John Barnes lands a pair of 'Stow stunners!

Walthamstow regular John Barnes has been in touch with some more 'Stow stunners...

I arrived at the Walthamstow Reservoir complex on Saturday at 7.15am, the gates had been opened at 7am and it was an extra night weekend. There was a 48-hour comp on the No.1 reservoir so Thames Water had allowed the other reservoirs to stay open for the night and I planned to spend it on the West Warwick.

On my way over I passed the Coppermill Stream - I couldn't resist a look, so I pulled over to have a peek in a spot I know that they're are often held up. As I approached, I looked over and saw ten to 12 fish… with that I got a single rod, net and mat from the car and lowered a bait in and moved back, it didn't take long before the clutch was spinning and I was in!

Straight away I could tell it was one of the smaller fish that I'd seen but that didn't bother me at all as I was only there for a quick bite then off to fish where I had planned, so I packed away after releasing a mint dark baby common and went on my way.

The conditions looked tough but I knew this before going, because I mostly only fish on Saturdays I go whatever the weather and try to not let it bother me. Once I'd parked I loaded my barrow with my day-only kit and planned to return for my bed and brolly for the night once I was happy I'd found fish.

I spent most of the day walking round looking for signs but apart from the odd lone cruising fish there wasn't too much happening but I was confident of finding them when the light level dropped. A new South West was due to blow in the night and as it was getting dark I did see a few fish in the margins but they looked like they were up in the water porpoising as they went from my left to my right and moving up towards the North East corner of the ressie.

I packed up the single rod I'd had out and moved up into the area I thought they might end up, hoping that I'd get a chance in the night. I woke at 4 am without as much as a bleep and watched the water for a few hours - I did see two fish show in my area but there was a big display going on half way up the lake.

The wind was picking up blowing towards me and I was thinking that they might be moving on it but after an hour they hadn't - they continued to show in the same place so I wound in, loaded my barrow and moved up the lake. I got all three rods re-baited and got them all out within a minute as I wanted to keep the disturbance to a minimum. They are incredibly spooky fish up there and after not seeing a single sign for the next half hour after casting I was sitting, watching and wondering if I'd moved them on.

But then they must have settled down and I started to see one then two then three and so on as I sat there eyes glued to the water for the next hour then my middle rod gave two bleeps before melting into a one toner - I was on the rod straight away! I was straight into a slow plodding fish and everything was going to plan until the fish reached the marginal shelf, which has a wall of thick weed. I'd managed to angle it down the towards a gap in the reeds I was standing in before it felt like it rolled on my leader and went slack! The rig had pulled and I couldn't help thinking I'd just lost my only chance of the trip.

I put a fresh rig on and got it back out to the same spot , as I sat there stewing on my loss thinking “what if …?” I was still scanning the water and they started to show again which lifted my mood, but most shows were a little further out than where my left rod was recast to I gave it a little while and was actually about to put that rod a little longer but I never got the chance to as it was away! What a change in fortune.

After a good slow fight I had an old whittled dorsal fin snaking along the surface towards the net and it went in first time - the relief over took me and I was smiling ear to ear! I had a lovely old original in the net and couldn't be much happier that I'd kept my run going.

The rod went back out and I then had a few photos with an ancient old carp of 28lb 10oz, the wind was now hacking and my confidence was building. I had to wait about an hour before getting another bite which came to the left rod again and after a five minute fight, mainly on the surface I had another one in the net, once I'd got it up on the mat I was taken back at the looks of this fish - what a peach!

The fish was one of those mirrors where the more you look the more you see - the bailiff came and did some pics for me and weighed the fish at 29lb 6oz. I fished on for a couple more hours but nothing else happened I packed up and went home a happy man.

The rig I was using is my usual IQ2 pop-up rig incorporating a size 6 Kurve shank fished on the Heli Safe system and the bait was one of my homemade Mainline Polaris pop-ups that helped me land my eighth fish from nine bites in my nine trips so far this season. I can't wait ‘till next weekend!

Walthamstow Reservoirs info:

The Thames Water Walthamstow Reservoirs complex in East London is fishable on a day ticket from the bailiff’s office at the fishery entrance. The site contains a number of different reservoirs containing several 40lb-plus carp, specimen bream and nearly all other coarse species.

A favourite of the Korda team, it’s featured in several Thinking Tackle episodes and is one of the most popular fisheries in the capital. It’s also accessible by public transport via Blackhorse Road or Tottenham Hale on the Victoria Line.

Search for Walthamstow Reservoirs online for more information and check out one of the many Korda films made at the famous ‘Stow for great tips on tackle and tactics.