Spawning carp at Dinton makes Myles revisit a venue he hasn’t fished for a decade, with some startling results Carp Diary
During a let-up in proceedings at Dinton, due TO THE fish SPAWNING, MYLES sets his sights on a venue he LAST FISHED OVER A DECADE AGO – WITH STARTLING RESULTS!
AAfter the session during which I caught The Unit again, a few days later the fish started spawning. The lake was closed for four weeks and, instead of using that time to fish locally and bait Black Swan, I fancied a new venture. Something was telling me to go elsewhere and have a fresh take on things, especially after spending a few seasons there. I decided to go back to a lake that I had previously fished some 10 years ago. It was a big lake, over 120-acres, with a large sailing club and a low stock of carp – somewhere in the order of 70 carp to go at. You could only fish a certain percentage of it and, with no boats allowed, it is very restricted. With all the buoys, large weedbeds, deep water and so on, it was always going to be a tough ask in the short window I’d afforded myself, but, despite this, there were a few shallow bays and areas where you would expect to find carp in the warmer months.
Although I knew roughly what was in there, the big fish don’t get caught enough to really be sure. Rumours and myths of giants still did the rounds and this side of it really excited me. We had a handful of images from a few years earlier, but as with any lake like that, photos of the carp you want to see are hard to come by.
However, I remember many years ago standing on the high bank at the lake and watching a few really big fish. So, in reality, I didn’t need photos to confirm their presence – I knew there were a few good ’uns present. There was also the known big mirror, which did get caught, and had been out at high 40s in the past. This was the main aim, to catch it, but anything from such a lake would be considered a result.
I obtained a ticket for the lake, even though it would only be a few weeks’ worth of fishing. The plan was to fish on there until they re-opened Dinton, which gave me a month, at least. I arrived early one Sunday morning and from what I had been told, the lake had only produced eight bites during the whole of the previous season. It was never going to be easy, but that buzz and challenge, is what it is all about. The Mrs had her mum visiting on the Saturday night, so I travelled down during the hours of darkness and arrived early hours, so that I could walk around and soak up the atmosphere.
I was shocked at how busy it was, with at least 15 people. A strong wind blew into the out of bounds bank and into some of the shallow bays. By shallow, I mean really shallow, only two feet deep and you could see the bottom in the gaps in the weed. In certain places, there was a lot of the Potamogeton weed about and thick areas of it, which grew off the shallow, marginal shelf.
It was hot early and with a gentle breeze pushing in, the bays looked prime. I stood there for a while, in hope that I could see something. I didn’t see anything, even after a few laps, and I eventually settled in a small bay – off a bit of a muddy track – so it was a swim, just not a popular one.
I got the rods sorted on small clear spots, which took an age to find. Once everything was done, I sat back and watched, in the hope that a few fish would start pushing in. As the afternoon wore on, I started to notice the odd one popping its back out. I only had two rods out there, but one spot in particular went down with a right crack and felt perfect. It must have been no bigger than an unhooking mat and took a few casts to land on it.
Each was baited with the catapult, just a few whole baits, mainly to keep things quiet and avoid the tench and bream that inhabit the lake. I was using strong line and big hooks, just in case I did hook something worthwhile. Nothing happened that night though, but as the following day went on, more and more carp turned up in the bay. I had my eyes on a 30lb common and a couple of smaller ones too – it looked so good.
A few friends popped down to say hello, when, out of nowhere, the rod fished on the really small spot just burst off. There was a huge explosion in the shallow water and all hell broke loose. As far as we knew, this was the first fish hooked this year and it was a very nervy experience. A big battle followed,
before I netted a very empty looking common. It went 28lb and ounces, but the weight didn’t matter, I was just buzzing to catch one and be off the mark on such a demanding lake.
I knew from past years that they liked that bay once they had spawned, so I was hopeful of another chance. I got the rod back out and topped it up with another kilo of bait. My heart was in my mouth when, during the night, the same rod went again – but it turned out to be a tench. It took a few casts but I got the rod back out again on the spot and proceeded to get some sleep.
I woke early and was on the phone to my friend around 7am, saying that it looked really good, but that I hadn’t seen any signs of carp. The water was flat and still – you could tell that it was going to be a warm day. I had a tree in my sight of the spot, so couldn’t quite make out what was going on from the bedchair, when I heard a huge eruption on the surface. The alarm let off a couple of beeps and the indicator smashed in to the butt. I was on it in a flash, holding on as a ‘hippo’ charged off through the weedbeds.
The rod was at full compression, but even on a tight clutch it wouldn’t slow down. I kept the pressure on and eventually everything went solid. I applied a bit more pressure and the fish slowly began to move. Another big explosion followed, before the hook flew out and it was gone. I knew it was a big fish, it was pretty obvious, and I was absolutely devastated.
From previous captures I knew that the big mirror favoured a certain area. It was an arm coming off a large body of water and I thought that my best chance of catching it was to target this area. I had already leaded the swim and from the first trip I had been applying quite a lot of pellets and boilies to the spot. I gave them a big hit of bait on the night before I left, so as not to draw any attention to it.
When I returned there were a few lads fishing and a lad in the swim where I had previously caught the 28-pounder. I naturally asked if he had managed anything, which he hadn’t, but he had seen a lot of fish out in front of him in the bay. With
Another big explosion followed, before the hook flew out and it was gone. I knew it was a big fish, it was pretty obvious, and I was absolutely devastated
other anglers fishing this area, I knew I still had my fall back option – and that was the bay that the big mirror had previously come from.
