Mark's Cottington carp comp title bid!

Well, I have just returned from the Elite Carp Masters at Cottington Lakes in Kent, where my team mate, Stuart Mogford, and myself, Mark Betteridge, tried to defend our title.

The draw didn’t go to badly for us, as we came 4th out of the hat and got in one of the pegs we’d seen fish in. We opted to keep ever so quiet, as there wasn’t much water in front of us. We found some spots, relying on our experience of the lake from previous events and sticked out ten washed-out Cell boilies over the top of each rod.

It was a very slow start for all the pairs, with only one fish coming out in the first 24 hours. We knew by then it was going to be very tough and by the time the light faded on the second night we knew we were in trouble, with no fish on the bank. Two pairs up at the other end of the lake had started to catch, so we needed to make a few changes.

We had stuck to our spots to try to keep the swim quiet, but it wasn’t working so I sat up through most of the night, listening for showing fish. It proved very difficult with the massive southeasterly howling down the lake and nearly blowing my bivvy into the nearby stream! Eventually though, one did show on my near margin, a spot that I had been baiting with crumbed up Cell boilies for most of the match.

I quickly lowered a small PVA bag a few feet from the bank with a size 6 Kurv Shank hook on a blow back rig with a Mainline Baits Peaches & Cream wafter on the hair. It wasn’t long before the rod was bent round and I was into our first fish. It was quite a funny fight with the fish coming straight to the top. After no more than a couple of small lunges it was in the back of the net. Once the marshals had turned up it seemed to be a fish they recognised, known as the Slate Grey; a fish that normally goes 32lb. Unfortunately, it was down in weight this time and went 29lb 8oz.

It was a great start and once daylight arrived, we spent the rest of the morning looking for signs of fish but there was nothing to go on. As the end of the match approached Stu saw a fish show right on the far edge of our swim.

With hardly any time to spare, I dropped a rig on it with a small handful of washed-out Cell over the top. We were in 3rd place by only 1lb and with 15 minutes to spare the bobbin slowly picked up and eventually hit the blank.

As I lifted the rod it went solid and I knew straight away there was something wrong so I was quick to run down the bank with the rod in my hand. The only thing I could think of was that the line had cut in to the soft clay ledges on the bottom of the lake.

After keeping steady pressure on the line it pulled out of the ledge and I was finally in contacted with the fish, which was in no rush to come in, stripping 40 yards of line off me and heading to a gap between two islands.

Thankfully it turned and after a great scrap under the rod tip with a small crowd standing behind me, it finally went in the net and was a cracking linear that sent the scales round to 30lb 3oz. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to push us up a position but was a good consolation prize! It just goes to show, if you keep your eyes on the lake and keep on trying, the smallest of changes can make a massive difference!