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Returning To The Syndicate by Mark Russell

Updated: Sep 30, 2018

I am absolutely made up with my first trip back to my syndicate water for 48hrs this year. I decided to take a walk round the lake Sunday evening to see if I could find any signs but after about an hour poking around the margins and not seeing anything. I was just about to put some bait out in 3 swims I fancied when a bloody great big dark mirror decided to lump out from a swim just down from where I was sitting, so having marked the area in my head I hot footed it down to bank to see if there were any signs left. I promptly parked my arse on my bucket and watched patiently, after 30 mins nothing else showed so I decided to stick a couple of kilos of my Mainline boilies, pellet and sweetcorn mix in on the area.

I arrived back at the lake at about 11:30 Monday afternoon and stood looking out on the 35 acres from the car park swim when I saw, well, nothing. Apart from seagulls, a few swans and ducks. The normal animal species you would expect, what was missing was the obligatory speed boat. It was a bit overcast but still warm, this doesn't normally stop the marauding wet suit clad sun worshippers from smashing up and down the lake from dawn till dusk. I really don't have too many issues with them, just the few that think it fun to trying and fling their board mounted victim as close to the trees as possible, almost touching distance which means the boats come so dam close your lines are at risk even fishing along the margins ruining any chances to fish for the day.

With no one else in site, and no signs of carp I headed towards the swim I saw the fish top the day before. From this end of the lake you get the best view of the whole lake apart from 3 areas, behind the islands. I sat in the swim for a while, I'm not really sure how long I was there before I decided on setting up, an hour maybe but I didn’t see anything to give me a sign of where to go so I decided to stay in the swim I was in.

The weather was a lot warmer than I had expected, the wind was blowing from the top corner to my left across to the bank I was set up on, but kind of a cross wind. I saw the fish top on the back of the wind the previous day, I had seen on the weather forecast that the wind was due to turn Tuesday evening to blow over my head and be very similar conditions to when I saw that big mirror top. I knew the area I wanted to fish as I had a lead about on the Sunday, it is just under 8 foot deep, clean clay with very little to no weed at all.

First to sort obviously was the rods, it wasn't going to rain so there was no rush to get the brolly up quite yet in case I saw some sign and decided to move.

The first rod was already set up with one of my new 45lb Fluorocarbon Leaders my team and myself are currently testing, size 4 Scorpion Wide Gape hooks and a single fake corn, it balances the hook very well. That went out on the spot, it was a firm area, not silty but very clear of any weed. I then set the second rod up with a snowman rig, again on a size 4 Scorpion Wide Gape hook but with a Mainline bottom bait boilie and a 12mm Mainline toasted almond pop up. I wanted to fish all 3 rods close together on the area I baited the day before so the second bait went next to the first. Feeling the lead down this time landing on a hard area, probably clay.


Scorpion Wide Gape blow back rig

Lastly was going to be a Ronnie rig made from my Scorpion Curved hook in size 4, bait screws, hook beads and new QC Round Swivel. Bait was another of my favourites from Mainline, a chocolate orange fiz pop up. Out it went to the same spot as the others.

The sun was now high in the blue sky with very little cloud in the view, I was starting to see a few fish in the area not too far from my baited spot. I had been set up for a few hours, daydreaming the day away when I got my first liner which sent my heart rate and blood pressure sky high!

There was a massive weed bar right in front of me, I had a feeling it would cause me some issues if I caught.


That's going to cause me trouble!

I absolutely love being out on this lake as the evenings pass to night, the noise quietens down, the dog walkers stay at home and the wildlife just seems to enjoy the park more. The sunsets are special but the sunrises are beyond belief, I always set my alarm to wake me up just before daybreak to make sure I don't miss it especially on here.


Sunrises can be breath taking!

Things started off quiet overnight but by midnight I had 2 bream, both hanging themselves on the first rod I had cast out with the fake corn on. Another 2 bream came just before daybreak but still no sign of the carp, I wasn't wrong about that weed bar with each of the bream coming in with masses of weed wrapping around them.

I sat watching the sun come up wondering whether to pack up and move and see if I could find another spot and signs of carp, but from my previous catches on here had always been preceded by a few bream. After a coffee, or 3, I had decided to stay put and it turned out to be a good move, or not move, as just before 6am I had another drop back and slow ish run. After a short fight and unceremoniously heaving what I thought was yet another bream over the top of the weedbed only to discover it was a small zip linear of 4lb which as it turns out was stocked a few months earlier at 1lb 9oz!


