Pecky’s Progress

With the on­set of an­other Korda Mas­ter­class DVD loom­ing, Dar­rell once more sets out to try and bank a dayt­icket ‘40’ – and from a north­ern venue!

Carpworld - - CONTENTS - -Dar­rell Peck

With the on­set of an­other Korda Mas­ter­class DVD loom­ing, Dar­rell once more sets out to try and bank a day-ticket ‘40’ – and from a north­ern venue!

To­day is the 20th April 2018 and yes­ter­day was the hottest April Day since the 1940s ap­par­ently! Luck­ily for me I spent a good pro­por­tion of it sat in traf­fic on the A14, with the tem­per­a­ture gauge read­ing a steady 29ºc. Typ­i­cally, I had no wa­ter in the van ei­ther! The early part of 2018 has been far from trop­i­cal and then just like that, the clouds parted giv­ing way to the most amaz­ing spring sun­shine. Lit­er­ally in the space of the last three nights ev­ery­thing has turned from win­tery bleak­ness to a lush green – spring has cer­tainly sprung!

I have just re­turned from a twoweek fam­ily hol­i­day, so in this piece I’ll be cov­er­ing two ses­sions since. Last year for my Korda No Priv­i­leges sec­tion on the Mas­ter­class DVD I tack­led King­fisher Lake on the Blue­bell com­plex. It was well re­ceived with cur­rently over 150K Youtube views since its Fe­bru­ary re­lease. Although I cer­tainly held my own, I per­son­ally felt it lacked the wow fac­tor that a re­ally big fish would have given. A 40-pounder is what I wanted to de­liver! The con­cept of the sec­tion is sim­ple; put my­self in the shoes of the typ­i­cal dayt­icket an­gler that dreams of catch­ing a big fish from such a com­plex, without hav­ing the as­so­ci­ated swim re­served or the priv­i­leges of­ten as­so­ci­ated with this type of film. Ba­si­cally, I want to turn up to lakes that I don’t know and try my best to catch a big one within two or three ses­sions. Like I have al­ready said, Blue­bell was a suc­cess, I had my share of the bites whilst I was fish­ing, but I had been un­lucky with the size of the fish landed. I think if mem­ory serves me cor­rectly, dur­ing the seven nights we filmed, I caught five and I think there were also a fur­ther five caught by other an­glers. Mine con­sisted of four 20s and a 30-pounder but, amongst the oth­ers were at least two, maybe even three 40lb-plus carp. So you could say I’d been a lit­tle un­lucky in the size depart­ment.

This year we had ini­tially planned to go back to King­fisher in an at­tempt to catch that 40, but due to how busy the lake was Tony, the owner, didn’t want us to film there this year. It was a bit of shock to be hon­est, and Lin­ear Fish­eries seemed the ob­vi­ous re­place­ment. How­ever, due to the amount of video ma­te­rial al­ready avail­able about Lin­ear I re­ally wanted to visit some­where slightly less pub­li­cised. Eric’s Wil­lows was men­tioned as a pos­si­ble re­place­ment venue be­cause of the in­sane amount of big fish present, but the day af­ter we found out that we couldn’t film at King­fisher, we then saw that Wil­lows had flooded.

I put the feel­ers out for sug­ges­tions and Paddy Rams­den came back with The Quarry at Baden Hall in Stafford­shire. It ticked the boxes be­ing

a pop­u­lar day-ticket com­plex, it held nu­mer­ous big fish and it also had that north­ern slant. Us south­ern­ers are al­ways told “it’s harder t’up north!” Never one to shirk a chal­lenge the calls were made and The Quarry at Baden Hall was to be the des­ti­na­tion for this year’s No Priv­i­leges film.

I left Chelms­ford at 5am on Mon­day 9th of April, ar­riv­ing at Baden Hall some three hours later. Roy Rus­sell was on hand to give me the low­down on the Quarry and be­ing the bailiff for many years I was keen to glean as much in­for­ma­tion as fea­si­bly pos­si­ble. Roy isn’t just your typ­i­cal bailiff, he’s a gen­uinely keen an­gler him­self and I find bailiffs that are ac­tu­ally into their fish­ing much more switched onto the be­hav­iour of the fish.

