Nice idea! When I arrived at the lake it was higher than ever. From the gate I could see the water was far higher than when I had left just a week before. As I drove in to the back of my usual swim where the water was usually a full three feet below the roadway the water was now just a couple of inches below the car and just a couple of feet to its left. Parking the car there I put on the boots and optimistically set off to inspect the prospects. Looking across the lake I could see the water seemed to be over the swim that was usually the best bet for a dry session when the lake was flooded.

Following the footpath I was soon turned back after just a few yards by water deeper than the boots so I changed course to follow the car track that went round the lake, this must be dry. After 20 yards though as the track turned to the left and down a slight slope it disappeared into water, I only managed to wade a few more yards into the water before it was too deep for the boots.
Back at the car I weighed up the situation and thought about a couple of options where I could cast out without getting my feet wet but the overhead trees and the flooded swims with their snags made fishing impossible. So here I was with a car full of gear and no way of fishing.

The day was a sunny one but with the daylight rapidly fading, so wherever I was going to go it had to be near. After a minutes thought I decided I would go and have a look at an area of a large lake very close that I had heard rumours about and had myself seen some nice looking carp in a few weeks before. I was planning to fish this lake next year so any exploratory visit would not be wasted. As I drove off I was not really planning to fish the new lake without permission, not wanting to jeopardise my plans for next year but it was okay to stroll along and see if anything could be see.

The lake in question has rarely been fished as it is mainly for other water pursuits other than fishing but as usual the fish had thrived on neglect and both pike and carp probably existed over 30lb in there somewhere. I parked the car up on the side of the road and set off down the path peering into the snaggy margins as I went. The water was as usual crystal clear and I was surprised to see the water level was up no more than 6 inches on usual levels. There are no real swims on the lake that I was able to walk around, just trees and gravel slopes. The margins are deep though so a bit of bait on the gravel in the edge would attract the carp, as they are unpressured. This is how I had seen the carp I had seen over the last few months, a bit of bait going in and the odd visit had revealed at least ten different carp all probably over 20lb.

Since my last visit though, winter had shown its hand so I was not expecting to see much especially as the light was fading. I thought again though, as there below me as I peered from the upper branches of a tree were three grey ghostly shapes of carp and just to their right by way of variety a long pike, probably a low 20lb fish. The carp were not so easy to see but all looked nice fish. As usual of early winter carp they were not very active, just drifting around in mid-water, they were however very near to one of the gravel shelves I had been putting bait in. Could I, dare I fish, yes of course I could. There was no life from the various clubhouses through the trees across the water so I was on my own.

I carefully climbed down from the tree and sped off back to the car. It was going to be a dry night but a bit nippy so I decided to take the minimum of gear from the car and park it well out of sight. Back at the swim I managed to squeeze a couple of rods between the trees and drop a couple of bottom baits on to the gravel shelf where the carp were showing, a few free offerings were dropped over the top and the rods on single rod rests were set well off the path. On the other side of the path I pushed the bedchair and rucksack well into the undergrowth. Anyone walking along the path after dark would have walked straight past without knowing I was there.

The night came early with just the lights of cars speeding past on the road opposite me. Nothing sounded on my side of the lake and before 10pm I dropped off. I woke a couple of hours later to a single bleep on one of the rods. As I looked across the path the light to the right-hand buzzer was on, as it blipped off again I glanced at my watch in the bright moon and found it to be well past midnight. The road across the lake now quiet. Suddenly the rod tore off, the buzzer giving just a single tone.

Off the bedchair and across the path I grabbed the rod only to have it whipped away to the right as the carp charged off close to the bank. I knelt down and leant right out with the rod at full stretch as still the carp tore off further and further up the bank. Eventually it slowed down and I gained a little line. It was difficult in the darkness, despite the moon, to see the bend of the rod and judge how far away it was. Suddenly a huge explosion in the water surprised me. Just a few yards to the right but immediately under a branch right in the margin. I let a little line out and the carp seemed to move out into the lake. That was fine but the line was caught on the branch and seemed to be going down into the water not to the carp.

I gained a little line before, as I thought might happen, all went solid beneath the bank. I could feel the carp still on and when I gave line the carp took it. I tried this see saw battle for a little longer before all went lifeless, the carp had gone. Justice or bad luck?!

Have fun!