Reservoir Residents - Marc Cavaciuti

In the spring of 2012 during a regular carpers’ curry, I was shown some pictures of two very special fish that live in a 29 acre reservoir in the south east. One of the fish, which is a large male, instantly fixed my gaze.

I looked transfixed at these images of what is in my opinion one of, and if not, the best looking carp in the country. The image burnt into my head, and even now pops up daily.

The following day I made some enquiries about obtaining a ticket. This was no syndicate, no waiting list, but a club water with a series of other reservoirs nearby.
Without even setting foot on the banks I paid my ticket fee, that image, those scales, the shoulders, set my imagination into overdrive and my journey began…

Upon arriving for my first session I barrowed the trek from the car park to the water and as I set my gaze on it for the first time I instantly thought to myself, “so this is why I have never heard about the place”. Tree lined only for a few hundred yards, vast expanse of nothingness except for floating weed beds, deep water, hundreds of coots, tufties the size of Alsatians, the cyclists, the dog walkers, the fact you’d need a ladder to get to the water’s edge and with met check showing a ten mile an hour wind forecast, due to its location embedded in a valley, it was pulsing through at more like twenty, this would not be the last trip where the wind would catch me out and blow over my barrow, two shattered brollies later the wind is something I’ll never get used to.

All this made me question my sanity. Many have barrowed up the steep bank only to turn around and leave for somewhat more ‘comfortable fishing’.

If I remember correctly, I joined in July so I missed the spring, but I managed 9 bites in 14-nights that first year, however the morning of that first trip one of the elusive residents slipped up to a lad called Leigh, who is now a close friend. I missed the pictures and weighing and I wasn’t even aware it had been caught as I’d seen that exact fish, the fish that burnt scaley scars in by head, cruising along my margin later that day, as if to tease me. The challenge was, and still is set. The bites here are so very precious and hard to come by.

This brings me up to the present day and the following capture. A big South Westerly was forecast for the Friday and Saturday, a drop in pressure and some rain that had been missing for a few months, I knew where I needed to be. The conditions would have been perfect, if not for the fact I could not be there.

Straight after work I made it to the reservoir and to my surprise no one was on, I knew they’d be close and in the area, it looked too perfect. The wind was set to ease by the time I could be by the waters edge, I even booked some holiday so I could extend my session, knowing how much the big’uns were due to make an appearance.

On the Sunday I roughly had an area in mind where I needed to be, the wind was no longer pulsing through, so I imagined them to have slightly backed off from the windward margin. I knew my spots already and I wanted to give them some food prior to my trip. Two hours later, 10kg of Sticky baits Krill was spombed hard against the clip. Gotta love a cross-wind!

I arrived on the Wednesday morning leaving straight after a night shift, and with a preset game plan, give them some food and in my typical fashion I would fish from the barrow if required, sacrificing my efforts of establishing an area and chase them if they were showing elsewhere, a tactic I regularly employ.

That morning I introduced another 7kg of whole boilies, scalded pellet, krill liquid and clay that I had dug from the reservoirs now water depleted margin. I expected very little to happen on that first night, lots of food had been introduced and the swim had been disturbed and after watching the water for what felt like an age, I drifted off to sleep at half eleven, still seeing white water, wind capped waves behind closed eyelids.

My first take came that night, a 27lb common I chose not to sack her for images and did some self takes, 7 hours in the sack isn’t the one in my opinion, and the girl was slipped back as quickly as she was caught.

I topped up the swim midday the following day, this time with only 3kg of boilie, but I upped the Krill liquid and scalded pellet and clay combo. My thought process was to see if by lowering the ‘real’ food content, I could gain a quicker bite.

The next morning I received a take and in the following minute after connecting with the fish if I had lost it I would have sworn it was an unknown catfish.

Eventually the creature became slow and heavy, and in the back of my mind I thought I cracked it. Netted, and in the green light of my head torch, I secured the net and checked for scale patterns.

It wasn’t to be, however the creature that greeted me was unblemished, the tail looked as if it had been drawn and in no way was I disappointed with what I was looking at.
After removing the size 6 Choddy hook that was embedded two inches back-proper putty rubbing bottom lip style, Leigh took some amazing pictures that I am grateful of. At 32lbs 2oz I was more than happy.

The plan was set for that day, no whole boilies were introduced, three Signature pink pop-ups were mounted on my soft boomed hinged rigs and tram lined them roughly a rod length apart over the area, two buckets of Krill liquid, boilie crumb and clay were again pinged on the clip slightly up wind of the spot. Everything looked and felt perfect that night and I fell asleep more than content.

The take came at 7am the following morning, a stunning common was my prize and it was returned with pictures, but un-weighed, like most of the reservoirs residents I have slipped them back not caring about size, just left in awe about how perfect they look.