So, 2020 was the year I decided to seriously campaign ‘The Res’ a 140 acre reservoir with approximately 50-70 carp in. It was never going to be an easy feat and if I’m honest, I didn’t want it to be. That said, it probably wasn’t the best water to campaign during the time in which I was going to be launching Dangler. Dangler is a company which I co-founded with my two brothers 2 years ago, it’s a web & app platform designed for anglers by anglers to buy and sell second hand and new fishing tackle. Ideally, I wanted to get as much time in on the bank as possible before the launch of the website on Friday 24th July.
I planned on trying to get to grips with the lake in early March, my gear certainly wasn’t in any fit state to start a campaign on a lake of that size, but I just wanted to get a night in and get a feel for it! The lake is horseshoe in shape, this makes it extremely difficult to watch the water in hope of seeing a carp give itself away, I didn’t really have time on my side on my first session. I dropped in a swim located near some inlets a few swims away from a friend of mine. I had a rough idea of what the bottom was like and tied a few basic snowman rigs, clipped the rods up at 13 wraps, cast all three out and scattered 15 -20 baits over each (Mainline cell).
The first session certainly ended up being more of a social session than anything else, I was just happy to be back out on the bank and fishing and my campaign had finally started! But the campaign was short lived, COVID 19 had hit the UK and I had a feeling this was going to impact us anglers in some way. I’m sure if you are reading this you also feel my pain, the government stopped us from going fishing in the lockdown. I was gutted, this was a great time to be out on the bank and get some early spring hours in, but clearly it wasn’t meant to be.
Instead my time during lockdown enabled me to put some serious hours in on the business, testing the website, testing the app, writing blogs, you name it we done it. I was hoping to get ahead of the development of the platform so we had something ready to launch the other side of the lockdown. But it was also touch and go as to whether we could continue to develop and work on the app due to the restrictions which had been put into place. But we managed and we are releasing the platform on July 24th, I continued to write content and give us anglers some reading material throughout the lockdown which was great fun!
I also used lockdown to get my fishing gear in check, I done my very best to order what I needed so that I could hit the ground running when the lockdown eased. But it seemed that every other angler in the UK had the same idea and stocks were low on the web! I ordered what I could and got my fishing gear in order for the ease of the lockdown. With a fair few weeks passing, the lockdown finally got eased which allowed us all to get back out on the bank! Unfortunately, the Res wasn’t opening until the first weekend of June.
What this meant was numerous anglers were checking the lake out whilst it was still closed, everyone was putting the legwork in prior to the opening night. With the heat, I knew exactly where the carp were going to be, they were held up at the bottom of one of the arms in the thick weed. I planned on arriving at midnight for the opening of the lake and dropping in as close as I could get to the weedy section they were held up in. Me and my brother drove down to the lake for midnight ready to get on to the lake, but it seemed everyone else had other ideas. We got on the lake at midnight to find bivvy after bivvy and bbq’s etc all along the arm we had planned to drop in on. My only guess was that someone had decided to fish earlier than the official allowed time and once one person had done it, everyone else decided to. Anyway, the lake was extremely busy and we decided at 1am, just to go home, get some rest and re-assess the next day.
So the following evening we headed to the lake and checked it out, it was still extremely busy and couldn’t see any signs of carp, we were walking along the lake and checking the margins and I noticed what looked like a carps back showing in a section of weed. I got my brother to check it out with me and sure enough it was a carp, in a very random area. On the res, where there is one carp there is usually more. This was all I needed to see to drop a couple of rods on, I tied up a couple of suitable weed rigs and my brother dropped in the swim next to me. We flicked the rods out, on to what we assumed was the other side of the weed bed with 20-30 freebies scattered around each rod. A few more carp had cruised over the spots at this point, and it was quite hot going into the night. To be honest, I was just happy to be on carp on my first session on the Res, we settled down for the night and at 02:30am I was woken up by a one toning Steve Neville.
Straight out of the sleeping bag, no trainers on, chest waders discarded across the swim, absolute panic. The panic was simply due to the fact that usually you would do 20-30 nights for a bite on this lake and I had one in my first few hours. But I struck the rod and the fish kited round into a weed bed quite close to me, at this point I had managed to get into my waders and out into the lake, I waded trough the marginal weed and continued to play the fish through the weed. I was playing it in thick weed, as it came closer to the surface, I realised it was simply a large ball of Canadian pond weed and the carp had ditched the hook. Absolutely gutted, heart still racing, I turned and said to my brother “It was too good to be true on my first night anyway”. That was that, I was gutted but I knew I would have other opportunities in the future. I sorted the rod out and checked the hook was sharp and got the rod back out on the spot.
