A Tale of Two Monsters - Josh Cook

Gigantica is producing more fish than ever before; each week seems to be getting better and better. One happy customer that has recently returned is Josh Cook, who had a week to remember. Here’s his story…

“As I drove down the lane, my heart was jumping out of my chest. The first sight you get when you arrive is simply breathtaking. I turned round to my missus and said, “Look at that” in the next breath she turned round and said, “It’s like paradise”. She wasn't wrong! As I pulled the car up in front of the lake I saw a fish crash straight away, as you can imagine, this got me even more excited.

Barty greeted us and I have say, what a fantastic bloke. He made our stay enjoyable; full with banter and of course his rubbish jokes, which he is famous for.

I sat there in the dining area waiting for the draw to take place and for Barty to run through all the rules and regulations. To my astonishment, he then explained I was the only person on the lake this week. Well, as you can imagine, I was thinking my luck was in. Barty still made me draw a ball out of the hat as he thought he was funny! Well, I pulled out the No2, so it wasn't a bad draw if everyone had been there anyway. He then gave me the lowdown on what had been out the previous week. I opted to fish Co’s Point, as it has been producing fish on a regular basis.

The magical feeling I had driving round to my swim was electric! Words can’t describe that feeling, I was absolutely buzzing. Barty came round and pointed out the hot areas and where the fish had been coming out.

I was all set up by 4 o’clock; my rods were clipped up to the distances and ready for action. I decided to fish two rods at 28 rod lengths, and other at 17.5 rod lengths, known as Fudgy's Kitchen.

Rig wise, I made up an IQ D Rig with a size-six Kaptor Kurv, tied up with 20lb IQ2. My hook bait was a snowman presentation with a Hybrid wafter, topped with Banoffee wafter, which were both supplied on site.

Dinner was at 5 o'clock, so I decided not to cast out, as I had to bring them in within an hour. Instead, I went round to the lodge for some dinner and I have to say, the food was excellent, the evening was full of banter and we had a right laugh.

The first night was quiet and not much happened apart from a good night’s sleep. Waking up to Barty bringing our breakfasts to the swim, I asked him what time were the bites coming the week before, he told me from 12pm till 4pm. So, decided I was going to leave them in till dinner time at 5pm. My decision paid off and at roughly 12:45pm I had a few bleeps on my middle rod. The bobbin then pulled tight. I picked the rod up and I was in contact with a dead weight. Instantly it felt like a good fish and just slowly nodded its head. At this point, my adrenalin was going and I could feel myself shaking. Then once I started to get the better of it, BANG, hook pull! To say I was gutted was an understatement.

After dinner I recast the rods back out to spots and sat back watching the water and they were dumping out like dolphins, but a good 50-60 yards behind my 28RL spot. It really did look good going into the second night. A few hours later I was woken up by a melting run; it felt exactly like the first fish and did exactly the same. It completely beat me up and again another hook pull. After slamming the rod on the floor in frustration, I knew I had to make a few tactical changes. So I decided to go up a hook size, to a size-four Kaptor Kurv hook, rather than my normally favoured size six.

The morning passed with no joy, so I reeled in and decided to change some of my hook baits. I’ve been playing around with a few different flavours recently, the one in particular that I’ve done well on is Almond Goo. So, I soaked up some Bannoffee wafters and gave that ago.

The plan certainly worked, moments later I was bent into another hard-fighting carp. I eventually slipped my net under my first Gigantica carp, such a magical feeling. Looking down at it I knew it wasn't one of the bigger ones, but it was certainly one of the pretty ones, a lovely 21lb scaly mirror.

After that, it went very quiet for a few days, so a change of plan was in order again. After speaking to Barty, I decided to put more bait out. I know it sounds strange, but because I was fishing two different areas so if it didn’t work I had something else to fall back on.

For now I decided to put all three rods on the 28RL spot and put out 15kg of Hybrid boilies; after having nothing for two days I was willing to try anything. My plan had come together nicely again, as I was woken at around 6.45am by another screaming take.

After a long, dogged fight, she was finally in the net. Knowing it was a big fish, I was straight on the phone to Barty and Mike to come round and give me a helping hand. With all the scales and mat ready, Mike and I picked it up out of the water safely over to the mat. Once on the scales it pulled them round to 64lb 2oz, I was over the moon.

Standing in the water, cradling a massive carp was such an incredible feeling and one I’ll never forget, especially when Barty and Mike congratulated me by throwing a bucket of water over my head. My week was complete, or so I thought… but how wrong I was.

After the success of the 64lb 2oz beast, the following night I decided to do exactly the same bait wise. Again, my plan came together with another early morning take. When I lifted into it, the power was immense. I honestly couldn’t stop it. After a painful 20-minute battle, it was safely in my net and what a unit. Moments later Michael delivered my breakfast and had a look into the net and instantly recognised it.

It was the biggest resident in Gigantica, a fish known as Fudgies. I thought my holiday couldn’t get any better after my 64lb, but this just whipped the floor with it. I was blown away, not only by its sheer size, but also how clean and well looked after it was. You can tell from the care and love the bailiffs have for these fish is immense and just shows why they are immaculate.

We gently placed her on the scales and she pulled them round to 79lb on the nose. This was clearly a fish of a lifetime and I have to say that I feel privileged to have caught such an amazing fish.

This was my first time at Gigantica and I have to say the fishing was immense and the hospitality was second to none. In fact, it was that good, on the Friday night I booked to come back again.

Roll on next trip.
Josh Cook.