Paul Claridge concludes his season with a tale about his purple patch of success on Burghfield lake.
Davy Claus – The Black Mirror
17th September 2020
Davy Claus comes face to face with the Dutch record carp, the mighty Black Mirror!
“Once the borders were re-opened post lockdown, I decided to bundle all my time available for angling during summer into five pre-planned trips to a lake in the Netherlands. The lake in question is home to a rather famous mirror, the Dutch record no less, known as the Black Mirror, made famous from its capture by Darrel Peck a couple of years ago. The desirability of such a fish makes the venue incredibly busy, this, combined with the low stock makes it a really tricky water indeed. In fact, the reality of spending all summer fishing without a single carp to show for it was a real possibility!
“Unfortunately, the first 3 trips in the early part of the summer were very uneventful. I knew I had to change something, so I decided to change baits, from Manilla to Krill Active. I also used a lot less bait than most other anglers were doing. As I had noticed that at the windward end of the lake, rotten bait would form really quickly in the margins, which said to me that everyone was over-baiting quite considerably. A very easy thing to do in a lake that contains just ten carp!
“My fortunes changed for the better on my fourth trip, as the low air pressure made the fish much more active around the lake. I noticed a few fish showing on a couple of spots I had baited and so I jumped straight in the swim. I landed m first fish from the lake later that day, a young mirror of 35lb.
Despite the conditions being perfect, a lot of the fish were still sitting out in the middle and as my second day rolled around they were still sat not really doing a lot in the middle. As the day wore on though, the fish grew more active. I noticed a couple of fish move away from the pack, with one moving a hell of a lot of water as it did so, it simply had to be the big girl! It was heading straight for one of my rods and as it moved into the vicinity of the rig the waves on the surface disappeared as the fish dropped down onto the clay spot.
“Much to my surprise, nothing happened, and I became paranoid that the rig was not presented properly. I took a huge gamble and decided to reposition the rig! I crept out in the boat as carefully as I could and dropped the rig on the spot with just two fresh freebies over the top. I honestly thought I had blown my chance, but it was worth a go.
“All of those negative thoughts soon left my mind, as the rod ripped off just 15 minutes later. It was the moment I had dreamt of, but in reality! Thankfully, the fight wasn’t too crazy, it just felt really heavy and hugged the bottom. It all happened in such a blur, but somehow, she soon lay there in the folds of my net. Ever since I saw Darrel holding the magnificent fish, I knew I wanted it in my own hands. The weight was immaterial, at 79lb she was of course huge, but I was just so taken aback by the fish and the moment. No words could describe the relief and emotion I felt while posing for the photos on that memorable day. The buzz may never leave me!”