Despite deserving excellent mild spring conditions, all that I got was a wet afternoon clearing to cold clear skies followed after midnight by yet more rain. It all started well though as when I arrived two of the members were just packing up after a 48 hour session and one of them had caught an 18lb common from next to one of the islands on the first morning of their session. However since then they had not seen or heard anything. The bank they were fishing on was the bank that had only recently re-emerged from the floodwater so it was extremely muddy and covered in dead leaves and scum deposited by the pollution and a long hard winter.

Because of this and the fact I knew yet more rain was on the way I decided to set up in my usual swim but cast both rods the 50 odd yards to the sides of the two islands. I felt it was essential to get the baits on clean gravel because, despite the carp coming out of their winter sleep, they did not seem to be feeding in the silt like the winter before. After a couple of casts I felt both PVA bags and pop-ups thud down on gravel. I could do no more; it was now up to lady luck as to whether I was to end the season with a carp.

Stewart turned up just on dusk but surprisingly he had not fished since I had seen him last despite him saying he was going to be there every night. He said he had come down a couple of times but had not felt like fishing when he had arrived, apathy rules! He decided in the end to fish the straight bank on the far side and fish in the deep margins over some gravel patches. He departed on his muddy trudge round and I settled into a cold evening. Later Stewart came round and we watched Eastenders on his portable TV in the back of his van before reminiscing about the season just gone.

It had started well for me when I had three carp on opening day; an 18lb common fell within an hour of casting out, the other two after I had moved at dawn after seeing a carp roll in the entrance of a bay. June then had continued well when I had taken one of the three target fish I wanted, a 27lb common. Stewart too eventually got amongst the fish but he had bad luck loosing some in the thick weed.

July was the hardest month because of the heavy weed but I still caught a few with a 33lb mirror being the best. August was good for me as I caught the second of my target fish, a 25lb linear mirror. Later that month I stalked the lake's big common out from the edge, down in weight but I was well pleased when it fell two ounces short of 31lb.

September was Stewart's month as, fishing over huge beds of hemp, he caught 5 good fish including three of the lakes 30lb mirrors, unfortunately for him they all weighed 29lb and ounces when he caught them. The fish had a bit of a pre-winter feed in October and finally I caught the fish I wanted, the last of the three, a mirror of 29lb 14oz, usually a 30lber but I was not at all bothered.

Then disaster struck the lake. First of all a sewage leak that put sewage into the water was followed by the flooding that affected the whole country, putting the lake level up 4 to 6 feet above normal. The fishing was badly affected and it was not until December that I caught a 17lb common from the islands. The next fish was a full month later when I took a 25lb mirror and an eel on a wet and windy night. My last fish was an 18lb mirror from under the ice in February. Unfortunately, between those captures, the rain kept falling, the water level got to silly levels and we had another bout of pollution. Finally in March the water level began to fall and Stewart caught his first carp since September, a 24lb mirror. Incredibly he caught 12 carp during the season and not one was under 24lb. I caught 18 carp but 7 of those fell below the 20lb mark, one only just made double figures, strange game this carp fishing. I at least though had two 30lb carp.

So, now the season is over and I have not renewed my night ticket, as there is only one 20lb plus carp in the lake I have never caught, and that one has only one eye! So it's on to pastures new. As I locked the gate behind me it was with a little sadness but I had no chance to linger too long, the rain began to fall heavily again. Weather that will, for me, sum up the season 2000/01 wet, wet , wet!

The spring season now starts and I have my sights set on some easier carp, and somewhat smaller, but they are not fished for much so Iím not sure what to expect. I think there are a couple of 20lbers in there plus there is a nice ghost mirror that is over 18lb, I think Iíll make that my target fish. Whatever happens, Iíll be letting you know in the Diary.

Have fun!