After the fish had spawned on his target water, Johnny Haars went back for a very special carp...
Oz Holness – Wasing Whacker
10th September 2021
Having spent the best part of this spring on a non-publicity venue and the summer flitting about on some local pits, finishing up a few work projects, autumn was looming fast!
I had a syndicate ticket that was burning a hole in my pocket for over a year now and had, as yet, only fished a handful of trips. Mainly late last autumn, plus a couple of visits straight after lockdown was lifted this year. I planned to get there a little earlier than the previous year when I couldn’t get there until October… by which time most of the stock had already done their autumn captures! It was very quiet for those next few weeks until lockdown put an end to my travels in any case!
I planned my first trip of the new ticket for the first week of September and I had two nights to reacquaint myself with the place and hopefully find a few carp to go at. Being a deep pit with a fairly low stock of carp, this was going to mean a lot of looking, as well as listening carefully at night. Hopefully they would give themselves away at some point and I could start to build a picture for my planned angling over the coming weeks and months.
On arrival, a few of the key swims were occupied which was no surprise, but after a walk about I decided to fish on the end of a light wind that was blowing up to the wider end of the pit and was known to be the weedier, slightly shallower zone. The swim gave a decent view and a just a few steps through a small copse of trees allowed a view back down the main section of water. I got my rods sorted for the night and with a decent bit of bait out on a firm sandy strip, I settled down for the long vigil of night-time listening! I heard a small fish turn over around 1.30 am and that was about it! The following morning, I sat it out for a few extra hours, as I had received a few liners but no take. By 2pm I was clucking and needed to go for a good look about. I had only been out of the swim a short while when I heard a really big fish crash in a small finger bay behind the bushes where I was stood talking to a member fishing the other lake on the complex. I legged it back to the van and packed in haste knowing I needed to get a rod in that zone ASAP! This is where a few visits and a little prior homework pays off as I knew exactly where at least one rod would be positioned. A quick recce of the bay revealed no visible carp, but I knew they would be in and out of the weed and snags, taking advantage of the last weeks of warm weather and natural food sources. One rod was carefully waded down the margin and a short underarm cast placed the lead on a slightly deeper bowled out section with a small band of weed running parallel to the spot and no more than half a rod length from the bank. I threw in a pound or so of 12mm baits around a rig that consisted of a double 12 ‘miller’ on a Think-Link D with the new size 4 Beaked Chod hooks. A second rig was placed on the shelf as it ran out of the bay into open water, a little further from the bank and I catapulted just a few baits around the zone whilst chatting to Kevin, one of the other members. He wished me luck and left me to my thoughts as dusk settled.
Just around 9pm a big fish showed out in the bay, and I received a few bleeps on my margin rod, it was game on for sure! Around 10pm the margin rod slammed round and the clutch begrudgingly gave an inch or two of line as I put my waders on. I held the rod at test curve as a powerful fish tried to reach the back of the bay, but the old rod just cushioned his lunges and the braid held firm. After kiting out into the bay, she weeded me up twice as I waded out to a nettable position on the shelf. I peered into the inky darkness and saw a huge carp roll onto its side in front and I shuffled the bulk into the net. Quickly feeling down for the mouth, I felt the two barbules and knew I had the pit’s largest resident and ultimate prize … the Oxlease common, Lord of the lake was mine! 50lb 6oz of highly sought-after UK carp on a warm September night, after a move round to the opposite bank just hours before, bloody perfect!
Another syndicate member helped out admirably that night and we got a few shots fired off before slipping her back home and I cracked open a late-night cider to celebrate and make a few plans for the coming months!