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Off The Beaten Track The Country Park
as mustard. I couldn’t get my gear out
of the van quickly enough, I was so
excited. Although the park had been
fished for decades, it was unknown to
us, which really put a spring in my
step. When I arrived back in the swim
the first thing I noticed was the birds
diving in the zone, and I could see
they were coming up with my bait.
This told me that the carp had not visited the middle of the lake during the
day whist I had been at work. I only
left 3kg when I went to work, and I
was sure that if they had been there it
would have all been gone. I continued
to set my traps, just like this night
before. Two rods were put in the same
area with a healthy scattering of fishmeal just before the daylight slipped
away.
I was woken at first light by a
dozen swans landing in the mist; it
was so early that I couldn’t hear the
A-road yet. As I sat there under my
brolly hoping, praying I would see
something before work, a big red mirror crashed out right up the other end
of the lake, some 250 yards away. As I
watched the water settle again and
the savage fizzing fade away, I was
sure I was missing something and
knew what I had to do. I packed up as
slowly as possible and walked back to
the van wondering what would be in
store for me next time I returned.
I had decided that the plan was not
to fish the weekends due to the park
being filled with hundreds of members of the public and dozens of dogs
in the water. I was going to only do
two nights a week up till June and
hope to have the job done in that
time. It turned out that it wasn’t going
to be as easy as I had first thought
after word had got about the lake
doing a bite. A couple of the locals did
the weekend in “The Bunker”, fishing
out into that main body of water. They
had eight rods coming out of two
social swims side by side. After seeing this I knew it was over for now,
but next time I will make sure I do it
properly.
The plan was to make a small swim
up the other end of the lake on the “no
fishing” bank, fill it in and hope
nobody saw me in the process. For a
few weeks I kept coming back, not
fishing, just baiting and walking. As I
learnt the lake I noticed that the
“Bunkers” were the only two swims
that actually got fished, and as long as
I did everything at night and was
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gone before first light when other
anglers were on I could fish the other
end, no problem. On my travels, I
found an old fallen tree lying out into
the lake. I jumped down the steep
back and slowly made my way over. I
could see it went out over onto a little
island. I noticed an old rope by way of
a handrail and worn bark from footprints. As I jumped down onto the
island I found an old piece of carpet. It
was clear I had just found and old
swim from before it was a country
park. There was a small gap in the
bush, just the right size for two rods.
This island was over 100 yards into
the out of bounds, and I knew straight
away this was going to be the area
where I fished from now on. Some
might say I was stroke-pulling, but
I’ve always been one for going to
extra miles to increase my catch rate.
Unbelievably, I caught from the off.
It was almost like they hadn’t been
fed for years. It was still chilly, and I
was ripping it up like it was July. I
caught some incredible fish in some
terrible conditions, and it turned out
that as long as I kept the bait going in
the bites would keep coming, and I
realised that it could all be over before
it began. I learnt so much and caught
some lovely carp along the way. If it
wasn’t for other “anglers” I’m sure I
could have got the job done sooner,
but that’s fishing I guess.
This pit was a prime example of
effort equals reward because it
seemed the more I put in the more I
got out. I honestly don’t think many
people had pushed the boundaries for
at least a decade, and I was there to
reap the rewards. These carp were
incredible; something I will remember
forever. Unfortunately, the otters had
briefly visited the swollen jungle in
the depth of last winter, and three fish
that I know of had been taken. I’m
almost certain they will return for
years to come until there is no reason
to come back. Proper carp are slowly
dying out, and soon these old park
lakes will be a thing of the past. n

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