September 14, 2020 3 min read

Fortunately a while ago I was asked to be a best man for my future brother in law Sam. I was given the responsibility of organising a stag do. With covid restrictions firmly in place and both our fires well and truly burning for angling I decided to book a special venue out for a big group of lads to celebrate this special occasion. After a big search of lakes I fortunately stumbled across a real gem. Formerly known as Cleverley mere. It had been taken over by a new owner and made into an exclusive booking venue. The lake itself is simply stunning nestled in the countryside of Essex. The lake offers many small bays and snags whilst also being very weedy, it certainly got the juices flowing! The lake contains many stunning old English carp with the majority being commons.

We arrived on the Friday and was shown around by the owner and I simply fell in love with the lake. The Friday night was to be the big social night with a massive bbq and plenty of beer. A great time was had by all. Saturday morning with a very sore head and nothing happening to the rods during the night. I decided on a walk around the lake and try to track the carps whereabouts. On one of the last bays I came to I noticed some sheeting up close in. Obviously I got a couple of rods and the essentials and flicked two mesh bags out of Gemz 50/50. Hookbait choice for the whole weekend was to be the washed out white mini wafter dumbbells. Well after the two under arm flicks with small mesh bags attached was done the fish swam off. The bubbling stopped and I came to realise these carp were a bit too clever for that. 

I decided to pack up the gear from the main camp and move round to the secluded bay. Clearly fish were present within this area and I felt super confident getting the rods out. Each rod had a liberal scattering on hemp, and of course lots of C-food boilies. Rig wise I was fishing blowback rigs consisting of Fox edges terminal tackle range. As darkness drew in the swim became alive. Fish began rolling and out in the dark I could hear fish showing in the direction of the left rod. I had just drifted off when the left rod was away resulting in a cracking scaly mirror that looked as old as the hills. On closer inspection it’s little withered fins and rough skin really gave the fish some characteristics. Later I found this fish is called little reem, a proper Essex name if ever I heard one. The fish was one of the owners' favourites and one of the best in the lake so I was told. The rest of the night passed by uneventful and I awoke to a stunning morning. 

After the shows that night I had heard multiple carp showing down my left margin so decided to switch the rods around. I put one rod down the margin and also moved another rod onto the island snags. With the rods repositioned at lunch. I didn’t feel that any action would be forthcoming till that night. Fortunately I was wrong and a swathe of activity saw me land 2 carp and a tench in the repositioned rods. My first bite turned out to be a stunning 31lb common that was simply immaculate in every way and the second was a 21lb mirror known as Milly. The C-food was certainly working its magic for the first time the fish had ever seen it. 

Unfortunately that night I lost a fish at 2am and it was not until 9:30am that the margin rod buckled in the rests. After a simply incredible fight I landed a 32lb common known as Bert’s. Another classic example of an old Essex English common. Unfortunately time had run out so we bid the lake goodbye and we are planning to return in the not so distant future.

Bag a biggun

Craig Runham


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top quality bait

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