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So, coming towards the end of February, I found myself starring down the barrel of a fishless last couple of months on my syndicate until I moved on to pastures new. As If this wasn't bad enough, the only two sessions I had managed since the New Year had resulted in a lost fish which fell big....but they always do, and another where I played ghillie for fellow Successful Baits Team member Nathan Flatley, in which he landed a mid double common, a upper 20 common and one old warrior of a mirror tipping the scales at 30lb. My confidence had taken a serious knock. 
I got down to the lake midday on the Friday to find my target area, which is a protected channel covered by a high bank from a bitterly cold wind; and almost as if to confirm my initial instinct, two fish quickly rolled just down from the spots I had in front of me. Although I had fish showing in front of me the superstition demons were playing against me; 3 blank nights and the pressure of being on my final night on the syndicate seemed to get to me, putting my first cast off the mark and getting caught in the overhanging trees. Back to the drawing board, I actually decided on a change of approach and stripping away the wafter set up, I looped on a self-spliced Nash cling on leader coupled with the Korda no trace system. 
My rig of choice; a shortened stiff hinge, lowered just an inch from the lake bed. The thinking behind this; I knew my spots were firm gravel areas tight to cover I wanted instant impact from the rig, hopefully pulling sharply down into the lip and making contact with the lead sooner. Each was baited with the recently launched VNX+ pop ups, a stunningly good bait which has captured for all that have used it. This was fished over a small number of the Traveller Salted 12mm and 14mm Shelf Life boilies, each of the same calibre. With both rods tucked tight up to the cover in front of me, I sat back and waited for my partner in crime for the night ahead. Nathan arrived and set up just down from my location and soon we were sitting down looking through pictures of fish we would like from this very water as our last fish. My choice, one of the few mid 30lb English commons residing in its depths. 

   As pleasant evening turned into darkness and all signs of carp stopped, I found myself confident as I slipped into my sleeping bag and lay looking at the rods expectantly. To no avail though, as the hours ticked by and my eyes grew heavy and soon I had drifted off. 3am and I was woken by a single bleep and the sound of the line clip pulling from the rod and as the locked up reel hit tension point the rod buckled hard round to the left, I was in!       No time to mess around with footwear I shot out of bed, my feet sinking in the soft mud and my toes curling in the freezing earth, I had to shake it. As the fish bore hard for the sunken trees either side of the spot. For what seemed like a life time but in reality was probably no more than a couple of minutes the fish shot back and forth trying to find cover. Finally, and with a great relief, the fish came into open water and slowly plodded around in front of me until Nathan did the honours and slipped the net under a beaten common carp. Unhooked and readied, the fruit of my labour was lifted on to the scales, falling just shy of the magical 30 mark it wasn't quite the fairytale ending I hoped for but how could I feel disheartened, What a beautiful example of a Common Carp. 

carp bait carp fishing boilies
Just shy of the magical 30 mark, who cares? 
And Action......it's show time 
It's at times like this I realise just how addictive that feeling is, no 2 fish are the same and you never get tired of the resulting sense of euphoria after landing a fish. Pictures taken I treated this perfect common with Dr. Bob in order to keep her in such a condition for the next lucky angler, and then slipped her back into the cold, clear waters and watched her slip away into the dark. Although the rest of the session passed uneventfully I didn't care. That was my time on the complex done and I couldn't have been happier the day I walked out of its gates, it wasn't a 30lb but it wasn't bad for the last common! 
carp fishing carp bait boilies
Dr. Bob doing the business along with a razor sharp stiff hinge 
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