Carp are quite gregarious, social creatures, and often shoal up together, but on many waters the larger fish tend to be solitary creatures. For this reason it is always worth exploring the deepest, seediest, most overgrown areas of a lake, where a big carp might just think it's hidden away safely.
Many anglers agree that the largest fish are found in the most ignored areas of a lake. These areas are usually extremely cramped and very difficult to get to.
However, these swims can be very profitable, as they are so often overlooked as Maver carp expert Ed "The Turk" demonstrates during a recent session stalking for large carp.
With only a few hours to spare due to family and work commitments, I threw a rod and all the bits needed for a typical stalking session into the car and headed off to Cleverly Fisheries, Boyton Cross.
Many carp enthusiasts, even when "travelling light" still end up taking too much tackle with them, thus resticting their ability to fully explore their surroundings. You really don't need much; just a rod, bait bucket, unhooking mat and landing net. Anything over and above that is considered unncessary in my book.
Grabbing what little tackle I had with me, I took the time to complete a few laps of the lake to try and find where the fish would be. With the sun glaring down and conditions being very humid it wasn't long before I spotted a large group of carp milling about in one of the corners of the lake at range. As I approached, I lay the gear down and started to creep forward with a bucket of pellets and a few Mainline Cell boilies intending to observe the carp's patrol route and introduce some bait into slightly deeper water so as not to alert them of my presence.
I waited for a while until the fished moved in over the bait at which point I introduced more pellets and Cell boilies onto a spot amongst weed just a foot from the bank in approximately 12 inches of water. With the bait thrown in I was about to move back to get my rod rigged up when I noticed one of the larger carp from the group came back and started feeding on the freebies, clouding up the water. With its head down and tail waving in the air, several more fish then came into the swim and began to feed.
I now had ten fish in the swim of all different shapes and sizes ripping up the bottom and making short work of the bait I had introduced. This seemed like the ideal time to introduce a hook bait, so carefully made my way back up the bank keeping low so as not to spook the feeding fish and grab hold of the rig.
Unfortunately, by this time, the group had gradually moved on having had their fill, leaving just one solitary fish. With the rig now out in the swim, the solitary fish also decided to move on having had enough leaving me concerned I had missed an early opportunity!
However, feeling confident the carp would return to the area on their next lap around the lake, I stayed low and kept my composure, ready for that explosive take.
Maintaining a constant trickle of freebies into the swim, it wasn't long before the carp had made their way back around and were once again clouding up the water seemingly without a care in the world. Carp are very often a lot more confident when feeding in an area they are not used to coming across angler's baits and so visit the same feeding areas regularly with a lot more confidence.
A large tail suddenly broke the surface of the water right alongside my float and I prepared for the take. A few more twitches followed, then some fizzing, before eventually the float slid out of sight beneath the coloured water.
I calmly picked up the rod cupping the spool with my right hand and set the hook. The fish immediately steamed off on a run of around 30 yards, which I was a little relieved about fearing the fish would bolt into the weed beneath my feet. With the fish now out in open water, I would be able to tire the fish before bringing it close to the bank where it would otherwise be difficult to land the fish if it still had plenty of energy.
With the 9ft rod at full load, held low due to some over hanging trees making things a little cramped, it wasn't long before the fish was safely in the folds of the waiting landing net. I was always confident of landing the fish using the Maver MV1 hooks which I have come to rate extremely highly indeed after a number of recent big fish being landed on them. The hook was firmly embedded in the fish's lower lip requiring forceps to remove it. Whilst carrying the minimum amount of tackle you can get away with, it is important not to cut corners where fish welfare is concerned!
Weighing in at 18lbs exactly, it's not the largest fish I've caught by a long way, but it has to be up there with one of the most exciting considering how it was caught and in the very limited amount of time I had - not bad for a 20 minute session!