Carp Academy 2015 gets top marks from Dan Cattrall!

“This is the end; three days of the Korda carp academy 2015 is over… are we sad, students?” Those were the final words from Ali Hamidi to draw this excellent event to a close.

The answer to that question, Ali, was of course YES - yes I am sad it has now concluded, however this is my story of some fantastic experiences during the prestigious occasion, which I will forever cherish. I start within the white marquee where the selection process of pairing the tutors with us students begins.

My name was called out along with another students as I eagerly awaited the tutor to be announced. Who could it be, I thought to myself? Ali paused... it felt like a century until he read out the tutors name but in real time it was only a second or two: "Your tutor is Danny Fairbrass…" Yes! I had been selected to spend 72 hours with a fishing idol, the genius who created and built Korda with his own hands and I was lucky enough to fish with him. It was a true honour.

We drove round to Manor Farm’s Winters Lake with great anticipation and I was raring to go. Arriving at our swim, we set up the bivvies and had a lead about. The lake was very shallow, around 4 ft deep in some places. Pulling the lead back found the bottom was fairly clear with the odd patch of silt but a bottom bait was still presentable.

After finding a clear spot and clipping up to the distance, it was only a matter of setting up the rig and lead system. I used the ever-reliable lead clip system with a Hybrid Stiff blowback rig. The idea was to have a rig that would react fast in the fish's mouth due to the stiffness of the hooklink.

This theory soon come into practice as not long after casting out the rig with a Cell bottom bait tipped with a Milky Toffee pop-up, I was into a carp. A chunky 24lb 10oz common was landed and held up for the camera - a great way to settle your nerves in front of Danny. A few more fish came our way and the other student Charlie Paige had also had some action, rounding off a great start to Carp Academy 2015.

Wednesday morning had erupted with a terrific start for Charlie, landing three carp in only a short period of time, however I could not follow in Charlie's footsteps. As he had three outstanding carp in the sling, the film crew had arrived in our swim to do some filming while cameraman Scott patiently waited to get a clip of a screaming Delkim.

Out of nowhere, my left hand rod belted off. The alarm was shouting, the green LEDs were flashing vigorously and my lucky mascot Nemo was sitting on the rods smiling, making a near perfect shot for Scott, however my excitement was short lived.

After sprinting to the rods quicker than Usain Bolt runs 100 metres, I struck into my rod. As I pulled into a fish, I felt relieved as I had gone through a quiet spell with no action but this feeling did not last as ten seconds into the fight - it was off. Gutted. A hook pull in front of everyone! I kept a smile on my face and of course I was still enjoying myself but inside I was kicking myself for losing that fish. Could our final day prove more successful?

Thursday morning came and knowing it was going to potentially be our last day fishing with Danny, we wanted to conclude with a bang! Charlie initiated our intentions, landing four fish early on - a cracking start to the day which could only grow on from there and not long after he was into another carp. Whilst playing a fine mid-double common, which was pondering around in open water eventually finding its way to his net, my left hand rod was away.

A powerful fish taking plenty of line and kiting left then right giving a good account of herself was landed, meaning there was now two fish in the net and mine being a lump. The net was unclipped, slid into the sling and gently placed on the mat. I removed the net to unveil all 28lb of this superb scaly Manor Farm warrior, which would not have looked out of place in a scene from Jurassic Park. The camera crew came over making plenty of noise with their heavy footsteps and expensive equipment resting on their shoulders. Both creatures were held up with some magnificent pictures taken.

They were both immaculate carp in great condition and in no time at all, they were sent back ready to make another angler very happy once again. We had succeeded in our "mission" of finishing with a bang - giving a great feeling of accomplishment and help regain some confidence after losing a carp the day before.

Carp Academy is a brilliant event and one that every young angler should experience – the three days will help me succeed on local lakes to French holiday venues in the future and for that I must say a big thank you to Korda and Danny.