Fox-sponsored, Luke Griffiths, is a consistent catcher of carp wherever he goes. Following a lengthy gap since his last blog, we've managed to convince the normally secretive angler to shed some light on his most recent successes...
After a great session catching three fish to over 30lb I was confident the following week when I returned to the main water I was targeting on the complex. Surprisingly the lake was quiet and I managed to get into a popular swim that had done most of the bites throughout the spring. The lily pads were really taking over now and I'm sure that's why it had become less busy. It wasn't even patches it was completely covering the swim top to bottom. You could see gaps where people had been casting and retrieving rigs to the spots and that was about it. As the boat was in the swim I decided to give it a go and set about getting three rigs into position. The rods went out lovely and after baiting up with the throwing stick I was thinking about hooking a fish and all those pads surrounding the swim. It was a worry as I have never been one for fishing dodgy areas to just end up losing fish, it was definitely going to be a boat job if I did manage to get a bite. I set the boat up ready with the life jacket inside and landing net, it became apparent it was letting quite a bit of water in as only 30 minutes in the water and it had a fair amount of water in it so I pulled it back onto the bank and intended to push it out if I needed to use it.
After a very quiet night I had a screaming take early in the morning so after picking up the rod with everything ready I pushed myself out in the boat and reeled towards the fish. I could feel it juddering as the fish swam through the lily pads. Once I was out to the fish it luckily headed away from the main bulk and I soon had it in the net after a short but spirited fight. It was a pale coloured odd looking fish and its fins looked too big for its body. It was a fish though and I was pleased to be off the mark. I didn't see a lot of activity during my stay so later that day I left. I felt the fish had now moved out into the main lake as I predicted and this was proved to be true as over the next few weeks they started to get caught out in the open water. Around this time I was putting a lot of time in at work as I had started working for myself, which was rewarding but also very tiring. Once settled I planned to take time off that I couldn't before to fit some extra fishing in during quieter times in the week.
I managed to fit in a quick night, I was tired and just wanted to get the rods out and then get some sleep, so I chose to fish the other lake as I knew it so well I could have the rods out in no time and knew I would stand a chance of a fish. Before I knew it I was in the sleeping bag with the rods out and drifting off. Later that night I had a take and landed a nice scraper-20 common. It was yet again another repeat after getting home and looking at the pictures and I said to myself once again 'you must not fish that lake anymore! It doesn't matter how big the fish is to me once I've caught a fish, once is enough and it just doesn't feel the same but it happens and the same care is taken to unhook and return the fish for someone else to enjoy catching.
I pulled up a couple of weeks later to the main lake I wanted to concentrate on and there was hardly anyone about. I was liking how quiet it was becoming and hoped it continued through the rest of the year. The fish were active and showing and the swim I chose to fish looked good for a bite, it was also a good moon phase for a big common. Later in the evening this was in the back of my mind as there is a few nice big commons in this lake and I had managed to get a bite. Well the fish turned out to be a lovely dark common and was a respectable 27lb 10oz. It had a lovely shape to its body with a really thick wristed tail. I was really pleased and felt a nice reward for keep getting down the lake, however, busy I was. I think the reason people were dropping off was down to the weed as it was becoming increasingly worse. I had also struggled to find clear spots but I just keep casting around with a bare lead until I got a nice drop or pull over some smooth ground. I think patience is the key as there is always something out there to fish on.
I got the rod back out in the dark but nothing else happened that weekend and I really felt I would get another chance at a fish, but it wasn't to be. The next weekend soon came round and I was lake bound. My heart sank a little as I pulled up and noticed someone in the swim I caught the fish from last week. I decided to set up next door as it was a favourite of mine and the fact I could see lots of fish moving out in front was a big bonus, I wasn't too bothered about the other swim after all.
