Five Thorney 30s in two sessions - Brad Greening

Former British Junior Carp Angling Championships winner Brad Greening has been making the most of his time on the bank this spring, and the Hertfordshire-based hauler has been in touch following two amazing sessions on a favourite water, Thorney Weir…

“Springtime angling is often a carp angler’s idea of heaven, especially mine! In fact, I would go as far as saying that it is probably my favourite time of the entire year to fish. So when I assessed my workload and planned my schedule to meet my deadlines, I realised that this year unfortunately, the start of April is going to be a struggle to get the rods out!

“My personal clubs and syndicate waters have a traditional close season and are shut until mid-June, therefore my spring angling consists normally of fishing day ticket venues. For the last couple of years, during the springtime I have paid attention to Thorney Weir. Thorney Weir is situated in the heart of the Colne Valley and is home to many stunning old carp.

“It was finally time to get the rods out, and I had a week off at my disposal. It just so happened to be St George’s day that I was able to head down to the lake. I arrived at midday to find a fairly busy lake. It was very warm – in excess of 20 degrees and flat calm.

“It was clear the fish were in the middle / central of the main body of open water, however the swims which commanded the middle area of the lake were taken. I decided to set up in a swim known as river point, as it commands a lot of water and gives me the option to fish some open water out in front and also down to the right hand side, where it is famous for being able to fish towards the entrance of the out of bounds at the top end of the lake.

“Having arrived in the swim, I saw a fish show immediately close in. I grabbed a rod off my barrow, got a rig ready and cast it to where I see the fish show. It went down with a lovely ‘donk’ so I confidently put the rod down, whilst sorting out my kit and getting the bivvy up for some shade to escape from the sun; otherwise I was asking to get burnt! However, before I even had a chance to get the Tempest up, the rod was away! I was rewarded with a nice little mirror, and my ambition of catching my first ever St. George’s day carp was achieved!

“No further action occurred during the daytime, so late evening I decided to get the rods settled for the night. I opted to fish two rods in open water over a five kilo scattering of 18mm Cell. The Thorney Weir carp do love a bit of grub and I have found when the fish are on you, they can clear you out in minutes so it’s vital to be able to hold them. Also, very rarely have I seen anglers putting out large beds of boilies at the venue so being different can also pay dividends.

“My third rod was fished down the right hand margin, towards a snag at the entrance to the out-of-bounds. The night was eventful, landing a further seven carp up to 19lb. However, all fish had come from open water over the baited area, which was topped up with 100 baits or so after each bite.

“By morning, the weather had changed, a low front had come in with the pressure rapidly dropping. It looked absolutely prime! However, the lake just completely switched off, and I didn’t see anything for the next 24 hours and nothing round the lake was seen or caught.

“I was in two minds whether to move so I went for a walk round the lake. Nothing was showing in open water, however it was clear the fish had moved into the out of bounds at either ends of the lake, away from the pressure. With this in mind, I stayed put as if the fish were to venture out of the out of bounds, then in my position in river point I would be able to intercept them.

“With this in mind, I decided to put another five kilos of bait in, however this time concentrated the bait in and around the out-of-bounds entrance and literally spread everywhere. The aim was to get the fish moving and actively searching for the bait to hold them there for longer, before venturing back in or out of the out of bounds.

“The tactic paid off, as on my final night I was rewarded with a further five fish, including a beautiful 28lb 2oz fully scaly mirror, and commons of 27lb 12oz, 24lb 8oz, 23lb 2oz and 21lb 10oz. It really is exciting fishing in river point, as down the right hand side it really is a “hit and hold” style of fishing and providing you fish safely and sensible, you shouldn’t have any problems landing fish!

“Three nights were up and unfortunately due to an opticians appointment the following morning I had to make tracks, however I did have another three-night stint planned in a couple of days’ time.

“A couple of days had passed and I was eager to get back down and I managed to arrive at the lake just before darkness. I had a wander around before darkness settled in, and it was clear the lake was fishing slowly, with hardly anything coming out or being seen in open water. With this in mind and a rather busy lake, I didn’t have much choice of swims so I settled for a tiny overgrown swim in an area of the lake known as the channel. The channel is quite snaggy and offers a lot of cover for the fish, so this seemed a good bet for the time being.

