Spring Gold - John Mann

The evenings are drawing out nicely now, which makes the usual overnighters that I do a more relaxed affair. This means that when I arrive for a session after work, I have more time to wander the banks looking for some indication as to the whereabouts of where the carp may be.
I had been rather preoccupied with a certain swim for a while, which in hindsight had been a touch foolish as this years conditions have been greatly different to those previous. I had suffered a couple of blank sessions in this swim, which I had been convinced the carp would show up in, and this coupled of with a hook pull creating another blank, I decided it was time for a change.
When I arrived at the lake the wind was a nice, moderate North Westerly, which was pushing along two thirds of the far bank, which seemed like a good place to start.
A friend of mine had been fishing during the day and had spotted some carp in close, which were patrolling the margins enjoying a banquet of fresh bream spawn.
Rather than just plot up randomly in the nearest swim, I went back to the car to fetch my pluming rod in order to explore the topography that this bank had to offer.
The margins of this lake are quite deep especially as it is still up beyond its normal capacity and they seemed a likely place to start particularly at this time of year.
I always flick in a few boilies into an area before I am about to plumb or cast into just to temporally dispatch any carp that may be there so I can plumb freely without properly scaring any fish that could be in the area.
A short pull round with the plumb rod revealed a gravely margin of around 6ft with a light covering of fresh green weed - surely a place to put a little yellow pop-up and a few broken Mainline Cell boilies if ever there was one, time to get the gear.
As the sun went down I was parked under my brolly that I had set up a good 20 plus feet from the bank as not to disturb my marginal fished baits.
The decision I had made was the right one as at around 1am my left-hand rod rattled off. On connecting with my adversary there was a short kicking sensation on the other end - surely not a tench I thought.
As I drew the fish nearer it woke up and started to put up a good account for itself. I was soon rewarded with a cracking half-linear mirror that pulled the scales round to a little over 16lb, after a couple of mat shots I returned the little warrior.
Nothing else occurred that night and I could not help thinking to myself that catching a carp at such close quarters I may have scuppered my chances for the rest of that session.
So on returning the following evening I decided that it would be foolish not to put at least one rod back where I had caught from the previous night but needed to find another area for my other rod. I was aware of a small plateau that comes up 2ft higher than the surrounding area about 30 yards out, this was to be where my other rod was to be fished.
This rod was fished with a short combi-rig consisting of 15lb IQ2 fluorocarbon and 25lb Supernatural, in conjunction with a size 8 Wide Gape of course. All of this was connected to a Hybrid lead clip and a fluorocarbon leader. The hook bait was a Mainline Cell boilie and a small pineapple tipper fished snowman style, I baited with around 80 mixed sized Cell boilies and with the bobbins clipped I sat back to watch the evening draw in.
As the light faded, I was a touch concerned as there was far less fishy activity than the night previous. However, between the hours of nine and ten I had received a few sets of liners on my plateau rod, which was encouraging to say the least.
It was around eleven that this rod sprung into life and after another hearty battle I was rewarded with another pretty, mid-double mirror all speckled with little pea scales - these fish are real lookers and certainly ones for the future.
By the time I came to recast there was an incredibly thick mist seriously reducing my sight. I knew the cast would be good as I always fish with my line in a clip to ensure accuracy, but the baiting as another matter. I could only rely on listening for where the splash was coming from in the distance and looking at the angle the boilies were leaving my Eazi-Stick to asses where my baits were landing - baiting done it was time to get in the bag.
The next thing I knew I was desperately trying to disconnect my landing net from a very frozen unhooking mat as an unknown creature was making off with my snowman at a rapid rate of knots.
The landing net was freed and I was shivering but connected with another carp. This one didn’t scrap as hard but chose to kite back and forth as I drew it closer to the waiting net.
My eyes met with more scales in and I saw a common carp at the bottom looking really unimpressed with itself as my hook bait bobbed rapidly in and out of its mouth.
There was a thick frost, even at this time of year, but the sun was up as I hoisted the carp up on my scales to reveal a weight of 22lb 8oz, and although the temperature was still cold I did feel a nice warm glow inside.
As you can see from my self-taken photos the morning sun really showed up the colours of this scale perfect common carp. What a result.

John Mann