January 03, 2017 3 min read

To keep me going through the winter this year I decided to join the Winter Syndicate at Home Pool to see if I could up my game a bot and bag myself one of the stunning fish resident in this lake. To date I've been limited to day sessions getting to the venue in the dark and leaving as the sun sets and for the first six trips I hadn't managed to net a fish until the seventh trip when I caught one of the smaller residents in a fin perfect original Common of 11lb 3oz - small for the venue but very welcome. I caught this on a stiff rig baited with a cultured Key hookbait and a small mesh bag of Hinders Mini Combo pellets and crushed Key boilies.

But with Christmas a few days behind us and a few new items of tackle in tow my brother Scott and I headed off to Home Pool through the freezing fog. As we entered the lake through the gate we could see Home Pool was empty but on closer inspection also frozen over….the lake was frozen over from the house right up to the Shed swim with even Bamboo and Hobbits frozen right round to the left and along the margin so there were only 2 areas fishable – the Island and the Causeway. After weighing up our options we decided to stay and fish with Scott choosing the Island swim and I had the Causeway – a swim I hadn’t fished before. This was my 11th trip to Home Pool and to be honest we didn’t feel too confident with the ice and high-pressure things were going to be difficult to say the least but there's always that small chance so I got the marker rod out and started to find some fishable areas. After leading around a few spots were found and the rigs were cast to a gravel spot off the island and a silt bed amoungst the weed to keep my options open and a small scattering of boilies were fed over the top.

The alarms and bobbins were set and with both mine and Scotts rods out Scottie had the kettle bubbling away for a cuppa. Within 45minutes of casting out my Nash Siren R3 alarm twitched illuminating the fog surrounding it followed by the Stow bobbin hitting the top of the rod...….as I lifted the rod I felt the weight of something pulling back at me - the fish was on now all I had to do was stop it getting around the back of the island through the snags and bars..the rod looped over and the nerves kicked in as I felt heavy resistance on the other end, the fight that followed was slow and plodding with the occasional burst of power as the Carp took line off the reel as the fish kept deep. Finally I managed to weave it through the weed and got it over the cord of the net and the prize was mine. I  stared down at the fish in the net, smiling with relief and couldn’t believe the size of the fish it was a lump.

A quick shout to Scott, who hadn’t seen the fight as the thick fog meant we couldn’t see each other across the lake, and he was by my side. After removing the hook from its bottom lip in the net, I stopped shaking with anticipation long enough for Scott to read the scales - it pulled the needle round to 29lb 14oz....a new PB....after a few pictures the Carp was returned in the shallows none the worse for its experience. I caught the Carp on a 7inch stiff rig baited with a Sticky Baits Manilla Wafter and a small mesh bag of Hinders Pellet Combo and broken boilies.

No other bites were received for the rest of the day but I didn't care as it was a great way to end 2016. I can’t wait to get back on there again in the New Year and who knows I might even hit the magical 30 mark or bank the 40lb Mirror the Red One......

Cheers and tight lines

Mark Wells.