Lee Endersby completes his quest at a Colne Valley pit

After waiting for a long time to get a ticket on a Colne Valley pit, Lee Endersby was soon getting amongst some fish, culminating in his target, known as the Grey Leather, at 39lb 6oz.

The first season at the tricky venue was spent learnt the habits of the fish – although he did also manage to catch a few along the way – but the following year he managed to put all of that hard work to good use and was catching consistently, finally resulting in him achieving his goal.

Lee revealed: “It was a lovely, intimate pit and many ‘old school’ anglers had graced its banks in the past, chasing its gems, so I was over-the-moon to get a chance to angle for them. There were five or six carp, referred to as the A-Team, that I had my eye on, and in particular the Grey Leather, which is at least 40 years old!

“This pit is by no means easy, and the first season was spent mainly flitting about learning all that I could, with a few quick nights, and a lot of walking – both after work and even at 3am, to try and learn their habits. I managed several bites, but the most vital thing was finding and seeing the leather for the first time, as she absolutely blew me away and gave me even more of a buzz to try and catch her!

“The second season started well and I managed to get a margin spot producing several bites, but only from stockies and I didn’t really feel like I was angling for the leather. When spring arrived I started back on there to try and get ahead of all the other anglers, and with the pit empty and tap-water clear, I started to find her regularly sitting in some snags.

“The swim that covered this area was fairly popular, so I knew I’d have to do something a bit different to catch her, as it had been nearly two years since she was last out. I opted to fish a very shallow plateau off of a margin where I have often seen her patrolling, and decided to trickle small amounts of bait into this area on a regular basis. I started with just six handfuls at a time, consisting of Sticky Baits Manilla boilies crumbled up, plus matching pellets, corn, and all of it was soaked in Manilla liquid for maximum attraction.

“I baited the spot every three days, and after a couple of weeks it was glowing and I could see carp turning over stones as they looked for more bait, and one evening I saw the leather grazing over the plateau, so knew that she had fed on it.

“I finally fished my first three nights, and managed five bites, with the highlight being the Big Lin at 32lb, which always seems to be with the leather, so it felt like I was very close. On the next overnighter that I could do I had a further five bites off of the spot, so I was hoping that it was just a matter of time.

“I was busy over the next couple of weeks but knew that I had to get some rod hours in on the baited spot, so arranged with the wife to do an evening session. When I turned up I checked the spot before casting out and saw a large common moving stones about, looking for food, so I knew the spot was still being fed on heavily.

“I cast the rod under the overhanging branches and got it on the money, and just ten minutes after setting the bobbin it pulled tight. At first I thought it was just a stockie, or possibly the common that I had seen, but as soon as it was close to the net I could see this huge orangy mirror, and it rolled over the net cord at the second attempt.

“I was shaking as I looked into the net and could the Grey Leather sitting there defeated with the size 4 Wide Gape hook and 20lb N-Trap hook link hanging neatly from her mouth! This line aligner rig had accounted for 15 bites from the water and I hadn’t lost a single one.

“All the hundreds of hours of walking, looking and searching had paid off, and I phoned a couple of mates to come and do some photos for me.”