I remember Terry
telling me about a spot behind the stand of pads by the lawn, where you crawled through the bramble tunnel and fed them on a gravel patch, between two feathery root rafts, and the sights I saw in there were amazing. I would often have The Pet feeding with its head out of the water on top of the root masses as it noisily slurped at fragments of bait left on them. It reminded me of the old Randy Spittle ‘Yew Tree’ cartoon with the fish poking its head out the water going ‘oink-oink’. I loved him...
I probably lost The Pet another couple of times as the lake really was a nightmare – and I was learning and adjusting my tackle accordingly, as you’d get one thing ‘indestructible’ only for another item to fail under the immense pressure of snags, pads and deep water.
First it was the hooks, then it was the hooklinks, then it was the mainline! Then when you went through and stepped everything up another level you reached the performance limit of one of the key items in relation to the others and you’d necessarily search for a stronger, better version of that component all over again.
In the end the ‘ever reliable’ Sylcast was binned in favour of
15lb Big Game, and this was combined with new fangled 25lb Silkworm and little shrimp-pattern
Owner eyed hooks; all making for a very robust setup that paired well with my trusty 2½lb Armalites. However, losses were still inevitable (though reduced), as some of the stands of pads were in 14ft of water and you’d hook fish at the base of them and they’d swing up on a locked-up tight line and be in the pads near the surface with horrific ease – but it was part of an ongoing learning curve and also mega exciting. I can safely say we loved it on there!
In the end I nailed the great fish casting across to the pads from the Lawn and it was a case of get a bite (locked up) and immediately pick the rod up and walk back until you were crossing the little lane that separated the lake from the marina next door. Even though I did this the fish topped right on the extremities of the pads, which just shows that with line angles and stretch they have a lot more line to play with than you often anticipate!
At 30lb 2oz it was the perfect way to scrape over the 30lb barrier. No silly 10lb PB gains or anything – just a gradual incremental step up that certainly seemed to be the right way to do it (still is really!)...
I was elated and look back at my time on that lovely, picturesque little lake with absolute joy. What an experience, what a great time, surrounded by likeminded carp angling friends and enjoying absolutely lovely times.
The Pet went on to make one more ‘migration’ ending up in a large gravel pit in Staines, where it was retired as it was a bit too friendly for its own good really. In fact she grew and grew and soon became a 50-pounder in the lake’s fertile waters with a larder of naturals that would be enough for any carp. A life less ordinary than many other carp – but then again The Pet was never ordinary...