Manor Magic - Richie Lofthouse

I arrived at the wonderful Manor, in Essex, at about 5pm after work on a Friday afternoon raring to go. After a quick walk around the pond, I decided to plot up in a swim called the Car Park. Having checked out my chosen area, casting around with a light lead, I located a nice silty spot at about 20 yards range. On my previous session, the carp really seemed to be getting on the boilies, so with that in mind I decided to start off the session by introducing 4 kilos of DT’s Cold Water Mix with Green Beast. I spread the bait in an arc to hopefully get the carp grazing over the area.
I opted on fishing all three rods in conjunction with critically balanced baits comprising of a Korda Wide Gape in a size 8 and a Hybrid Soft hooklink. I prefer to match my hook bait with my free offerings so a Green Beast pop-up was mounted onto the hair.
To balance the rig I pinched a N04 shot on the hair because this allows the rig to sit at an aggressive angle and it would also enable it to sit on top of any bottom debris. I feel really confident using this type of set up over a big bed of bait and it has worked well for me in the past.

It was about midnight when the carp started rolling over my baited area and I could hardly sleep a wink, even though I had to be up for work in the morning. At 3am I received an absolutely savage take on my middle rod - whatever I’d hooked was really going for it.
I knew it was a good fish from the start, it just felt so powerful and weighty. After a long, hard fight I eventually had the carp kissing my spreader block. I didn’t know what fish it was at first, but after turning her over I recognised it as the Big Lin.
The Doc and Iain Macmillian came round to help with the weighing and as we held her up on the scales the Doc read out the weight. At 41lb 14oz it was my first forty from the Manor and what a buzz. I sacked her up safely in the margin and kept an eye on her every 20 minutes or so for the rest of the night. It was soon morning and time for the photos. I must say that she looked awesome for the photos; the colours were just pukka in the morning sunshine.

I had to go into work for a bit on the Saturday morning, but before leaving I made sure to put in another 4 kilos of bait. Resting a swim is something I have done since fishing Lakelands and it has proved to be a devastating method for the people who have practised it.
Ali Hamidi has proved this time and again whilst I’ve been out on the bank with him over the past three seasons. Soon enough, I was back at the lake 4 hours later, which the rules of the syndicate permit. I made sure to trickle bait in every hour or so to try and keep the fish in front of me searching out the food.
With no lines in the water all day Saturday I just hoped that they were still in the area and feeding happily on the bait in a rig free zone. I got the rods all sorted out for the evening but didn’t re-cast until around 5.30pm. At about 8pm, I had another take and this fish really was strong.
Unbelievably, it was stronger than the Big Lin. In fact, I have never been attached to such a strong fish. It must have been on for at least 20 minutes and my arm was killing me. I have to admit for a while that I thought it could have been one of the large catfish which reside in the lake. After getting the fish closer in I could see it was definitely no cat and I was a little nervous to say the least. After a long, hard fight the carp gave up and I was soon holding up the Maggots Mirror for the camera. At 38lb 10oz, I was over the moon holding up the strongest carp I have ever caught.

After sorting my swim out, I got the rod back out to the area and re-baited with a further kilo of the Green Beast. On waking up in the morning it was obvious that they had been in the swim eating because the water was chocolate brown in colour.
After a few cups of tea and some breakfast I was just about to start packing up when my left-hand bobbin pulled up tight. I thought it was a pike at first because they quite often pick up lines as they patrol the margins, but as I walked down to the rod the line pulled out of the clip and the clutch slowly tickled off.
The fight was fairly shortlived and on looking in the net I recognised the fish straight away, it was another Manor chunk known as Popeye. The Doc helped me with the weighing and I was blown away when the Reuben’s registered another forty pounder - 41lb 8oz to be exact. I can’t describe what it felt like; I was absolutely buzzing and still am.

Can't wait to get back over the lake...

Tight lines to all

Richie Lofthouse