Catching Memories - Chris Cummins

After a very enjoyable start to the year fishing on my syndicate water, I decided to pull off for the first few weeks of the new season to allow the keen new members to get on with their fishing. So, I turned my attention to the newly turned day-ticket water, The Quarry near Boreham in Essex.

Anyone who has been a around for a few years will have known about this lake, as it was an awesome syndicate. So, with the change over to day-ticket, I jumped at the chance to have a go for a few of the amazing old residents that still swim its depths. After fishing a few nights around the lake I had struggled slightly and I really had to think what I was doing wrong to try and figure it out to outwit some of these crafty fish.

Back home after a fruitless night, I had decided to stop playing around with big beds of bait and to go back to what I do best and that’s chasing the fish around. Give them what they want; boilies and plenty of them. Another day at work had passed and I was loading the car getting reading for another overnighter. Beforehand, I rang good friend and fishery owner Ben Lofting for a quick chat and to see how many people were fishing. He informed me it was a quiet night, with only four people on, but they were all fishing down the shallow end of the lake, where I knew the carp would be after the hot weather we’d had recently. Slightly disheartened, I turned up and went for a walk and ended up in a slightly overgrown swim, that I’d totally forgotten fishes the shallower water too. This meant I had to slip into some waders and take a few steps into the lake to get a better view of the areas either side of the swim.

I immediately started to spot fish and they were in numbers too. So, I quickly set up three naked chod rigs, due to a leadcore ban, with s2 corkball-pop-ups on each and cast them to where I was seeing the fish show. With three handfuls of Activ-8 over each rig, I sat back to enjoy the superb scenery, confident I had done enough for a bite. Well, after just 20 minutes, I was slipping the net under a pristine upper-double stockie. Confidence restored at last I cast the rig back out, hoping for his bigger brother. Just after 10pm I had an absolute mental battle out in the pond with a carp determined to rip both my arms off. Thankfully, I won the day and slipped the net under a chunky 27lb mirror. As I did so, my friend Ash told me to get a rod straight back on the spot because multiple bites can happen. I reeled my right-hand rod it and flicked it straight back out there. Pictures done and fish slipped back, I had just sat back down and the same rod was away again. I couldn't believe it; it was another mental battle ending in an amazingly looking 29lb fully scaled mirror in my arms, posing for some more pictures. The rest of the night passed quietly but I packed up more than happy with what I’d managed.

Well, after that result I was back two days later, gagging to see if I could keep the ball rolling and catch a few more. Not wanting to slip back in the same swim just for the sake of it, I did a lap and not tot surprisingly, the fish were still enjoying the lovely warm weather on the shallows. I wasted no time in getting my rigs back out to where I’d caught from previously. Again after 15 minutes, I was slipping the net under a pretty upper-double mirror happy that I’d caught, proving to myself that I could still catch carp. From that moment onwards, the amount of liners I was receiving was staggering and I was expecting a take at any moment.

Laying in bed I’d resorted to burying my head to try get a break from the commotion, when my bobbin pulled up once more but didn’t drop. The tip bent round and I pulled in to a solid weight, knowing deep down this was something a bit more special. After a long, slow, heavy battle a very large grey shape was wallowing around in my net. I flicked my headlight on and knew instantly it was a fish called Shoulders staring back up at me. I screamed like a girl to Luke, who was set up opposite, letting him know I’d bagged one of the A-Team and he instantly reeled in and was round to help. Like a bag of nerves, I lifted her ashore to admire a fish a lot older than me, with a shed load of character. Cradling her in my arms and smiling like a Cheshire cat, I posed for a few quick snaps and slipped her back to fight another day, no worse for the ordeal. Not that it matters in the slightest, but she pulled the scales round to 38lb 10oz, but the weight was merely a number compared with the personal merit of such a carp.

The action didn’t stop there either! Throughout the night I managed to bag myself a total of six carp. By first light I was bleary eyed and had cut-off rigs covering my bucket lid, two wet nets from a double-take, and a memory card filled with a dozen photos of scaley mirrors. What a night I’d had, but to capture a carp that means so much topped it all. All fish were caught on naked chod setups, with No Trace beads and comprised of size-six Choddy hooks and 25lb Mouth Trap, with s2 corkball hookbaits fished over the ever-reliable Active-8.