Christmas Thirty - Craig Mortimer

While most of us were over-indulging, Craig Mortimer targeted a festive thirty from Suffolk Water Park and hit the jackpot!

“After spending some lovely time with friends and family over Christmas I always love to get out and go in pursuit for a winter chunk between Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve. Last year was Fryerning Fisheries and it rewarded me with a 32lb common, this year it was a winter social with a good mate Scott Bennett.
We decided to hit the banks of the Suffolk Water Park. A beautiful venue and one that holds a large head of big carp and is an excellent, well-run day ticket water. A few fish had been caught just before the Christmas period, so it was well worth a go, as they seem to be moving about and having a feed.
We arrived at the gate just before 5.30am, an hour before it opened (bit keen I know!). There was a method to my madness as it can get busy and I wanted to be first to an area I know I had seen fish during a walk around in the week and it can be a fairly prolific area that can produce a winter bite!
I just had a feeling there were fish holding out in the main body of water. There was still a lot of weed about and I just thought that they could be sitting about in that, out of the way, or even moving about in the upper layers in the deeper body of water. Pegs 34, 12 and 13 are the pegs that can command most of that water and there were anglers in all of them. Luckily, the guy in 34 was moving out about midday and said we could jump in behind once he’d gone.
The peg was secure and breakfast was now on the cards, if you haven’t had breakfast from that café, you don’t know what you’re missing out on!
The guy left at 11 and we were straight in. It was a social and a chance of a chunk so we doubled up in the peg. We always fish as a team when were together. Doesn’t matter who catches as long as one of us does. It was a 48-hour session, and with any 48-hour session I always break it up into two 24-hour sessions. I always tend to do this so you don’t get complacent – it can help with changing things about to try and nick a bite.
After a long hard think and watching the water we both decided to get on the zigs. I’ve found in the winter it can be an awesome tactic and the carp can spend their time mid-depth and below. We decided to fish the long gully, which is about 8ft or 9ft deep and we went for five zigs all at different depths to see if we could find fish in the layers.

We fished for 24 hours with not even a bleep. Oh well, plan B was needed. I decided to put the baits on the deck now for the remaining 24 hours and put the rods at different distances. I had one at 70 yards, one at 90 yards and one at 120 yards. I was hoping that staggering them at different distances could help me pinpoint where the carp were. I was using the faithful white pop-ups in conjunction with the Korda Naked Chod System over hemp, liquidized corn and bread mush. It’s been a method I have caught a lot of fish on and I won’t change until it stops catching.

The rods were out and we were fishing. It couldn’t have been half an hour before the middle rod was off! A nice slow take and the Stow bobbin kissed the rod and was blowing in the wind, I picked the rod up and with a nice slow plod, it kited to my right. It wasn’t a long fight, just a few slow runs in the margin and Scotty had it in the net. One of the locals knew the fish, it was called Clover.
I had done it. I had ended the year with another dirty thirty. At 31lb 9oz it looked awesome in its winter colours. It made our weekend and made the year complete. The rods went back onto the same spots but nothing else happened.
I’m looking forward to see what 2014 brings.”