On To The Next One - Luke Vallory

So far, this season has been fairly kind to me. Been consistently catching on my main water, the North Met, and in-between flitting around a few different day ticket waters. The past three weeks have been pretty special; usually I would stick to one lake at a time, but this spring/summer I’ve really enjoyed switching about, fishing the Quarry in Essex.

I decided to spread my wings further and head up to Oxfordshire, home of the big, dark and scaly ones. The venue was the well-known Christchurch Lake on the Linch Hill complex. It used to be run as a syndicate and in the last year and has since been opened as a top day ticket water. The 90-minute drive up there was a huge buzz, knowing I would be fishing for some stunning Oxfordshire carp, and fully expected it to be challenging with it being busy a lot of the time.

The first night couldn’t have gone any better, I landed a cracking old 33lb mirror, which was nailed on the ever reliable size six Long Shank X, set up on a blowback rig and leap clip set up. I used heavy leads to send the hook home and dropping them due to the dense Canadian pondweed across the lake.
A week or so later I headed back down to the Quarry for an overnighter full of confidence from my last trip. During the early hours of the morning I lost the first fish right at the net due to lots of weed around the line, but quickly settled the score with a clean looking 27lb mirror. Then, just before I had to leave for work, I received a double take resulting in two upper doubles.

On my next session I headed back down the North Met for a 24-hour session. I hadn’t been down for a few weeks and felt very out of tune with the place. I arrived at midday and decided to check every nook and cranny before getting the gear out the car. After a good hour of walking round the large pit I eventually managed to find six fish on the end of a South Westerly, which was pushing into a small bay tucked away from the pressure. I set up in a swim closest to the bay, feeling confident I would get a take as they work their way out. Well, within half an hour I managed to lose one so I must’ve been getting something right to have had a take so early. The next morning I hung around hoping they would come back and they did! I ended up banking a 23lb 8oz common and an old mirror known as Two Scrapes at 34lb, a nice welcome back to the big Lea Valley pit.

My most recent trip was a return visit to the Quarry on an overnighter. I didn’t mind the long drive for a short visit, as there was still a handful of fish I dearly wanted to catch in there. Well that night it happened for me. I received a screaming take at 4am, the fish managed to weed me up solid, so I had to resort to using the boat. It was still dark so I took the head torch out with me, as I got close to the heavy Canadian around my line I noticed a big mirror a couple of feet underneath the weed as I shone the head torch over it. I started to panic after seeing that I was connected to one of the good’uns. After a frustrating half an hour in the boat I ended up slackening the line and slowly pulling it by hand towards the fish, I then had the net in one hand slowly aiming it towards the fish, then quickly with my other hand pushing the fish into the net. Sounds crazy, but I wasn’t winning any other way.

The result was the almighty Orion at 33lb 8oz. One of the ones I wanted to catch the most of all. It was absolutely stunning in every way and black as your hat!