Ian Poole's fantastic day session run of success at Cuttle Mill!

Cuttle Mill is one of those waters that has been producing big carp for many years, but when it shut its doors in 2013 venue regulars, including Ian Poole, thought that would be the last time the lake would be fished.

It was purchased as part of the HS2 rail project and there were rumours that all the fish had been removed and sold, but then out of the blue it re-opened again and from the catches being reported it seemed as though it still held a good head of carp, so Ian Poole decided to return.

He explained: “In its time it was one of the most popular day ticket waters around and you had to book up to a year in advance to get a date in the summer. In the late 80s and early 90s I made a good number of winter trips and managed to catch a few, but always wondered what it would be like to fish the place in the warmer months.

“Last August the venue unexpectedly re-opened again and with far more sensible rules – the ‘pots’ which marked each swims water were gone and the number of anglers allowed to fish was halved. I popped up there to see for myself and it was clear that the venue was still extremely well stocked, and I even managed to bag a few to over 25lb.”

Following his success the previous year, and with summer rapidly approaching, Ian made plans to fish three consecutive Wednesday day sessions, and with no need to book months in advance he was finally able to put in action a plan he’d been waiting 20 years to execute!

“Over the course of those 36 hours fishing I managed more than 20 bites, landing a total of 17 proper old Midlands history fish. None of the 30s came my way, but what I did manage was several of the old Mill originals with a good number of mid-20s amongst them.

“The thing I enjoy about waters like Cuttle Mill is that you are never too far away from the fish, and with them being partly dependent on anglers bait they will always take you on. For much of the time, not catching generally means they’ve been too good and not that they weren’t feeding, and I find this type of fishing really interesting.

“One thing that I did learn quickly was that any kind of groundbait or pellet filled PVA bag nicked onto the hook meant that bites were a lot slower to come, and when they did come the fish were smaller.

“A better approach was a slow-sinking hookbait fished over a scattering of boilies, which I topped up if there was activity over the rod but no bites were forthcoming. It didn’t seem to matter what boilies I used as I caught over dark red plum/salmon flavoured fishmeals, and when I tried a birdfood mix results were pretty much the same.

“These tactics over the first couple of days I fished accounted for a dozen bites fishing little creamy-coloured wafters on size 8 barbless Krank hooks to 10 inches of 15lb Dark Matter braid – a perfect set-up to settle nicely over the heavily silted bottom of this venue.

“On my third and final day I finally got the conditions that I wanted, and with temperatures forecast to hit the mid-20s I didn’t get to cast out a bottom bait until the evening!

“Once the heat started to take effect, there were carp popping up all over the place and after leaving them to settle in the area where they wanted to be, I had a brilliant afternoon on the surface, landing another seven fish, and apart from one lunatic common which I think was foul-hooked, the little barbless size 8 Mixa hook nailed them all. The pick of the bunch was a stunning old mirror, and if it hadn’t been spawned out it would have been pushing the upper-20 mark.”