The weekend had seen the first really big autumn storm with 70 miles per hour south westerly winds, it was still blowing on the Monday but the rain had stopped. I could not wait to get down the lake, I knew just the swim to head for. Sure enough I was virtually running down the path to the swim, called the Secret swim as it is the only swim left on the whole lake that you have to climb through rhodendrons to get to, the rest of the banks having completely cleared of all vegetation by the Trust who control the park. The idea is apparently to return it to what it looked like in the 1700s, obviously trees and bushes did not grow in those days!

Anyway the Secret was free and the wind, as I thought, was blowing strongly down the main part of the lake right into the swim. The water is six feet deep right in the edge so there is no need to cast in this swim, not that the strength of the wind would have allowed much of a cast anyway. I dropped a load of maples and stewed wheat into two spots in the edge and set up the Hutchie oval shelter facing away from the worst of the wind behind a tree.

The evening looked good and before long the bailiff stuck his head in loaded with tackle; great minds think alike. After a chat he set up on the dam, off the corner under a couple of fallen trees, and cast out to the edge as well. The wind continued to blow but the skies cleared and a full moon shone brightly, something I do not like too much.

The bailiff and I sat between the swims chatting for a while before I retired for the night. Before long I was asleep. I woke at around 1am and found the skies had clouded over and the wind had dropped, I lay there thinking when the left hand rod bleeped a few times before it tore off. I was on it in seconds and pulled into a nice fish. The fight was all under the rod tip in the deep water so I relaxed a bit and enjoyed the sight of the rod bent over and the tip nodding away. Before long the carp was on top and I netted it easily. On the mat I found it was a chunky mirror, one of the bigger stock fish at 14lb 6oz, a result though on a hunch of where the carp may be. I only ever fish that swim when the strongest of winds blow. The fact that the wind had dropped made me doubt that any more carp would come my way -and then the first heavy drops of rain fell. That was the beginning of 9 hours of continuous heavy rain and I had to pack up only five hours into it, so I got soaked walking back up the hill, sure enough no more carp came my way.

Two days later I was back on a sunny afternoon. The wind was still blowing down the lake but I did not fancy fishing that swim again and, as the wind was not so strong, I walked on. I reached a spot where I could fish a lot of relatively weedy deep water and also the back of an island, from where I had lost a good carp the month before. I still liked the idea of fishing over a large bed of maples and stewed wheat - it seemed to attract the better sized fish, important on a lake stuffed full of 8 to 14lb carp. I knew there was an area of clear water amongst the weed, halfway across the lake so I decided to put a spod on one of the rods. Half hour later I had spodded a nice bed of particles out thirty yards. It was a simple case then of swapping the spod back for the end rig and, with the line still clipped up, the rig and three bait stringer of boilies were out there.

I had nearly reached the end of my usual Premier Aminos boilies and I would finish them off that week but I had bought some nice fishmeal baits from a mate, Ian, back in August. He and a few mates had been using them on the lake through the summer so I had not renewed my stock of Aminos and was going to change to Ians bait. It was a shame really because the Aminos is a superb bait and had caught me a lot of fish from several hard carp waters - but I know Ian's bait had caught from places like Crayfish and Horton, so I was confident in it but for now I was still on the Aminos.

I cast the other rod out to the back of the island but baited that just with boilies. The evening was quiet and the stars were soon shining, it was mild though. I expected some action in the evening but it was not until 10pm that the rod on the back of the island gave a few bleeps. Down by the rods I could see the rod bent around. I had screwed the baitrunner up tight to stop the carp going far behind the island so I whacked in to it. The carp shook it's head a couple of times before rolling on top and then I was able to gain line quite easily. It did not do much, just giving the odd head shake, but when I had it out in front of me the hook pulled out. I was losing a few fish on hook pulls in recent weeks and it was now beginning to concern me. I was using double 14mm boilies and I was wondering if this was too much of a mouthful for some of the carp as some of the younger commons had quite small mouths. However for this session I stuck with the double baits.

After recasting I got back under the shelter and was just nodding off when the other rod bleeped once before setting off on a slow run. I struck straight away and connected with a good solid weight that took line off the clutch straight away, a good sign. As the carp was just sitting out there thudding away I walked further down the bank, dragging the net with me to a spot where I could play and net the fish on a clear bank. The carp continued to thud away and I found I could not gain line from it at all; if it was not for the thudding and head shaking I would have thought I was snagged. Slowly but surely though it came nearer and rolled on top around ten yards out and went off on a low purposeful run again. That was about it though as soon it was in the edge and, like the 14lber, I began to enjoy the fight close in before, at the first attempt, I got it's head up and into the net it went.

This was obviously a good carp and as I peered in to the net all I could see was a deep flank of scales. I left it in the net and went to get the mat, scales and sling. I lifted it out on to the mat and in the torchlight found it was a big common, very thick across the body, not gutty just very round. No problem with this hookhold as the double bait was well back in its big mouth, the hook imbedded two inches back. On the scales it went round to 28lb 14oz, a right result. I had a good look at it looking for recognition signs and I guessed it was a carp we called ‘19’ as it was 19lb for a couple of years last time I fished the lake seriously in the mid ‘90s. I sacked it up but the water was not really deep enough so after an hour I phoned a mate, Gary, and he didn't mind coming out in the middle of the night to see the fish. We took it back in to the trees to get a nondescript background and had good look at it before I waded out and watched as it slowly swam away.

We were just chatting away when the rod went off again but this time it was perhaps the smallest mirror in the lake, just 8lb. The rest of the night was quiet and I packed at dawn eager to come back. When I did come back later that day, I found the water packed and Ian and two of his mates were set up to the right of the swim. I set up anyway but with no wind and spasmodic rain I was not expecting much. Indeed, apart from a tench to me and a bream to Ian and a 13lb common to his mate furthest up from me, all was quiet. In my mind I knew it was the eight lines stretching out across the lake that really stopped the action. I’d much rather have been there on my own.

What a result then, a 28lber that indeed was the fish called ‘19’ which meant there are two bigger commons in there, both probably over 30lb. Wouldn’t that be nice? But for the time being I’ve climbed Everest and have no intention to do it again, it is time for me to start unwinding for winter!

Have fun!