the bivvy in the long hours of freezing darkness, this thing is like a portable sleeping bag and so comfortable and warm it’s incredible.

Anyway, I gotta be off now, I have a load of cold wet gear in the back of the truck to dry out and I’ve just spotted a low pressure system moving across the XC-Weather site, apparently it’s going to be eight degrees by the weekend so get your warm jackets on and get out there while you can.