Tricky To Tempt - Ben Ward

The lake I’m fishing is a local club water in the Lea Valley. It doesn’t see that much attention due to the low stock. There are approximately 40 carp in about 6.5 acres and they are tricky to tempt.

I’ve been dropping on for a few overnighters throughout the year without little success apart from two crackers off the surface back in the summer. This session, I’d taken a half-day off work so I would have time to get sorted before 15 hours of darkness set in. I’d planned to drop onto the back lake, which also contains some very nice fish, but something made me stop and have a mooch about on the low-stock water.

I crept into the snags down to the right of one of the Road Bank pegs and just stood there, dead still, for a few minutes.
It didn't take long. Before I knew it, three fish were right under my feet on a little gravel strip. That was all I needed and before long I was set up and had two rods positioned carefully in the edges. I chose to fish yellow tigernut pop-ups on a short multi rig, over a scattering of chopped Monster Tigernut boilies and a handful of corn.

I wasn't expecting anything until the early hours, so when the right-hand rod pulled up an hour in I was quite shocked! A short battle ensued down the snaggy margin and before long it was in the net! It turned out to be a lovely 26lb 6oz mirror, one of the stocked fish from 2005; they really are going to be special when they get bigger but I was happy to catch anything from this tricky little lake! I drifted off about 11pm and was then awoken by a single bleep at 4am. As I turned in my chair I saw the rod hooped around and I was in!

Just as before it was real hit-and-hold stuff, as the margins are very snaggy, but before long I steered another really nice mirror into the net. This one was not as big as the first but what a stunner; with big apple-slice scales and scattered starburst ones. On the scales it went 23lb 12oz and I was more than made up! Two bites in under 12 hours from this lake is a bit special and I have been on cloud nine all week! That was the Friday-night session finished. I got back down on the Monday night but nothing happened so back to work I went. I’d checked the spot and the bait was still there so I was confident that they would visit in my absence.

I then somehow wangled the Wednesday night; the missus was in a good mood and gave me the all clear. I shot straight down there after work and arrived about 6pm. There was only one on, a friend, so I was able to get back in where I’d had the success the previous Friday. With rigs already on from the previous session, it was just a case of changing the hook and tying a fresh bait on so I was in no rush. I decided to have a social with my friend a few swims up so I didn't get a rod out until gone 9pm. I’d settled in for the night and dozed off when, at about 01.30am, I had a single bleep. I sat up, looked at the rods and the margin rod bleeped again. Just as I slipped my boots on the rod slammed round and I only just caught it as it got pulled off the rests!

A big battle ensued and I had it all on to keep it out of harm’s way. It weeded itself just out in front, so I loosened the clutch and let it take a yard or two of line before persuading it back. Luckily, it just popped up on the surface and seconds later she was in the net, a massive-framed fish! I grabbed my headtorch, peered into the net and was stunned to see the Half Lin lying there. There had been rumours all year that she was dead but it was all nonsense… I had it ! It went 38lb 12ox, which was a really good weight for it and I was buzzing!
That was it for the rest of that overnighter, I did put the rod out again and topped up the spot but nothing occurred! With bait already out there from the recast and the success I’d had in the last few days I had to get back down. I had a load of work cancelled at the last minute on Friday, so I was able to take the day off. There was only one thing on my mind and that was to get myself back down there!

I arrived about 11am, and found that I had the lake to myself. I dropped all my gear in the swim I’d done well from all week but I wasn't so confident. We had rain forecast for the next three days and the wind was pushing right into my face! I decided to walk the lake a few times and check every bush, snag or marginal area for fish. There aren’t many in there and I thought they must have clocked what was going on after landing four in three nights from the same swim; I saw nothing not even a bubble!

The only place I didn't check was the area I’d caught all the fish from, so when I got back to the swim I was actually quietly confident they were still in the area! I got the main rod out that was doing all the damage, positioning it carefully on the hard spot, same as before, along with a handful of chopped boilies and corn. I sat back, put the kettle on and rolled a cig; I was on holiday after all, I was going to take it easy! Within an hour, just as I was steaming the rig on my other rod, the margin rod was away!

I couldn't believe what was happening; a nice, short battle and another one was in the net. I recognised it as a fish a mate had in the spring at 28lb. It looked awesome; jet-black back and bronze and orangey flanks. I was on a high, I’d just taken my 5th fish in three nights and I had two nights left to look forward to. It went 30lb 4oz, a new 30 for the lake! When your luck’s in its in alright. Nothing happened after that until roughly the same time the next day, when the bobbin on my other rod, positioned on an island snag, pulled up. I had a really good battle with this one as it was about 50 yards out, but after five or so minutes I had a lovely mid-twenty mirror in the net!

I stayed in bed until about 1pm on the last morning, drinking tea, as it rained heavily. A mate popped in and we had a good old chinwag about the session and I was just telling him about the two captures coming around the same time in the day when it happened again! The island rod was away again and a pretty little 19lb mirror was in the net!

It was a fitting way to finish my session and probably my most memorable week of the year; six fish in five nights from this lake doesn't happen often. I'm still buzzing now as I write this, there’s some seriously epic carp left in there, which I have never wanted so much as I do right now, so who knows what the rest of winter may hold!