Chilly's Fish is New PB - Dan Hawkes

I arrived at my syndicate lake at early on Monday morning to have a good look round and to try and find some fish because I was doing a quick night that evening after work. After a lap around the lake the only place I really found any fish was in an area called the Dugouts.

I got the marker rod out and started to look for an area. This didn’t take long; I found a silty depression just off a small gravel bar 45 yards out. I decided to clip two rods up to this one spot because I had a feeling be a good starting point. Then I got the spod rod out and started to bait up with a mixture of particle and boilies. My chosen bait was our new shop bait developed by Solar, Crunchy Nut Crème. I put out around 10 Spombs of particles and two or three kilos of boilies. I kept my third rod as a roamer in case I saw any fish to cast a single to. I then took the 10-minute drive to work and spent the day wondering whether someone was going to be in there when I finished at six.

When I got to the lake the peg I had baited was empty to be fair, there weren’t many on, because the lake had been fishing quite slow. I didn’t waste any time getting the gear out of the van and getting the rods out. Rig wise I decided to stick with a rig I have complete confidence in; the version of the hinged stiff rig used in Underwater 8, made from 15lb N-Trap Soft and 20lb Mouth Trap with a size-six Choddy hook. The hook bait was a 15mm Mainline Milky Toffee pop-up soaked in a couple of flavours. I was a bit worried that the fish I’d seen in the morning may have moved off but I had two takes in the first hour, a mid-double mirror and a 29lb 15oz grass carp. Another 150 baits went out before darkness and at around 1am the same rod ripped into action this time it was a low-twenty common. A few more hours passed and again the right-hand rod signaled a screaming take. This time it was a better fish, a real old Chilham Mill warrior known as the Grey Plated, it was spawned right out and down in weight. It went 32lb 2oz but it was a right result as it was one of the originals that used to go over the 40lb mark. I had to be away from the lake by 8am to open the tackle shop, so quickly got sorted and put out another three kilos of boilies in along with a few spombs of particle on the spot, in the knowledge that I could do another night after work.

To my disbelief, I got there at 18:30pm and it was empty again. So I did exactly the same as the night before, fishing two rods tight on the spot with hinged stiff rigs armed with Milky Toffees. I had to wait until 2am before any action occurred and this time it was the left-hand rod on the spot. The result was a beautiful 27lb 10oz mirror. I topped up swim with another 100 baits. At around 4am I had a couple of bleeps on the right-hand Delkim, which turned into a full-blown take. I picked up the rod and instantly knew it was a good fish that was plodding and trying to stay deep. After a couple of lunges between my other rods I managed to get the mirror turned and in over the spreader block. I knew I’d landed a big fish but only realised exactly what I had once I peered into the net to see a huge mirror with a lumpy rib cage. I had caught the biggest fish in the lake and my target fish, a carp called Chilly's. My boss, Andy, popped down and helped me weigh it and it took the needle round to 45lb 14oz, my 1st UK forty. Andy did the pictures and then we slipped back the amazing carp to fight another day. I had caught the lake’s biggest fish on my seventh night of the new season. It was also my birthday the day after, so what a present!

A week after I was desperate to get myself back down to the syndicate. I had seen that we had a big, low-pressure system coming in so I booked a day’s holiday to get myself 36-hours instead of my usual 12-hour overnight. I got down late on Sunday night and the lake was quite busy, so I dropped in a swim I have been constantly baiting. During the first night I managed three fish all commons. Had a 17-pounder a 21-pounder and a 26lb common. I woke feeling very happy but with the wind pushing a big Southwesterly down to the other end of the lake. I just knew I had to reel in and go and see if there were any fish holding in numbers elsewhere. After a lap of lake and speaking to other anglers, there was not much going on and no fish were showing anywhere.

I decided to stay put so put out my three pop up rigs armed with my faithful tweaked Milky Toffee pop ups. Within few hours I had a screaming take which resulted in a new PB common of 32lb 4oz a fish known as Five Bellies. Andy from the shop came down to do the pictures and kindly brought me some more bait. I decided to put out another 2.5 kilos of Crunchy Nut freebies over one rod knowing all my bites had come from this spot. I had to wait till the next morning for any action and to be fair I needed the sleep was shattered but was awoken by a really slow take on the middle rod over the heavily baited area. Straight away I knew it was a big fish, so I just kept the pressure on and it gingerly plodded closer and eventually went in the net. I was made up; I knew as soon as I looked in the net that it was a fish called The Pretty One. I had banked another one of the A Team. It went 38lb exactly could not of been happier did a few pictures and some water shots then slipped her home. After banking this fish I chose to pack up early and go to spend some time with my son but while packing away the middle rod went again! This time was another 26lb common ended with six fish and another memorable trip!