In Pursuit Of The Unknown - James Armstrong

What really gives me the ultimate will to go angling these days is the element of surprise and the mystery of an adventure. Carp with no names, no records, just fish that have lived happily in their own environment not bothered by us anglers. This is rare, very rare in fact but something I strive to find; whether they’re 20,30, or even 40lb. Of course, this cannot always be the way, but I’ve been lucky enough to find a few hidden gems to keep me occupied for a while and it’s the most exhilaratin form of angling I’ve ever done. In fact, it’s extremely addictive and I’ve started to go every chance that I get. I guess it’s a little like targeting the rivers or canals…you really have no idea what could be attached.

I’ve been concentrating my efforts on a rather large, windswept pit and at first I thought I had it cracked because they seem to have read the big-pit rulebook. By that, I mean that they would follow fresh winds and be fairly easy to pinpoint. Now this was the case during spring, but as the seasons changed through summer to autumn, it wasn’t so easy.

They only really seemed to show at night-time, which meant maximum effort during the hours of darkness. Having spent the night in a swim in the teeth of a fresh southwesterly with no cigar, it was time for a move. I was up at around 4am listening with a steaming hot coffee in my hands. I’ve started drinking coffee of late because it switches my mind to the task in hand and gets rid of that horrible dozey feeling that tells you to go back to bed. I sat there listening and low and behold I heard a few wallowing echos in the distance that were 100 per cent carp shows.

A little wander and I’d pinpointed these nocturnally-active carp and had a plan for the oncoming day and night. I moved straight away and soon had the rods ready. Armed with simple helicopter rigs, complete with the new Heli Drop-Offs I quickly found a few spots to present my hook baits on. Two were clean bottoms and so I tied them up with Baitworks Monster Red bottom baits and the other was over light canadian so opted for a pop-up on a hinged stiff rig. A few Spombs of whole and broken boilies, combined with a splashing of hemp and sweetcorn completed the banquet.

The shows stopped and I’d wondered if my casting had spooked them. In fact, the whole day passed in the blink of an eye without so much as a bleep. There was no need to recast, I was happy with the drops and I just hoped they’d return at night.

It was 4am, bang on cue, when the left hand rod ripped off. I lifted into a very powerful carp and it just kept deep sending slow, forceful lunges through the rod. I knew it was a good’un so hopped straight into the waders to get myself past the marginal reeds. It was a very slow, ponderous fight and eventually I slipped the net under a rather hefty mirror carp. She was a beauty a tad under the magical 40lb mark, with a distinctive orange mark on her belly. Although unknown she will certainly be easy to identify if I ever saw her again. Absolute magic!