Ash Bailey recounts a couple of highlights from his successful campaign on the New Forest Water Park.
It was on 6th October that I was lucky enough to cradle the carp that I joined the lake for, a true day to remember and my 50th fish from the water. After a hectic night landing three fish, it was kicking off big style and, with carp still erupting on my spot, I was sure of another bite. In fact trying to keep the rods out there with the number of runs I was receiving was mayhem.
Before I knew it, I was latched into another and the fish was plodding slowly, indicating that I could well be into something bigger. I concentrated on the job in hand and soon a superbly-coloured, immaculate mirror rolled into the net. I looked straight at my mate Jim, commenting, “That’s Kim!”
He replied, “No, I think it’s too scaly.”
Unconvinced, I took a closer look and my heart skipped a beat as I identified it as Kim. This was a dream come true – I just couldn’t believe it. The weight was immaterial; it was a belting fish, but for the record went 33lb 6oz. What is intriguing about this wonderful creature is that you can read the name ‘Kim’ in her scale pattern. During that week I landed an incredible 16 fish, and that included six 30-pounders!
As you can imagine, I didn’t think my year could get any better. The Christmas break rolled around particularly quickly and, with a few more trips and a few more fish, before I knew it was 1st January. I headed straight back to the lake, itching to get in the swim I had been baiting all over Christmas. I wanted to keep it rocking and the fish frequenting the area for a free feed. As a result, I used particles that I know will hold fish in the zone. Consequently a mixture of CC Moore hemp, maize, maggots and 10mm and 15mm Live System boilies, completed the mix. I like to fine down the feed a little in winter when the carp are more lethargic and using less energy. The smaller baits really make a difference, so I use a lot more 10mm than I do 15mm. Maggots are a real winner at this time of the year when the silver fish slow up, so it was a must to have them in my mix. This is why I opted to add the hemp and maize in, because it’s only small loose feed and the maize helped with the visual side of things.
I positioned all three rods on the main spot, but that first night resulted in a blank. As a result, I opted to change one rod for the second night and dropped it on to a different spot that I had also been baiting through the Christmas period.
At 4.30am, the bobbin on that rod had pulled up tight and I was in. I gained a couple of rod lengths, before line started peeling fast from the spool and the hooked fish kited hard left. I was out in my waders at full depth and just couldn’t stop it. It flanked right down my left-hand margin and then locked up solid. My heart dropped!
Luckily, my best mate Ross was fishing across the lake. There were only us two on and he was somehow awake, so I shouted across for his help. I could see down the treeline that I might be attached to Single! Within a split second, however, it suddenly freed itself and I was back in contact, shaking like a leaf. She was soon into safer water and plodding out in front. I eventually slid the net under her and shouted at the top of my voice: “SINGLE!”
With that, Ross was over in no time, which was ideal. We hoisted her up and the scales bounced round to 49¾lb. I was stoked with my first fish of the year and my 78th fish from the lake in total.