Dream start to winter campaign

Leon Bartropp has got his winter campaign off to a flying start with this 41lb 7oz mirror caught on his first session on an Essex stillwater.

The Fox International and Sticky consultant set up in a swim which allowed him to target a small island where he thought a few carp might be present. The first night of the trip passed without event but he put a bit more bait out as a south westerly wind started to pick up the following day. With the conditions looking good and the wind getting even stronger and pushing directly in to the island where his middle rod was positioned, it was no surprise when he received a screaming take on the final morning of the session.

“The fish did its best to get around the back of the island, but after a spirited scrap I had her in the net,” Leon told Angling Times. “I shone the torch into the folds of the net and was surprised to see a big old mirror laying there. At 41lb 7oz I couldn’t have asked for a better start. I always love beginning a new campaign, but I was a little concerned I’d left it so late in the year and I was hoping I hadn’t missed the boat with regards to getting a bit of bait in and sussing out any likely looking areas for me to concentrate on. I’d also been given a new bait to test for Sticky, so to have a forty on it the first time I used it was a right result.”

As he was fishing over an area of dark silt, Leon put his faith in an 8ins 25lb Fox Black Cortex hooklink and a size 5 SSC hook. On to this he mounted a snowman hookbait presentation consisting of a 16mm bottom bait and a 12mm Sticky Buchu-Berry pop-up.