I woke up in the morning to no further action, we kept the spot in mind and packed up and left. My approach to the lake at this point was overnighters in-between work, seeing if I could locate the carp, spreading a few baits over them and keeping casts to a minimum. I wanted to cover as much of the lake as possible and explore some different swims. I was eager to get back down the lake with this approach. I dropped in a few different swims but more on a hunch and weather conditions, but I didn’t manage to find them or catch them. Five to ten overnighters later, I had managed to locate some carp and fish on them and ahead of where I thought they were moving. At this time, I was doing more walking than fishing, constantly trying to locate them and drop on them where possible. Unfortunately, this didn’t result in me catching any, they seem to be pretty difficult to catch when they are showing in the weedy areas.
On my 11th night I dropped in the initial swim which I lost the fish from on the first session, It was quite a mission on the barrow, and as I was unloading the barrow one showed on the other side of the lake… typical. I put all of the rods back down and barrowed back to the car and loaded it back up to try and get to where I had just seen the show. I drove round to the swim and got three rods out as soon as possible, light leads and rigs which could sit nicely on top of any blanket weed. I put a scattering of bait over each rod, and sat back for the night. I experienced some very savage line bites which nearly doubled the rod tip over, I was convinced these were carp but once again I woke up to static bobbins and I packed up to go home.
As I was packing up I remember thinking it was very warm for so early in the morning, In my head I was going to be coming back down that evening and I knew exactly where I was going to be looking first. A friend of mine was also getting down to the lake that evening, of course with the heat he checked the exact swim which I planned on checking that evening, he called me and said I’ve found them mate, they are held up where we thought they would be. So I headed down in the evening and dropped in the swim next to him, I wasn’t massively confident as I wanted to be tighter in the weed where he was. He managed two captures that session, so I knew they were catchable this time round. I blanked the first night and the following day I dropped into another swim which gave me the opportunity to present some rigs in holes in the weed. The weather changed dramatically and a stormy front came in, the carp were fizzing up over one spot and not showing anything on the other spot and as always the one with no fizzing on it roared off. I calmly got into the waders and hit the rod, I waded straight out as far as possible to get past the marginal weed, I was playing my second carp on the Res! I just needed to land this one.
Stood out in the rain, up to my chest in weed I managed to scoop the net under a cracking looking mirror! An overwhelming sense of relief came over me, it wasn’t just the previous 11 nights, it was the copious hours of walking and watching the water without a line in the water. It had all paid off and I finally had one, I waded back to the swim and got the carp weighed and sacked ready for photo’s up she went 21lb’s but looked incredible, almost ancient! I got the rod back out on the spot, about 30 minutes had passed and the rod ripped off again!
I couldn’t believe it, another take in such quick succession, I waded out and repeated the process praying that I didn’t lose it in the weed! A good battle in the rain and I had another scaley mirror in the landing net! I couldn’t quite believe I had managed two so quickly, I walked back to the bank and anchored the net in the margin. I got the carp on the mat and weighed her, another amazing looking scaley linear at 21lb again! I called up my brother and two friends and got them over with the camera, big shout out to Tom Rossiter doing some absolute dream work on the camera! We got some awesome brace shots and some amazing return shots in the lake. I was made up and to be honest I couldn’t believe what had just happened!
Settling down that evening, I really didn’t mind If I didn’t catch another, but ‘make haste whilst the sun shines’ as they say. I baited up the spots and got the rods back out on the spot for the night, I slept easy that night to say the least. I woke up at around, 5am and the bobbins were lifeless it looked like there were a few carp still out in the weed in the middle of the lake but it was hard to tell. I dozed back off and woke up to a screaming steve Neville at 06:00am, I was in again for a third time! Once again I was straight out in the lake in the waders and had a real epic battle with this carp, it took me through plenty of weed but I managed to get him in over the landing net chord and this time it was a lovely dark common!
I waded back to the swim and weighed him in at 21lbs again! What are the chances! I called my brother and got him and Tom back round to the swim for some shots, we couldn’t believe how ancient this common looked, it was a real old character. We got some cracking shots on land and some lovely return shots! I had managed three carp in less than 24 hours, it seems crazy how you can put so many hours in on a water be rewarded all at once in one 15 hour session. I guess that’s just part of big pit fishing! I pulled off the lake that afternoon, since that session I have fished several times since with no luck, I have been on the carp plenty of times but the small heat wave we had really didn’t help matters.
I have put in as much time looking as possible in the evenings after work and waking up at 04:00am to see if I can see any signs of carp showing at all, when I have been on the carp, the conditions haven’t really been on my side and catching them seems to be nearly impossible. But as it stands I am waiting for some better weather conditions, I am going to start regularly baiting a swim and if I can’t locate them when I get to the lake I will drop in my baited swim.
Until next time… Part 2 awaits.
About The Author
CEO & Co-Founder
Being out on the bank and catching a fish is just a bonus for me, what I really love about angling is it provides us with the ability to be at one with nature and appreciate what most do not get to see. I discovered my passion for angling at the age of 9 and it has never left me, carp fishing has always been the core of my angling but I will never turn down the opportunity to target other species and enjoy what our waters have to offer.