Katie Wright relays the tale of her meeting with not just one, but two Yorkshire 50-pounders!

Katie Wright relays the tale of her meeting with not just one, but two Yorkshire 50-pounders!

The Approach Fisheries, previously known as Willows, located just outside of Leeds in Yorkshire is one of the country’s best day ticket venues. Over the years, the carp on the complex have grown considerably and make it a rare commodity for the northern angling scene. Recently, the Approach Fishery has not only undergone a name change, but a revamp, with a brand-new lake opened up for angling!

Full of myths and rumours, the Trout Lake had a lot of noise in the background, with huge things predicted by those in the know. In the past the lakes had flooded and some of the old, impressive stock found themselves in the larger Trout Lake of around 32-acres. This tap clear, weed-rich and unpressured environment allowed the carp to achieve phenomenal weights with some sightings reported of fish that could have potentially edged the British carp record!

It was all pretty exciting for me; I’d never fished a lake with so many big carp before. I was so excited on the journey up I felt sick. I guess it was a mixture of excitement and nerves. If I was going to have any chance of catching one of the huge, to some extent wild carp, I’d have to work hard at it or get very lucky.

Having driven through the night, I arrived with Sticky boss, Tom Anderson and began looking for fish in the twilight. We soon found some too, sloshing out in the darkness, I didn’t waste any time and got some rods rigged up. The fish were very close in, so I flicked all three rods out, to be greeted with firm drops on them all! I had all the rods rigged up with blowback rigs, with simple Krill Tuff Ones on the end.

Once the rigs were out perfect, I walked to the end of an old jetty and scattered 30 or so Krill Active freebies around each rod. In all, disturbance was kept to a minimum and less than 5 minutes after getting the rods out, a carp showed over the back of the area, which was a relief.

My eyes were burning as tiredness crept in and I fought the temptation of a snooze. A couple of hours passed, and I must have nodded off, when I woke to one of the rods in total meltdown. After a short and spirited fight, I landed a lovely looking mirror of around 18lb. I slipped it back and made sure to get the rod back out and top the swim up with a few more boilies.

No sooner had everything settled, the right-hander was away, again another mirror, this time a few pounds bigger. It was approaching midday and despite being shattered, I carried on and managed to get the rod back out perfectly. I made myself a drink and something to eat but the action wasn’t about to stop.

The final rod that hadn’t had any action as yet burst into life and from the off I could tell it was a bigger one. My arm ached as it continued to plod up and down the shelf and when it surfaced, Tom came round to give me a hand with the netting. It was a lovely, dark mirror and a chunky one at that too. I knew it was going to beat my personal best, but at 35lb it totally blew me away.

With the carp returned and rod flicked back out to the spot, the wind continued to trickle into the area, and it looked bang on for another bite. It must have been around 2pm when the next one came, again feeling like another big fish. After a bit of time though, it soon dawned on us both that it could be one of the real big ones. It held deep, moved incredibly slowly and it took a great deal of effort to try and get her off the bottom. As I caught a glimpse of the leader, a big shape appeared underneath, it was huge! Tom waded into the edge and was ready with the net as I managed to steer her in while she took her last few gulps in defeat. It was a mirror of huge proportions, I couldn’t even put a weight on it, such was the size of it. We prepared the scales, mat and so on and got her out in all her glory.

We did a few pics and got into the water for one last look at her, before she went back safely. I was blown away by it all, four carp on the first day was more than I could ever have hoped for. That evening I did catch another one, a thirty-pounder too, but it had a bit of a mouth deformity, so we quickly checked her over and slipped it back. I was shattered that night and had no trouble sleeping. In a weird way, I was glad the carp allowed me to do that and I woke the following morning to another glorious day.

It wasn’t long before we were making the long journey north again, loaded to the tilt with everything we needed. It was clear on that first session how much the fish were tuned in to the boilies and I am no bait expert, but Tom is. It surprised me as I’d never seen that sort of reaction to boilies before!

On arrival there were quite a few people fishing, but the area that I had caught from the week previous looked free. We made our way round and sure enough, the same spot was free, and the conditions were pretty much the same. There were a few fish showing a little bit further out, so I decided to cast a Chod rig to them with a Mulbz pop-up attached, with the other two going back on the spots from the previous week. I fished the same rig, again with a 20mm Tuff One as the hookbait.

After a couple of hours, the Choddy fished to where the carp were showing was away with a cracking 23lb mirror being the result and a great welcome back. It was really quiet that day and through the night. As I woke the following morning, I had wondered if the fish were elsewhere. I stood out and watched but didn’t see a great deal, but as I drank my second brew of the morning, one of the margin rods was away.

It immediately took me back to the feeling from the week previous, doing battle with another big carp. Every time I caught a sight of it, I could make out these grey old looking flanks, it looked like one of the older ones. As I scooped the net under her, I could see it was a cracking carp and I got Tom round to give me a hand. It was one of the known ones, a fish known as Pac-Man and at 38lb, it really was something else. The guys gave me a hand with the pictures, and I shared my moment with the special old creature, what a feeling! I had another two nights ahead of me and with some huge fish spotted by some of the guys, you just never knew what was going to pick up the hookbait. It was a very unique feeling and one that I had never really experienced before, I was loving it.

I baited the close in spots quite heavily, with a couple of kilos of Active per rod in the hope to tempt one of the really big, potentially greedy ones. I waited all day without so much as a liner and as the sun began to set, I thought my chances were over for the day. Then without warning, the bobbin smashed into the blank and I was holding on for dear life as the fish powered off to the centre of the lake. A 20-minute battle followed, and a huge carp was ready for the net. I was really nervous at this point; I saw the width of the fish and my knees turned to jelly. I just managed to slide the net under it, punched the rod in the air and let off a huge sigh of relief.

We were fighting the light to get the pictures done so I didn’t want to hang around. She pulled the scales round to 51lb 5oz, another PB and another 50lb mirror. Words can’t explain how this felt, it all seemed like a blur, a dream that was almost too good to be true. The fish didn’t have a name and the guys decided it was to be called Kate’s Fish, a nice gesture.

I slept well that night, shattered again but when I woke, I was surprised to see the lake so lifeless. You would normally see them somewhere, but it looked dead. I kept the rods on the spots, choosing to not touch them as they went down perfectly. It wasn’t until that evening that I started to see a bit of activity, thankfully around the spots that I was fishing. A good-looking mirror gently rose up and slid back down only five yards from one of the hookbaits. I then saw a plume of bubbles rising up over the area, this fish had found that beacon of attraction that the Active boilies were giving off and it was having a right old feed.

I watched the spot until the distraction of a few beeps brought my attention, the line pulled out the clip and it was on. I had a good idea of how the fish fought in there by now and once again, I was attached to another big fish. It didn’t really do a lot, just plodded around and gave in pretty easily. I got Tom round to help me with the pictures and it was another good one, bizarrely my first 40lb mirror, I’d skipped that bracket with the two fifties before. It was a deep, dark looking fish, super clean and in great condition.

As we were rattling off a couple of water shots, the other rod was away. This one was a lot smaller, but an amazing carp with a beautiful head and great mouth. It was the last action that I was to have that session, but what a trip it had been. The Trout Lake is without doubt my favourite lake that I have ever fished. The lake is lovely, carp huge and the facilities are fantastic too, with even bigger plans for the fishery to come, it is certainly one to check out!