6th April 2021

Paul Duke achieves his dream of landing a Wraysbury thirty during what was meant to be his very last session!

We all have targets we want to achieve in fishing, whether that be a specific carp, or number of fish, everyone wants something from their angling. Paul Duke had set his sights on a Wraysbury thirty when he acquired his ticket, something which isn’t too easy to find on the South Lake at the famous complex. With the pandemic scuppering his plans for this passed year, he decided to take the long drive down from his Yorkshire home to fish the Easter weekend on his favourite lake for one last time, praying a thirty would be on the cards.

The Manilla is the ultimate in year-round boilies; using not only nuts but refined milk proteins and birdfoods.

Paul revealed:

“Everyone in my life, from my friends, to the people I work with and even my other half, know how much Wraysbury means to me. My early angling life saw me read book after book on the place and it just encapsulated me. After the lakes were renovated, I still couldn’t forget about them, so when the South Lake was fully open for syndicate members, I jumped at the chance of a ticket. I had already tasted success on there, having fished a few charity events and the special feeling it gave me was like no other venue in the country.

“Fast forward to the present time and the combination of the pandemic and the distance the lake is from my home really limited the amount of time I could fish there. I still had a couple of trips, landing some nice fish, but I came to the unfortunate conclusion that I would have to drop my ticket and so I planned one final session in for Easter weekend.

“I arrived at the lake on the Thursday before the long weekend, I was absolutely buzzing to be back out angling again, like I am sure everyone was when restrictions were lifted. The swim known as Hooligan was free, a famous swim with lots of good spots in there, I dropped straight in.

“It didn’t take too long to find a clear area, a lovely silty channel at 70 yards range. I decided to mix up my baiting on this trip too, as I am normally a Krill man, but this time I opted for a mix of 12 and 16mm Manilla and chopped tiger nuts. I put out a really good helping before casting three hookbaits over the top and settling back for the night.

“I woke to a bite just as the first plane of the day was coming over, and soon landed a nice 19-pounder. I got the rod back out and made a quick brew. No sooner had everything settled, I was away again, the fish were clearly on the bait as a huge slick had kicked up over the spot from the Cap-Oil I had added. After a tense scrap in the weed, I landed a lovely looking 22lb linear.

“I was super happy with that linear, with the clear water and weed the fish are all so dark and look mega! But in the back of my mind I was still hoping for a bigger one to turn up. As the clock started to tick towards midday, I received a slow and steady bite, a very different occurrence to the ones before it. I lifted into the fish after a slight bit of hesitation as I had a feeling it was going to be a better fish!

“The fish stayed deep, slowly and methodically plodding away with the odd tick of braid easing off the clutch. This was a proper one! I knew I had to be patient, which was very hard to do as the fish neared the bank, it made a savage turn and shredded more line off the clutch down the left margin. What surfaced after I cranked the fish back in was beyond my comprehension, it was huge! I stared at it, eye to eye as it wallowed slowly over the net cord before safely sinking into the folds of the net. I was in total disbelief and I have to admit, shed a few tears! I am proud to admit that, as the lake and capture meant so much to me!

“On the scales the mega looking mirror went 38lb, it was one of the biggest fish in the lake and it set a new lake record for modern times! I was over the moon with my new PB and savoured everything from the photos, to letting her swim off gently in the margins.

“I fished on until the Sunday, landing a couple more fish, and I already decided I wasn’t going to drop my ticket. How could I! I packed up on Sunday and arrived home to a celebration party, complete with a special balloon from the other half. Sometimes, dreams really do become reality!”