Thirties Brace - James Armstrong

It’s not very often that you peer down into your net to see a brace of 30lb mirrors within its folds. It was on a very recent session to an exclusive club water that I lived this dream. I arrived at first light, along with a good friend who taught me to fish a long time ago. I cannot name the water unfortunately, due to publicity restrictions. Membership is dead man’s shoes, so when you get offered a guest session, you snap their hands off for one. I’m very lucky in the fact that I get the opportunity of one or two sessions per year and I always try to make them count, due to the incredible stock; which includes some hefty mirror and long, torpedo-like commons to over 40lb.
From experience, I knew that long, accurate casting would be key. Consequently, I was armed with powerful rods and big-pit reels loaded to the brim with thin Whiplash braid. I was going long!
Over the far side of the deep, clear chalk pit, there is a steep cliff face. This area is out of bounds and runs for at least 300 yards. It’s actually a chalk face and you often see carp cruising along the shelf covered in the stuff as they’ve rubbed against the slope.
Both of us spent the first hour looking for fish and it was apparent that they were along this face. Our next port of call was swim number 67 because it was the closest area to the fish. It’s also renowned for being productive.
I knew that it might take me a few casts to get each rod right due to the lengthy distance, over 130yrd, and the stiff breeze. As a result, I couldn’t use PVA because it would decrease the distance and also take too long to keep tying fresh sticks. I opted for my trusty hinged stiff rigs. They rarely tangle and I know that they would settle beautifully should there be any weed present. My pop-up was a Baitworks Atlantic Heat soaked in Hot Fish Oil. I also chose a lead-clip system because the weed was heavy out in open water.
It took a few casts, but I soon dispatched my 4oz lead just where I wanted it… right on slope. I knew this as I could feel the lead crack down in around 8ft of water. The shelf sloped down to around 18ft you see, so I judged how long it took for the lead to crack down. I was happy and soon had two rods in situ. I was only using two due to the two-rod rule.
With the baits in I set about concocting a mix for the day ahead. I could literally wander along the face and introduce it by hand. However, it was a bit of a way off so I’d brought ground bait from the Mainline stable and used this to bind up my goodies such as boilie chops, corn and some hemp. I could squeeze it into a cricket-ball shape and launch it underarm along the face. I also scattered some boilies in a wide area. It was amazing as I saw two carp quite literally attack the bait as it fell through the column. I couldn’t believe it; they were on it immediately.
Ten minutes later I was unhooking a tench. I got the rod back out before the left-hand rod ripped into life. As it was slowly plodding in the deeps, the right-hand rod that had been out minutes also pulled down. My friend Ken had to hold it for me and in a panic I slipped the first one in the net before snatching the other rod. It was unbelievable as I coaxed another hefty mirror to the surface. Ken did wonderfully well to net them both in the same net and it turned out to be a spectacular brace of thirties – 31lb and 32lb 8oz, wow. It resulted in a spectacular session. I caught five carp and lost one, with shed loads of tench too. My tactics work and I can’t wait to return!