I had a good walk round, until lunchtime, but didn’t see a thing. I always like to have a plan on the big pits and the other bay would be it. I had already nipped round and baited it really early, before I had a walk round, so it seemed my best option. I got to the swim and went for a mooch. I caught a glimpse of some carp patrolling down the margin, maybe three fish, with one of them over 35lb too. I clocked another two or three fish a bit further up the bank as well, clearly telling me that there were a few here.
As I was setting up the conditions switched in my favour, with a nice north-easterly breeze blowing in. I checked the weather app and it was giving the same conditions for the next few days – absolutely perfect. Off to the left of the swim, there was a shallow, gravelly area that I clocked the odd dark shape passing over. I watched for a while and saw a number of fish pass over it. I waited until the following morning to get a rod on it, when the fish were clearly gone and I wouldn’t disturb them. I had been trickling bait on it for a while, so they would have been picking bait up from this spot. The rods went out perfectly and I was sitting, expectantly, next to them all morning.
I had changed my gear a bit after having been trashed by that fish the week previous. I had now spooled up with the Fox Submerge braid. I always find that braid helps when fishing really weedy lakes and this stuff had received good reviews. To keep everything nice and pinned, I used a long length of the Thinking Anglers lead core, which is nice and supple, super strong and blends in well in the clear water. Everything was strong and secure, so that if I did hook one, my tackle wouldn’t let me down.
At around 8am and I began to get a few liners, and it looked bang on. I then had a funny take and was convinced it was from a tench. I ambled over and it wasn’t until I picked the rod up that I realised it definitely wasn’t! The fish
took off into open water and the fight was hairy on the braid but, eventually, I landed a nice 23lb common. I was absolutely buzzing to get three bites already and it was only my second trip.
I whipped the rod back out there, but nothing else happened throughout the morning. That afternoon I could see a few more fish creeping into the bay and some of them looked big fish too. Knowing how close they were to my rig, I was full of anticipation.
Another hour passed and then the marginal rod was away – and battle commenced. The fight took the other rods out and I was in a right mess, but I could see a big mirror wallowing on the surface. I scooped it in the net and recognized it as one that my mate had caught several years ago. It certainly looked a lot bigger now – a fish known as the Family Mirror, which normally weighs around 38lb – but on this occasion went 41lb 4oz.
She looked absolutely incredible, a huge buzz that’s for sure. After doing the pictures, I got the rods back out, freshened everything up and gave them another hit of the Krill and Ellipse pellets. The following morning the liners started again, which resulted in a 28lb common from the productive spot.
I kept everything really quiet, not telling a soul. I didn’t even walk round the lake, which would have put me in an awkward position with the other lads. I had to be like this, otherwise I
would have been jumped on instantly. So I was left alone, and I liked it that way. I kept fishing it, kept the bait going in, and it was all guns blazing hoping for the big mirror – Leon’s.
I blanked the following week but was back again soon after and managed a small common and lost a few fish too. It was a nightmare losing fish but I was made up with a cracking 37lb mirror amongst it all. The 37-pounder was actually one that I’d caught several years ago at 27lb, but it looked totally different and it was nice to cross paths again.
I wasn’t seeing much in the corner of the bay, but kept a rod down there just in case. On this particular morning I saw a big back pop up in the weed, right near the spot. An hour later, the rod rattled off and it was the fish I thought it might be – the Bream Common, looking huge and weighing 44lb 6oz. It is an incredible carp and certainly one that I dearly wanted to catch, which made what had already been a great few weeks, even better.
Dinton was back open now, but I was totally engrossed in the big pit. I couldn’t leave without catching Leon’s – I felt I was close, and was sure it was going to happen if I stuck at it. Nothing happened the following week – the conditions weren’t right and I didn’t see many carp either. I could have looked round the lake, but I didn’t want to bump into anyone and I had invested so much time and bait in the swim, I knew if it was going to happen it would be from there.
Both the big linears had been caught on the weekend Dinton reopened anyway, so the decision to stay was the right one. It was almost fate, I had to get back to the big pit!
I was down on the Sunday and I had given the swim a huge bait up the week before. Absolutely everything in my van had gone in – around 23kg in total.
The wind was blasting up towards the other end and I felt a little disheartened. I got the rods out to the spots, gave them another hit of bait and woke up around 4am to a bite on the main spot. It was a really powerful fish and in the twilight I could make out a big fish on the surface. I repeatedly prayed that it stayed on and when it finally went in the net, I almost laughed to myself. It was the one I was after –Leon’s was in the net and I couldn’t quite believe it. It weighed 47lb 10oz – a truly mega carp and a gem that so few had seen before and my short obsessive campaign had come to an end...
LEFT A very nice welcome back present, in the shape of this 28lb 8oz common
LEFT TOP Myles chose to bait a couple of areas heavily
LEFT BOTTOM Supercharged coffees for the early summer mornings
LEFT TOP The Family Mirror at 41lb 6oz – what a buzz
BOTTOM She looked awesome
LEFT Another 28lb common. This time from a new swim and a place Myles chose to continue his quest from
BELOW Long lengths of lead-core and braided main line helped deal with the thick weed
LEFT INSET Big leads helped hooking. You certainly wouldn’t get many chances
TOP The lake’s biggest common, The Bream, at over 44lb
ABOVE Another of the lake’s gems – this time a 37lb 2oz mirror that had last made his acquaintance some 10 years previously
INSET Myles was baiting heavily with both pellets and boilies
TOP Celebration time!
RIGHT The awesome Leon’s at 47lb-plus