The Birthmark Linear - Dan Wildbore

Due to the fact that my syndicate began to slow down for the winter, and that it has a notoriously terrible winter track record, it was time to have a think as to where I could angle during the colder months.
I really do love fishing around the Oxford area; the clear, weedy and pressured nature of them always offers a challenge to anyone and with this in mind it was time to have another go on Manor Farm located on the Linear complex.
When I fished it in the past, it always involved little 10mm pop-ups - spodding hemp, sweetcorn, maggots and casters over the top. This has always produced fish for me, but never anything over the 20lb barrier and with this in mind I wanted to do something different.
It has only really been the last year that boilies have played a big part in my angling and has fully convinced me that it's certainly the way forward as far as fishing for big fish in concerned!
Armed with 5kg of the new N-Gage, soon to be released by CC Moore, 10kg of chilli hemp and a tin of sweetcorn, I was sure this was the way to get through to the bigger fish. Being one of the most popular day ticket waters in the land, it was typically busy on arrival and I couldn’t get on them.
I set up as close to the area as possible and once I had got everything sorted and had something to eat, the anglers in my desired area began to pack up. It was just moving into dark, so I decided to set three decent traps and if that didn't work, I would move first thing the following morning.
Sure enough, 5am arrived fishless and I wanted to be set up and ready to go into my new swim before it started getting light.
Two rods went out at range on little, solid bags, while the other was placed on a small clearing in the weed at 104 yards out. A 14mm bottom bait, tipped with a piece of plastic corn was the hook bait choice, to which I attached a small bag of crushed boilie.
Three kilos of mix went out via the spod, making all the traps ready. It took around two hours to get the first bite and it was over the bait, which was a good sign - a 23lb 5oz stockie the result and although simmo fish aren’t really my cup of tea they can offer good sport and in this particular case, absorb lovely, dark early winter colours which made it all the better!
The rod went straight back out there, followed by around a kilo and a half more mix.
Another hour and a half had passed and it looked good for another one soon, when the bait rod was away again. The lead set up had done its job and the fish was straight up on the surface away from the weed. At first, the size of the fish wasn’t easy to estimate because it stayed on the top the whole time. It was shaking its head desperately trying to get rid of the little Kurv Shank firmly in its mouth!
At around 50yrds out, it was apparent I was into a long fish and knowing there was no weed around it felt a heavy one too. At around 30 yards out, I was greeted with the site of some rather large golden flanks which looked almost linear beaming in the sunlight. This meant I was attached to one of the three big linear’s in there and I began to get nervous.
Slowly but surely I slipped the net over what was clearly a big fish and upon rolling her over I was left blown away when the large red birthmark was shining back at me, confirming I had one of the finest carp on the complex in my net!
A quick phone call to Roy and he was soon over giving me a hand. We hoisted her up on the scales and after a short pause, he said the words: “40lb 1oz mate”! As you can imagine, it left me ecstatic. A truly special fish and one that I will cherish for the rest of my life.
Regards, Dan Wildbore