Specimen Carp banked, but keep reading the post to find out more about the fantastic capture of a truly magnificent fish.
The day started off in a more subdued fashion as Richard (brother) and I donned a rod and some light gear for some Roach and Perch and a heavier set up with the view to maybe finding an Esox, it was a lovely day to be out fishing, Rich had a few Roach and a couple of missed takes off of the small jack's, but nothing really appealed to me so I held off from the fishing and stood and watched the million's of small silver's mainly Roach devour his bait before it even got through the water column to the required depth, one of the only places that I know where an abundance of small silver's exist in the vicinity of London, due to Cormorant predation and poor spawning over the last few years due to the out of sorts and unpredictable weather.
In the summer, this river just looks so good, just lush green vegetation everywhere, further downstream we did see some good Roach to just over a pound and a couple of small Pike to a pound, doing their best impersonation of a terrorist, charging after the baby Chub and Roach constantly, one Pike was about 5' in length, probably the smallest I've ever seen.
We both decided to have a change of venue and head over to one of my ticket waters in search of a Carp and Rich went on the hunt for some Rudd and Perch, early on he was very successful in catching the Perch catching a couple of dozen in quick succession but the Rudd remained totally out of sight, I on the other hand had issues in trying to connect with the Carp, on about 8 different occasions the bread flake vanished down the old bin chute and I contrived to miss every single one, it took about two hours of stalking before I finally hooked into one and it was probably the best one out of a shoal of 10 Carp, around 5 minutes the fight lasted for and my old cane stick done the business again, I love fishing with it, so satisfying to use it and land fish on it, a Common Carp of 11lb 7oz, normal shape and size, long, slim and very powerful.
Just after I had that Carp we were greeted by some Deer, all 3 of which were taller than I stand including their antlers, fairly unnerving but a great sight to see and we both got quite close to them as they lay in a mud bath to cool down.
Amazing creatures and considering their size they are very graceful, so after a few photo's we just left them to it and we carried on with our fishing, but as the day wore on and the evening crept in we headed around the lakes and searched for more fish as it was prime time, the searching didn't take too long either when I spotted a very pale looking Bream cruising in the shallower water of one of the lakes so with my free lined bread flake I cast out and within 30 seconds the Bream sucked in the bait and stormed off out into the bay but the fight was fairly short lived, a nice big snotty lay in my net.
A nice two-tone Bream of 8lb 2oz.
Not a bad snotty either, it made my net rather stinky it has to be said but Rich was soon to make it even worse when he fancied a go at the Bream as we found a shoal of them feeding on some ground bait another angler had thrown out, it wasn't long before he had a one which went 5lb 15oz, after that we decided to pack up and head for home.
But........as we had both packed up and headed past the last of the lakes on our way, I noticed a couple of Carp feeding on the surface and one pair of the lips I saw were enormous, they certainly belonged to a massive fish, my stalking instinct kicked straight in and pulled out my Chub Outkast 9ft Carp rod and my Shimano Exage 4000 reel, which I had loaded up with 9.7lb line and the bait was a simple piece of free-lined bread flake on the top, the Carp though were very weary and wouldn't stay around very long, plus there were a group of Coots fighting and they constantly spooked the Carp out of the swim, which was infuriating as the fish kept getting closer to casting distance they would cruise back out into the open depths where they just vanished, I knew if I got one chance then I had to make it count.
An hour went by and the light had almost failed completely, the fish came in sporadically, every time it went quiet for 10 minutes I kept thinking about calling it a night, then one would show a bit of interest again and re-kindle my desire to stay and try to catch one, a Carp did cruise back in and just with-in casting distance so I flicked my tasty offering out in amongst the vast banks of weed and hoped whilst it was cruising around the top it would find it, with the night coming in and the sun nearly gone over the horizon I couldn't tell how big it was, and then everything went quiet for a few seconds as the fish obviously found my bait and eye balled it to check if it was okay..... then an enormous pair of lips opened and my bread vanished but I waited for the line to tighten ever so slightly before I struck and then all hell broke loose, I had hooked a monster of a Carp, it rolled almost immediately in front of us both and I started to shake straight away as the adrenaline pulsed through me and the heart rate quadrupled, I had on the other end what can only be described as a swimming breeze block, the fight was very dogged and it played very smart by heading through every weed bed it could find on it's 70m run along the bank, but then I started to feel concerned as I could feel the weight of the weed on the line and I feared it would dislodge my size 6 barbless hook, I didn't want to risk losing it as I had no idea whether I had a good twenty on or one of the resident 40's, anything is possible here.
After 10 to 12 minutes of a good hard scrap she started to tire and I had to wade out into the lake as she was to deep to bring into the margin's, I had hooked a real lump and as I managed finally to outsmart her and get the net under it's immense body I breathed the biggest sigh of relief, I had landed my biggest ever Carp.
I looked at Richard and another 2 anglers who came over to witness what I had caught as they could see the battle from the banks further down the lake with the biggest of grins as I hoisted the Carp out of the water and walked her up to the awaiting mat, everyone taken back by the sheer size, at first it looked like it could go 40lb!, truly immense, what a fish it is, totally bamboozled by it and with all that focus and persistence I believe I deserved to catch her, as she laid spread out on the mat everyone had a go at guessing her weight, with guesses come in from 35 to 38lbs, so we put her on the Ruben Heaton's and she went 35lb 8ozs after the net was taken off, what an amazing fish and she was as pure as a Leather Mirror Carp as you could get, not a scale on her and she was a beautiful strawberry colour, with deep flanks and so wide across the stomach and back I could barely hold her. Time for the photo shoot.
A truly beautiful Leather Mirror Carp. 35 lbs 8ozs. Amazing.
Not to mention it is a new personal best for me aswell, a truly momentous day, and Richard reckons I'm a jammie git, I have to be honest a bit of it was luck, if we hadn't seen them feeding on the surface we wouldn't have stayed to catch her, sometimes I believe in fate in the sense so many other combinations could have come about for our session to end differently but it finished like this.
Last but not least, she was returned to the weedy depths to make somebody else an extremely happy man, as she did for me.