Paul Claridge concludes his season with a tale about his purple patch of success on Burghfield lake.
Guy Turnbull – A Spring To Remember
6th June 2019
At the start of each year I like to sit down and plan my spring and this year it all fell apart before I felt it had even started, but everything happens for a reason and god it came good in the end.
The lake where I was expecting to spend my spring is a very deep lake and about 2 acres in size with very steep margins. As it’s deep I was planning to start at the end of March and be there for when the water temps start to rise and the fish start to wake up. The fish I was after is a 40+ deep bodied mirror and dark chestnut flanks and after spawning drops to mid 30, in the lake to make the rest of the stock are 5 other mirrors so very low stock and bites are very hard to come by. As I got things underway this year the water clarity was rubbish and spotting 1 of these 6 carp was proving difficult early on, but as time went on this got better and I started seeing them around the pit. In one corner of the lake there is a weed bed where these carp pretty much live once the water warms and the swim I planned to fish commands one side of it. I was using little bait, but often just to try keep them using the area but not have bait lying about everywhere. I was spending loads of time sitting up trees just watching that one fish using areas around the lake and when I sat there watching them all in the weed bed one morning, all 5 carp were in there apart from her which is very rare – about an hour later I spotted her coming across the front and into the weed, but something wasn’t right, she was thrashing through the weed and strands of weed were popping up she was not happy. From where I was I saw her finally come to rest on the other side of the weed to me, so I walked round to get a better look, as I climbed the tree three ducks landed right beside where she was sitting the water erupted and I thought she had gone, but as the water settled I could see weed lifting out the water and her being pulled towards it. The nightmare that any carp angler has your target tethered, I was soon in the water trying to reach her and as I got closer I could see the line hung up in the weed and before she knew anything I hand-lined her into the net, my heart sunk my spring was over before I felt it had even started. After she was checked and had some medi-care on her mouth we slipped her back and I felt my dreams had been shattered and at this point felt lost on what to do.
After a lot of thought I moved onto another lake on the complex which holds 100+ carp and one being over 40 and lots of back up 30s – all lovely old scaley carp, so thought I would spend some time there. On the first morning I was rewarded with a nice double Lin which was 31lb and full of big apple slices – this perked me up a little. I then went on to catch one more 33lb mirror and a 29lb mirror, both mega looking carp and I was enjoying my time there. On my last morning I received a take which was very bream-like and thought well I had to catch at least 1. As I picked up into it there was just a dead weight, once it was moving it was soon apparent this was no bream and I just kept pumping it in. As it got 20 yards out it stripped 30 yards of line off me like it was nothing, it did this a further 4 times and seemed to go on for ages. All the time I was playing this carp I remember a mate having the biggun out of this lake and the fight being the same so this was in the back of my mind. As I saw the fish pop up I could see it was a good fish but it wasn’t until it was resting in the net and I looked down and saw the width of the thing I realised there was only one carp it could be – it was the biggun. Talk about everything happens for a reason. After all the shots and stuff were done I was sitting on the bank soaking wet through and just taking it all in when one of my mates said to me ‘what next?’ and hinted what about the other biggun up the road – I was a little unsure at first but with my confidence through the roof and on a roll, it seemed pretty much the right move and the plan was set.
Being back on the little deep pit I felt there was a chance but it was very slim but I had to try until spawning so that was the plan set and I carried on doing my time, but really wasn’t feeling any closer – she was always sitting on the front of the weed bed sunning herself and the nights were very quiet so I was starting to think it wasn’t gonna happen. The lake still hadn’t done a bite and we were now into May. As we got some warmer days and bright sun the first bite was had – it was the smallest in the lake at 20lb but it was a very rare visitor to the bank. It gave me that extra push to keep at it and I’m glad I did – on the 16th of May I woke that morning, looking over a misty lake, not a ripple on the surface. The sun was just starting to rise behind me I sat watching the water and it was very quiet – the time was pushing on. The sun was getting higher. It got to around 10am and me and my mate could see them sitting out in open water and she was definitely in the group. I felt like it was all over for the morning when all of a sudden the left rod on the front of the weed bed bust into life and I was into a heavy fish from the off. With the deep water it was using all its weight and kept charging down the steep shelf. I saw the dots of putty coming out the water I knew I would soon be able to see what fish it was. As the lead clip came out I could see a small head with big shoulders – it was the biggun and to be honest my legs went to jelly. I had been waiting to see this sight for 4 Springs now and it was finally my chance, but she wasn’t going make it easy for me as she turned and charged back down the shelf she did this a further 3 or 4 times and because I knew what it was I was bricking it I just wanted it in the net . As she popped up that small head and deep body came across the surface and into the net. I dropped the rod and felt numb, it was all over, the biggun was in the net. After a few phone calls to some good friends she was soon being hoisted up on the scales, which read 41lb 14oz – I couldn’t care less with this carp, just catching it was enough for me. After some shots were taken and getting the celebratory soaking I was watching her glide back into the depths of her home. My spring has been one I don’t think I will ever top, so to chill out a bbq and a few ciders with mates was how I spent the rest of my day BUZZING.