07th July 2024

With time being thin on the ground in May, Adam Francis knew he needed to make April count and maximise the time at his disposal. Targeting Carthagena over the last couple of years to great success, he was back and continued his campaign again this Spring and in good form!

Carthagena is a challenging venue, as the wary old carp know a thing or two from the angling pressure over the years. The 7-acre gravel pit is in the heart of Essex, just off the River Lee, with an incredible stock of old carp and lovely surroundings. It’s an idyllic venue, that’s for sure.

"Trusting in fairly heavy baiting in-between bites as it just felt the timing was right."

Adam told Sticky:

“With my May forecast limited, I planned to give April everything I had in an attempt to catch some of the remaining incredible ‘Cartha’ carp on my wish list.

With a couple of areas in mind and a stroke of pure luck, I managed to slot into my spring number one swim choice. So unfolded a period of angling I will never forget, not just for the stamp of carp, but the numbers on a water like Cartha.

I have stories of several of these captures, ‘Beadle’ in particular. It felt like I practically talked onto the bank, along with the incredibly lucky fact that she ended up in the net after the battle of attrition with Jerry (the saviour’s) boat work. It was a top weight of 42lb.

Going against the grain before these trips, they had largely been avoiding capture since the end of summer, with nobody to my knowledge having more than one or two in the previous six months. I put my faith in some heavy baiting in between bites, as I just felt the timing was right. All my baiting was simple catapult work, being able to walk around to the zones, and fishing classic short Chods over the top due to the shallow and weedy nature.

A mixture of Krill, Manilla and Bloodworm, in both 16mm and plenty of 20mm, gave them something they rarely see. I used a huge variety of feed, Active and standard, chopped and whole, doused in Pure Hemp Oil, Pure Calanus Hydro, (for added attraction) and a further dusting of Krill Powder to finish it all off – irresistible!

I mounted Krill Active Pop-Ups on size 5 Curve Point and 30lb Recoil Chod rigs, Sub-Fleck lead free leader on the end of the (outstanding) 18lb OGX main line. Most bites required hook-and-hold tactics, walking back and running forward whilst cranking the reel to gain line back onto the spool. It really was ‘locked-up’ heart-in-the-mouth fishing, but everything held firm with 13 of my (unbelievable!) 14 bites since the start of April landed.

I had nine bites in one mind-blowing session, including a brace of 40s, (one which was a new 40 for the venue), but we’d met before and the previous shots were great, so we checked her over and sent her on the way without further stress. It felt criminal flopping such a special carp back, but it can’t be helped sometimes! I’ve been fortunate to have my fair share in the last couple of seasons, and don’t often feel the need to re-photograph ‘repeats’ unless the first pics weren’t up to scratch.”