My second instalment of red letter days is about a carp fishing trip to a local Cheshire carp water, the date of this fishing session was 3rd May 2005. Early May is always a good time to be out fishing and the first week of this particular month is traditionally a time I head south to one of the Oxfordshire gravel pits at Linear. This year I’d decided to give Linear a miss, the previous May it had been stupidly busy and I’d decided not to visit the lakes again, the prices were getting silly and the shear amount of anglers fishing meant I’d struggle to get on the fish. I’d done my fishing time in Oxfordshire and this year I’d decided to stay nearer to home.
One of my clubs had an up and coming water that was beginning to throw out some decent carp, the club has a publicity ban but in recent years it has been relaxed and pictures could be published as long as the water wasn’t named. This particular Cheshire carp water was a fair size at around 15 acres. There was a piece of bank that was out of bounds and it was here the carp would spend most of their time. The carp knew the ’no fishing’ bank was a safe area and even fishing at maximum range it was a real struggle to reach the fish, if there was any kind of wind blowing you couldn’t get near them.
Two swims in particular gave access to the ‘no fishing’ bank, both swims were ‘points’ and they were simply known as ‘big point’ and ‘little point’. The little point was my personal favourite but on this particular carp fishing session I dropped into the big point despite my favourite swim being empty. The reason for this was a nice steady wind blowing up the lake towards the car park and away from little point. I figured the carp might follow the wind but I wasn’t sure as the out of bounds bank was such a magnate for the fish so the big point was a compromise on my part.
I was set up and cast out by mid afternoon, I’d seen a few fish on the far bank so I was happy with my swim choice but I wasn’t convinced I had the range on my casting, despite having 12ft 3.5lb test curve infinity x rods it was still hard work getting a bait cast to the far bank.
3rd May 2005 was the night Liverpool knocked Chelsea out of the champions league before going on to win it. I was settled into my swim with a small radio on listening to the build up to the game. With 20 minutes before kick off a carp rolled on the far margin, I knew my bait was cast short so I decided to have a go at repositioning the rod as the wind had dropped a little. It took me a few goes for my timing to click but eventually everything fell into place and I hammered a single chick pea hookbait to the far bank, it was such a good cast I was 50/50 about it hitting the far bank itself but I resisted temptation to feather the cast and it landed as tight to the bank as I could have hoped, a distance of around 120yds with 15lb line and no shock leader. You know you get a feeling for when something is right and I knew this was the one.
With my recast rod sitting back on the pod and my delkims all back on again I settled down to listen to the game. Even through my radio you could tell Liverpool were up for the game, the commentators voice was drowned out by the kop singing ‘you’ll never walk alone’ before kick off and when the game started you could hear the crowd as loud as the commentator every time something controversial happened.
I was sitting listening to the game and watching the water for fish when the commentators voice rose up a couple of octaves, I focused on the game when I heard Yeeessssss Liverpool have scored!. I didn’t get the chance to shout yesss myself, at exactly the same time as the goal went in the recast rod just tore off!. The game had to wait, I was on the rod and into the fish straight away. I wound down and struck hard, there was a lot of mono out and I wanted to be in contact with the carp as soon as possible. When the line tightened and the rod whooped over I knew straight away that the fish was kiting to the left. There were no snags here so I could just keep a steady pressure and a bit of side strain to make sure it didn’t go too far down the lake. The carp came in slowly and it felt like a reasonable sized fish. Only when the fish was in the margins did it start to pull back a little, I spent 5 minutes trying to get the carps head up as it bored up and down the margins in front of me. At one point this carp was threatening to take out my other two rods but by this time I was able to exert enough pressure to control the situation and eventually my prize popped up for the net and went in first time.
I secured the fish in the margins and went straight for the unhooking mat, scales and my camera gear. Once I had the camera and unhooking mat in position I lifted my fish from the water, unhooked it and got it weighed as quickly as I could. The carp weighed 21lb 6oz, not the biggest fish I’ve ever caught but I hadn’t had a 20 for quite a while at that time and the fact that it had picked up my bait just as my team scored made it a very special fish for me. I’m not sure if the fish actually has a name but to me, this particular carp will always be know as ‘luis’, after luis garcia who scored…or didn’t score?! that all important goal.
I took a few pictures and returned the carp to the water. Despite another good recast nothing else happened on the fishing front that session. Liverpool went on to beat Chelsea that night and ultimately went on to lift the European cup after that legendary comeback in Istanbul. Me, I remember the semi final just as well, knocking out Chelsea and catching a 21lb 6oz Cheshire carp made that particular session a very memorable one!.