My Time on the Tip

Carpworld - - CONTENTS - - Wes­ley Cogge­shall

Wes has fished and caught from some of the tough­est wa­ters in the south-east over the last 20 years. The Tip Lake was one that had been on his radar for a num­ber of years – al­beit he felt his great­est chal­lenge may come from the other an­glers as much as the carp them­selves


Ifirst heard about the Tip Lake a while ago now, when a friend of mine, Dom, was fish­ing it. He used to call me up say­ing, “Weso, you have got to get on here, son”. For years I said I would think about it, but be­cause of the bad rep­u­ta­tion the Dar­enth com­plex had, I didn’t lis­ten to him, but that’s a story for an­other time... I was fish­ing a spe­cial lit­tle lake over in Es­sex through­out the early parts of 2016 – it was a small, in­ti­mate and tricky pond with a great stock of fish. As some of you will know, the traf­fic for us Kent boys try­ing to get into Es­sex on a Fri­day af­ter­noon is hor­rific, we quite of­ten find our­selves stuck in loads of sta­tion­ary traf­fic on the M25 for hours on end. I used to know a lit­tle cut through that took me past the Dar­enth com­plex, to avoid parts of the M25, and that al­ways re­minded me of Dom telling me to get on there. So I al­ways had it in the back of my mind that fish­ing on the Tip could be a good move for me in the fu­ture, es­pe­cially with it be­ing just 15 min­utes from where I live.

My time on the Es­sex lake came to an abrupt end with a big al­gae bloom sadly putting an end to most of the stock, a great shame for a very spe­cial lake. I had a ticket for a large Kent pit al­ready, but didn’t fancy get­ting on there as it was now early au­tumn and it didn’t have much form for

the com­ing win­ter – so the Tip sprang to mind straight away.

I was straight on the phone to my old mate, as I knew he was very good friends with the guy who was run­ning it at the time. The fol­low­ing day saw me wait­ing in the Tip Lake car park, meet­ing him for a win­ter ticket. At the time the lake was still very quiet, as word hadn’t got around about how many big fish were ac­tu­ally swim­ming around in the fish­ery. The Tip has a big head of large fish – be­ing some five acres in size it con­tains around 60-odd carp, with 10 of them be­ing over 40lb.

As soon as I parted with my cash for the ticket, I went for a walk around. The first thing that struck me was the sheer vol­ume of weed that was on show. To be hon­est it looked more like a foot­ball pitch than a fish­ing lake. That wasn’t a prob­lem in it­self, as it’s a case of the more weed the bet­ter for me. In gen­eral, I think it puts a lot of peo­ple off and keeps a place quiet. How wrong was I though, as, on most Fri­days dur­ing my early visits, nearly ev­ery swim was gone by 5pm!

Hav­ing said that, I did catch three fish in a short space of time af­ter get­ting the ticket – a 25lb 10oz com­mon and mir­rors of 25lb 4oz and 31lb. An­other swift, hard kick fol­lowed, when, af­ter that short spell of suc­cess, I con­cluded that I was go­ing to have it off over the win­ter... My next bite wasn’t un­til March! But for me it was all part of a learn­ing curve, some­times things don’t come easy and you’ve got to work for it.

Spend­ing the win­ter on the Tip meant I was able to find some re­ally good ar­eas, while the weed was fairly low-ly­ing, ar­eas to keep an eye on come the warmer months.

Once I’d had that first fish again in March, I was re­ally look­ing for­ward to the sum­mer ahead, as I would have quite a few pals fish­ing along­side me and I knew we had some good times com­ing up. I was get­ting down ev­ery Tues­day and Thurs­day for quick overnighters and Fri­day nights too. I caught reg­u­larly through­out the sum­mer months, fish­ing over big beds of Sticky Krill and par­ti­cles, us­ing hinged stiff rigs made with the help of some Gard­ner com­po­nents.

All told, dur­ing spring and sum­mer I caught around 25 carp – the big­gest be­ing 37lb – but for the Tip, they were small. I just couldn’t seem to get amongst the big­ger fish while oth­ers were nick­ing them from all around me. As the weather cooled and af­ter the pre­vi­ous win­ter be­ing so quiet on the fish front, I de­cided to leave the Tip and head up to the Colne Val­ley, as I had just got a win­ter ticket on an­other spe­cial lake – Fox Pool. This turned out well for me as I had a few pals fish­ing there too. So, with good so­cial times ahead, I man­aged to nick a few and also have a nice brace with a 43lb com­mon and a 34lb mir­ror be­tween Christ­mas and new year.

