My year started off flitting between waters as I always do. Orchid, Manor and Hardwick were all venues that I visited during spring. I never really make any plans for my angling. The fact that I mainly fish day ticket waters allows me to be very flexible and opens up a world of options.
There are so many cracking day ticket carp around, particularly in the Oxfordshire area. I have to say that Manor Farm on the Linear complex is my favourite of all of the lakes in the area. Most years I will do at least a couple of sessions on there in spring and over the past decade or more I have been fortunate to land many of the big fish from there. However, there was one that I really fancied catching and that was the awesome Kempie’s Linear which is near on 50Lb.
My first session of the year was in April and the lake was fishing very slow. On that particular day I turned up, it was very quiet. Not a lot had been caught on Manor, but St.Johns was kicking right off. It was a mad rush for swims on St.Johns and I liked the idea of a bit of peace an quiet on Manor. Little did I know I was going to have very little peace and quiet.
I found a shallower spot at 90 yards range, a spot which was covered in around 2 inches of weed. I could get a drop and knew it was gravel under the weed. I fished three ronnie rigs over the top and fished a longer hooklength than I normally would to allow the hookbait to sit on top of the weed.
Hookbait choice was a 12mm Northern Special pop-up in yellow. I spombed around 20 spombs of spod mix which consisted of freshly cooked hemp, 10mm Live System, frozen sweetcorn and Roasted Peanut chops (I also employ Roasted Nut Partiblend where I can). A mix which went on to serve me well over the following few sessions.
On this particular session, I ended up fish with an incredible haul of 33 carp of which 29 were over 20Lb and that included a couple of thirties. The key to the session was putting 20 spombs of bait out accurately and fishing three on a spot. I was having up to 5 or 6 bites before topping up. I had noticed every time I spodded the fish backed off and took a while to get back on the spot. So, I decided to not spod between fish and the bites came quicker and quicker. When the action tailed off, I re-spodded and in time they got back on it.
The following session I fished the far bank and although I employed exactly the same tactics, I only managed three twenties in two nights.
I returned the weekend after and dropped into the Car Park swim and fished it exactly the same as I did the previous month. This time, I had the added pressure of having to catch for the cameras. In all honesty, I could barely put a foot wrong, catching a thirty within moments of the camera man turning up and then an epic moment which I will never forget….
The sight of the incredible Kempy’s Linear rolling over the net cord. She was as black as your hat and settled the needle on the 48Lb 4oz mark. All tactics were the same as I had employed during previous sessions. Ronnie rigs with 12mm yellow Northern Specials. With three of those little fellas over a tightly baited area, I really do not see how a carp feeding on the spot can get away without getting caught. Proof of the pudding is the fact that 55 carp had ended up in the bottom of my net from 8 nights angling on the venue this spring.
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