Nothing unusual in that you might think, a 20lb carp is very achievable at this premier Lymm AC water but although Mark Johnson did land a carp of well over 20lb, in-fact it was closer to a thirty than a twenty, he had another 19 fish in the same sitting making this a 24 hour session he’ll remember for a very long time!! Belmont regular Mark takes up the story in his own words written shortly after the session of a lifetime.
When you’re my age, with a slight back problem, overweight and very unfit, all the associated ‘graft’ with fishing becomes a chore, i.e. loading/unloading the car, barrowing all your kit about, climbing stiles etc. then there’s the added inconvenience of actually catching the odd fish at stupid hours, jumping out from under the brolly, puffing and panting playing big fish, wrestling with them on the mat, holding them up for pics et al.
Well, yesterday, I did all of that 20 times! I’d finished a night shift and had a couple of days off, so I spent the morning at home sorting my kit out and then a leisurely drive to Belmont, to chuck the rods out and maybe grab a couple of hours ‘nap’ time. I wasn’t really bothered where I fished (Serpentine or Belmont) I just wanted a bit of chill time.
I ended up on Belmont, started fishing at 12:30 and by 12:33 I’d hooked my first fish. By 13:05 I’d had two and by 13:30 I’d had three! My plan to have a little snooze was put to one side for the time being. I spent the next hour or so sorting out the rods with new rigs, fresh bait etc. With both rods now re-cast, I set about making a brew and just as the kettle was coming to the boil, it kicked off again with another 3 fish coming in the space of 40 minutes between 15:20 and 16:05 (I’ll list all the weights at the end).
A fish-less hour followed, due mainly to me having to sort out both rods with fresh rigs and bait, but I managed another at 17:15. Things went comparatively quiet for a while, but they wouldn’t give in, they attacked again! This time, it was a 3 fish burst in just over an hour with runs coming at 18:55, 19:30 (more of this one a bit later!) and 20:05! Now, I do love my carp fishing and I’ve had some great days/nights, but this was starting to have the potential to be a red letter day. By now, I’d even forgotten just how knackered I was and was just enjoying the thrill of it all. I went through the ‘hour off’ routine to sort the rods out and at 20:55, got them back on their spots, as I was clipping the indicator on the 2nd rod, it tore off again, it had been in the water 30 seconds (3 times I had takes as I was setting the indicator!)
I was now contemplating just fishing one rod through the night as the thought of multiple or even simultaneous double takes was playing on my mind. I needn’t have worried as, bizarrely, except for a fish at 23:25, the night was quiet.
Amazingly, though I’d had hardly any sleep in the last 24 hours, I couldn’t sleep! So, at 05:05 I was laying on the bedchair watching the indicators, as the right hander slammed into the underside of the rod, this signalled the start of another carp ‘onslaught’ resulting in five fish in just over an hour and a half, with the runs coming at 05:05, 05:20, 06:05, 06:25 and 06:40, during this time, I couldn’t keep both rods in and resorted to fishing just the one rod.
By now, I was absolutely drained and much in need of a kip, but it suddenly dawned on me that I’d now had seventeen fish and the possibility of doing twenty wasn’t unrealistic given the way they were ‘having it’. I had momentarily considered packing up and going home, but now I was going to stick a couple of matchsticks between my eyelids, ignore the agonising pain in my back and go for the twenty fish target.
New rigs all round, together with fresh hook baits that had been soaking for a while and we’re good to go! Fish #18 came at 07:40. Forty minutes later and number 19 is in the net. Just one rod left out now as the last fish had done the old ‘knit one, perl one’ and I’ had to bite the line. I took this opportunity to start slowly packing my gear away.
I was actually starting to doubt whether I could get the 20th fish as it had gone a little quiet, but at 09:30hrs, I heard the line ‘crack’ out of the clip (I’d put my remote away in the rucksack and turned the alarm off) and the rod tip started to curve. I didn’t wait for the spool to turn and bent into the fish and drew it over the cord after a few minutes scrap.
There ended an incredible session, a definite red letter day, the kind that don’t come along too often (well not for me anyway!)
I was exhausted, racked with pain and very smelly! Even as I type this, I’m still aching, but it was worth every minute!
As I said earlier, I promised a bit more about the fish at 19:30hrs. Well, while it was thoroughly enjoyable catching all these fish, the stamp was around low to mid-double with the exception of one an ounce off twenty. I’d been doing the ‘Please Lord let a big one come my way’ prayer and it was answered. I knew was a better fish as soon as I hit the run, it just did the old plodding around, hugging bottom routine for ages, then every time it neared the net, it just took off on slow powerful runs. After a good five minutes, she was ready for the net and as her nose hit the spreader, I knew it was a ‘lump’. The scales agreed with a weight of 28lb 6oz and the icing on the cake.
Below is a list of the fish for the record and a few pictures with the big girl. I didn’t get pics of all of ’em, mainly because they nearly all went berserk on the mat and just wouldn’t be held, all with the exception of the big girl who behaved impeccably.
Marks Top Twenty!!
1) 15lb 10oz
2) 10lb 2oz (Fully scaled)
3) 14lb 10oz
5) 10lb 6oz
6) 19lb 15oz (There’s honesty for you!)
7) 10lb 5oz
8) 14lb 7oz
9) 28lb 6oz
11) 11lb 2oz
13) 14lb 2oz
14) 17lb 9oz
16) 9lb 15oz (Honesty again!)
17) 15lb 3oz
18) 13lb 4oz
20) 15lb 7oz
A massive well done to Mark on his most memorable start to the season and thanks for a great write up of the event topped off by some quality self take photo’s. If you’d like to join Lymm Angling Club or find out more information about our superb range of waters and how we work all year round to ‘Care for fish and the environment’ then visit our website at www.lymmanglersclub.com