The biggest carp of the year has been caught by Anthony Bahnik – a 45lb common from a Nene Valley pit.
After a blank session the week before when the lake was still half-frozen, the Solihull-based 29-year-old returned to the venue and set up in the same swim. He then had to brave gale force winds and heavy rain before being woken on the third day of his trip by a screaming alarm.
“The fight started with a savage run of 30yds, then the fish rose in the water and started shaking its head violently,” Anthony told Angling Times.
“I managed to get her under control and coming towards me when she steamed off on another run. This continued for a good five minutes or so. It was quite amazing how spirited she was for a cold water winter fish. Eventually she was within netting range, and when I scooped her up I recognised her straight away as Cut Tail.”
With just 27 carp in four acres, the fishing at Anthony’s chosen venue is far from easy, but by using a rig which he’s spent years perfecting he was able to fool his new personal best.
His winning presentation consisted of a DT Baits N-Blend boilie cut in half and threaded on to the hair with a sliver of cork in the middle of the two halves to critically balance the rig. This was mounted blow-back style on a 7ins Atomic Tackle Jel-E-Wyre hooklink and a size 6 Longshank X hook, before being cast over a light scattering of boilies on a firm area in 7ft of water 30yds out.
“I’ve been tweaking this set-up for a while, and have now settled on a version which I think is just about perfect,” he explained.
“Last year I was using much smaller hook sizes, but since I’ve upped them I’ve definitely been converting more takes. I also like to disguise my rig by using a black marker pen to fleck the hooklink and the hook. This helps to break up its outline and stop it standing out on the lakebed,” he added.
Anthony actually caught the same fish last summer at a then personal best weight of 43lb.
“I don’t normally much like recaptures, whatever their size, but to do it in January is proof that anything is possible if you’re out there trying,”
“For that reason I rank it as one of my most important captures, and one which has certainly given me the confidence needed to keep on fishing through the depths of winter.”