Marcus Clark banks Little Els from the North Met - twice!

Marcus Clark had spent four years trying to catch one of his target fish from the North Met Pit, then managed to catch it twice in the space of four weeks!

He finally banked the mirror known as Little Els from the Lea Valley water, although it was well down in weight at 33lb after spawning – it had topped 40lb back in the spring.

He explained: “The vast majority of my spring sessions had been on Dinton’s White Swan Lake, but with it being shut for a month I decided that it was the ideal time to concentrate my efforts on the North Met for the summer months.

“I arrived on June 16 for my first proper session this year – they had been spawning the previous week – and spent the first three hours walking round and climbing trees, and had managed to find the majority of the inhabitants of the lake before I finally came across the bigger fish, which were using a 250 yards long area of snag trees, swimming up and down.

“I plotted up in an area halfway along this line of snags, on a point which not only gave me the chance to fish the snags during the day and be in with a good chance of landing anything that I hooked, but to also put my rods out in open water as I felt that would give me the best chance during the night and early morning.

“I was fishing long, running chod rigs over the thick silt in open water, with Mouthtrap chod sections, 6ft of IQ2 and Heli-Safe Beads. My snag rod was set up slightly differently, with a multi rig constructed from 30lb N-Trap Soft, a Hybrid Lead Clip and 6ft of IQ2 as a leader.

“The first night I had tench on the open water rods, but then at first light the snag rod was away with an angry carp, and after a hell of a battle it was in the folds of my net and I could see it had a big frame. It turned out to be Little Els, which I was over-the-moon with as it was one of the few bigger ones that I hadn’t had before.

“The following night was almost exactly a carbon copy, with tench from open water and then a 16lb mirror as it got light, but unfortunately they then started to spawn again so I cut my session short.

“I had three days spare the following week, and as Dinton was open again I headed back to White Swan. It was very busy, but I managed to find an area with less angling pressure and took a punt on it for the first night. I saw nothing and was thinking that it had been a bad move, but the next morning they started to show in numbers and at 10am I had a take, but unfortunately the hook pulled after about 30 seconds and I was gutted as it was the first one that I’d lost on there in two years.

“I put on a new rig and cast it back to the spot, but I thought my chance had gone and was surprised when just half-an-hour later my other rod was away with a gorgeous, scaly 19lb 8oz mirror. I was buzzing to have had two takes within an hour, but then in true Dinton form I blanked for the next two nights, despite moving swim.

“It was two weeks before I was able to get out again and I couldn’t wait to get back on the Met. Conditions looked ideal for them to be at the south end of the lake, and a quick look in the out-of-bounds area revealed that two of the lakes biggest fish were there, so I knew I had to be at this end. Unfortunately I wasn’t the only one to have noticed them, and all the main swims were already taken, so a bit of thought was required.

“Having fished the water on and off for four years, I knew that often when they came out of the out-of-bounds at night, they would show along two bars that ran out from the bank either side of a swim a couple of hundred yards up the lake, so I set up there and set my traps.

“Not long after dark my thoughts were confirmed and they started to show, getting closer and closer to me, and I sat up until 2am and went to bed surprised that I hadn’t had any action. I got up at 6am thinking that my chance had passed, but out of the blue the rod I was fishing in the deepest water was away at a rate of knots. After a proper battle, as she tried to get around the back of an island, she was in the net and I could see that it was Little Els again. It then rained for the next 36 hours and that seemed to kill the fishing, but I’d managed another bite and couldn’t wait to get again to see if I could catch one of my other targets.”