1lb 9oz to 4lb in 2 months! Come back and see me in a couple of years.

All went quiet on the fishing front throughout the day with no signs to point me in the right direction, I can't say the same for the dog walkers, they seemed to be everywhere and so did the dogs.

I kept the bait going in throughout the day, steadily adding it 5 or 6 spombs every 2 hours. I had to do something about that weedbed as it was going to cost me fish so after a quick phone call to the wife to drop a rake off for me I set about clearing a staggering amount of weed. It took me 4 hours of back breaking work to get rid of enough weed to reduce the risk of the fish burying themselves in it. I used the gripper lead to firstly drag the weed towards me as it was just out of reach, I would then hook it with the rake and drag it all to the margins where I stacked it up.


4 hours weed clearing, but was it worth it?

As the sun started to set the bats came to play, and so did the bream with the first of the night falling to the fake corn once again at around 11pm. I had a feeling it was going to be a busy night and I wasn't wrong. With a steady flow of bream with a further 5 taking a liking to the same piece of fake corn. After each one I wrapped the distance back up and spodded another 3 spombs of bait back on the spot. By first light I was knackered, the phone alarm went off signalling time for a new sunrise but since I had just put another bream back not long before I was already awake sipping on a coffee. I slipped back into bed and was sound asleep when at 9am the alarm howled a one toner, the bobbin slapped the rod hard and the line came out of the clip and peeled off the spool, the first thing I muttered was "that's no bream"! I lifted into a very angry fish which proceeded to run me all over the place. It felt like a decent fish, putting up a proper scrap, without any warning it decided to swim straight at me. At first I thought I had lost it as I wound like a maniac but all was slack, then, bam, I was back in touch as it reached where the weedbed used to be! Thank my lucky stars that I had made the effort to get rid of the majority of what was directly in front of me. It didn't mean I was out of the mire as there was still a huge weedbed both sides of my swim. I clamped down on the spool determined not to give it an inch but try as I may the clutch still clicked over, pulling hard to the right I managed to keep it out of that weedbed just for it to use that against me and swim straight under my tips and head to the weedbed on the right. I got a glimpse of a dark back full of interlocking golden scales as it passed, again I held on tight not letting out any line. By this time I was up to my knees in the lake, in my socks, my knees were like jelly and my heart was pounding, finally I slid my net under a beautiful dark common! It was by a long way the biggest carp I have caught from here after 3 seasons of on and off trying.

I hadn't bothered bringing my camera or tripod, as to be honest, I haven't really needed it in the past, I put out an s.o.s on Facebook to see if anyone was around to help to no avail. So I phoned my wife to see if she could come over again and do the honours, an hour in the deep margins will help the common recover so I was more than happy when she said yes. She is a star! I gently transferred the fish into the sling just to find there was no retaining cord! What the hell, how can you lose a retaining cord! Time to improvise, the only thing I had that might help stop the sling, and carp, disappearing across the lake was my line from the rod I had just caught it on. I bit off the leaders, tied a few knots on the retaining ring, then tied a few more to make sure the sling was going no where and slowly walked her out to sulk for the short time until my wife arrived. About 50 minutes after calling her my recast rod was away, it was another fast take on the fake corn but as soon as I lifted into the run I knew it wasn't as big. After a short but spirited fight I was yet again in the lake up to my knees slipping my net under a high double mirror. Just as it went into the net my wife arrived accompanied with both the kids and the dog.

First we weighed the smaller mirror at 18lb done a few pictures and slipped her back. With oo's and ah's from the kids I lifted the common out onto the mat. On the scales the needle swung round to 26lb 8oz's, I was more than happy with that and once a few pictures were taken she was returned to the lake.


26lb 8oz common, my biggest from the syndicate, so far.


Nailed! Scorpon Wide Gape size 4 and a single fake corn.


18lb stocky whilst waiting for my wife.

I was also very happy with how the Scorpion Wide Gape hooks had performed for me, not only on the carp but on the bream, staying needle sharp and holding firm even after I locked the spool up.

I hope to be back down again soon but work and family life seem to get in the way. Tight lines every one!

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