Photos & text - Luke Kennard
From what I had seen on my previous visit to the urban park lake, it was evident that there were some very special fish lurking in the depths amongst the dense weed. Despite the lake being situated in the heart of an estate renowned for being rough, I was determined not to be put off. On arrival to the lake for my first session, I was greeted by a group of youths drinking and smoking on the far side of the lake. Manoeuvring myself around the group of youths I made my way around the lake, observing what other anglers tactics and watching the water for any signs of fish. I lapped the lake patiently three times, on the third time round I stumbled across a group of carp who were basking in a small bay on top of the weed. Positioning myself behind a tree I studied the carp for half an hour, watching their movement patterns and feeding habits. The carp were moving in and out of the swim, circling around a small patch of lilies and then back into the bay. As the carp moved out of the swim on their patrol route it was time to get the rods out. With mobility being key on a water such as the park lake I opted to use the Nash Dwarfs in 9ft 3lb, coupled with the Nash Naked Gripping Chod Kit to ensure that I could present a bait properly in this dense weed. By applying the Nash Tungsten Putty to my chods I was able to present them perfectly; fluttering through the water column to position themselves on top of weed, armed with no other than the trusty 15mm Nash Cappuccino pop-up and a 12mm Nash Scopex Squid in yellow to create a snowman choddy. The reasoning behind the snowman choddy was because of the vast levels of weed in the lake; despite critically balancing the hookbait a fine layer of weed was masking the hookbait still. Therefore, the additional pop-up was being utilised for additional buoyancy as well as a visual attraction.
Two hours of waiting and watching patiently but still no action, so I decided to reel in and replace the pop-ups on both rods before flicking the rods back on the spot. With fresh baits back on the spot I was convinced that it was going to happen today; I was going to catch my first park lake carp. Out of nowhere, my right alarm went from silence into absolute meltdown, I was into my first carp from the park lake.After a five minute battle, the carp was almost ready for the net. Wallowing in the shallows, keeping the carp’s head up and the hook pulled, gutted! Nobody likes losing a fish however, this proved to me that my tactic worked, confident of another take I applied a couple of new baits to the choddy and flicked the rod back onto the spot and a few moments later I was to be in again. With the reels locked up, the BP6 flew into my alarm as the second take of the day occurred. What a take, so aggressive! I grabbed the rod and struck into what felt like a good fish. Staying deep and using the weed to its advantage, it was nerve rattling stuff. Applying constant pressure to the carp I was able to keep the fish on the move and eventually get the fish up to the surface, away from the weed. I reached out with the net, waiting to scoop my prize up when I felt the line ping across shoulders of the fish, fortunately, the hook hold was strong with my prize still in contact. When I lifted the net and removed the weed from the fish’s head it was apparent that I had landed an old, dark warrior. With fish in the area I didn’t want to waste any time so I unhooked the fish in the net and flicked the rod straight back out to see if i could steal another quick bite. With the rod back on the spot I took another look at my prize which was sulking in the net; I couldn’t believe it, my first fish from the park lake and what a belter at that. My prize hadn’t gone unnoticed as it wasn’t long before I was accompanied by a small audience who wanted to see a close up of the old warrior but with the fish being fairly old I felt it most appropriate to rest the carp in the net before bringing him to the mat to take the catch photos. Watching the old warrior swim back to the depths of the lakes brought a chill to my body, an amazing experience.
Another hour passed after returning the carp to the water and there was no sign of any fish in front of me anymore and the lake was fast becoming busy; groups of youths gathering in the corners of the lake, kicking and throwing rocks into the water whilst other locals decided to take their mopeds and quad bikes for a spin up and down the far side of the bank. With the chaos in mind, as well as the reputation of the lake, becoming fast apparent I decided that it was time to pack up and get the rods in the car. On my previous visit, I had noted down a few likely looking spots so on the way to the car I decided to trickle some bait in in anticipation of a quick return. My first experience of the lake was one to remember, a very special place in which I hope to catch more of its residents, unfortunately, the turn around time from fishing to fishing again is slow due to work commitments. So in the meantime, it was time to return to doing my homework on the water to give myself the best chance of another urban belter. I always like to walk away from a session with the positives in mind and knowing that my chods were working has given me real confidence in my new go everywhere rig. With the next session on the horizon, it was time to start prepping rigs and thinking through my next action plan.