Burgess' Big-Carp Bonanza!

Over the last few weeks it became very apparent that Farlows in Buckinghamshire was throwing up some very nice fish! With that in mind and mild conditions still being forecast, I made a plan to head down there once things quietened down.

Arriving at first light, there was quite a nip in the air and with the banks sparkling with frost I knew that the main open water would be holding the majority of the fish, so I headed straight down the Smelly Bank. It is a very popular area and it was no surprise that the swims I fancied were being fished but were becoming vacant later that day, so I set about tying up some fresh rigs in the van. A few hours passed and I was soon wrapping up my rods to an area I had fished previously during the colder months.

Rigs comprised size-six Kaptor Choddys tied to two inches of 20lb Mouth Trap and 12-inch 20lb IQ boom sections, chosen because I was setting my traps in the silty areas between the bars. With the lines slackened off and 10 Spombs of chopped and whole Sticky test bait over the three rods, I went into my first night. At 8pm I received my first bite, which was a typical Farlows thick-wristed, hard-fighting mirror of 23lb. They were clearly on the feed so I introduced another five Spombs over the three rods.

It wasn't until 7am the next morning that the same rod was away and within minutes I was playing what I thought was the usual 20lb-plus fish but that's when she woke up and decided to start charging into the bottom, spraying up plumes of bubbles from the silty margins. Thankfully, the size-six Kaptor Choddy was firmly in place and I soon had a very thick common heading towards the spreader block. After a quick peek into the net I was greeted with a perfectly proportioned common in all its winter glory. At 37lb 4oz, what more could I ask for?

But, knowing Farlows and how tightly the fish group up during winter, I soon had all rods back in the area with a few fresh freebies scattered around.
It was around lunchtime that my Stow bobbin smashed against my rod and I was into another good fish, this one taking 20, then 30 and 40 yards of line before managing to turn her. At first I was thinking it could be a crazy double with lots of energy but once closer to the net and seeing her flank in the clear water I got a glimpse of a long, dark linear; again my hook held and I was soon holding a perfect linear of 33lb for the cameras.

Over the next 24 hours my mat was graced with some fantastic looking carp ranging from 23lb to 28lb – it was turning into a haul you could expect in spring, never mind January.

I really thought the area could turn up another good fish so I plucked up the courage to text the girlfriend in order to stay another night and leave first thing Monday morning for work. My usual bite time of around 6-8pm soon passed with nothing! I'm now thinking have I just wasted my, "I can't come home, I'm on fish card" with the girlfriend.

But just before first light, in torrential, rain my right-hand Stow pulled up tight and I was playing another Usain Bolt carp from inside the porch of my brolly – this was heading over to Lake Two! After a right tug of war and good soaking from the heavens, I had a deep-bodied powerhouse of a mirror sulking in the net.

This one tipped scales round to 36lb 12oz, so the extra night had paid off and I was soon heading back down the M25 with a big smile on my face and a van smelling of three days of awesome winter fishing.