This Spring I had the privilege of becoming part of a small syndicate containing a few very special carp, known as The Lodge Lakes Syndicate, Thatcham. The lake holds between 10-15 carp in around 4 acres of water. As with all new venues, getting one bite was always going to be my main aim, just to try and get off the mark as such, especially on such a low-stocked pond, would be an achievement. I started fishing in March and April and both were really difficult months. The clarity of the water was awful and the fish were not showing at all. As we headed into May I fortunately picked up my first bite, in the shape of a fish known as the Baby Snub. All was looking good and the clarity of the water was beginning to improve. One week later I went back to the lake for another go. Within an hour of arriving I was gifted with a carp off the top, another of the known fish, being the Box Common.

The warmer days and the increased heat forced nature to play its part and the fish started to show signs of possible spawning activities. For this reason, the lake was shut for one month. During this time I continued to put plenty of bait in, heading over there twice a week to really give them some food. It was a lot of effort driving to the lake at 5:30am before work but all the effort was duely paid back. On the opening night after the close, I had a take on the baited area just hours after putting the rods out. Unfortunately I lost this fish in the weed. To say I was gutted was an understatement! So much hard work prepping the spot to lose one was not a good feeling! The following morning things were beginning to look up and as the tuftys dived on me, amongst the commotion my alarm signalled a take. Luckily this fish hit the surface early and I eventually netted a belting mid-twenty mirror. I knew that there were still fish in the area as they were happily showing themselves to the left of my spot. Later that afternoon the same rod was away again in a similar fashion. This time I knew it was a much larger fish, judging by the large kicks sent down the blank of my Infinity. After a VERY powerful fight a monstrously long common, known as the Big Snub rolled into the net. At a very healthy weight of 34lb 8oz it was clearly happy to have been feeding the last 4 weeks on my pre-baited area. Pete, the owner, was sitting with me when I had the take, so he helped in getting some lovely photos of the occasion. I've caught many fish over the years but it's always the ones caught after pre-baiting that mean the most, as I know how hard i've worked for them in the preparation, as well as the actual angling.