17th June 2022

Anthony Perry relays his challenging start to a tricky new water.

Carp fishing has something for everyone, some anglers prefer the ease of a day ticket venue, whereas others enjoy the solitude and demands of trickier syndicate venues. There are some great open access venues out there that offer challenging carp but certain waters just make you pay in more than blood, sweat and tears. An angler who’s no stranger to the demands of such waters is Anthony Perry, who recently saw his extensive efforts rewarded with a brace of lovely old carp.

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

Anthony told us:

“In September 2021 I got the message that I had a chance of a ticket on the lake commonly known as The Snaggy Pit. I couldn’t believe my luck, years of reading, watching, and following the going ons of this lake and never did I think I’d have the chance to have a go for these amazing carp that live in the most ridiculous of lakes.

“I spent the autumn and the winter down the lake as much as possible, just trying to learn the place. With the use of boats allowed and the crystal-clear waters, I spent hours out in the freezing conditions with my head in the scope building a map of the lake in my head knowing all this knowledge would come good when spring arrived.

“After a mega trip to Belgium in April and actually catching some fish, I returned raring to go and more importantly my confidence was back! It was my second trip back that I had my first experience of just how savage these fish are. It was my second day there and after an early move due to hearing a couple of shows on dusk the night before, I wanted to position rods in a zone that in my head would be a natural patrol route for the fish and my thoughts were bang on, with a bite coming out the blue in the late afternoon. After a heart stopping 30 seconds of the fish tail walking at the edge of the snags, I’d somehow managed to turn the fish and was playing it in open water; I could breathe again! After a minute or so this fish turned 180 degrees and went on a huge kite to my left, before I knew it I was playing the fish against a pole that was out in the water, as I was getting the boat ready the rod sprang back and my 30lb hooklink had been cut through. Gutted!

“Although that loss hurt a lot it meant that at least I knew my bait and approach would get me bites. My favourite Manilla boilies mixed with tigers are always a winner and I should never have had doubts in the first place. My next session was very similar to the last, a lot of watching and listening on the first night would give me the information I needed ready for the following night. A move early morning to a new area with the rods positioned by the boat I was feeling confident that I was in the right zone. At around 1:30pm, I received the most brutal take I have ever experienced, fishing locked up on braid and somehow the fish still managed to strip line off the spool like I was using a baitrunner. Picking the rod up and cupping the spool I just held on for dear life; flat rodded and just having an arm wrestle with what felt like a steam train it was only a matter of time before something gave up. I was left with a hook that looked more like an opened-up paperclip! Again, another lesson learnt, it was off with the braid and on with some 20lb, 0.43 mono to work as a buffer rather than all the pressure being on the hook. Long story short, I received another bite the following morning and after 20 seconds of battle with another one of these animals the line parted. My first 3 bites from the pit all resulted in losses, sickening!

“Hard lessons learnt so changes were needed; 35lb braided hooklink and Size 2 thick wire chod hooks were attached to 30lb mono which is 0.56 diameter. It sounds like savage kit, but I wasn’t taking any chances, my heart couldn’t take another loss.

“The following Friday came around and I was raring to go. Arriving at the lake I did my usual lap on foot and managed to stumble across a group of half decent fish tucked up in an inaccessible corner. I thought this will do me, I wanted to get the rods out as discreetly as I could in the closest swim to them, hoping I’d have a chance as the fish moved out in the evening. At around 7:30pm, I couldn’t take it anymore, the doubts had hit me hard, it just didn’t feel the one, I needed to move! I decided my best bet was to go to the area I’d lost the two fish from the week before and hope they would give me another chance.

“As always on this lake it was savagely windy (I think storm Doris had just retired there) which meant getting the rods out in the boat was going to be a nightmare, but after too many attempts I was finally happy with two rods out. One on the banker spot and another in a large fairly baron silty area. A couple of handfuls of bait over the top and I was fishing. As dusk fell it seemed dead and I was cursing myself for not sitting on my hands up the other end, I went to bed feeling like I was p*****g in the wind.

“I was awoken at 3:30am by the sound of the thick line snapping from the line clip followed by a couple of bleeps from the alarm. Fish on! Running to the rods I was shocked that it was the token second rod that had done the bite. The adrenaline was surging and with this being my first bite in the dark I was crapping myself. I could feel this absolute juggernaut chugging hard right, trying to make it to a set of snags. Not this this time! Knowing I had the big hooks and the 30lb mono, I gave the fish nothing, just pulling as hard and as fast as I could. Eventually I saw the fish hit the surface around 30 yards out, clear of any of the snags, which meant I could play the fish a bit more normally. It went in the net first time of asking and the feeling of relief was like nothing I’ve ever felt. I finally had one!

“Looking into the net, I couldn’t really believe what was staring back at me, ‘that’s got to be 30lb at least I thought!’ I staked the net into the margin and prepped the mat, sling, and scales ready to go. Collapsing the net and carrying the fish out of the water, it felt really heavy, but it wasn’t until I put it up on the scales and they read 41lb 5oz it dawned on me just how big the carp was. I secured the sling out in the water and made the phone call to my best mate Sam. It was 3:30am and he answered within two rings with the words: ‘you’ve got one!’ ‘Yep, and its f**king 41lb!’ He literally got dressed there and then and set off on the hour and a half drive to come and do pictures aswell as share the buzz, what a boy!

“With a quick brew, numerous fist bumps and I think I even pulled out the robot, we decided the light was good enough to get the pictures done. Opening that sling was something else, I was met by this massive chocolate brown mirror carp looking back at me. All the time, effort, bait, money, fuel etc. all forgotten! We did the pictures and slipped it back, Sam set off back home after doing a mega job on the camera as always and I was left on cloud nine just scrolling through the pictures, not quite believing what had just unfolded.

“Snap, beeeeep, s**t my other rod was away. After another heart stopping battle, I eventually slipped the net under my second snaggy pit fish. At just under 18lb, I couldn’t believe how something so small could pull so hard! I just did self takes with him and let him on his way, but buzzing was an understatement.

“After getting the pictures on my phone, I shared them with some of the members both past and present and as I write this the fish hasn’t been recognised by anyone and possibly has never been caught before! An unknown 40-pounder for my first fish? I’ll take that, what a fish and what a lake. Hopefully, it’s just the start.”