I ar­rived back to the Tip in March again, but this time there seemed to be a lot more an­glers as word was get­ting out about the stock. I knew the lake well by now and knew the spots for each swim that I needed to keep bait on, so the weed wouldn’t take its toll.

Through the height of the sum­mer I was us­ing lots of par­ti­cle, fish­ing a tiger nut over the top, but I seemed to be catch­ing the smaller ones again – al­though as I was still get­ting the bites, I was happy. With the ban of tigers com­ing into ef­fect and the bites slow­ing down while just us­ing the par­ti­cle, I de­cided on a change of plan. The sum­mer be­fore I had used the Krill but had seen some of the other guys catch­ing a few of the bet­ter fish over a sweet­tast­ing bait, and so I de­cided to switch on to the Sticky Manilla. What a move that proved to be, as straight away I started to get amongst a bet­ter stamp. I also de­cided to tweak my rigs, switch­ing to Ron­nie rigs, tied. I felt that be­cause I was pump­ing in the boilies in­stead of par­ti­cles, I now wanted my pop-up closer to the free­bies. The hookholds I was get­ting with the Ron­nie rig were spot on too, there was no way were they get­ting away.

As the tem­per­a­tures soared, I also man­aged to get them go­ing on the mix­ers on a reg­u­lar ba­sis through­out the sum­mer months, of­ten turn­ing up on the Thurs­day and jump­ing out of the van with the mixer rod in hand, for my ‘walk­a­bout’ lap. There were plenty of fish get­ting caught on this method, and I found the best time to be just be­fore dark as you could reg­u­larly have five or six fish com­pet­ing for them. Un­for­tu­nately, an­other rule came into play putting an end to this, with the in­tro­duc­tion of a time limit on the mixer fish­ing –

only per­mit­ting it be­tween 10am and 5pm.

I al­ways fish Thurs­day and Fri­day nights, but the Thurs­day is a quick work night, so I didn’t go to mad on the bait. Af­ter all, on that night I’m just af­ter that quick bite, whereas Fri­day nights were dif­fer­ent, as I would still have the rods out un­til about mid­day on a Satur­day. So on Fri­day night I would put quite a bit of bait out, hop­ing the fish would get on it. The prob­lem be­ing it was a long, hot sum­mer and the place was packed with an­glers, and just get­ting in a swim some Fri­days was a job in it­self.

I turned up on this par­tic­u­lar Thurs­day, af­ter work, and as ever the first thing I did was a lap of the lake to have a good look around. The fish in the Tip are very easy to find, as there are lots of climb­ing trees, each with good views of lake. As the fish are jet black you can pick them out from a dis­tance. I climbed this tree next to a swim called The Bailiffs and straight away I could see the fish were present, as they were fizzing like mad. I sat up the tree watch­ing for about 20 min­utes be­fore head­ing back to the van to grab my tackle. Once back in the swim the first rod was cast onto the end of a bar to the left of the swim, with the other two both cast, side by side, into a large hole in the weed. It’s a spot that I’ve caught from in the past. I didn’t go mad with the bait, as I didn’t want to spook them.

Luck­ily for me, I had the next day off work and con­se­quently I didn’t have to pack up at 6am, so I trick­led a few baits in over the course of the evening. At about 11:30pm I got four bleeps from the mid­dle rod, fol­lowed by an­other two and I jumped out and hit it, as I’ve had takes like this be­fore and straight away I knew I was at­tached to a big carp. I could feel its head bang­ing as it was try­ing to get rid of the hook, but with this rig it re­al­is­ti­cally had no chance. You have to keep the pres­sure on when play­ing fish in the Tip, be­cause if they man­age to find sanc­tu­ary in the weed, it’s game over and only a boat will free them. I kept this one mov­ing as it tried its very best to reach the big weedbeds – and I gained as much line as quickly as pos­si­ble. By the time it was in front of me the bat­tle was won and I slipped her in the net at the first time of ask­ing. As it went in the net I could see which fish it was – a very spe­cial one, called Satan’s Lin – the one ev­ery an­gler wants from this lake. It is a ‘once a year fish’ and this was the first time it had been out since last sum­mer.

