Like every other member of the Chillham Mill syndicate in Kent, James Pierce was hoping that this would be the year he got to hold the lake’s biggest resident up for the cameras. Little did he know that his dream would come true on his first session of 2012.
When he arrived at the 30-acre venue the 21-year-old, East Sussex-based carper was greeted with a cold north-easterly wind so he headed to an area of the lake on the back of the wind. After watching the flat water for half an hour he spotted a patch of fizzing at around 85yds range.
He quickly got his gear set up in the swim and after a couple of casts around the area located a small patch of gravel among a bed of silt. Two rods were positioned on the firm gravel with Vor-Tex boilies from bait company Sticky, and the third was cast just off to the side in the silt with a Peach and Pepper Wafter.
On to all three rigs he threaded PVA sticks filled with a mix of Sticky Bloodworm Bag and Stick Mix, 2mm pellets and Hydrolysed Bloodworm Compound liquid.
And going against the grain of the usual winter tactics of fishing single hookbaits or small PVA bags, he decided to give the carp some food and spodded out 6kg of Vor-Tex pellets and chopped boilies.
“Halfway through my evening meal, the middle rod signalled a steady take and a scrappy battle resulted in a mirror just over the 20lb-mark,” said James. “It was a very welcome fish to start the session and a real confidence boost for the rest of the trip as I knew my approach was working.”
He didn’t have to wait long for his next bite, and just two hours later the bobbin on his right hand rod pulled up. “This fish felt a lot heavier and took me a little longer to play in. When I got it close to the net I could see it was a lovely chestnut coloured common and on the bank she tipped the scales to 29lb 2oz. I thought this was an excellent result for the winter, but little did I know the best was still to come…”
The next day-passed without event so before dark he re-cast his rods with fresh PVA sticks and topped up the area with another 2kg of pellets and boilie chops.
“Again, I was halfway through my tea when I received another take. I picked up the rod and the fish just slowly plodded around. It was fighting more like a catfish, using all of its weight in the deep water. It wasn’t until I got it in the margins that I realised how big it was and I quickly slid the net under a very large carp. The bailiff and one of my friends came to help with the weighing and the photographs, and we recognised it as the lake’s biggie, Chilly’s Fish, which spun the scales around to 45lb 10oz. As it was freezing cold and wet I decided that there was no need for me to stay the night so I headed for the warmth of home with a massive grin on my face.”
James’ successful presentation consisted of a 7ins combi-rig tied with 15lb ESP Ghost fluorocarbon and 25lb Korda Supernatural braid knotless-knotted to a size 4 ESP Curve Shanx hook.