Woolley's Whackers - Mark Woolley

Spring must surely be Bucks rod, Mark Woolley’s favourite season. He certainly took full advantage of this prolific time of year, banking a succession of good fish from Great Linford Lakes, as he describes…

“As I arrived for my first overnight session of the year, I decided to jump in the swim closest to the car park, an area known as The Toilet. This is something I normally avoid due to the commotion that is caused by the cars, frequently coming and going. Combine this with the small slice of water I would be left with should other anglers arrive around me, and it is easy to see why I would normally avoid this choice.

Within minutes of arriving in the swim a carp cleared the water out in front of me. This cemented my thoughts that the fish were using the area as I had seen one the day before during one of my bailiff rounds. While doing a lap I had noticed a thick set of shoulders break the waters surface, directly in my line of sight. I always keep these little things logged in my head as at times they can be crucial.

Confident that I was on fish, I wasted no time scattering around 2kg of 18mm Creative Baits LF-ONE boilies over the area. I made sure to cover every inch of the water my swim controlled. The idea was that this style of bait application would get the carp moving between baits, competitively searching and hopefully making them easier to catch.

Having never fished the swim before I had tied some chod rigs, which I’d recently adapted after seeing Adam Penning demonstrate the new Krimps on the latest free Korda DVD. During the demonstration, Adam suggested using 25lb Mouth Trap for the stiff-rig as it’s stiffer than the 20lb version. This made perfect sense and after I’d made the switch the difference was very noticeable, especially when combined with the ultra-effective loop above the swivel. This whole process was made considerably easier thanks to the Krimps.

The extra stiffness, combined with the 360-degree rotation at the swivel end was an obvious winner. I slid my chod rigs onto 5ft Kable leadcore leaders and then attached some 1.5oz leads. I fish with my beads separated as far apart from each other as possible in order to give the chod rig plenty of movement. When combined with a buoyant pop-up, the chod rig runs freely between the beads, allowing it to sit perfectly over almost any bottom. All three rods were then fanned out over the area and feathered down onto what felt like silt. I sunk the line and then sat back in satisfaction as my line hung slack from the tips.

No sooner had I shuffled into my chair, when my right-hand rod tip bent over and the clutch started to tick away. I lifted into an angry carp, that seemed determined to kiting left in a bid for freedom. The run was all the carp had to offer in the way of a scrap though and it wasn’t long before the fish was sulking by my feet. Laying there, safely contained in the triangle of my mesh was a 19lb 14oz carp. I got a few snaps of the fish, which was showing its true winter colours before slipping him back.

Slumping back in my chair, I set about removing the now straightened chod. This was then replaced with a Blue Peter style choddy (one I prepared earlier!). While threading the new rig onto the leadcore, I noticed a swirl over the top of my middle rod. This sign soon developed into a take and my receiver began to screech. As I lifted the rod I immediately noticed the weight of what certainly felt like a chunk. Thankfully, with only one line still in the water, I had very few obstructions to avoid. Things went to plan nicely, with the fish staying clear of my other line and before long I was dipping the cord under a familiar friend. Staring down into the mesh secured my thoughts of which fish it was, a carp called Shoulders, which I’d actually had the pleasure of capturing last year at 32lb.

Full of confidence, in both my rigs and bait I felt that if I could continue to get my location right I could enjoy some success. The theory was put to the test two days later when I managed to drop in on the left-hand side of the lake’s island, which was directly opposite The Toilet swim. The session resulted in the unfortunate loss of a carp called The Pretty One, which is a known thirty pounder, right at the net, which was rather gutting. I did however manage to capture a lovely, dark, old mirror of 21lb 4oz, which made up for it a bit.

I made a few visits over the next week and it seemed as though the fish had vacated the car park area. I had noticed a few signs in other zones and it looked like they had drifted down to the opposite end of the lake.

I arrived on the next week, on Thursday morning and felt confident that I was back on the fish, angling in the area I felt was now holding my quarry. Although my first bite came from a 21lb pike, which I must add, was quite surprising, it was followed the next morning by a common of 19lb 14oz. Pleased with my first carp, I chilled out, hoping for more action. My prayers were answered a while later when another of the rods was away. This time it wasn’t a pike, or a small common though and from the off it felt like a better one. We did battle until I eventually slipped the net under my second 30lb carp of the month, in the shape of Dunc’s at 30lb 12oz.

March has been a really productive time for me and with the weather now warming rapidly the carp will be livening up, making life much easier for us all.

Good Luck!