Fantastic haul of big winter carp for Pete Lay!

Embryo Angling Habitats’ Stanton Lake has produced a fantastic run of big fish for Pete Lay, including a 37lb 2oz mirror which hadn’t visited the bank before!

Pete, who is the fishery manager at the Oxfordshire pit, also landed the big ‘un known as Lumpy at 36lb 5oz plus the Grey One at 35lb 2oz, plus several other fish topping the 20lb mark during a prolific three week spell at the venue during January.

He explained: “January is usually a funny month for me and involves work parties and socials, with the dark nights and cold mornings not doing a lot for my morale. Setting up in the cold and dark in muddy swims, and then packing up in the same conditions just isn’t the one, and at times I question my own sanity!

“This year has been a bit different though as a change of job, and the opportunity to work from home, has been a blessing for my overnight sessions. With a ticket for a new water starting in April, I decided to have a crack at catching the few fish that had eluded me on Stanton up until now.

“I was going to target the long spots, affectionately known as the ‘Bermuda Triangle’, and I planned to fish this from the three main swims – Barbel, Drain and Stile. I am by no means the best long range angler, but I ventured forth with my reels loaded with SUBbraid to 20lb IQ leaders and my own adapted combi-rig, and was only feeding a small amount of bait.

“On my first night of the year I fished a swim called Dead Sheep as fish had been showing in front of it, not far out, but I only heard a few small ones close to me and as I was dozing off I heard a better one out in the triangle.

“I was back for another night on the Thursday and set up in the Drain, and all three rods, baited with Mainline Milky Toffee pop-ups, went out without any drama, followed by some washed out Fyber boilies in the Spomb.

“At first light one of the other anglers, Pev, popped round for a cuppa and soon after having a liner, the bobbin hit the blank with a crack and a short while later I slipped the net under Little Lin, my first carp of 2018 at 23lb, and then headed off to work.

“That evening I returned and managed to get back in the same swim and got the rods out, and soon afterwards my middle rod was away whilst we were having a bit of a social. This turned out to be Patch at 25lb.

“I got into bed stinking of January carp – it smells the best! – and just after midnight I hooked a powerful fish on my right-hand rod. I could feel it was one of the better ones, and after a dogged scrap I slipped the net under one of my three remaining target fish, the Grey One at 35lb 2oz. She looked immaculate in her winter coat as I held her up for the camera.

“The following week was very cold, and at the weekend we had snow and rain, and the temperature didn’t get above four degrees, but on the Monday it was due to rise to 14 degrees and with warm nights and big winds. But I was working in London for three days, and couldn’t get down until just on dark on the Wednesday.

“I dropped into the Barbel and whipped two rods long to a shallower area, followed by four Spombs of Fyber, and then sat chatting with Pev, who was fishing nearby. I put a brew on and then suddenly, whack, one of the rods was away. The fish slowly plodded around and then made a lunge for the snags to my right, but I managed to turn her and finally scoop her up.

“I didn’t recognise her and the ‘wheel of fortune’ settled on 37lb 2oz – I couldn’t believe that I’d caught an unknown fish of this size from our busy little syndicate lake! We took some photos and I put the kettle back on, but I hadn’t even finished my brew before the left-hand rod pulled up tight.

“She came in slow and deep in a straight line and I thought it was a small common, but then there was a big swirl on the surface 20 yards out. She kited left and then eventually popped up in front of me and went straight into the net – it was the queen of the lake, Lumpy, at 36lb 5oz and my third capture of her. A truly remarkable January night!

“I had a work party planned for the Sunday, so I got down on the Friday and found one of the members in the swim I’d caught from, so I trudged down to the far end of the lake. Again, it didn’t take long to get some action and soon an angry mid-20 mirror was in the net.

“The night was cold but I was still getting subtle lifts on my Black & White bobbins, and then I was away again and after a good tussle I landed another mid-20 mirror, slightly bigger than the last one.

“the next day it warmed up but was miserable with wind and rain, and just after dinner the same rod was away again and it turned out to be my last fish of the session, and also for the month, with a nice 24lb common.”