John Barnes lands London’s finest…

John Barnes is a regular on the Thames Water Walthamstow Reservoirs complex, and recently used his intimate knowledge of the venue to catch some very special old carp…

The other side of John's 'Stow 36-pounder

Another stunning old 'Stow 30

I've been opting for my usual mobile approach, and trying to second guess where the fish are going to turn up. The captures have come to the same rig comprising of a size 6 Kurv Shank attached to a size 11 ring swivel (I use it with the ring cut off sometimes, but it's dependent on the height I want)

This is covered by clear shrink tube, hook link is 20lb IQ2 attached to the swivel by a perfection loop knot with a little putty to hold the small homemade peach-flavoured Polaris pop-up down.

I fish this rig on a short length of leadcore with the Chod Safety System, Heli-Safe and QC heli swivel. It’s not a basic rig that I'd fish over bait for multiple bites but as I'm only fishing for one bite I'm willing to make every percent count in my favour.

On Saturday I fished a 12-hour session and after walking around looking for signs to not much avail, I went on past experience and decided to check out a marginal weed bed that I'd seen fish patrolling and also caught from previously too. As I approached slowly I saw a fish drift out from behind the weed up near the surface and that was good enough for me.

I gave it a couple of minutes before casting a rig to the back of the weed bed into the deeper water, a nice firm drop told me I was where I needed to be. I baited with a handful of free baits, then slackened off my line and propped it up on a single stick between the reeds and sat back.

For a couple of hours I watched the water but it was pretty quiet and then out of nowhere a single bleep turned into a full-blown run!

I was into a slow plodding fish and after a short fight I had a nice old Walthamstow mirror sitting in the net, which I recognised as an ex-King George reservoir fish. I then had a few snaps and weighed the fish at 36lb on the nose, and then held it in the water for a minute or two before he swam off strongly. Happy days!

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.

The big mirror swims off strongly, back to his East London home

Another mirror from the resizes weighing 25lb 8oz