I walked around the lake for three hours looking for fish to give me an idea of what swim to set up in but did not see one carp. I decided to fish of a spit on the opposite bank that allowed me a large amount of water to fish to that could not be touched by other swims. The swim also allowed me other options including fishing to a barge and two islands. The weather was warm and sunny so I was prepared for surface and zig fishing in case the carp decided to move into the top layers of the water.
My tactic was to create a bed of bait consisting of hemp and dead maggots. I wanted to stay clear of boilies as they are used constantly on this pressured water and I believed that I would have the upper edge with the carp feeling more confident feeding on particles. I fished three rods with two on the spot both tied up with maggot rigs. The other rod was fishing on a chod with a chopped down boilie to resemble a pellet fished over pellets and hemp.
The days passed quickly and I reached the third night without much action. I did manage a take on the right hand rod that resulted in me striking into thin air but apart from that spell of excitement it was dead. I figured that I had put all my eggs in one basket and hadn't exploited the many features that were accessible from this swim. The fact that I was doing a long session made me believe that sit and wait tactics would be the best approach and I could bring the fish to me but this was proving an error on my part. The lake had been fishing hard with only a few fish out from the island margins on a small bay to my left.
I opted to stay put in my swim until 4pm that day and then move to a swim that overlooked the bay which had deep margins and an island to fish to. This area was also where fish were being caught and the wind was pushing in nicely. Until 4pm I decided to keep one rod on the baited spot and cast the other two out with PVA bags every hour to random sections of the lake beginning with the island margins. I also tied up new rigs that morning on all rods because I was not confident in the original rigs I was experimenting with. These rigs sat perfectly and consisted of a coated braid hooklink stripped two inches from the hook. A standard hair rig was baited with a piece of red zig foam and tipped with two fake maggots. The PVA bag was packed with dead maggots and once it had broken down in the water created small pile of bait with the rig foam just popped up above. Simple but effective.
Within half an hour the right rod rattled off and a short fight commenced. I didn't give the fish much to play with and soon had a belter in the net that looked to be pushing 30lb. The fish was two tone in colour and was nearly a leather carp with only a few scales lining its tail confirming it a mirror. She weighed 25lb 12oz so not the lump I initially thought but a cracking fish none the less. I was so happy with this catch after all the effort I put into the session. The next night passed quietly and no more fish fell to my unconventional tactics.
It was slightly disappointing not to catch a handfull of these great creatures as Thorney Weir has hundreds of carp in it but I was happy to catch this one and it saved a blank. Many of the few fish that were caught that week were stockies so to catch a "proper" one was great. I love the lake and will be back when the weather warms up and the carp become more active.