Halloween Surprise – Jon Mann

Jon Mann has been having some great results of late; in his last two sessions he’s managed to catch some stunning carp, including fish of 28lb 8oz and a 29lb 8oz. They might not be the biggest carp in the world, but I’m sure you’ll agree, they’re true characters.

“Anyone that does overnighters will know that the past few weeks are generally the worst of the year. It’s nothing to do with weather or temperature; it’s all about the race against the daylight hours. As the evenings creep in the timeframe to get to the lake and get the rods out with any daylight hours, lessen by the day, causing every red traffic light or brake light to raise unnecessary stress and panic. However, now the clocks have changed and it is already dark when I arrive at the lake, there is no panic or mad dash, in fact it’s the opposite. The bivvy gets set up and everything in place, before the rods are even thought about.

All three rods were wrapped out to their respective spots and sent out into the lake, towards now quite familiar horizon markers. The rigs were all short sections of 20lb N-Trap Soft coupled with size-six Longshank X hooks fished helicopter style on leadcore with 3oz pears. The hook baits were out-of-the-bag Cell boilies tipped with a slice of pineapple pop-up that had been curing in Pineapple Supreme Goo.

The last session I had a good lead around at first light, before departing for work. I found a couple of new areas, which had given me heightened confidence. As the evening drew in and the temperature started to drop, the odd carp ‘slooped’ out in the distant murk. The weather has been unseasonably mild of late and this slight cold snap had certainly not had a detrimental effect, or so it seemed.

Around half ten I was just burying myself into my sleeping bag, when the middle rod pulled tight and remained so whilst I wrestled my wellies on. On hitting the rod there was no resistance on the other end and when I reeled it in, the silicone on my hook shank had not budged, which left me scratching my head. I rebaited and recast the rod and put out a couple of pouches of boilies over my area. I bundled back into the bag as a frost was beginning to form.
Shortly after 2am the same rod was demanding attention once again. On getting to the rod there was no carp on the end, but a little tench of around 2lb. So, once again I wrapped the rod out, rebaited it, recast it and put out another few pouches of boilies out. By now the frost had lifted and a mist had descended, making it nigh-on impossible to see the horizon marker for the rod. Having angled this swim several times I was 99% sure of the direction I needed to aim for.

My eyes next opened to a slowly breaking dawn, a biblical downpour and most of all, the spool of my middle rod spinning. I pulled on my boots and waterproof jacket. Made my way to my rods in a slurry of mud. After a short, plodding fight I slid my net under a stocky, grey mirror. I left her in my net whilst I prepared my mat and sling. On the scales she went 29lb 8oz normally I would do self-take photos but given the time and the conditions I called upon Rob “Knower of all Carp” Willingham to do the honours, which he did spectacularly. The rain had stopped by the time we did the shots but I still had a barrow load of sodden gear to steam up my car on the way to work.

A few days previous to this on another over night session, well the night of Halloween to be precise, I caught a 28lb 8oz mirror. As this was shortly after midnight and I did a couple of self-takes for the record. The slightly ‘spooky’ thing was the carp I had caught is one that was suspected to be dead, as it had been uncaught for quite a while. When else are you going to catch a dead carp other than on Halloween?”