Soon after getting the rods out I had a strange occurrence on one of the rods, the bobbin had hit the deck so I reeled in the slack and connected with something out in the lake. I hadn't long spodded out particles and boilies so didn't expect something so soon. It turned out to be a 9lb 5oz two tone bream, I was happy to have some action so soon and swiftly got the rod re-positioned and put a couple more spods over the top. I settled into the swim for the night and was hopeful of some more action. After catching the last fish during the night I felt confident of another chance but had to wait until the following morning before I was lucky enough to get one. I was on the rod in a flash and hit a solid resistance, I slowly pulled the fish towards me but it was charging around on the surface like a shark with its dorsal cutting through the surface of the water. As it drew closer I started to worry about the pads in my margin but had no other option as there was some tall trees between me and the swim to my left where I could have got a better angle. I risked it and hoped i could tease the fish through the pads. It did get stuck for a few seconds but with steady pressure came free and I was out of danger. To my disbelief after bringing it through the pads it woke up and charged off and the hook flew out flying straight towards me and as it rolled I could see a beautifully scaled flank of a dark mirror carp. To say I was gutted was an understatement and I just chucked the rod down and took 5 minutes to calm down. My next trip was the following week and I aimed to get in the same swim if possible and get even. I had three spots by this stage that I felt confident of getting bites from and I think everyone else was neglecting it as they thought it was choked with weed. As I pulled up, to my relief the swim was free and I quickly put some rods together and tied some baits on. I baited up with 6-8 spods over each rod including hemp, corn, chopped and whole boilies. With three hard thuds as the lead cracked down on each spot I felt it was only a matter of time. The next morning it was a bright hot and sunny by 8am and finally one of the baits was picked up as a carp took off with it out in the lake. It hit the surface at range as I was fishing a lead clip the fish had risen up in the water just like I had wanted to keep it away from the underwater jungle. It was once again a bit hairy closer in with the pads but luckily everything held and a lovely scaly mirror went into the net! It was a cracking looking fish and tipped the scales round to 23lb 2oz. I could catch fish like this all day long with its big apple slice scales glistening in the sun I was in awe.
The day was a really hot one and after a good wander I noticed fish were milling around mostly in the middle of the lake at range sunning themselves. I felt the best chance would be the following morning once again as I seemed to be getting bites from early in the morning through to around 9am before it went quiet for the day. I chilled out for the day and enjoyed the hot weather before preparing rigs and bait for the coming night. The rods were all baited and in position by about 5pm as the evening cooled a few fish started to show out in the middle so I watched them as the light faded away. Once again I had to wait until the next morning before a flying take woke me, this fish was motoring and I lifted the rod as it ripped more line from the reel. After its initial run I pumped it back a few yards before the hook pulled! Gutted! I took this loss better than the last as I hadn't seen it but was still disappointed as I thought it may be my only chance. It turned out it was and after recasting the rod and fishing until around lunch time I headed off home.
My next session was planned with a good mate who invited me to fish with him on his lake. It was a large gravel pit with some lovely old carp in so as you can imagine i was looking forward to it. We both helped each other get the rods sorted and settled down to some dinner in my swim with a good view of the lake. As I usually fish alone it was nice to have a bit of a social. I had a twitchy few bleeps the next morning and within a few minutes I had a lovely common in the net at 28lb 14oz. There wasn't much to tell with the fight as it didn't do anything apart from come in like a ball of weed, but I don't mind that sometimes! It was a great weekend and I felt lucky to have caught one as the weather had been so up and down lately. After that session I was looking forward to getting back down the syndicate after some of my target fish. Back to the syndicate, with the nature of the fishing on the pit I decided to buy a boat to make things easier, it meant I could land fish easier and fish areas where I felt I couldn't without one. Anyway armed with the new boat I felt unstoppable so my next session down I was looking forward to hopefully getting a bite and putting it to good use. Having the boat also meant I could have a look around the lake when it was quiet helping me to track down the carp in their own environment giving me clues of where I need to be and their patrol routes. I planned to do the weekend so headed to the lake, I was tired from work but pushed myself to get on the bank as I knew there was a good chance off one of my spots if I could get back in the swim! Luckily the swim was free and the rods were out in no time with the usual amount of spods and mix over the top. I decided to leave the boat in the van and pump it up quickly if I needed it as it only took a few minutes.
As I arrived quite late it was soon dark and I settled in for the night drinking tea and keeping out of the rain under the bivvy. Before I knew it I was running down the bank to a screaming bite alarm at first light. It didn't take any line when I picked it up but it felt solid so it had to be a carp. I gained a few yards of line before it was solid in weed. I quickly put the rod on the rest on a tight line and set about pumping the boat up to go and get over the top of it. I knew if I could get out to it I would stand a much better chance of landing the fish. The boat was up in no time and I was reeling toward the fish and as I got out to it with a little steady pressure it came free of the weed. There was a chunk of Canadian on top of my leader which was making lifting the fish to the surface difficult, it was powering off under the boat hanging deep but before long it was mine! I made my way back to the bank chuffed at how much easier and safer it was landing them rather than just risk losing them. As the autumn approaches I look forward to hopefully catching more of the lakes gems and with all being well getting one of the A team in the net.