Paul Claridge concludes his season with a tale about his purple patch of success on Burghfield lake.
Ryan Maxwell – Copse Lake Scaley
25th September 2018
Ryan Maxwell – Copse Lake Scaley
It all started when I decided to fish away from the Match and focus on my syndicate. I landed 4 fish over 3 nights with one being lost. I returned to the Match the following week with a fresh and clear mind. Previously the majority of my time was spent in the middle of the lake pursuing the lakes larger residents, as this is where the majority of those fish come from. However, clear minded I decided to fish for a few of the older fish for the next month or so. The area in mind was a snaggy tree lined bay at the car park end, with my main target being Cospe Lake Scaley.
I started on the 12th August, arriving late after work just as the light was fading and just managed to place my rigs on the spots. A bait boat was used to place the rigs as you are unable to cast there. 4 handfuls of hemp, 10 tigers, 2 handfuls of corn, a sprinkling of bloodworm pellets and the ready to use chopped roasted peanuts were placed over each rod.
The first few nights I didn’t catch anything but could hear loads of lumps boshing all through the night. Having to pack up at 8am wasn’t ideal but it gave me a chance to top up the spots as I left, ready for my return later in the day. I fished 4 or 5 nights with just the one lost fish. I upped the baiting at this point as I knew I wasn’t going to be back for a few days, I added about 2kg of boilies to the mix and left it over the weekend.
Again, fishing work nights wasn’t ideal but on my 6th night I arrived in good time and managed to spend some time watching ‘Cospey’ in the snags, where i was fishing along with a few other unrecognisable fish. Seeing the fish you have dreamt about for years swimming just feet from your bait was a real sight. Having grown up reading Terrys “in pursuit of the largest” and seeing Tel himself with this mega carp just made me want it even more! It added to the already great history this fish has.
I now 3 nights of fishing following on from my heavier baiting the week before. The first night I landed a 25lb mirror which unfortunately nobody was around to take pictures of, so I slipped it back. The 2nd morning I landed another low 20lb mirror. That was it for the action and again I knew I would be back in 3 days time, so baited with the usual bits and quantities.
With baits perfectly balanced on both rigs I settled in for my 2 nights, with the plan to leave my rigs out for the duration of the session, unless of corse, I was lucky enough to snare one.
I thought I had missed the chance of a bite until my mate turned up for a tea, he checked both spots for me to which all the bait had gone but fish where still in the snags. He lightly topped up the spots and retuned to finish his tea – half an hour passed and the rod was away. A very short battle saw me land one of the lake’s old girls, the “Up Your Bum Fish” or as it is known more these days “The Bum Snag Fish”. A repeat for me, but the pics I had the first time around were of poor quality so I quickly took some snaps and let her on her way. At 33lb she was half a pound bigger than my previous capture, however size really is irrelevant when catching such old fish. It was just nice to see her still adding weight in her old age.
I reset the rod and spent some time up the tree, to which I didn’t see anything, whether the landed fish had spooked the zone for a while or not I’m unsure but I reset the traps, half as confident as the day before.
At 9.30am my right hand rod pulled up tight, I bent into the fish and instantly it made its way into a weedbed just off the snags. It was solid, I even had time to text my mate telling him I had one snagged in the weed. Just as I was beginning to think the worst the fish shot out of the weedbed and splashed on the surface. I said to my mate Dave it looked like an old one but as it got closer the words Simmo where being thrown around. It had one last deep surge in the margins and with its face covered with weed virtually swam into the net. As Dave pulled the weed back he proceed to say “ that ain’t no simmo mush, it’s Cospey”. The excitement took over and without even checking myself I gave it the shout across the lake, just like it was back in the day. I then looked to make sure it was actually Cospey and to confirm I could see the 2 scales on its shoulder. We quickly got the fish weighed, photographed and returned, trying to not cause too much stress for this ancient carp. At bang on 35lb, it was a really good weight for her too. My greatest achievement in fishing to date and one that will stay with me for a very long time.
In less than 20 hours I had landed over 100+ years of carp and at over 70lb of combined weight. Pacific tuna pop ups, heavily glugged in GLM powder, liquid and Pacific tuna bait spray, weighted perfectly over my trusted German rig proved too much for the old girls. My time on the Match is almost done, the last chapter hopefully being a 40lber!
Rigs comprised of a 1 foot length of TA Olive Camo 45lb leadcore on a helicopter set up. Tied to Tungskin in 35lb, Gardner Mugga size 4 continental hooks and TA hook ring swivels.