Welsh Record - Alex Lee

This particular water, Atlantic Wharf, is quite an expanse of water being an old dry dock. So, location was paramount, this is something I heavily rely on for 99% of my fishing. Being so weedy, with an average depth of 12 to 15ft and a stock of more than 150 fish, I quickly gathered that the fish were very nomadic, so finding the fish before a single item of bait was introduced was key.

Being right on my doorstep, it was just too good to ignore. Because it’s slightly off the radar, it’s a real urban oasis with some absolute stunning gems lurking in the depths. After three unsuccessful evening sessions after work, just getting the feel for what the fish were doing and understanding the substrate I would be fishing over, I quickly adapted to a method I absolutely adore, the infamous chod rig! It's served me well and got me out of a pickle when I've needed it most, so for me it’s the ultimate. I set out on a weekend session with a friend, but the Friday night was unproductive. During Saturday morning, at about 10am, my friend received a take and landed a stunning 22lb common. I was well chuffed for him and just 20 minutes had passed when one of my rods rattled off. Sadly, on this occasion the hook pulled. After my defeat I was back down the following week aiming to redeem myself and put myself back in the same swim, armed and rigged up with chod rigs on both rods, mounted on 3ft lead core leaders with the lead removed to make it even more critically balanced, coupled with a 1.5oz pear lead.

Having a good-quality bait was essential, I armed myself up with Pro Baits Squid & Orange and Crab & Orange. Knowing that enough had gone in, I was more than confident it would serve me well. So I got myself settled, mounted two Squid & Orange pop-ups on my chod rigs and flicked the rods out into a big gully that sat no more than 30 yards out with 50 - 60 baits to start with. The Friday night passed fishless again, knowing that the narrow feeding window would be arriving, I was confident bite time was due. Right on cue, at 10.25am, my right-hand rod rattled off, and the fish bored down deep, shaking its head vigorously to free the hook. After a 15-minute, slow, ponderous battle I gingerly pulled it up through a 15 ft margin. It broke the surface and the old tale of Jonah and the whale sprung to mind, I knew what fish it was and the knees automatically went to jelly. However, I could see the size-eight Choddy was nailed smack-bang in the middle of the bottom lip. Watching it slip into the net was such a massive relief!

'He' was mine, a fish known as Ollie that has to be the most sought-after carp in Wales, period. So to catch my first fish, with it being one of the real gems was an experience I’ll never forget. It was also my first 40lb carp and the new Welsh record! To say I'm over the moon would be an understatement, it’s just surreal! But it doesn't stop there I will be back down there when I can start my pursuit of what would potentially be my next new PB, a fish called Arnie that is in excess of all 42lb.