Once it was safely en­sconced in the net, and se­cure, I ran down to my mate, Perry, who was fish­ing next door. I stuck my head in his brolly shout­ing, “I’ve got the big Lin, come and give us a hand!” His re­ply was, “Yeah, what­ever, Wes”. Hav­ing as­sured him I wasn’t mess­ing about, he came back with me and couldn’t be­lieve what a cracker it was. We both agreed it looked huge, as I was get­ting the mat ready and ze­ro­ing the scales. Then the next thing was to make sure the cam­era and the flash gun were all ready to go. As I lifted it up from the wa­ter, I knew it was big... On the scales it span the nee­dle round to 46lb – that be­ing the big­gest it had ever pre­vi­ously weighed on the bank. I was over the moon. Perry helped do the pic­tures and took some amaz­ing shots of it – never an easy task in the dark!

With the fish safely back in the wa­ter, I changed the rig and put the rod back out on the spot. An hour be­fore light and the mid­dle rod was away again – it was an­other mir­ror, this one weigh­ing 31lb.

Af­ter catch­ing the lin­ear, I was think­ing that the big com­mon, called The Ma­jor, was well over­due a visit to the bank too. The Ma­jor is a 50lb carp and also, im­por­tantly, very friendly, com­ing out sev­eral times a year. With au­tumn now fast ap­proach­ing, I started to up my bait­ing game, putting around 5kg of Manilla in ev­ery night I was down, as I knew the com­mon liked a bit of bait. The com­mon seemed to favour one end of the lake more, so I de­cided to con­cen­trate my ef­forts around there, know­ing it was due to come out any time.

I was due to go on hol­i­day in Oc­to­ber, so I knew that once I was back from hol­i­day the time for the com­mon would have gone. So I got down early one Thurs­day and got in a swim that I’d caught a few fish from pre­vi­ously and which gave me a good view of the whole lake. Within the hour I was be­ing pulled all around the lake by the hard­est-fight­ing fish I have ever caught. It turned out to be one I’d caught in the spring at 37lb, called the Brown Fish – only this time with all the bait that all the boys were putting in, it weighed a whop­ping 43lb. A few of the reg­u­lars were all think­ing the same as me – if caught at the right time the Ma­jor could well be over the 60lb mark!

With au­tumn now fast ap­proach­ing, I started to up my bait­ing game, putting around 5kg of Manilla in ev­ery night I was down, as I knew the com­mon liked a bit of bait

I de­cided to fish ev­ery Thurs­day and Fri­day night, down that end of the lake – un­til my hol­i­day – turn­ing up at 6pm and leav­ing for work at 6am. That was no fun, es­pe­cially when it in­volves pack­ing up in the dark! On one par­tic­u­lar night I couldn’t sleep, due to the sound of carp crash­ing all over my end of the lake. Ev­ery now and again I could hear one that sounded so much big­ger than the rest – it had to be the big com­mon. I was con­vinced that if I hadn’t had to go to work that morn­ing, I would have had it. But work comes first as I’ve got a mort­gage to pay!

As luck would have it, I man­aged to get an early fin­ish on the Fri­day, so I was straight down to the lake, know­ing what I’d seen the night be­fore and hop­ing no one had jumped in be­hind me. As I pulled into the car park there were a cou­ple of ve­hi­cles present so I jumped out for a quick lap and, as luck would have it, some­one was in the swim. Not what I wanted at all! I jumped up a tree op­po­site, next to a swim called Churchills. This gave me a view over the same area of wa­ter and there were still some big chunks about, so I de­cided to fish the same spots but from a dif­fer­ent an­gle to where I was the pre­vi­ous night. Some­times a dif­fer­ent line an­gle can make a big dif­fer­ence. I put the rods out with the min­i­mum of fuss, spread­ing 2kg of

Manilla be­tween the three ar­eas. The traps were set and it was time for a brew. I only had un­til mid­day on the Satur­day to bag my­self a pre-hol­i­day carp, as I was head­ing to Bar­ba­dos in the early hours of Sun­day, for a fort­night with the bet­ter half. I knew in my mind if I didn’t have the com­mon tonight, it would mean com­ing back the next spring, to have an­other go for it.

