Trip to the Magic Kingdom.

Howard Dempsey's new PB 18.12 (with Eric Brown).

Jack and instructor Eric Brown.

Jack's new PB 17lb Mirror.

Howard and Jack Dempsey.

15 September 2006

My dad and I have just returned home after the most exciting fishing experience I have ever had. This was on Brasenose 1. Our friend Eric Brown had taken us there for a Carp ‘teach in’. It was our first ever big lake experience and we were in pursuit of a new personal best. My best stood at around the 15lb mark. Eric had told us about how productive the lake was and how we could have a good shot at beating the previous bests.

As I began to set the kit up, I was really excited and couldn’t wait to get the rods in the water. Eric showed us his ‘killer’ method mix which was sure to get some attention once in the water and I loaded both rods up with the method feeder and cast my rods in at around the 40 to 45 yards distance with a generous helping of small method balls on the spots. After the rods were set I began to investigate which boilies to use, pop ups or bottom baits. Eric advised me that small pop ups would be the best bet as they will stand out more above any weed. I also love using the fake plastic corn as an extra edge to the bait and set pop up rigs to about 2 inches from the bottom loaded with either 8 or 10mm pop ups topped with the old faithful plastic corn.

After settling down in the bivvy I noticed many fish topping right in front of my swim, and the weather looked like it was going to be good and the night was going to be productive. The sun was setting and the air temperature felt warm and overall very carpy conditions, but as the night turned to morning no action had occurred. Eric and I decided to try different colour boilies but of the same flavour. After maybe 2 and a half hours of the method being in the water I had a screaming take on my left hand rod and as I played the fish in after a short time the fish dropped off with no indication of the fish shaking its head or fighting unusually hard. I was really disappointed but set the bait back out in similar fashion with the hope that things were about to hot up. After about another hour I got another screaming run. This time the fish felt like it was well hooked and I had it on for longer and I thought it was only going to be a matter of time before we slid the net under it then disaster, it came off again! When I reeled the rig in I felt absolutely gutted. Eric tried to console me and said to keep calm and we needed to think of a way around loosing fish.

I had the runs using a long shank hook and Eric came up with the idea that I should switch to a barbed wide gape hook with a straight shank and no in turned eye to give the pop up rig that extra penetration once the fish was on the run. After the change the next run was a belter and it was hard to tell which rod to hit as the bobbin was just glued to the alarm with the fish tearing off so much line. The fish didn’t manage to escape this time, the wide gape was well and truly in place but as I brought the fish to the unhooking matt we realized why the fish had been dropping off. It was due to there very soft mouths. The sides of the fish’s mouths were really soft and jelly like and unless the fish are hooked in the top or bottom lip there is a good chance of hook pull. We put this down to the age of the fish, as the fish have only been in the water a short time and have not toughened there mouths up on the gravel bottom. In a few years the fish’s mouths should have toughened up and maybe there would be less hook pulls.

My first fish went 13lb and not far off the P.B so I got the rods back in and baited the area once again. After about 2 hours another screaming take, this time on the right hand rod and it put up a great scrap. As I brought the fish to the net we all knew it was my new personal record and the fish pulled the scales round to the 17lb mark and I was over the moon. I felt I had really done well as others were blanking all around the lake, probably due to the holidays and recent junior carp tournament producing a good head of fish meaning the water had been put under more angling pressure than usual.

This was my first ever visit to the lake and I had the best time ever and will definitely be returning to try and hook a twenty. My dad did well beating his personal best landing a nice 18lb 12 oz specimen. Eric managed to bag 3 twenties for me to see which were well impressive. I really enjoyed my visit to linear fisheries and despite the couple of fish dropping off I still landed the all important P.B, get in!

Jack Dempsey, aged 15.