"The first night set in cold and clear, and no action was forthcoming. Come the morning, I made the decision to re do all my rods with fresh rigs, and as I was fishing over winter debris and light weed I decided to bag up my 18mm Factor 7 snowman presentation with a High Attractor groundbait mix, to ensure good presentation on the mixed ground I was fishing over.
"The mix proved irresistible, and soon takes were coming regularly. I had decided to feed light around this presentation with just scattered 16mm around each rod. All four rods were presented the same which is a tactic I like, as it assists me in identifying other factors in the fishes' feeding habits. The bagged attractor of Ruby Red Groundbait, crushed Factor 7 and micro pellet was dry mixed with matching glug to form an attractor more than a feed.
"The first fish fell mid-afternoon on the Saturday and was a stunning 16lb 12oz common carp, which put up a very good account for itself, making for every weed and reed bed in sight before Chris assisted with the netting. The second take came in the middle of the night in a full-blown storm! The fish fought really hard and I suspected another common until the huge shoulders and red flanks came to view in my head torch...
"I could see it was a big mirror. The fish was unusually angry for one of the big mirrors, and only when I finally slipped the net under it did I instantly recognise the frame and scale pattern of the mighty Bin Laden – a male fish made up of pure muscle with a huge paddle.
"I decided to retain the fish as it wouldnt be long before first light for some good photos and assistance with weighing from Chris. The fish came in at a PB 31lb 6oz and I was made up. I had caught him before a couple of seasons ago at 30lb on the nose in mid-summer, so a cracking over wintered weight."