The lake had just switched on and a few had been caught in re­cent weeks, in­clud­ing a 47lb mir­ror! We had a look at the map and Roy pointed out the depths in var­i­ous ar­eas but then it was up to me to make a de­ci­sion on which swim I wanted, prior to even hav­ing seen the lake! The Quarry is an 18-acre gravel pit, with 18 swims, with depths rang­ing be­tween 4-10 feet. Stock-wise, dif­fer­ent peo­ple gave dif­fer­ent fig­ures, but forty 30s was thrown out there fairly reg­u­larly, with the to­tal num­ber of fish present rang­ing be­tween 100-250 fish.

When I know noth­ing about a lake I of­ten like to fish from a cen­tral po­si­tion, as at worst you can never be more than half­way wrong. Un­for­tu­nately, the cen­tral swims, 5 and 12, that com­mand much of the open wa­ter were taken, so af­ter much de­bate I de­cided I’d take swim 6 in­stead. Swim 5 faced the widest part of the pit and was com­ing free the fol­low­ing day, so my ini­tial plan was to take 6 be­cause the wind was push­ing that way and then move into swim 5 the next day, un­less I had seen some­thing to the con­trary. Swim

6 was due to come free at 12pm as tick­ets run from lunchtime each day. On ar­riv­ing at the swim the an­gler said that he was now stay­ing for an­other night. Ob­vi­ously, this was a bit of a span­ner in the works, so I quickly called the of­fice to let them know my sit­u­a­tion, and let them know that I would take swim 11 in­stead.

Hav­ing not seen the lake un­til this point, I was keen to have a look around, tak­ing it all in, get­ting my bear­ings as such. Look­ing at a map is one thing, but see­ing it is en­tirely dif­fer­ent. The guy in swim 15 had been get­ting lin­ers and was also leav­ing so that was an op­tion, although I wasn’t en­tirely cer­tain that carp were re­spon­si­ble. I had al­ready seen quite a few pike strik­ing in the edges.

Af­ter much de­lib­er­a­tion I pinged two short, yel­low zigs, 80-odd yards out in swim 11. The wa­ter was quite coloured from the heavy rain we’d been hav­ing and although black is my favourite colour at this time of year I just felt they would need a lit­tle help find­ing it in this level of clar­ity.

It was about 3pm by the time I was sat down in my shed be­hind two rods and it was only a fur­ther hour un­til I saw my first fish. As luck would have it, it was in my swim’s wa­ter and I quickly re­cast a rod to it! I had been pretty de­spon­dent when ini­tially cast­ing in blindly, but now that I knew the fish were about the en­thu­si­asm lev­els were ris­ing rapidly. Three more fish fol­lowed the first, slightly fur­ther left this time. Af­ter con­sult­ing

the map to check the swim bound­aries it con­firmed that they were show­ing ex­actly on my fur­thest left wa­ter. With this in mind I placed a sec­ond rod here and sat back pretty con­fi­dently.

Sud­denly, the guy to my left in swim 12 was into a fish and as is the way when fish­ing zigs he had soon wiped out his other rod – the hooked fish kit­ing through his other zig. I went and gave some as­sis­tance, and be­tween the cam­era guys, him and my­self we helped net a lovely 35lb com­mon. Noth­ing else hap­pened that even­ing or night and the fol­low­ing morn­ing the ac­tiv­ity sug­gested the fish had moved fur­ther left. They were now en­tirely un­reach­able for me so I made the de­ci­sion to move to swim 5, which is op­po­site swim 12. In all hon­esty I wasn’t any closer here as, although op­po­site, the lake is 215 yards wide and they were show­ing 90 yards out from swim 12. Roy had said that the limit from each side is 100 yards, leav­ing roughly three rod lengths be­tween you. Sen­si­ble in my opin­ion re­ally, as there is noth­ing worse than hav­ing peo­ple in­vade

The open­ing three nights had proved fruit­less and I could al­most sense the north­ern­ers scoff­ing that I had blanked ‘oop t’north’. Now keener than ever to set­tle the score and with the weather fi­nally turn­ing I had high hopes for the next ses­sion

your wa­ter when you are catch­ing. I cast my rods out 25 wraps, or 100 yards in old money, but I was still 25 yards short of where I needed to be. The fi­nal two nights of the ses­sion were grim; the wind blew a hor­ri­ble north east­erly and other than the guy in swim 12 catch­ing an­other one, very lit­tle else oc­curred!

The open­ing three nights had proved fruit­less and I could al­most sense the north­ern­ers scoff­ing that I had blanked “oop t’north”. Now keener than ever to set­tle the score and with the weather fi­nally turn­ing I had high hopes for the next ses­sion.

