Simon Kenny completes his quest on the Essex Manor!

Simon Kenny was expecting to have the pick of swims when he arrived at the Essex Manor on a Sunday, so it came as a bit of a shock to find that several other anglers had beaten him to it, including the peg that he fancied!

Everything worked out well in the end though, when he ended up catching the last of the named big ‘uns yet to fall to his rods – a mirror known as Stella at 44lb 7oz.

He explained: “When I arrived I could see that the car park was busy, and that a couple of the cars definitely weren’t ones that I recognized as belonging to weekend regulars. It turned out that a couple of people had got down early to try and get good swims, and my heart sank as I got to the Steps swim and could see a bottle already in it – belonging to fellow Team Korda member Marc Cavaciuti. He knew as well as me that Stella was due out, and that this was prime position for her.

“A lot of fish were cruising about, and in the end I decided to drop into the Garden, next door, which is a swim that I know very well – although it doesn’t have any real history of Stella being caught from there, it looked like the best option.

“I got the rods out on my usual spots and baited each one with half-a-kilo of Sticky Baits Krill boilies which I’d soaked in Pure Tuna Liquid. I was fishing chod rigs with yellow Signature Squid pop-ups, and these were set up using the Naked Chod System, with a Heli-Safe Bead to ensure the lead dropped off, and tied from 25lb Mouthtrap to a size 4 Choddy hook.

“The forecast was for some nice overcast conditions, with light rain, coming in the next day, and I was hoping that this would make the fish switch on. The night was quiet, but the next morning it started to look better and I saw a few fish showing.

“Around 11am I had a bite and after a long scrap an old friend called Heart Tail rolled into the net. We’d met a number of times before so I just unhooked her in the net and let her go.

“I was a bit disappointed to get a repeat capture, but after re-doing the rod and scattering another half-a-kilo of boilies over the spot, I had another bite on it later that afternoon.

“It stayed deep and plodded around in the margin for a while, and when it came up near the surface I could see the unmistakable two-tone appearance of Stella and my heart was in my mouth as she went on another 20 yards run, sending up a trail of bubbles. Luckily everything held firm and I soon had her in the net.

“This is my third season on the Manor and Stella was the last of the big ‘uns that I still had to catch, having racked up 88 fish during my time on there. I’d had numerous repeats but kept going so that I could complete the full set. It is now time to move onto pastures new.”