Paul Claridge concludes his season with a tale about his purple patch of success on Burghfield lake.
Sam Verstreken’s Spring Monster
10th May 2019
Sam Verstreken has had an absolute flier to the spring this year and this story tells of the very special moment when it all came right… with all the drama of a great capture, just how it should be!
At the beginning of this year I made the plan to go and chase a big beautiful (almost linear) mirror that lives on a really low stock public venue. This venue is known to be difficult because there’s only a few handful of fish on there so it can be really tricky to find them. It started of pretty badly, during my first trip down there in the beginning of the year I experienced a big storm which resulted in my bivvy blowing away multiple times – it was almost damaged beyond repair. Apart from some useful information and a few bream it was not really a success. The second trip a few weeks later ended really abruptly, when the on first night I got a visit from the local authorities with the message that I was not allowed to fish there at night and I had to leave right away – as a small present I also received a fine for this.
At this point I was starting to believe that this venue was bringing me a bit of bad luck. But ever since I saw this beautiful mirror I knew I would try anything to catch it and quitting was not an option. A few weeks later I went back and I arrived in the early morning to fish a swim where I maybe expected something. After a few hours without seeing anything it was starting to sink in that it was useless to fish a random swim, the stock is so low on there and the chance that you’re fishing an empty area is very likely. I decided to pack up and with the nice spring sun shining I started searching for any signs of carp. This however was not an easy task, after hours of searching without result and also getting a bit sunburned, I got really lucky. I saw a fish swimming and after looking further I realized he was not alone. With other anglers only a few hundred meters away I acted like nothing happened and after being out of sight of the anglers I chased down to the car and started to search a way to reach the spot where I’d seen the fish.
This was a bit of a task because it was quite a long distance and not easy to reach. Once I arrived at the spot I saw that there were still some fish about. I managed to put one rod out only a few meters from the fish and I was quite confident that something was going to happen. However, after an hour, a few guys on a boat destroyed my chances by making a lot of noise and the fish spooked off straight away. That night as I reeled in the rods, I was thinking that my big chance of catching anything was gone; knowing this venue, it was going to be really difficult to give myself another chance like this. The next day, I awoke just before dawn and placed my rods on the spot where I’d seen the fish the day before, I had time until noon before I had to leave. A few hours later, out of nothing and totally unexpected, I had a screaming take. A few minutes into the fight, I saw that my line was going straight down but the fish was already 50 meters away, it’s then that I realised that my line was stuck after something on the bottom. After numerous attempts to get it loose there was only one option left, I had to dive in to the water to free the line from the bottom. This was rather difficult (2m of water) and after a few attempts I’ve managed to free the line. After a tough fight of 15 minutes I’ve got my first glimpse and I saw it was the big linear. Totally out of my mind and soaking wet I tried to stay calm. I was able to net it at the first attempt, a really epic moment. It was when I opened the net for the first time that I realized how big and beautiful this fish was. A new PB at 59lb15oz for myself and a truly epic moment in my fishing that I will never forget!!’
Sam fished a snowman rig, constructed with our Curve Point hooks in a size 6, to a Tungskin hooklink and fished the rig on our Olive Camo Leadcore leader material. Such an epic battle was a true test as to the resilience, strength and trust needed in the terminal kit when targeting these big, hard-fighting carp in any situation! Well done mate, truly epic!