As my friends will know, carp are nor really my favourite fish, but I do fish for them when I go up to see my friend Ken Heath at the wonderful little fishery he has created in the heart of Staffordshire. Overnighting in either of the two log cabins is always a pleasure, although I pull my rods in for the night these days, not wanting to be disturbed from blissful slumber at 2am, possibly in the rain! (“What a lightweight!” I hear you cry.)
Other than the carp, there are some decent zander there, the odd big bream and some pike, including my ‘pet’ one (pictured below), which I regularly feed with despatched rudd, to the amazement of visitors who have never witnessed it before.
I had made two previous trips there this year, pretty unsuccessfully I might add, failing to catch any carp, nor even any bait-sized rudd from the Folly Pool. Worse still, on the second occasion ‘Pikey’ didn’t show up (possibly because it was spawning time?).
This time however it had become slightly warmer and calmer, and things were to be different. I did manage a few baits for my pet, plus 20 carp in the 8oz-to-a-pound class from the pond up the road, which were transferred, for stocking purposes, into Ken’s recently excavated new pool. I was also pleased to get a 5lb zander and three pike about the same size from the Middle Pool, all with lightweight drop-shot tackle – a delightful way to fish, and great sport!
The bonus was that, for a complete change, one of my carp rods roared off to my surprise and, after a fair battle, I landed the biggest common carp from the lake by some way, at exactly 24lbs. Not only big, but it was scale-perfect and immaculate. I took a quick selfie (as they seem to be called these days) and slipped it safely back.
Feeling well-satisfied with my efforts (luck), I decided that a Cuban cigar would be in order, and soon after lighting up, Ken arrived with his two boys – Oliver and Tristin. I made us all a cup of tea, and when we were halfway through drinking them, one of my alarms shrieked off indicating that a second rod was away. Lifting gently into the fish, it was obviously a lump, and I announced to my audience that I was sure this was another biggie. It was certainly not for capitulating, and steamed up and down the far bank with my efforts making very little impression on its progress.
Inevitably, eventually the strain began to tell and we were able to get our first glimpse of its flank.
“I think it’s Molly.” I said, referring to a handsome and distinctive mirror which I had caught before – the last time at just over 30lbs. Excitement levels were high. Ken and Tris managed with a joint-effort to get the beast in the net, and Ken and I lifted it clear of the water and onto the unhooking mat.
Careful weighing showed Molly to have reached a record 33lbs 2oz, and she was also in beautiful order as shown by the photo taken very professionally by young Oliver.
Overall it was a great result and a most enjoyable visit to what can only be described as a little paradise, despite the agonies of the M6 journey, which become steadily worse as time goes by!