Off the beaten track with Mike Madeley

Tue 24 June 14


Sometimes opportunities just come your way and have to be taken. I was fortunate enough to have an invite last year to fish a small but intimate venue off the beaten track, in the Cambridgeshire area and from that first session I now have unlimited access.

Let me describe this gem…there is a small narrow pathway around the lake, but just passable for the barrow. There are 2 lakes roughly 1.5 Acres one basically joins the other by a narrow channel the depths are varied in the larger lake were the margins are around 4 ft to around 13ft in the’s very silty and reed lined in places, over hanging trees, Lilly pads, little snaggy areas which give the carp plenty of options to hide. Stock levels who knows, but the carp in this place are old and tricky.

There are 2 places which make good swims. Rough and ready but just enough room for the rods. Barked chip or gravel swims would be so out of place here such is the beauty of this place, the lake has an abundance of natural food, however with this in mind I’ve gone against the grain and introduced boilies. Infusion baits fireballs/snatch have been introduced for 2 reasons, firstly I like this combination and secondly the quality of the bait is second to none.

Ok how riggy are these old warriors. Well they definitely know when something just isn’t siting right…have they seen a blatant rig before? I doubt it! But I’m hoping to play on their inquisitive nature. I started to bait to a far margin reed area about 60yds out. The reason I targeted this is because it’s not far from the channel that joins both lakes so it’s more of an ambush thing…but I also baited up a few snaggy areas with a mixture of chops and different size boilies just to get them used to this new food source.

Anyway back to my plan. Once I was happy with the baited area I decided to use a multi rig set up. Why? Because with this set up I have 100% faith in it. It gave me options. I could quickly change hook sizes to suite various baits etc or change it from being popped up to a bottom bait, I used a short 5inch hook link, the Autumn camou skinline from Vardis really suites my multi rigs and blends in well with the reed and a size 6 vardis chod hook. Again if I hook into one it will be a battle and I want gear I can depend upon…bait wise I didn’t want a simple pop up boilie approach but again to maybe fool them I used some surface/zig foam and arranged it to resemble a Bee, Black-Yellow-Black.

Once set up I trimmed the foam so the hook link slowly drifted down and settled on the lake bed, Critically balanced, the bait was popped up about 2inch so easily seen by any passing Carp.

The plan was to get the hookbait tight in to the margin, to enable this it was a case of casting close to the area, clipping up etc until the required distance was achieved.
Once the traps were set it was a case of sit and wait and watching the water. Tense moments. Every little knock my eyes were glued to the rod tip and watching the line, there are lots of Silvers in here and they seem to be constantly knocking the line the anticipation was of the scale.

After around 3 hours it happened, the line tightened up slowly and the reel clutch started to click, that feeling of excitement is unbeatable. I lifted the rod and when you feel that first head shake the adrenaline takes over, it was just me and this battling moody Carp who kept making for the snags. Feeling it pull the line left and right, pulling line of a tight clutch. Magical. I managed to coax it away into the open water and played her over the landing net. The first glimpse of this dark old mirror sulking in the net was so satisfying and just a pleasure, I got the camera gear and un hooking mat all ready and to see this magnificent old creature lying there, was just special

I had more enjoyment from this than my 41lb common…to me this is what carp fishing is all about. It’s you against the fish. Does size matter in these circumstances, I don’t think so, just as magical as catching them is watching them swim away, I wonder how old these Carp are, were have they come from, there’s no answer to my questions, but what I do know is I’m really looking forward to getting back.

Tight Lines

Mike Madeley


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