Near-forty first trip

A crayfish-disrupted first session on a new water didn’t stop Mark Baker from catching one of the biggest carp in the lake.

The Colchester rod made the trip across Essex to Fryerning Fisheries and came away with a 39lb 4oz mirror – a fish that normally tops 40lb.

Having arrived close to darkness, Mark baited a marginal area and was woken by a savage line bite the following morning, but nothing materialised.

He said: “I decided that something wasn't right and reeled in to check my rigs and found that I’d been done by crayfish. Having never fished a water with crays before I was left scratching my head as to what to do next.”

After covering his baits in shrink tube, Mark spotted a couple of fish rolling at about 150 yards and managed to fire a chod rig baited with a Frank Warwick Baits Pineapple pop-up to within 10 yards of them.

He said: “Only 10 minutes later my bobbin just pulled up tight and stayed there. I initially felt nothing and started cranking the rig back towards me thinking nothing was there, when all of a sudden the rod hooped over as I obviously caught up with the fish that was swimming towards me. The fish then changed direction and headed back out towards the far margin, flat rodding me and continually going on long hard runs, stripping line from a tight clutch.”

Having called for assistance from a friend, Mark managed eventually to net the fish. He said: “It was then that I realised I’d caught one of the lake’s 10 known forties on my first session. She was a little bit down in weight due to spawning but I couldn't care less as she was a stunning old warrior of a carp.”