Ben's Northey Park bonanza!

Early September saw me driving down the A14 Peterborough bound for my first trip to my new water, Northey Park - home of the famous 50lb-plus common, Kitch. I’d been extremely busy with work all summer so I was massively relieved to finally be getting the rods out for a few nights.

I excitedly pulled through the gates and quickly found a spot to park the van so I could set out on my first lap. Ten acres of shallow, gin clear water full of weed and pads greeted me. It was a lovely lake. After a while of walking the banks, I found some carp cruising in and out of the many weed beds and over the super shallow gravel areas.

Before long, I settled into a swim called Boysies, to the right of which sat a big set of pads surrounded by dense weed. After a bit of leading around I found an area tight to the weed that registered a good firm, silty drop. The area wasn’t big enough to get much of a pull back on the lead but if I landed on the money, the drop was lovely and certainly clean enough to be able to fish my favoured method of bottom baits.

I’ve always much preferred bottom baits over pop-ups and with the continuing popularity of the hinge/chod type presentations, I personally think a standard bottom bait straight from the bag offers something different to the norm these days. I find a big heavy bait fished on a long hair with a big hook consistently offers fantastic hook holds, usually a good inch or so back.

The rig I use consists of a 20mm bottom bait on a size 4 Wide Gape hook with a small ring on the shank and shrink tube kicker coming off the eye, tied to 9-10 inches of 20lb green N-trap soft. I had to abandon my favoured lead core as a leader ban is in place at Northey, so I was using the dark matter tubing for the first time. First impressions were very good; extremely supple and very heavy, a far cry from the tubing I used to use as a kid. This was combined with one of the Hybrid lead clips and a 3oz pear lead.

With the rods out and a good spread of boilies over the top, I sat back and soaked up my first evening on the new venue. Carp could be seen rocking the water in and around the weed, it looked good!

The night passed quietly, but as I sat sipping the first brew of the day shortly before first light, the rod tight to the weed was away. The lead ejected on the take and I was able to lead the carp back safely through the weed and in to the waiting net. A fish on my first night, I was buzzing!

The mirror was certainly a desirable one and weighed in at 32lb 8oz. This was followed up the next morning by a pretty mid double. Two bites on the new rig tubing set up was a big confidence boost, I couldn’t have asked for a better start.

My next trip was a couple of weeks later and saw me plotted up in a swim known as Last Stop. Like the vast majority of the lake, this swim was very weedy and on this occasion I opted to only fish two rods as I felt another line in the area may do more harm than good. I cast around the various weed beds and again found a couple of tiny little spots with a nice clean drop.

The same trusted bottom bait rigs were cast out and couple of kilos of Krill boilies were catapulted over the top of the area. That weekend was very productive and produced three commons of 30lb, 23lb and 20lb. I was the only person over that particular side of the lake so had to do self takes, all of which came out horrific! A decent self-take kit was duly bought when I got home!

The next trip coincided with some horrible NE winds and the fish seemed to have shut up shop a bit. After a fruitless 24 hours having not seen any signs of a carp, I went for a wander. On my second lap I was looking in a small back bay and noticed a small carp drift over a shallow clear area then disappear in to the weed deeper in to the small bay. Another hour was spent looking in the area and no less than eight different fish came in and had a little browse around a small marginal clear area right in the corner of the bay. I ran back to the swim and grabbed the rods and once back in the bay, carefully went about placing a rig on the small sandy patch right under the rod tip. I opted to fish with just the one rod for the night.

It was nearly dark by the time I got sorted and although the area now looked quiet, I was confident that the carp may return under the cover of darkness. At 4am the rod was away, and after a short tussle a nice mirror lay beaten in the net. He was a chunky character of 30lb 6oz, I was over the moon to have caught him in such a way, especially as the conditions had been so bad that trip.

My fourth and last trip of the autumn came at the end of October. I opted to set up in Elliott’s, a swim in the middle area of the lake that commanded some slightly deeper water (although still only 4ft!). That first night, a couple of hours after dark a shout went up, the king of the pond had been caught. I excitedly gathered my camera and walked down the bank for my first encounter with the mighty Kitch. I always find it a huge buzz seeing your target fish in the flesh for the first time, and this was certainly no exception, a beautiful common of colossal proportions.

After finishing the pics and congratulating the captor, Paul, on his capture I made my way back to my swim, made a brew and contemplated what the rest of the session may bring. Although the main target had just been caught, there were still a fair few highly desirable carp to angle for. The morning was quiet; it was about 10 o’clock when I saw my first sign of fish in the swim, subtly moving the weedy water just behind my left hand rod.

A short while later that rod burst in to life and a slow heavy fight ensued. As the fish neared closer and I got my first glimpse, I guessed which carp it was and thankfully it was soon engulfed in the net. It was a fish called Petals, a lovely long, scaley mirror. I was absolutely buzzing as I held her up for some pictures, her autumnal colours on full display. We then carefully weighed her in at 34lb 4oz before slipping her back in to the chilling water.

The next morning a bite on the same rod produced an absolutely mint 23lb linear, again sporting fantastic colours. That trip was a great end to a short but productive autumn spell for me and eight landed from eight bites on the trusty old bottom bait rig and 20mm boilie.