It all started many years ago when I saw a carp from this lake in a post order catalog. The fish I saw opened my eyes for a whole new style of fishing called carp fishing. At the time, I never thought that I would have the opportunity to ever fish for those special creatures who called that lake their home. By coincidence, I suddenly lived in the same town as the lake and managed to get a job in a tackle store just 20min drive from the lake.
The lake is a quite a small, intimate lake around 8 acres, partly surrounded by nature-protected forest. You will have a mix of wildlife and park life due to the running trail that connects the residential areas with the forest. The number of carp in the lake is unknown but there is a few old carp living there who all have their own history how they got in the lake. It is a known tricky water with loads of anglers due to its location and the fact that it is public. A ticket for a year will set you back a mere £30.
The first years I didn’t have a huge success and after thirteen blank nights I caught my first two in late September. The year after I managed a few more. My learning curve increased during these two years and I learnt watercraft the hard way. I started taking notes about everything like birds spooking and set the alarm clock to be up and watching the lake at first light and being up into dark listening for carp showing. I didn’t stop there; I documented moon phases, barometric pressure and weather conditions just so I could see if there was a pattern. With the captures I could see some sort of pattern emerging in my logbook.
Last year, I started putting in the extra effort when I felt that it was time and the carp were on the feed. I fish mainly short overnight trips between work. If the conditions weren’t right I went by the lake and baited up my spots instead of fishing. A mixture of Pacific Tuna boilies glugged in Tuna L030, Liquid Tuna Extract and Pure Salmon Oil was my bait of choice. Fishing home-rolled Pacific Tuna corkball pop-ups on multi rigs over the baited spots. The fish quickly switched onto the bait and I managed to catch an upper double on my third night on the new bait. During last season, I managed to catch 14 of these elusive carp and 5 of them were 30+ and only 3 were under 20lb and the pattern became clearer and clearer.
At the start of this season, I only had 2 fish left on my most wanted list. One of them, the queen of the lake, who is a rare visitor to the bank. After three years uncaught she made a mistake back in September, so I wasn’t to sure that I would catch her this season. I had a game plan for those last remaining on my target list.
The record of them are that both have been caught most of the time in a small area of the lake. If I didn’t see them elsewhere, I would fish the swim in the center of that area. When the ice finally melted in late march, I started my routine again. I started to get in sync with the lake. The first take of the year, I was faced with a wall of heavy snowfall when I popped out from the bivvy. A 20+ common could not resist a bright Pacific Tuna pop-up even if it reminded me more of January than March.
I caught one more before the weather went arctic again. I kept the bait going in even if it was just a couple of handfuls of crushed Pacific Tuna per spot. Even if it was a small amount of bait, I made the trip to the lake just to keep the spots topped up. That way I felt that I was fishing even if I wasn’t by the lake. In the beginning of May, we got some warmer weather again and I was back by the lake and placed my two rods on the spots.
The morning after, I got a savage take on the right hand rod. After a long, hard battle, I managed to slip the net around Mad Max. It was a recapture, but it felt good that one of the A-team had been feeding on the spot. Just shy of 30lb, but one of the hardest fighting carp I ever have been connected to. A dark, dinosaur looking carp with big scales and fins. After that action it was time to go back to work.
Luckily, it was just 4 more days work before my annual vacation in May to get the most of the spring campaign before spawning. As soon as I left work on Thursday evening I went straight to the lake. I quickly did a lap and saw fish in the south bay, but no bigger fish, I didn’t see either of my two targets.
I legged it back to the car and on the way back I put my bucket in the swim where I had my prime spots, just in case any other angler would show up. I got my rigs out onto the spots just before dark and the lake woke up just as I sat down with a cup of tea. I saw some carp showing at the entry of the north bay. The night passed by with no indication of fish in the swim but the wind was forecast to swing around from north westerly to south easterly.
At lunch, I reeled in the rods and rested the swim where I proceeded to introduce a little more bait on the spots. I took a walk around the lake and I found some smaller carp sunbathing inside the no fishing zone in the south bay. I was not happy fishing a low multi rig on the spot in the deeper water due to the amount of old dead lily pads. I changed over to a multi version of the hinge stiff rig for the last night on that rod and kept the standard multi rig on the right hand rod. Just as it went dark, I had a really big carp roll clear to the gills from silt 2m from the margin spot.
That one had surely found the bait, but nothing more happened that night other than a big temperature drop. I didn’t see any carp showing at first light so I went back to the warmth of the sleeping bag and slept for a few more hours. Just as the breakfast was finished I received a couple bleeps on the left Neville and then the indicator started rising from the deck rapidly. I picked up the rod and felt how the line was pinging of the fresh pads on the bottom. After a few seconds, I got direct contact with the fish who had the tell tell signs of a big one.
Using its size to hold the lake bed and kite on a tight line. After a while, I got it to the surface and then as it turned I saw the full broadside before it tried to get down to the bottom again. But, it didn’t make it and came back on the surface and took a gulp of air. I wound in some line and pushed the net under the big fish. I knew that it was a big one but was not sure how big.
So I put my waders on, soaked the mat and sling, and zeroed the scales. When I lifted the fish out of the water, it felt massive. Safely on the mat, I opened up the net mesh to reveal the prize and then it was no question of which fish it was. The biggest one in the lake named “Vårtan” and when the scale passed 18kg she was still on the mat pushing the scales the whole way to 20.1kg.
I put her back in the water in a retaining sling and started calling my friends to see if anyone could help me with the pictures. After a short time, I got help with the photos from two anglers who fished the north bay. As I’m writing this I can’t fully understand that I caught one of my last targets and a Swedish 20kg fish from public water too.