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The Best of Rockford
many repeat captures it was time to
leave a few carp in the bank. With 55
different Roach Pit carp under the belt
and all those good memories it was
time to move on.
From catching some of the Rockford specimens in the early nineties it
was now time to return and try my
luck. There was also tiny water up the
road that held a huge mirror. A mate
of mine called Wiggy had showed me
a photo of the beast and told me how
special the few carp in the lake were.
So for the next year I had two lakes to
fish. Tompkins was not easy water,
and the fish behaved very differently
to the carp in the bigger waters. It
was one of those lakes where the
big’un would either come out on your
first trip or there was going to be a
long wait. One rod and no night fishing were to the fish’s advantage. In
the end it was side casting blind 20
yards to a difficult to reach spot and a
lot of boilies that caught me the fish. I
believe my capture of Two Tone is still
a lake record at 46lbs 10oz. Now I had
caught her I decided to concentrate
all my efforts on Rockford.
Rockford is a 55-acre lake in the
Ringwood Valley. For most of its life
the water was a brown, murky colour
caused by all the digging by RMC.
(Right) My edge – the chodded tiger
(Below) The right conditions in peg
20 – Four Scales 27lb 9oz.
I’m sure the carp knew where they
were going but were probably blind
with only their other senses to navigate and sense of smell to find food.
It’s very difficult to say its true stocking, but my guess would be around
150 carp, loads of huge bream, pike
and some tench. A few carp also pull
an appearance from time to time
which look just like giant crucians.
The first year on the huge lake was
just a learning curve and watching as
the water turned gin-clear and produced carp black in colour almost
straight away. For me it was a case of
finding the carp and giving them a
food source they would always stop
for. They weren’t fussy about rigs or
lines, or where they fed, so it was just
a case of getting on the fish.
Bait choice was an old faithful particle mix, which consisted of chopped
almonds, hemp, maples and tigers.
The first few carp of my first summer
came from peg 12. I found a spot 80
yards out in just three feet of water.
Because of the bars between my
swim and the mark, I decided to have
my rods at the top of the swim, tips
up high and tight lines. It certainly
turned a few heads, but it worked a
treat. We do it in France, so why not
here? This was so different to the tips
of my rods down low and slack lines
on the Roach Pit! On the opening
night of the season I had caught a
couple of high twenties and a 30lb
4oz mirror, which stood out from anything I had seen before from the lake.
It had big round shoulders and a line
of scattered scales all along its dorsal.
I kept the catch quiet, but as we all
know Rockford is a big open space
where it’s hard to get something
going for the next trip.
Once a few anglers saw the results,
it wasn’t long before I had to move on
and try my luck elsewhere. I tend to
always fish a swim until I blank, but I
always have a good idea where the
fish will be for my next move. Rockford carp do like the back of the wind
and pegs 38 and 39 quickly became
popular when the wind blew hard.
This was where I picked up my first
few dark fish, which had coloured up
in the clearing waters. With Rockford’s water clearing fast and the carp
colouring up, Rockford then became
the most talked about lake in the valley. Rockford’s current anglers had
always kept a low profile, but I knew
early enough that Rockford was set to
become the best carp water in the
land. I was well aware of the high
numbers of upper thirties and forties
in Rockford and decided to fish the
lake hard before it became too busy.


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