Carp Academy graduate lands first 30!

It was early in the year 2014 when I decided to fish a three-acre local park lake at Northlands Park in Basildon, Essex – it’s minutes away from my doorstep and it wasn't long before I had done what I wanted to achieve on the easier side, known as the Café Lake.

The Café Lake is the easier of the two adjoining lakes with over 1,000 fish with many mid double fish and a few that go just over the 20lb mark. I felt after a good time on there and I needed to go and target the bigger ones in the harder lake on the park known as the Road Lake.

The Road Lake has just over 60 fish with around 20 that go over the 20lb mark. There is only one that goes 30-plus, and it’s known as Cut Tail. Last year was a great year for me on there - I still remember my second trip when I just landed my first nine fish. I was over the moon when I was in front of the camera with the mid-double common. I finished off the year with a total of 57 carp and 17 20s.

My fishing has really just gone on from there and here is my story about the big common. It was September last year when I had an eight-fish catch when I finally landed it. I didn¹t really fish it much more after due to starting college and being busy trying to find a new venue to fish.

I thought it would be it for me on the Road Lake after having the big one but I could not resist going back. A few months ago I was edging to catch a few and bring back the great memories. It was mid-week and I had no college or work so I decided to go do what I do best - go fishing.

After a few nights here and there, getting a bend in the rod and catching a few but, I’d not had any of the bigger ones - just recaptures. A few weeks back it was time to meet up with a good friend of mine, John. I hadn't seen him for several months and he asked to go for a few nights on Northlands.

I was up for going and the weather was very good for that week. I went down on the Monday morning and the lake was empty. Seeing a few signs of fish with only 10 minutes of being beside the lake, I set up in a swim known as The Point. I set up here because the wind was right in my favour and one I have had good results with in the past.

Blowing south-west with the fish showing right on the end of it, I was hoping it was my time I have the best of the rest of the fish in the lake. I baited a few spots with five pouches of bait as they do like bait in there but this is nothing compared to the summer as I have experienced over the past years fishing the park. I set up all three rods after a good amount of bait spread about using a metre of Kable, to a standard lead clip system and a 3oz flat pear lead.

I was using a rig that I am confident in throughout the year no matter where I am fishing. The rig was tied using 20lb Dark Matter, a size 6 Wide Gape with a rig ring set up blow back-style to create that bit of movement. Using a little piece of shrink tubing ensures the hook would turn sharply and that was my rig complete - simple but deadly!

I had two on the first night but they were ones I had caught before. My mate John had a fish that I had been targeting and one of the ones that still hasn’t graced my net, Broken Pec at 26lb 6oz. He was over the moon as it was a personal best for him!

Shortly after he lost one which looked decent but that's fishing. Nothing for the rest of the night until the next day around 2 o'clock in the afternoon when I had a great hit of three with the biggest being a low 20. I had baited a good hard spot that I and a few mates have kept quiet. It was about three rod lengths out and I decided to fish it on the last night.

I used 3kg of 18mm Mainline Cell bottom baits to bait the spot and on the last night I put out an 18mm Cell bottom bait tipped off with a piece of I.B corn. They love the yellow tippers in there. I flicked the baited rig under the row of trees and it felt great. Seeing my foam nugget come up I was 100% sure it was sitting over all the rubbish on the bottom.

It wasn't long after it ripped off. Playing the fish, it didn't feel great until what I recognized as the biggest fish in the lake rolled over the net! I knew it was bigger than before as it looked in better shape and I had caught it at a prime time of the year for this fish. With the common safely in the retainer, I was buzzing still and waited for a good friend to bring up my decent camera and shoot a few shots with my new PB and my first ever 30 at 30lb 8oz.

After some shots I was happy with, I slipped him back ready to battle another day. Unfortunately I had work early hours the next morning so I was packed up at 5am and went home to get ready for another day at Syndicate Tackle.

It has been a superb few years at Northlands Park and is well worth having a go on both lakes. I would like to thank both the bailiffs Rob and Russ - they are more than happy to help.

Both lakes at Northlands Park are fishable on a day ticket basis with tickets available on the bank and through Basildon Angling Centre. Check out their website http://www.basildonanglingcentre.co.uk/northlands.php for more information.