Ross Hodgetts managed two extra special gifts at Farlows over the Christmas period.
Chris Elmey catches the Big Cream!
20th September 2016
Chris Elmey came face to face with one of his target fish after he turned all of his efforts to a new syndicate water this summer, Chris explains…
“Of the two lakes on site, the one I fancied held 17 carp, topped by a common and a mirror, which both went over 40lb. There were also a couple of thirties as backup, and the rest of the stock was made up with mid-double or low-twenty commons.
I did three or four nights in the spring when I’d got my ticket, and was lucky enough to catch one of those 30lb fish, a fish known as the Snub Nose Common at just under 34lb; a good start. The lake is notoriously full of weed, which reaches the surface in a lot of places, so there weren’t really any ‘known’ spots as such. I decided to concentrate my effort on a swim that didn’t seem to see much attention, yet was in area that I knew that big mirror liked.
I decided to rake two spots: one out toward the island and one just out in front of me. In an attempt to clean the spots off I baited every other day, starting off with buckets of mixed particles and chopped Krill boilies. After two weeks of baiting I decided to drop in for my first weekend. The first night passed uneventfully, but as dawn broke I could see big patches of fizzing over one of my spots and I had a feeling that it was going to happen. Sure enough, a fish rolled over one of my spots just as I was looking at it. What I had just seen was 100% my target fish! It was big and black, and I even caught a glimpse of its spikey dorsal fin!
The fizzing subsided after a couple of hours and I started to wonder why I hadn’t had a bite after all that activity. Out of the blue, the rod signaled a take and after a good battle I manage to net the fish, instantly recognising it as the Box Common. With that under my belt I was off and away! The next night closed in and I baited the swim with three kilos of Krill again, in the hope that they’d turn up again at first light. Sure enough, the next morning I woke up to the same fizzing. Again, I didn’t receive a take until an hour or so after the fizzing stopped, which resulted in one of the lake’s small commons.
I baited twice after work that week, ready for my return at the weekend. Unfortunately though, that weekend was uneventful and I didn’t feel like I was on fish at all. After a bit of thought, I chose a different area, in the middle of the lake, which I thought was somewhere I could get the fish visiting regularly within a short space of time. After two hours of raking, I was finally happy with my spots and decided to give the swim a good hit of bait before the next planned trip. Over the course of a couple of weeks, I introduced close to 100kg of bait onto the two spots in the middle of the lake. The lake is only 50 yards across at this point, so I was sure they’d find the bait almost instantly and I hoped that the regular baiting would keep them coming back.
I returned that Friday and got the rods out just on dark. I went to sleep confident that they’d been visiting my spots, and that I was going to receive some action. The weather was spot on; I just knew it would happen. Sure enough, at about 1am the right-hand rod melted off. I was attached to what felt like a good fish and I soon slipped the net under a fish known as the Baby Snub. The weather turned that morning, and a hot day followed. Going into the second night, I felt quietly confident despite the bad conditions but I woke up to thick fog and motionless bobbins. Feeling a bit despondent, I packed up and set off home. I checked the weather for the coming weekend, and with the full moon approaching, I knew I had to persevere and just keep the bait going in.
I baited up again with around 50kg of bait that week, a mixture of Krill boilies in 12mm and 15mm, and the particle mix. The weekend couldn’t come round fast enough, and I was buzzing to get fishing in ideal conditions. I cast the first rod out onto to the spot and the lead went down with an absolute crack. It was certainly a lot cleaner than the weekend before; I just knew they’d been on that one spot in particular. I received three takes that night, but somehow they all turned out to be recaptures! Having had three bites in one night on a lake with 17 fish in, I knew it was just a matter of time and I needed to make the most of this opportunity.
I drove home that afternoon and grabbed 5kg of boilies from the freezer and around the same amount of cooked hemp. I put the whole lot on one spot when I returned, because I knew the big mirror was susceptible to getting caught over big beds of bait. I felt that if she was about, then baiting heavily was going to be the way to catch her. I went into the night feeling confident. Around 4am I had a take on my right-hand rod, over the bait, and as I picked up into it I just knew it was a good fish. The fish took me into the weed on a number of occasions but I just stood my ground and was patient, managing to carefully steer it out of the weed.
As the fish neared the net, it had a good old plod around in the margins and I knew it was nearly ready. I turned my headtorch on as the fish surfaced and the beam revealed a big, old head with a big, old mouth. There are only three mirrors in the lake, so I knew exactly what fish I had on the end. Thankfully, the fish went into the net first time and I peeled the mesh back to confirm what I had… the Big Cream was mine!”