The Session That Turned Great !!

36lb 10oz.

A New PB.

"Shoulders of a rugby player".

29 October 2007

It was turning out to be a nice day as Bob and I drove into the Linear Complex and parked our cars next to Manor Farm Lake. It was 10am on the 19th of October 2007 and we had decided to spend a day fishing Manor for about the sixth time. I was still hoping to catch my first carp from the complex and Bob who is new to the carp scene was just looking for a relaxing 24 hours by the lake.

We had a brief look at the lake and it looked lovely hardly a ripple on the water, no wind and the sun at full blaze in the clear sky. We could see that the lake was quite busy but we noticed two swims on the far corner that were free so we loaded up our barrows with our mountains of gear and started on the long trek around the lake. As we approached the swims we could see a fellow angler moving his gear into both of the swims we had been hoping to fish. We stopped and asked if he was packing up but no like us he had only just arrived. He was securing the other swim for his friend that was not too far behind him. We stopped for a while and had a chat about the lake as it was his first time on Manor so we gave him a few pointers about the lake and wished him good luck. Not to be disheartened we again started our long trek back towards our cars discussing what to do next.

We arrived back at our cars sweating due to carrying all of our gear and I said to Bob “Let’s have a look at St Johns Lake”. We left our heavy barrows by the cars and took a walk past the stock pond and onto the far bank of St Johns. We could see three swims on the far bank that were free and I said to Bob “I know it’s not as spacious as the pegs on Manor but do you fancy giving them a go”. Bob thought for a while as Manor was his favourite lake. I said “Bob look, all of the other swims are in the shadows but for some reason these three swims were lit up by the suns rays, it must be an omen”. Bob sighed and agreed that it was worth giving them a go otherwise we would have had to reload the cars and head off to another lake. So again we walked back to the cars, grabbed our loaded barrows and set off on our trek around to the far bank of St Johns.

As we arrived at our pegs we could see a young angler just up from us so we walked over to him and had a chat about how he was doing and to see if he had any luck. He was still awaiting his first run but was very polite and we chatted about the sort of fish we were likely to encounter. As we set up the day got slightly warmer as Bob and I discussed set ups and rigs. We were both using boilies and Bob had just brought a bag of mussel and oyster boilies. At last we were fishing, I had three rods out and Bob was using his usual two. We were both using PVA mesh bags with pellets and single boilie hook baits. About five hours past with only the odd bleep as Bob arrived in my swim to discuss a change of bait. He was browsing through my bags of boilies complimenting me on how well organised my bait bag was. Then Bob piped up “We are bound to get one soon, even a run would break the days silence”. That’s when it all happened. The word had just left Bobs mouth when his alarm went screaming off. I have never seen him run so fast in my life, he raced back to his rods and lifted into a heavy weight. I was right behind him as it was the first action I have seen for a few weeks. The fight was very calm but Bob looked worried. I said “Bob just take your time and don’t hurry it we have all the time in the world” but Bob still looked worried. I asked him what was wrong and his reply was “Carl I’m almost certain this fish is a catfish, its so heavy and it is a bumpy fight just like a cat”. Then it surfaced and Bobs face turned from a worried look to a look of sheer panic.

It was a common carp, but not just any old common this fish had the shoulders of a rugby player. I said “Bob I’ve got the net and I’m going in” as I grabbed his landing net and waded into the margins. The fish was ready so I lowered the net and Bob walked it back into my reach. I lifted the next and it was ours. I could not believe the size of it, what a lump. I turned to Bob and said “Bob you know you have always dreamed of making the thirty barrier, I think you have just smashed it.” I unhooked the fish in the net as Bob grabbed his sling and scales. We zeroed them up with the sling on them and I helped him lift the fish onto his mat and gently placed it in the sling. We lifted the scales and they shot round to 36lb 10oz. By this time both Bob and I were shaking in our boots. I grabbed the camera and took a lot of photos as he had forgotten his. Then it was time to release the fish, so we walked her out into the margins lowered the sling and away she went.

We could not believe what had just happened, what we had both just been looking at – what a fish. We never managed to catch anymore that day but we didn’t really need to. Bob was over the moon and I was proud to be able to help him smash his personal best with this truly remarkable fish. When we packed up the following day I said “well Bob are you glad we fished these pegs on St Johns” he replied “I am but I can’t wait to get back onto Manor Farm Lake.

Written by Carl Gardiner.