A week in paradise

by Tel Frank

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A Week in Paradise I would like to start this by telling you a little bit about the venue and why it holds such a special place in my heart, the venue is situated on the Cambridgeshire/Hertfordshire border on an airfield behind an Army barracks it is a small syndicate of 40 members, The water itself is around 18 acres in size with around 250 fish of which 70% are now over the twenty mark and is also full of features i.e., Bars, Gravel, Clay, Lillie?s and Weed beds. I started fishing here for course fish when I was posted to the barracks back in April 2000 and soon became friends with a few of the civilian members that were there fishing for the carp, this is where my love of carp fishing really took off and with the help of Darren, Moonie, and Bernie I was soon set up and fishing for these magnificent creatures. Now the reason this lake has such a place in my heart is not only did I meet three of my closest friends through it but it was also where I caught my first UK twenty plus fish. Now back in 2000 the average size of the fish in the lake were around 15 to 17 pound and early one summer morning my alarm burst into action and after a hard fight with the fish getting weeded up twice I had the beast in the net and tipping the scales at 25lb 12oz it was one of the biggest fish all of us had seen the lake produce, I will never forget that day as long as I live as that was the day my passion for these creatures really started. Any way back to the week in question over the last four years I have tried to get at least one full weeks fishing there a year and normally do, The lake over the years has progressively got harder to fish due to the fish sizes increasing and getting a lot more rig shy but still I normally do ok averaging around five to six fish a week and this week was no different but what made this week most memorable I managed to bank two out of the three of my target fish from the lake. My week started at the beginning of august last year Darren and I got to the lakes around mid day on the Friday and spent a good three hours watching the water for showing fish it was absolutely scorching hot and the fish were just cruising around the top in no particular area, after careful consideration Darren opted to fish the beach swim in the shallow water and I fished the next swim along in the deeper water as the fish normally move off the beach at night any way the night passed without a beep for myself and Darren managing to pick up an upper double a lovely linear perfectly scaled and a very pretty fish . later that day the wind started to pick up and started pumping across onto our margin and up towards the beach so I moved my right hand rod into the margin bout twenty yards up onto a nice little gravel area and literally within ten minutes of my bait hitting the water my rod was hooped round and I was into a my first fish of the week and after a steady fight in the margin she was mine a lovely dark mirror of 19lb 14 oz ?not a bad start to the week? I said and just as I was putting the fish back into the water I kicked the 10 k bucket holding my pellet for the week into the margin after about ten minutes of shouting absurdities at the floating bucket and Darren nearly wetting himself with laughter I pulled myself together and started spodding all of the pellet soaking away in the margin out to my areas, this is not how I planned my baiting but I was going to let the swans have it all.
Any way throughout the week I had six fish in total and lost two so I had had my average which is all I really aim for while I am there but its the target fish I really want to tell you about, firstly let me explain abit about these fish the first one is a fish called ?stamp? she is a common and was named so because she has a black scale on her top right shoulder she normally only graces the bank maybe once or twice a year I was lucky enough to have her the year before last at 24lb 15oz then may friend Darren had her 27lb 02oz so I wanted her again thinking that she would be near the thirty mark but that wasn?t to be as I will explain in a bit, the second fish I have wanted for the last six years it is one of the fully scaled fish there are only two in the lake that are true fully scaled fish one being ?the mug? the other being ?o scale?, A fully scaled mirror is a very sought after prize in my opinion and personally don?t think there is a better looking fish in our lake than one these two, and the third fish I am after is the big ?ghostie? which is normally around the 24-25lb mark again there is only three ghost carp in the lake making these also very sought after fish plus I hadn?t caught one yet. As I said before I had ?stamp? the year before last at 24lb 15oz in the Easter she then later graced the banks at 27lb 02oz so I was sure last year she would be thirty plus, early on the Tuesday morning my middle rod was nearly ripped off the pod with an absolute screamer of a take which scared me half to death as I lay dreaming about Kate Beckinsdale and Heather Graham in a mud fight, I leaped out my bed and hit the rod and after one of the hardest fights I have had when fishing the fish rolled near the net and Darren promptly said that it was ?stamp? my heart started to flutter at the thought of having her a thirty plus so I carefully played her into the net. Upon inspection it was stamp but at no-where near the size she should have been I couldn?t believe it here was one of the most prized after fish in the lake looking a shadow of her former self I put her in the weigh sling and onto my fox digitals 20lb 05oz I turned to Darren and told him to get his Reuben?s we weighed her on them and the same weight came up I was gutted to say the least I still don?t know why she lost all that weight maybe she was tethered up or just stressed with the heat we had last year but something was wrong still that was the first target fish in the bag and maybe one day I will get her at thirty who knows.
?THE MUG? The second of my target fish from the lake came late evening on the Thursday we had moved round to the other side of the lake on Tuesday afternoon after seeing fish showing in the back bay but after two nights without a pick up we decided to move back to our original swims, that night I was sat watching the water and my right hand alarm gave a single beep and the bobbin was moving up and down ever so slightly and after having a few bream that afternoon I thought I was in again so I picked my rod up re-clipped the line and started reeling in anyway after a few turns of the handle the rod went stiff, at first I thought I was weeded up but then saw my line kiting off to the left and started to feel the fish kicking after a very slow and sluggish fight I shouted over to Darren and he came and netted the fish for me I knew it was a heavily plated fish but didn?t realise till she was on the bank that it was one of the fully scaled fish, I couldn?t believe my luck after seeing ?stamp? well below her weight this fish filled me with emotion six years it took me to get one and finally there it was on my matt she weighed in at 24lb 15oz which is around a pound under her normal weight but the weight did not matter where this fish was concerned its not the biggest fish in the world but anybody who has wanted one fish for so long will tell you how much relief and joy it is to catch it, I didn?t care if I had another fish after that one It really made my week . I have yet to bank the big ghostie but no doubt will at some point over the years I just wanted to share one of my most memorable weeks fishing with everyone and hope that you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it and reminiscing take care. REMEMBER: - a lot of patience and determination and a little bit of luck you will always get what you want!