26.08.15

Josh Bennett lands his target with military precision…

After 20 months of fishing the lake, my target fish was becoming more and more elusive. The Sergeant is a beautiful looking English mirror carp; full of browns, golds and mahogany colouring and a true old English fish.

Having fished the lake for some time, I was beginning to predict most of her captures and felt I knew the area the fish would come from next. The beach swim had a long line of weed stretching in front of the swim, parallel to the bank at short range. With the aid of chest waders, I would be able to battle the fish to the net with minimal trouble, but landing fish from the bank would be almost impossible.

Having the rod tips up high to keep the majority of the line free from the stands of weed growing to the surface in places, also helped land every fish I hooked on the session I'm about to describe...

Having such high tips meant I felt that line lay may be inhibited. This would be something I had to accept due to the weedy conditions, however I still tailored my approach to maximise the presentation out on the spots. The spots themselves were clean; a very prominent gravel area approximately a rod length wide between two weed beds at 11 rod lengths from the bank.

I have been a solid convert of the COG system all year, but felt I needed the lead to drop immediately on the take. This isn't a fault of the COG, the lead drops like a normal lead clip would when coming into contact with any alien objects, however the Kable leadcore leaders connected to the Hybrid lead clips are invaluable in weedy or snaggy situations in my opinion and so it proved on this session; each fish immediately hitting the surface and lead seemingly dropping as I had wanted it to. To this I attached my usual balanced rigs, incorporating small Tails Up dumbbells connected to the ever-sharp Kaptor Kurv size 6s.

With all the rods out having settled in the beach, I began to mix a concoction of spod mix to apply in a few hours time. I always like to fish with singles or bags for the first few hours of a session; one to allow my bait and all the oils and flavours to mix together and, two, to intercept any fish in the area quickly if they are having a feed up.

This also works well to establish whether any other angler’s bait is left in the swim and thus dictate if and where you apply your own bait. The plan of catching a fish quickly on the singles worked, and within ten minutes my right hand picked up and trickled off gently. The rig components did their job and a good fish was glided gently, after a 10-minute scrap, over the net cord. I quickly secured the net in the edge without even looking at the fish and quickly clipped the rod back out.
By using a 3.5oz distance lead I felt the lead crash down and was confident of another take.

As I began to prepare the mat and camera my dad walked into the swim; having travelled down for the ensuing 48 hours. As we spoke I lifted the net, still unaware of what was inside and as I looked to ensure the fish was secure, I saw three very distinctive scales on the fish's left flank.

All of a sudden, it dropped and I looked up and smiled at dad. He joined me in the water and as we confirmed the fish's identity as The Sergeant - we just danced around up to our crown jewels in the water; a truly memorable occasion spent with my best friend.

After the pictures were finished and the fish returned with the upmost care, the following 24 hours flashed past in a blur of screaming buzzers and arm aching action. Eight fish up to 29lb 8oz followed my target fish, however as quickly as the action started it stopped abruptly and the remaining 24 hours finished without a take or show in the vicinity. I did move for a few hours on the final morning, however the fish were seemingly uninterested in the baits.

The effectiveness of the Kable leaders in the conditions I faced were evident when purchased, however after use I cannot recommend them enough along with the Hybrid clips. Providing both abrasion resistance and a heavier option than a leader in this instance meant in my mind the presentation was improved.

The importance of dropping the lead is well advocated in carp literature, however I feel even when dropping the lead, the rest of the setup has to be up to the job. The size 6 Kurv; my favourite hook, has a very sharp, straight point with a curved shank, which in these situations allows maximum hooking potential with the security of a curved shank for the hook holds in tough battles.

I certainly feel that my targets will be achieved when applying the range of terminal tackle options I have within the range to my fishing, and so it's proved this year.

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