Friday 1st April arrived and the talk with friends of catching a 50lb mirror was over. The place this could happen was in front of me, the St Ives Shallow pit. I arrived for my first 48 hour session, armed with The Odyssey XXX from CC Moore. I decided on a swim known as ‘End Of Island’. I began leading about with the spod rod and soon settled on two spots. Using my skyline markers, I baited up five spods on each spot with the Odyssey XXX and two rods were despatched with the matching Odyssey corkball pop-ups I had soaking in the Odyssey Additive liquid.
My third rod was down my right hand margin to the mouth of the island, leading to the shallows. There was nothing to see that evening. At 6.30 am, the morning sun was on my brolly and I caught my first glimpse of a ‘Shallow Pit’. A fish showed on the opposite bank in front of a swim known as ‘Lazys’. The barrow was loaded like a hurricane had hit it, the rods were in and I was off!! Once in Lazy’s, I flicked two rods out with the corkball-glugged pop-ups on and sat on my bedchair looking for more signs of carp but nothing more was seen.
By 1pm, the left hand rod was away and my first Shallow carp was on. Ten minutes later and a stunning scaly mirror of 24 lbs was in the net, I was over the moon. I had heard from other anglers that if you catch a handful of fish in a year, you’ve done well, so a fish on my first trip was mind blowing and I was off the mark.
My second and third sessions passed with no more fish but I had been getting different swims under my belt and learning as much information from the lake and other anglers as I could, meeting some nice people along the way. My fourth session was planned to be 48 hours and I started in the swim known as the ‘Gardens’. This swim is the last zone on the road bank and fishes to two gaps in the end of the island, leading into the out of bounds.
I knew the fish felt safe there and the ‘big un’ had also been seen a couple of times, along with some of the other ‘Shallow pit’ A-Team members, Paw Print and Laneys, just to name a couple. That afternoon, I decided to bait an area at 110 yards, next to some pads. I sponned 2kg of Odyssey to the spot and fished two rods over the bait. My third rod was to the left gap towards the ‘out of bounds’.
Another quiet night came and went and by 6.30 am I saw fish showing in open water, further up the lake in a swim called ‘The Cut Off’ my only option was to get near the zone. Some good fish were seen showing out in the lake, so three singles were out in the ‘Cut Off’ swim. I managed to negotiate an extra night with ‘the boss’ (the Fiancée), and felt confident I was on the fish (some good ‘uns too).
The next morning I had to be back at work so I left feeling like I had just missed out, the atmosphere on the lake felt like something big was pending. With this in mind, I booked the end of the week off work and a day later on the Friday I was back at the lakes. The wind was pumping into the ‘Garden’ swim but had a slight chill to it, which left me trying to decide which swim to choose. Nothing had been seen in open water, but that morning the opposite bank in the shallows had produced two 30′s, so in the end I chose to fish the ‘Gardens’, with the knowledge I had put 2kg out there four days prior. I decided to spread the rods in that area but clipped my right rod up at 110 yards on the baited area, then applied 30 or so baits with the throwing stick.
That night, a Shallow Pit BBQ took place with some of the other anglers and by 10.30pm we retired to our bivvies. A final check of the rods with the torch and I was off to sleep. Early hours the next morning, the right hand rod was in meltdown. I ran down without shoes and lifted into the fish. Straight away it took line and tore off up the side of the island, heading up the lake. After 30 minutes or so I had the fish in sight and the net was under her. At this point, all I knew was, it felt a good fish. The head torch came on and I looked into the net and saw a colossal mirror carp. After closer inspection, I knew the carp I had dreamt of catching was mine, all 49lb 12oz of her. At such an early stage in my campaign, what a result!!! As daylight came, my good friend Tom was there to congratulate me as well as a couple of the other anglers on the lake. The weighing and photos of this mighty mirror carp began and I was and still am, blown away. The fish is a credit to the complex.
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