It’s funny, this carp fish­ing game, as that night I was on the phone to a few friends say­ing, “Wouldn’t it be great to catch the com­mon be­fore I head to Bar­ba­dos” – es­pe­cially as ev­ery time I go on hol­i­day, the lake fishes its head off. That night I didn’t see much and de­cided to have an early visit to the bed­chair, as I wanted to get up early and watch for show­ing fish.

I was awo­ken by the sound of a buzzer just as the first pale streaks ap­peared on the hori­zon. As I struck it didn’t feel like a good fish, it just rose to the sur­face and, if I am bru­tally hon­est, I just reeled it in to tell you the truth. If I would have lost it, I’d have def­i­nitely said that it was a small carp. As it went in the net, I could see it was a com­mon, and a big one at that. I thought there’s only one com­mon of that size in here. My mate, Rich, was fish­ing the big pit in Kent that I held a ticket for, and he had mes­saged me in the night to tell me he had caught his first carp from there. So I called Rich to con­grat­u­late him. Rich was also amongst those that I was talk­ing to the night be­fore, about the big com­mon. Once I con­grat­u­lated him on his cap­ture, my words were, “You won’t be­lieve what I’ve got, bro.” He said, “No way, you’ve got it?” I sim­ply said, “Yes mate, it’s the big com­mon!”

With the help of a cou­ple of the other syn­di­cate mem­bers, we set about weigh­ing the fish. With all the other carp up in weight, I thought it could be mas­sive. Once on the scales that proved to be the case, with it weigh­ing 57lb 12oz. This equated to not only a lake record but it also rep­re­sented a per­sonal best for me, as well as my sec­ond UK 50.

I just couldn’t be­lieve it – it was an ab­so­lute unit of a carp. I called my old mate, Mark, who was work­ing at the time. He was an­other one who I had been talk­ing to the night be­fore, and he knew that a phone call at 6:30 in the morn­ing meant only one thing. Be­ing good with a cam­era, I had to get him down to share the mo­ment with me and, be­ing a true friend, he was in the car park within half an hour. The photo ses­sion seemed to be over all too soon and wound up with me well out of my com­fort zone in the cold mar­gins. In hind­sight, I could have done with­out the wa­ter shots as it was bloody freez­ing!

We got some pho­tos though and slipped The Ma­jor back safe and none the worse for wear. This was to be my 57th carp from the Tip Lake all told, and at 57lb, it was also go­ing to be my last.

Af­ter catch­ing The Ma­jor it was time to move on. I’m not the type of an­gler to stay and keep catch­ing the same fish year in, year out, as you po­ten­tially take the prize away from some­body else. I’ve got to say how much I en­joyed fish­ing the Tip Lake – it’s not ev­ery­one’s cup of tea but it’s run very well by Dar­ren and Lee and I’ve met some re­ally good guys too along the way.

And so, with that, I’m head­ing back up to the Colne Val­ley to Fox Pool to see it I can catch an­other Christ­mas cracker.

With all the other carp up in weight, I thought it could be mas­sive. Once on the scales that proved to be the case, with it weigh­ing 57lb 12oz

ABOVEThe small fully

RIGHTI had been keep­ing an eye on it for a while. This is the Tip Lake, in full bloom

ABOVEFirst im­pres­sions

BE­LOWTHE BIG­GEST FROM My first sea­son was this 37lb mir­ror A nice, long link helped to al­low the rig to set­tle over any low-ly­ing weed I en­coun­teredLEFT

IN­SETI changed over to Ron­nies at the same time I made the switch to a boilie ap­proach

LEFT One of the Tip’s char­ac­ters – dif­fer­ent enough to stand out from the crowd

THE flip SIDE. SATAN’S at 46lbBE­LOW

ABOVEThe one every­body wants – Satan’s Lin­ear!

LEFT The Ma­jor, we were hop­ing it may have been over 60lb, but that would just have been greedy! 57lb 12oz would more than suf­fice Just in the nick of time. I could en­joy my fort­night in Bar­ba­dos now... Time to move on .... She was big, re­ally big! MID­DLE RIGHT BOT­TOM RIGHT TOP RIGHT

LEFT It had put on 6lb since the spring, the Brown Fish at 43lb

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