A night in the City - Tom Burns

Plans had been made to fish a 24-hour session on Walthamstow Reservoirs. The opportunity is only available on the first and third weekend of each month and it had been a couple of months since my last trip so I was eagerly awaiting my return.

I managed to spend a couple of hours walking the banks the Friday before my session, surveying likely looking spots and familiarising myself with the landscape. Saturday morning arrived and the usual early morning routine of waiting at the gate was a welcome feeling. I managed to draw within the top ten and chose to start the session in a swim called The Jungle. It’s a swim that covers an open-water area on the East Bank of the No2 reservoir. It would give me a good opportunity to be on fish during the night and early mornings.

The approach consisted of short, supple rigs on a helicopter setup. Hook patterns featured a mix of the new Korda Krank on test as well as the faithful Wide Gape. Light 2oz pear leads enabled me to fish at around 48 yards with minimal disturbance.

I was fortunate enough to land my first fish within an hour, a very welcome 25lb mirror. The window of opportunity in this swim was limited and by mid morning it was evident that swim was devoid of carp. The typical Walthamstow playbook would stipulate that I should up sticks and try to intercept the carp in another area of the lake. This being one of the weekends that enabled me to fish the night I decided to stay put and introduce bait consistently throughout the day, which is difficult to say the least. The seagulls that reside at Walthamstow are the most skilled and eagle-eyed gulls I have ever encountered.

The session was thus hinging on a successful night, which I planned to stack in my favor by applying three to four kilos of boilies on dusk to try and hold the carp on their evening patrol route past The Jungle swim.

By 10.45pm it was evident that the fish were back in numbers. They approached from the left yet it wasn't until 12.30am that my right-hand rod signalled a bite. A short scrap saw a scaly stockie grace my net. My gut feeling was that I had wasted an opportunity with my middle and left-hand rods so I decided to have recast in an attempt to provoke a bite. I didn't have long to wait because at 2.30am my left rod pulled up tight and I was away again. The initial part of the fight consisted of the fish swimming towards me and not a lot else. It did however decide shortly after that it wasn't going to give in that easily and proceeded to turn from a very obedient fish into something that was clearly very big and powerful.

I did eventually manage to tease the big mirror over the net cord and it was instantly apparent that it was a very special fish. I called for assistance from a neighbouring angler and we managed to weigh and photograph the biggest mirror of the lake. She went 39lb on scales, which is a little low for her but she was in great condition and gave a very good account of herself. Its not every day you manage to catch a carp that is around 40 years old from a venue with such character.

The night wasn't over yet and I managed to reposition all three rods on to the area and before sunrise I managed another 30lb mirror.

All in all it was a very enjoyable trip and the fish residing in such an intriguing venue make it very special indeed.