Paul Claridge concludes his season with a tale about his purple patch of success on Burghfield lake.
Johnny Haars – The Black One
28th September 2021
After the fish had spawned on my target water, it was time to get to work on some unfinished business on another lake….
The lake itself is a small but deep gravel pit, home to the biggest carp in the country. The amount of pressure this place gets, and its very low stock is what makes it such a rock-hard place to fish. Usually, these small busy pits aren’t my cup of tea, but having already spent too many nights there, I just had to finish it someday. This summer, I had only a couple of spare nights each week, but I had to give it another go.
Having fished this lake on and off for four years, I knew the lake well and my mind was set. I was going to do it my own way, so I made a nice batch of small boilies. After each trip I would leave a small number of baits on a couple of spots to get the fish accustomed to my freebies. After a couple of nights, I caught a small stockie – this gave me confidence to keep on doing what I did. Fortunately, over the next couple of weeks, every time I arrived the same swim was empty, and I spotted some subtle signs of fish visiting the area.
From then on, I knew it was only a matter of time, I even upped the bait a little bit. That Sunday morning, I was chatting to another angler when one of the rods burst into life. After a very slow but heavy fight with the fish staying deep all the time, I saw its back on the surface, it could only be one fish. A quick check in the net saw me realising it was her, ‘De Zwarte’ (the Black One!) After approximately 85 nights catching next to nothing, the mission was finally accomplished. Together with a couple of mates we did the pictures and weighted her at 35.5kg (78lbs).
Words fail to describe the relief of catching her after such a long journey, but I was buzzing to say the least. The fish succumbed to my favourite wafter rig, a simple combi rig made with Thinking Anglers’ Camstiff 25lb and a big long-shank hook.