Hav­ing now seen the lake with my own eyes I was more pre­pared this time around. I left home at 4am to ar­rive at the on-site tackle shop just af­ter 7am, thus en­sur­ing I had first pick of swims that Mon­day. Un­for­tu­nately, swims 11 and 12 were both taken and nei­ther were com­ing free dur­ing my ses­sion. It was a bit of a blow, but af­ter tak­ing swim 5 again my con­fi­dence grew when Roy said I had made a good choice. Ap­par­ently they’d been show­ing there the pre­vi­ous even­ing. On ar­riv­ing on the bank I ac­tu­ally saw one my­self, and not long af­ter the pre­vi­ous an­gler had de­parted I had hooked a mid-20 com­mon. Cer­tainly not a whop­per but I took it as a pos­i­tive sign my lo­ca­tion was good. The wa­ter had cleared dra­mat­i­cally in the four nights that had passed, and clear wa­ter means black foam for me when zig­ging. I had also in­creased the length of my zigs to four feet. Swim 5 has depths of roughly eight or nine feet and four feet down seems to be a good depth for me in the over­cast, blowy con­di­tions in springs past.

At 4pm, just like the pre­vi­ous week, there was a sud­den flurry of shows. I ac­tu­ally missed the first show and it was Lewis the cam­era­man who had spot­ted it. Once my eyes were fixed in this area I quickly saw an­other my­self. They were in front of swim 6 to my left and with no­body in swim 6 or 7 at this point I quickly dis­patched a zig in that di­rec­tion. The cast was true, look­ing to me as per­fect as could be. I then marked the line with elas­tic as I wanted to know just how far it was should I catch. It’s funny, but I im­me­di­ately ex­pected a take. The fact that the two swims to my left were still va­cant and the fish were un­mo­lested meant I knew this was my chance.

At about 6pm the bite came. A few bleeps, fol­lowed by a drop back that I was on in a flash! As soon as I picked the rod up I knew it was a good fish, and as it took line I won­dered what it might be? The big­gest fish in the lake, a truly lovely 49lb com­mon was caught on the same date, the pre­vi­ous year, and I was won­der­ing if I’d got re­ally

lucky and nailed him first bite. In the net it wasn’t quite that big but sported many of the char­ac­ter­is­tics of that in­cred­i­ble fish, weigh­ing in at 38lb. A nice fish to open my ac­count with and be­ing I was up north, I sup­pose some might say it was as good as a south­ern 40-pounder...

The night that fol­lowed was crazy, as ac­tiv­ity lev­els went through the roof. They crashed amongst the waves all night, clearly turned on by the wind and the new moon phase. I had a fur­ther two takes and Roy also had the same, as well as los­ing one, round in swim 9. The first of mine was a com­mon around 20lb but the sec­ond shed the hook af­ter about 30 sec­onds. To be hon­est I think that one was also foul-hooked, as it felt like I could feel ev­ery kick of his tail.

Be­cause the bites had all come to my left I moved into swim 6. Tonight was to be a full house and that meant ev­ery swim would be taken with no pos­si­bil­ity I could con­tinue fish­ing to this area from swim 5. It was a good choice with quite a few fish present for the re­main­der of the ses­sion but no more takes came my way.

Hind­sight is a won­der­ful thing and hav­ing the ben­e­fit of the drone for film­ing I think had I in­creased the length of my Zig rigs to around seven feet, with the in­creas­ing tem­per­a­tures I could have prob­a­bly caught more.

Well that’s me more or less up to date for an­other month. I have one more ses­sion at Baden Hall this week, and I am re­ally hop­ing for that 40plus. I’ll let you know how it goes next month.

Un­til next time, be lucky.

ABOVE Sun­set over swim 6

BE­LOW LEFT BE­LOW RIGHT Swim 12 on the left, 11 on the right and swim 5 op­po­site The Baden map, dis­play­ing all the swim bound­aries

It looked as though my lo­ca­tion was spot on! A small one on the first night of the sec­ond ses­sion TOP ABOVE

RIGHT An al­ter­na­tive look at the 38lb com­mon

TOP Roy’s 34-pounder from swim 9 It was in ab­so­lutely im­mac­u­late con­di­tion Dawn pa­trol on the fi­nal morn­ing MID­DLE BOT­TOM

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