“At 5 am, I received a take on my right hand rod. The fish really put up a good account and fought like a demon! From hooking it to landing it, it had gone from darkness to broad daylight, and the fish pulled the Rueben’s round to 32lb 10oz - what a cracking way to start the session. Due to the disturbance the fish had made and the fact that the swim commands the least amount of water from any swim on the lake; whilst the rods were in from that fish, I decided to go for a wander at first light to see if I could see anything else showing. Chances were that if the lake was to get even busier, any further chance in this swim would be hindered.

“The only fish I saw were a group of fish feeding and ripping up the fresh weed on the bottom in the out-of-bounds at the start of the channel. I had a chat with the fella who was fishing the very first swim on the complex, which is the first fishable swim before the out of bounds on the left. He had only caught one fish, however he confirmed my thoughts from what I had seen that there were indeed a lot of fish in the out of bounds area, hiding away from all the pressure in the main body of the lake.

“By now, the rain had moved in and I got absolutely soaked moving swims! However, the effort of the gear getting drenched paid off as instantly I landed a 23lb mirror. My approach and rig choice was the same as I had used a couple of days ago. A size 4 Kurv fished combi-style on 20lb IQ2, with the hook bait attached to a micro rig swivel and held in place by a hook bead opposite the barb to allow 360-degree movement and flip into the bottom lip nicely when approached from a different angle.

“Normally for my pop-up fishing I favour either a stiff / supple hinge-style rig, however of late I have been using this style of set up. It allows me to fish my favoured style of fishing (using pop ups) but able to present it closer to the lake bed and I feel especially with the bait covering the hook and the IQ fluorocarbon, the rig is very inconspicuous and subtle. The rig was used in conjunction with Mainline IB pop-ups over a large scattering on Mainline Cell.

“The following night was rather eventful, landing five fish up to 28lb 12oz. I was just photographing the 28lb 12oz common at first light when suddenly my right hand rod on a far marginal snag was away. I literally slipped the common back as I was on my own and luckily as I was fishing a locked up solid clutch, the fish couldn’t get into the snags so had kited safely into open water.

“After a good battle, the fish was soon in the net. The weather was spot on and the fish were clearly feeding, so whilst she was in the net I quickly put out another three kilos of the ever-faithful Mainline Cell out with the Katapult, spreading it all along the far margin to where I was fishing, and repositioned the rod. Once that was sorted, I set about photographing the chunky old mirror awaiting in my net. She pulled the dials round to 35lb 4oz – buzzing! The morning got even better though, as I landed my third 30 in under 24 hours only half hour later with a beautiful 32lb 9 oz mirror.

“The rest of the day was quite slow, although that was expected as the sun was out high in the sky, the pressure was through the roof and the fish were just lethargically cruising about, lapping up the rays of the spring sunshine. Darkness was soon settling in, so I set about putting some more bait out for the night as I was feeling rather confident again.

“I had a further four fish, all in the space of an hour from 4am – 5am where it was clear the fish were very active and were moving out of the channel into open water, and I was intercepting them on their way out. Not long after, the left hand rod fishing down to an overhanging tree was away.

“After another lengthy battle the fish was soon in the net. Incredibly, it was my fourth 30+ of the session, and what an absolute stunner to boot. Its big apple sliced, plated scales looked gorgeous, gleaming in the morning sun. The morning was not over though, and a further two mid-20s gave themselves up in the warm weather. The final night approached, and I was due to be packing in the morning. Surprisingly the night time was very quiet, although I was unfortunate to lose what felt a really good fish at 4am.

“But, the Delkims burst into life again during the morning, landing a couple of mid double mirrors. Just as I was packing up though and at last knockings, my right hand rod was away, and I slipped the net under another mid 30 mirror – the fifth 30+ of the session!

“However, I have already had this fish twice before, so I simply unhooked her, and slipped her back without weighing or photographing her. It’s only fair to do this, as by treating our quarry with respect, one day that fish will be able to make another angler just as happy as I was when I caught her the first time!

“Unfortunately, that’s me done now for six weeks or so due to work commitments, however after two really productive sessions, it has left me absolutely buzzing for June 16th when my club waters re-open,” added Brad.

Thorney Weir is located in the Colne Valley near West Drayton, West of London, and is fishable on a day ticket or syndicate membership basis. The complex consists of three lakes – Mets, Thorney Weir and Lake 3 – plus there are two stretches of the River Colne containing all the usual running water species.

At 17.5 acres, Thorney Weir is the largest of the three lakes and offers a good head of carp from double-figures to over 40lb and costs £15 for a 24-hour ticket. Rules include barbless hooks only, no fixed leads and no nuts. Check out www.thorneyweirthemets.co.uk for more info.