The first week was one of quiet weather, pleasant bright days with misty cool nights; most importantly there was not a breath of wind. I was on the lake for three consecutive nights, although I was still working during the day so it was just evening and night fishing. With the quiet weather I decided to do a bit of stalking and put some bait in.

Monday was excellent, not a soul on the lake and the water clearing nicely. I had seen some carp in a channel between the bank and a long island a couple of weeks before when I had lost a big carp so I had been dropping some bait in there, though not fishing it. This time I found three carp, two commons and a mirror nosing around in the light weed. I dropped one bait right under the bank and the other a little further out on a clear sandy patch near the island. I sat back to enjoy the relatively warm sun and found myself dropping off. I was soon awake though when the rod right under the bank was away and I was connected with a spirited fighting carp. It stayed deep, chugging up and down the margin of the island ten yards away. Soon however, it tired and rolled over showing a yellow belly; a good mirror, moments later I was having a better look at it as it lay on the mat. A short chunky fish a little under 19lb, a great start to the week.

The fight had spooked any other fish so I moved up to the first real swim along that bank and cast to the back of the island. I put the other rod out onto a clear patch of sand amongst light weed halfway across the lake. To this rod I spodded out a couple of pints of maples and stewed wheat onto the spot, using just the boilies on the stringer. The island rod I put a load of boilies around. I was testing a theory where I reckoned the bigger fish were homing in on particles with few boilies, time would tell. All was quiet until midnight when I had a stockie common of 10lb 10oz on the rod on the back of the island, 2 hours later the rod over the clear patch just roared off but somehow after a few moments all went slack as the hook pulled.

I need not have worried though as, just half and hour later after recasting, it was off again; this time the carp stayed on producing a stockie half linear mirror of 11lb 6oz. That was all the action for that night and just after the last fish was put back, a thick fog descended on the lake, which stayed until dawn and well in to the following day.

I was back at the lake by 4pm the same day. The fog had cleared and a milky sun was shining. I had a good look for carp in the channel but it seemed devoid of fish, which was a bit disappointing. However there were a couple more spots I had been dropping bait in to and a couple of hundred yards further on I came to a swim that covered two islands and another nice channel. I had been putting some bait in this channel; to be fair, so had everyone else but the down side here was the swans, who in the clearer water had homed in on all this bait, so I was not sure the carp were seeing much of it.

The swans were still around the other side of the lake when I got there so I risked putting some bait in, again in the extreme margins, and dropped a single 14mm boilie on the rig over the top of it. I then put a rod out alongside one of the islands that I positioned in the next 'real' swim that I planned to do the night in, 20 yards up to the left. I also spodded out a load of maples and wheat 40 yards to the far side of the second island, where no one had fished but I had seen fish jumping over. When I had explored it with a rough lead it had brought in bloodworm and other creepy crawlies so I guessed it was a natural feeding area for the carp.

I had just finished the spodding when I heard the screaming buzzer from the rod in the channel. With no signs of the swans I legged it back to find line leaving the spool at a fast rate, the carp was well up the channel when I struck but no real problems as there are no snags apart from the bridge that goes over the channel. However the carp came in easy and before long it was powering away under the rod tip. From its fight I guessed it was a common but it proved to be bigger than I thought at 15lb 14oz, a nice chunky fish. After a quick photo on the mat I slipped it back and dropped some more bait in.

I did not expect to see any more carp feed in the channel and was preparing to put a bait out to the bloodworm area. I was about to cast it out when I thought I would have a quick look back in the channel first. To my amazement there was another carp feeding away over the bait. I went back and got the rod I was just about to cast out, it was already baited with a six bait stringer but I gently lowered the lot in and slackened the line right off and went back to the swim to sort the mess out. It was not quite so easy now to see in the water and when I saw the swans come around I was going to wind in and set up for the night. However the swans ignored the channel baits, instead moving round to the area where I had the other rod cast. They soon had their heads down, eating away on my bait so I sat behind the channel rod instead, cursing the swans, having virtually given up with that area now.

It was getting dark when the channel rod screamed off and after another spirited fight I netted a chunky mirror of 14lb 4oz, a right result after the hassle of the swans. I put the carp back and went back to the main swim to quickly get a bait out over the bloodworm area before it was too dark. I had just cast this rod when the rod the swans were over bleeped a few times. I guessed it was the swans but when the run got faster and faster I struck and found myself connected with a nice fish, not a carp, but a big female tench of over 6lb. It must have been feeding amongst the swan’s necks. The fight spooked the swans off though so after recasting I catapulted some boilies back out.

The swans moved off and the night became misty again, it looked good for a carp or two. It was well past 2am when the bloodworm area rod screamed off and I connected with a strong running fish, it took a lot of line and swirled on the far-side edge of the island. Around there was a fallen tree, so I had to hold on hard. It seemed to be ages before I managed to turn it. I could feel the line grating on something before it pinged free and the carp then just chugged around away from the island and was soon in the edge and in the net, with a sigh of relief from me. I could see it was a nice common, nearing 20lb if not over, in fact it was 19lb 9oz, a quite fat, wide fish, a great result. After finding a wooded area to take the photos (the grassy banks and flowerbeds are a bit of a give-away if photos are to be published or shown around) I slipped it back. The bait had only been back out there half an hour when it was off again. This time though I had just got the carp under control when all went slack. I wound in to find the hook link had gone. I doubt it had broken on just the power of the fish so instead think it had become damaged by the common when it got near the sunken tree. I cursed myself for not checking it. The rest of the night was taken up with the tench moving in over the other rod where the swans had been, four tench later I wound that rod in for good to get some much needed sleep.

I returned the same afternoon to be greeted by heavy rain but still no wind. I walked down to the lake but found three or four other anglers there, all near to my first choices so instead I walked over the islands to perhaps go up the far end. On my way I found one guy tearing his hair out as the swans were clearing his baited spots out! As I looked out, from one island a carp showed close in. I had a good look and saw it was a good fish so when it moved off I dropped a pint of maples and wheat in the margin and went around to the main bank (no fishing allowed off islands) and found a spot I could cast from. I cast from the swim onto the island and then walked round, baited up the rig and dropped it over the bait by hand, then back to the swim to tighten up etc. By the time I had done this and cast the other rod out under a large overhanging tree I was soaked, so I got changed and was soon asleep under the oval shelter.

I awoke to find it pitch black and the rain had stopped. The bailiff came round shortly after and I told him about the week so far and of how I was very confident of getting a good fish this night. He left me shortly after. For the next two hours I got loads of liners as the area was quite weedy, the line was going up and down all the way to the baits. All quietened down and I was fast asleep at 4:30 am when the rod by the island margin was off on a slow run. By the time I got to the rod the carp was well away but it behaved itself and came in quite easy and was soon in the edge. A load of duckweed had drifted in during the night so it was hard to see the fish rolling at the net but I managed to engulf the carp and loads of weed at the first attempt.

It was a cracking looking fish, a leather with a deformed dorsal that took the scales round to 21lb 11oz, a fantastic fish and a great end to the week. I waited until it was light before finding some woods again for the photos. It was surely looking good for one of the really big fish to grace my net soon.

Have fun!