In testing conditions we set young-gun,  Harry Pratt the ominous task of bagging a carp or two from a day-ticket venue that he has never even seen before…

The temperatures are regularly nudging the upper twenties, proper shorts and tee shirt weather, and the picturesque East Delph Lakes had been closed for a week before my trip, allowing the carp to spawn in peace. Now that they have taken care of their business, the gates have once again reopened to anglers.

It’s a stunning little venue, with two lakes known as front and back, each resplendent in their early-summer colours. The branches of weeping willows dap the lake surface around the margins, while the bird life busies itself with young chicks. It’s the personification of life at this time of year and the carp are also immediately visible cruising the upper layers of the front lake, my home for the next 20 hours or so.

With a good stock of carp including plenty of ghosties, they’re not difficult to spy and I’m immediately thinking that there might be a chance off the top. However, it’s not going to be plain sailing, as the fishery rule allows surface baits only on the hook and no floaters are allowed to be used as loose feed. Having checked the rules before my trip, I’ve catered for this with one of my favourite carp baits, a loaf of Warburtons finest white.

You’re not exactly going to fish a Mixer or similar as a single hook bait, whereas a big chunk of bread, especially in the margins, can be a winner. Without bending the rules, the other advantage of bread in this scenario would be that before any recast, if the bread was to come off the hook then it acts as a bit of free bait, so to speak!

Before grabbing the gear from my van, I make a couple of circuits of the lake, which has two other anglers on with one more due later in the day. The carp are indeed visible in several areas, but one corner of the lake, in the windward area where a gentle breeze has gathered all the surface scum, grabs my attention. You know when a certain area just feels right? Well this was one of those situations and, after dropping my bucket in the swim, I hot-foot it back to get the gear.