The news was predictable, only two carp out just before the temperatures soared but nothing since. There was little showing until I found a few carp meandering about in front of my winter swim. Lee had turned up half-hour before me so it was his choice first; not surprisingly he plumped for that swim. I felt the swim I had caught the 27lb common from last week still had one more fish at least in it, so I dropped in there. I had a good look round in all the margins and dropped bait in some selected spots, but no carp showed. I cast PVA bags out to the gravel shelf between the islands and a PVA bag and pop-up out the far side base of a bar straight out. The trouble with hot weather, it's hard to sleep at night and after three bad nights at home I was knackered, back in the cool of the lakeside I was dead to the world by dusk.

As it was, I missed little apart from a couple of tench to Lee. The warm weather had made the tench have a little go at spawning again and they were swirling around in the weed just in front of the swim. Just after 11pm I had a take on the rod at the base of the bar. Off the bedchair in a flash. Just as I got to the rod it stopped. I was just trying to get my head round that when seconds later the other rod flew off. No liner this time, I connected with a solid weight. The fight was not very much though, so before long it was rolling about in front. I was not totally convinced it was not a tench even when it was in the net so I was pleased to see in the darkness the flank of a common carp showing in the bottom of the net. My initial thought was that it was the lakes smallest carp again, the one that I had caught at 13lb last week, but when I hauled it on to the mat I could see it was a bit bigger than that. Well hooked as usual, on the scales it went 17lb 2oz, a welcome visitor as they all are. After a couple of flash photos it was soon powering off back into the lake.

I had to recast both rods as the liner I had received had possibly pulled the bar rod into weed so it was nearly an hour later that I finally managed to get back to some much needed sleep. Disappointingly the rest of the night and dawn was quiet except for more tench to Lee, hee, hee. I had to leave at the crack of sparrows as usual but I had a feeling I would not be missing much.

Two days later I was back, still I did not have the lake completely to myself as I did for 90% of the time last season. A member was fishing at one end of the lake and informed me he had caught the lake's big leather, a fish I had caught several times before. The day was windy and cool so I expected little to show on my walk round. I put bait in the usual spots again. The bay at the other end to where the other guy was fishing looked good, so I put some concentrated bait in there, the wind was blowing into it nicely. I dropped some gear into the swim I had fished last session to reserve it in case nothing else caught my eye. On my second circuit I decided to look under a tree that was usually full of tench and hence I was ignoring for the time being. This time however there was a large mirror carp under there. It was not feeding, just browsing, as I watched it rolled over on its side to displace some silt and showed its half linear scaling, the biggest mirror in the lake was there a foot below the surface and a foot from the bank directly below me. As I watched, wondering how I was going to get a bait under there without spooking it, it was joined by another huge fish, a fat common, here was the lakes big common, out a couple of weeks ago at over 34lb. Together they browsed away throwing up silt as they sucked and blew at bits and pieces. I could wait no longer and crept away to get my stuff.

On my return the mirror was still there. At one point it was so close to the bank it had to stick its tail out of the water to turn around. I waited and waited until it moved away under the outer branches and lowered a single boilie down. Once set I scampered back up the tree, no sign of him so I dropped half a dozen freebies in and a hand full of trout pellets. As I watched I saw him approach from the outside of the tree and drift slowly in under the branches. This time though he knew all was not as he left it and refused to get his whole body under before turning and wandering off. Three more times he did this, not looking flustered or spooky just a little unsure of the situation. Virtually all the lakes small population of carp have already been caught in the last three weeks so they had become a little unsure of themselves. I will have to wait a while longer before my margin tactics start to really pay off. This time after the mirrors last departure, I waited another hour for him to come in but there was no more sign, an opportunity missed. I decided then to move round to the bay to see if I could see anything there. However just as I put the rucksack on my back a car sped past behind me. When I reached the bay I found another chap just setting up in there for the evening so I continued round to the swim where I had left some of my gear.

As I started to set up, the rain that was starting got more persistent which was a shame as my Hutchie Oval Shelter was still in the car. I had cast one rod out to the islands and was about to put the other rod back out to the bar when the bailiff came round, so I chatted to him for half hour. He went off to get the boat out to clear some rigs from the trees that the over enthusiastic new members had left in the last couple of weeks. He had only been gone a few minutes when the chap who had the leather gave me a shout. I could not work out what he had caught but he had something in the net.

When I arrived in his swim he just exclaimed that it was huge and pointed to his net still in the water. I lifted up the net and there was a terrapin a full 10 inches across. After a quick chat between the bailiff and us, it was moved to an adjacent pit that was not fished because if it was starting to eat bait we did not want it in our lake! During all this the rain really began to pour down and I remembered all my gear sitting out in the open so I dashed back round and grabbed the shelter from the car and spent the next hour with it draped over the gear and myself with me sitting on the ground peering out of the foot gap underneath. Finally the rain eased and I sorted myself out.

As the evening drew on a carp kept showing in the swim next door, opposite the tree I had seen the big mirror and common under, I had a feeling it was one of them. I was just considering moving, in fact I had just decided to do just that when a very solemn looking guy turned up and set up there. The evening passed without further incident, all was quiet until after 2am when I had two bleeps on the island rod. As the night was now dry and cloudy I moved the bedchair out into the open by the rods convinced it was about to scream off. Half hour later indeed there was a screaming take, but not from my rods. The guy in the next swim was in, I lay there listening and a few minutes later I heard the heavy flapping of a carp on an unhooking mat. If it had been someone I knew or someone friendlier I would have wandered up to see what fish it was. I didn’t though, I was perhaps too afraid to see either of the good thirties I had been watching the afternoon before lying on that mat.

I heard no more from his swim and when I left at 6am he was completely lunched out. So I don't know what he caught and to tell you the truth I hope I never find out!

Footnote: Later I was informed what fish it was, and I’m pleased to say it was neither of the carp I had seen, however the mirror did come out a couple of days later but at a very spawned out weight….phew!!

Have fun!