The beginning of April came and so did a ticket to a certain water that I have been wanting to get my hands on for a long time, a very special lake I use to look at when I was a young boy and think one day I'm going to fish there. Its a very difficult lake with absolutely stunning big old English carp in and extremely weedy with very clear water and I knew that fishing at big distances was an option.

The day my ticket hit the mat I came straight home from work and went for a walk along the banks, climbing every tree possible to see if I could spot any of the beasts the lake holds and letting it sink in that it was finally time to wet a line in a lake that I had thought about for years.
 
The fishing I had done in the past I've never really had to fish more than 80yards so over the few weeks leading up to my first session I was over the field trying to hit big distances changing to all sorts of line trying to find one that suited me that I could get the right range with.
 
It can be very daunting taking on a new lake which is completely different to what your used to but after a few chats with a couple of lads I had a plan. I wanted to tackle the water by doing my own thing. I am confident in the bait and tackle that I use, the rigs that I tie and that plays a big part in any fishing.
 
My bait of choice to tackle the venue is north east baits red reaper after seeing it on a social I done with a few of the lads it just looked and smelt like a big fish bait and straight away had success on other waters using it.
 
My first session was coming around quick before I knew it I was loading the van and setting off to work buzzing knowing it was nearly time but  that day turned out to be a complete nightmare. I ended up leaving work later than expected got caught in traffic. I finally got to the lake at about 6.30 to find one swim was empty on the whole lake and lets face it there's always a reason that one swim is empty. I had looked forward to my first visit too much to turn around and go home so I set up in swim only getting out what I needed in hope that a swim would become free the next day.
 
 
The next morning I got up early to watch the water. It was lightly raining and the lake was flat calm, as the sun started to rise I noticed that a swim the opposite side of the Lake was empty. It was one of the more popular pegs that covered a large amount of water. I wasted no time reeling in the rods, grabbing a bucket and walking round there.
 
As I was standing there looking across the lake, a fish rolled at distance. It was the first sighting I saw that weekend and infront of the swim I bucketed, so I quickly went and packed the rest of my gear down and barrow it round. By this time it was pouring down, I was soaked through but didn't care I was buzzing that I had managed to get in one of the swims a few of my mates spoke about. 
 
Out in front of me was a bar at about 70 yard. I put 2 rods there and baited with north east baits red reaper and fish hinged stiff rigs with berry tang pop ups over the top. On the 3rd rod I fished a naked chod rig and cast out as far as I could towards where I saw the fish show earlier that morning. With the rods out in place I sat back and constantly scanned the lake for any signs of the carp.
 
 
Early afternoon the fish started showing them selfs but all in the same area, a little area right in the middle that you couldn't reach from any bank no mans land. They're not silly and with the amount of pressure around the lake they knew where they were safe. That session past in a blank which I was expecting to be fair on such a lake but I feel I learnt a lot about my new water and would have to make changes to try and land one of these old wise warriors.
 
The following weekend a pal was doing a quick night In Between work. I was out with the family getting a kfc to take home when I got a message saying 'I've got one.' To the Mrs delight we flew home. I dropped them off and went straight up the lake (nothing a bunch of flowers won't sort out) to do photos and to see my first carp from the venue in the flesh.
 
 
When I arrived I rushed to his swim, he was putting out more bait with a massive smile on his face. With a manly hug and a celebratory ciggy it was time to do some photos. With his prize laid on the mat with the sling being opened to reveal a dark, old lean hard fighting 22lb 12oz mirror. It had a huge tail with the odd scale here and there.
After the shots were done we slipped her back, she waddled off sulking and I left to get back to my cold kfc buzzing for Chris and for my next session.
  
All I was thinking about for the next week was that fish and my next trip so I started to do my prep work early, tying rigs and making small changes. My bait order arrived from neb hq all 80k of it and some nice sharp spc hooks from deception angling. I had the kids helping me put 20k of reaper through the blender. One of the changes I was making over the next few months would be midweek fishing in between work for less angling pressure and a better chance of getting in the pegs I wanted. So my next session arrived. I turned up mid day Sunday, got into the same swim I fished the previous week. I knew my spots so got the rods straight onto the spots with no fuss. I felt the change I made had made a difference after a few hours of being there as the fish were showing a lot closer than they were before, possibly due to less pressure around the lake. I baited up heavily with the crumb I put through the blender and a mixture of different size boilies and the third was put out at range on a naked chod.
 
The sun was shining and it was a warm day. You could see big clumps of weed popping up off the bottom, clinging to the line where it cut the surface of the water. 
The rods had been out for a couple of hours. The bird life seemed to have disappeared so I thought I would put a handful of boilies out before dark, as the last bait hit the water the middle rod absolutely screamed off pulling the rod off the buzzer. It took a few second for me to realise what was happening. I couldn't believe it I picked the rod up, the fish started kiting left, it instantly picked up the left hand rod, my legs were shaking and my heart was pounding then disaster struck. One of the big clumps of floating weed I mentioned about was caught round my line at about 2 rod lengths out I couldn't feel the fish kiting anymore but it was a very heavy weight I was pulling towards me. It came to the surface,  a massive ball of weed and the line of my left hand rod it picked up. The next few minutes was mixed emotions. I was gutted. I dropped the rod and had my head in my hands moment but then I was buzzing,  my second session and one of these old carp have picked up my rig over my baited area, this may sound silly after losing the fish but it was a massive confidence boost with everything bait , rigs spots I was finding. I was just unlucky this time and kicking myself I never cleared the weed off my lines. I could now be in for a very long wait before I get my next chance at one of these fish.
 
The Rods went back out on the spot and I get my head down ready for an early start at work. I didn't see or hear anything in or near the area after that, I have managed 2 more nights on the big pit between work which resulted in blanks. I'm learning all the time here and it will be well worth the wait
 
Until next time be lucky 
 
James