Alan Taylor banks a Brute!

“Well it was time to get packing for a Rainbow trip. I knew I shouldn't be fussy, as a lot of people would love a trip down there and I was in the Island Swim, a lot of people's first choice and favourite, but not mine.

What I could gather was the temperature down there was in the thirties, and they were looking to spawn, which could have been disastrous. That's a chance you take with a trip this time of year. The forecast was for the hot weather to continue but with strong northeasterly winds.

Alan chose 50lb Apex to use among the fierce snags.

His hook link was 50lb Kamo.

After the usual fourteen-hour journey it was good to be back at the lake. Some of the swims were empty with people having left early for various reasons, but not because they were catching too many! As I looked out across the lake I could see that the Island Swim was not inhabited for whatever reason. It didn't matter that there were no lines in it, it was getting a rest and whatever bait that was out there was hopefully getting cleared up; if not by the carp then by the bream and tench. It would not be till midday the next day before I would get out there, so it would get a nice rest. The previous occupants left earlier in the day, as the fishing was too slow for them. It was all music to my ears and better than them giving the fish a battering in my view.

I got my head down as sleep is easy after a day’s traveling and I had a busy day is ahead. All my gear has to be ferried over to the island by boat, which entails unloading it from the van into the boat, boating it across the lake and unloading it the other side, setting up the bivvy, rods etc and trying not to leave anything in the van that I would need and on the other hand not taking unnecessary items.

The island is just that; a small strip of land in the middle of the lake with a big bit of water that is yours to fish. It has the usual woodwork type areas, small bays, humps, bumps, spits and lots of open water that can be used by the carp when they are just passing through. There are endless places to drop baits. It would seem that the carp were waiting to spawn but the strong northeasterly wind was chilling the water enough to stop this happening. I would be fishing the right-hand side of the swim and my fishing partner (WC) who is yet to arrive, will be on the left. The two best rods for the right-hand side are normally fished at long range, 250-265 yards. That would be fun in this strong, gusting wind. There were lots of options for my other two rods and I hoped to get something going at a lot shorter range.

I was going to fish with floats and heavy leads to keep the braided main line on the surface, out of the way of obstructions and the shallow bars that come to within two feet of the surface. The heavy leads would also help keep the rigs in position, not allowing them to get towed around in the strong crosswinds.

Once in the swim, I spread some Mainline boilies around to try to interest any passing carp and lightly baited my spots. I was fishing with large, hard handmade hook baits to avoid the bream and tench and therefore would be able to leave the baits out two or three days if required, with confidence they will still be intact and working.

I didn't have to wait long for a take on the longest rod and jumping into the boat, winding frantically, I headed off into the distance in the strong crosswind, trying to avoid my other lines. I could see my float in the distance and tried my best to keep the fish under control, away from any snags. With the motor on full blast it didn't take long before I was playing the fish at close quarters around the boat. Thankfully, it popped up and into the net without too much trouble. Obviously, now the fish is my priority so I unhook it in the net give the hook mark a quick dab of the new Korda Carp Care. It looked to weigh about mid-thirties. It's a long way to take it back to the bank and I am not one for leaving it in my net while I redo the rod; that seems disrespectful to the fish and not good practice. So, I find a quiet spot out of the wind, have a good look at the fish and release it. In the front of my boat is my bucket of bait, new rig and leads, so I set about sorting my rod out finally attaching my PVA stocking mesh. Then, as quietly as possible, manoeuvre back to my spot and swing my rig back onto my spot, throw in my freebies, then motor back to the bank keeping as tight a line as possible.

This was repeated eight times over the next week, with fish to an estimated 46lb, until I got another bite, which felt different. I wasn’t having to pull; the float was staying pretty much still. I was still winding like mad to keep a tight line but like sometimes happens, the float confuses them and they just sit still under it. As I approach the float, the fish began to realise that all was not well and the float started to bob and began to move. A mighty battle ensued. I had to use the motor to hold position in the strong, gusting wind; it was a mighty tussle, with the carp towing the boat at times and the wind blowing through the tight line making it sing added to the tension of it all.

Eventually it came to the surface and, sure enough, it's a nice, big common. It made a dive for the boat as a last effort, but the boat spun around and up it popped again, ready for the net. With a shake of the net to get its tail in, that's always a sign of a big one, in it went! HAPPY DAYS! Sure enough, as I reached down to unhook it I was greeted by a massive head and an enormous mouth that my fist would fit in easily. I quickly broke the net down making sure the fish was comfy and all its fins were flat to its body, head facing forwards. It was a long, steady journey back to the bank for weighing and a quick photoshoot and I stopped a couple of times just to check that everything was good in the net. Arriving at the bank a large retainer was placed under the fish before it was lifted from the water. After checking the fins it was a two-man job to lift it from the water onto the soaking-wet unhooking mat, before hoisting it onto the tripod and scales where we recorded a weight of 64lb. Lovely!

I did manage to get the two shorter rods working during the rest of the trip, which was nice and a lot easier, although it was the long rod that produced the biggest two fish of the trip, the other being another common of 57 lb.

A Durakord leader added another layer of security.