Fox young gun, Harry Pratt, returns for his 3rd web blog of the year and covers the capture of his new UK PB!

Following my successful trip to France, which I covered last time around I was faced with a hectic period in my fishing life. First up, was a feature for Total Carp magazine, which was shot at the Nunnery Lakes in Norfolk. The session turned out to be what can only be described as a red letter trip. I banked plenty of carp including 4 over 20lb, it was a very productive 24 hours and one that I won’t forget in a hurry.  A mixture of Pacific Tuna boilies, various pellets and a bit of corn for visual effect proved irresistible and the Stiff Hinged Rig that I fished over the top nailed them each time.

Although I love targeting large carp, I get just as much of a buzz out of catching in general, and sharing moments with mates when they catch a PB or something a little bit special. I had a few socials lined up after my feature at the Nunnery and the first of these saw me and two mates head to a local day ticket, which I hadn’t visited for a couple of years. Despite having not fished it for a while I felt my knowledge from previous trips would still be an edge for me and this was proved right when I hooked into a fish very soon after arriving.  A strategically positioned flake of bread resulting in a small common. As often the case with close quarters margin fishing the carp dispersed and I was forced to crack on with plan B. After deciding between us who would fish where for the night, I instantly baited up with 3kg of 15mm Pacific Tuna boilies with the intention of leaving the bait until dark before getting the rods out. One would be fished on the baited area and one just a few feet off to the side, and I went to bed feeling confident. Before midnight the rod just off the spot melted away. After bagging a small mirror, the rod was back out, and I retreated to the sleeping bag as I needed to be gone by 7am for work. At first light the same rod was away again and as I played the fish in, It was obvious there was a lot of activity in the upper layers, so as soon as I had the fish landed, out came the spod rod along with a bucket of 11mm floating trout pellets glugged up in smoked salmon oil to see if they fancied a go on the surface. Before I had a chance to sort out the fish in the net they were going mental for the floaters, instantly competing for food! Within the next hour and a half before leaving, me and the lad I was doubled up with had 8 takes landing 6 with the best being a cracking upper double mirror. 

Another social and another magazine article took me to the start of the season on an exciting syndicate that I’d just got a ticket for. I arrived late from work and had no time for a lap of the lake before the draw took place at 7pm. Almost luckily, I came last out of the bag, which meant I could spend as much time as I needed to decide which one of the two remaining pegs I fancied and not being allowed to cast in until 9pm meant I had no need to rush. With it being a boiling hot day, a peg which controlled a large plateux took my fancy, and whilst getting set up it started to become obvious there was a few fish in the area with the odd one poking its head out in what I’d been told to be fairly shallow water at 2-3 foot in depth. By this point 9pm was fast approaching and I went into beast mode getting the rods all rigged up and ready to place where I’d seen the shows. I decided to let everyone else cast in first, keeping my baits on the bank until around 9.20pm when the commotion had died down, and then carefully flicked my 2oz leads out with minimal disturbance. Over the next few minutes I saw a couple more shows, one of which was a very chunky fish bang over my left hand rod!Before I had a chance to get the kettle on the left hand bobbin pulled up tight, and a swan powered away from the area my bait was in, but as line kept ticking of my spool, I could see my line heading in the opposite direction to the swan! My heart stopped as I lifted the rod and instantly felt what could only be a carp stripping line as it tore through a weed bed on top of the plateux!  Just 40 minutes into the season starting I was playing my First ‘D Lake’ carp and I was buzzing! From one weed bed to another, to almost being in the net before snagging me in the margin, I was getting shown who was boss by the fish and I had a gut feeling it was a good one at that! After over 20 minutes and one final run to the far bank in an attempt for freedom, a fellow member landed the fish for me, which he instantly recognised as "Pebbles" a ancient mirror normally around the 38/39lb mark but he couldn’t believe how big she looked, convinced it may go 40lb! Within a few minutes many of the guys fishing had ventured round to see one of the A team on the bank and share a special moment with me as it just had to be a personal best. My First UK 40lber at 42lb 6oz I couldn’t believe my luck so early on what a result and start to fishing the new venue! A bucket of water over my head and few beers later, the rods went back out and once the excitement had settled down a bit I was able to get a few hours kip before the sun rose. Safe to say everyone at work was fed up of me going on about my capture the previous evening and all I could think about was getting back down there a soon as possible so as soon as the final job of the day was complete I did just that!