Yateley Car Park Lake chunk for Adam Johnson!

Spending a lot of time observing the residents of Yateley Car Park Lake paid off for Sparsholt College student Adam Johnson when he ended up banking one of the biggest fish in the lake.

After struggling during his first season, landing one fish in 49 nights, he decided that a change of tactics was in order for this year, and it immediately brought results when he landed three carp in his first 28 nights, as well as losing a couple.

Adam revealed: “The plan all started to come together when I started to follow specific fish around the lake and fish for them in their favourite spots.

“I’d started baiting a swim known as ‘The Chair’ as I’d noticed two of the lakes ‘A’ team mirrors spending much of their time there, and over two sessions I managed four takes, landing fish of 25lb and 18lb.

“The weather was about to come right for that swim and I arrived for a three night session and was planning on leaving the spot alone for the first night and fishing somewhere else, but as I walked past two fish showed in quick succession right over my baited area, so I decided that I’d start there after all!

“When my alarm went off at 5am I woke up shocked to see both bobbins still motionless, and as the sun rose and the mist curled from the surface, I could see lines of fizzing erupting over the baited spot, yet I still never had so much as a twitch.

“My left hand rod was positioned under a tree along the margins and when I carefully climbed a tree to have a look I could see that the spot that I’d heavily baited the evening before was now barren and I could see my rig hanging from a branch three foot past the spot. I’d waded the rig out and a carp must have picked it up and moved off without giving me a bleep!

“I decided to wind in and go to the shops, but before leaving I deposited five kilos of bait between my margin spot and my other area, and when I arrived back at the lake I climbed a tree and watched as the odd fish briefly dropped onto the bait before popping back up to the surface.

“One of the big mirrors, known as Puffy Cheeks, was spending a lot of time on the surface right over the spot and I noticed that every time any other fish tried to come in to feed, it would bow wave towards them and force them away, but wasn’t dropping down to feed itself.

“Eventually it drifted off and I could get my rods out, and throughout the day I kept checking the spot, and on three occasions I found the whole spot polished and my rig moved!”

Adam knew that a change of rig was needed and opted to shorten down to just three inches of weedy green Hybrid Stiff to a size 4 Wide Gape hook and a long hair. Before re-casting a chance conversation with another angler helped him to formulate a plan to tempt his target fish.

He explained: “He mentioned that Puffy Cheeks had been displaying the same behaviour over his baited area and that he couldn’t get it to drop down and feed. I decided that both rods would have much larger versions of my usual oily ‘sticks’, and to add to that the whole rig, leadcore and stick would also be soaked in Baitworks Hot Fish Oil to really grab its attention.

“As it was my last night, and with low pressure coming in, I decided to really let them have it and put three kilos of pellet on my margin rod and ten kilos of chopped Atlantic Heat boilies and hemp on my spot further out.

“I had a sleepless night as the bobbins danced up and down with liners and I was up at 4.30am expecting that the rod would tear off at any minute, but by 9am the swim had gone dead and I began to give up.

“Then at 9.45am the swim came alive with fish bow-waving and fizzing, but by 11.20am I still couldn’t get a bite and decided to cook myself some food. I’d just started to put it on the plate when a huge sheet of fizzing erupted over my spot and the bobbin moved an inch, and just as I began to think that they’d got away with it yet again, the rod ripped off.

“The fish ploughed through the weed and the fight was over quickly, and when it popped up five yards out I instantly knew which fish it was. The scales spun round to 40lb 10oz and it was my first UK forty, and as a lad who’d spent 20 years of his life in the grim north chasing 25-pounders I never thought I’d hold up a Yateley forty!”