The End Of The Road - Max Leggett

Our young Carp Academy graduate, Max Leggett, has been out doing the business, AGAIN! Banking another personal best.

“I had planned to fish the Front Pit for an overnight session, because a lot of the fish from the Back Pit have been banked already. I’d had my fair share of them and felt that I'd only have recaptures if I went back on there. After all, there's only two left on the list I want in, and that's Tri-Scale, and a fish known as Ghost. With around 120 other fish present, it would be slightly tough.

Upon arrival to the front pit, unfortunately we didn’t check the match fixtures in the booklet, and it turned out that there was a match on, so the Back Pit it was going to have to be. I decided to plot up in a swim known as Lumpy’s, which is quite a weedy area that requires time and patience with a lead in order to find fishable areas. There was a large weed bed directly in front of me, so I had a lead around to find a clearing. After a couple attempts, I found the spot on a risen part of the bar, in 7ft of water, on the edge of the weed bed. The rod wrapped around the sticks 14.5 times, so I decided to fish the second rod a rod length to the left in about 10ft of water. To both of these I attached my ever-faithful hinge stiff rigs with 14mm white Northern Specials, but I changed one thing, the hook to the new Krank.

Well, as I write this, it's a good couple of weeks after, and I have ended up back on the Back Lake due to the front pit being mobbed. It's 2am now, and half hour ago, I received a screaming take, and would you believe it, I caught the Unnamed Mirror again, at a spawned out weight of 27lb 8oz. Also, during the day previous, I managed to have another character recapture, Lumpy at a very spawned out weight of 24lb 8oz, caught off the top.

Back to the session, and finally my lucky bite time struck at 4:30am, when I received a take on my right-hand rod. Instantly I could feel it plunging towards weed beds, but with a steady hand, keeping the rod high, I was winning. After a decent scrap in front of me, a nice common slipped over the net, my first on the Krank, and it wouldn't be the last. That fish definitely wasn't coming off with that hook hold. I put the fish out in the retention sling, and after checking the hook sharpness of the same rig; it was more than good enough to put back out there. So, with a fresh Northern pop-up, I casted it first time onto the spot against the clip. I then sank the line for a good five minutes, and then rest it onto the Delkim, with a semi slack line, I attached the Stow and looked at the water. A big slick had risen to the surface above my spot, so with Matt by my side, we stood nervously by the butts of my rods. Within two minutes, the right bobbin smacked the blank, and I instantly hit into a fish that had already made it's way into the weed bed.

It would not budge at all, so I decided to just hold the rod high, and see if it kicks itself free. After a little while it gave one kick, and as I started to walk back I could really feel the line grating against the weed, so I was becoming anxious. With careful play of the rod, she then came out of the weed. Finally, she was beat, Matt lifted the net and saw the distinctive three scales in a triangle of her right side "TRI-SCAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALE!!!!!" Yes! I have never shouted like that in my life, I've done it. My two and half year quest had finally come to an end. She finally came to say hello. Once I finished slapping about in the water in a weird raging happiness, I took another look into the net and realised she looked massive, a lot bigger than I'd ever seen her look before. Matt then pointed out that most of the people around the lake had started to reel their rods in to come over, so I wanted to calm down as I looked like a maniac. It then dawned on me when I went into my Bivvy looking for the sling, that I still had a fish retained! Another brace with a definite 30lb+, except this time there was no question this was going to be a new PB. So I left Matt to hold her in the net while I sorted out to common and made the sling free. I didn't even bother weighing it, but it was a high double for sure. I managed a couple of pictures from the guys that came round and congratulated me, and it was promptly slipped back.

I slid her into the sling, checked her fins, and lifted a very heavy mirror onto the mat. I said to the boys that I want the sling zeroed just before the weighing, and that I'd transfer her onto the mat and basically hug her, to avoid any chance of this old brute leaving the mat in anyway. Whilst they zeroed the sling, she kicked against my chest so hard that it felt like a punch. She was so powerful. I then hoisted her back into the sling, and I said to the others that I couldn't look and turned my back. I could hear them all gasping, but when I heard "thirty...thirty six" my jaw dropped, and when turned round, there was the needle sitting just over 36lb - unbelievable. I smashed my UK PB by five and half pound. Mental how fishing can come together in the end! I put her retained in the water again to call my old man, and my good friend Ivan, who both couldn't believe the weight until they got down with the cameras.

Flash, Camera, Action, the pictures were then taken, with a midway soaking with a bucket of water over the head from Ivan, I didn't care one bit, it made the moment. While holding Tri, I went into a daze where all I could see was her in my arms, two and half years flashed back through my mind of my pursuit of her, all the puzzle pieces being put together, and it ended so perfectly. I got into the water with her for a couple of water shots, before lowering her, and let her swim away strong from my arms. That chapter has now been written, and I really loved my time on there, now onto pastures new.

I'd like to say thanks to everyone involved in my time there, to the people I met on there, to my angling friends, and to my dad for getting me into this sport, it's now stuck into my blood.

Long live the historic Silver End Pits!

Max Leggett