Now Where do I start? I could start with walking through the famous gates of the Horton Complex for the first time but for me the journey feels as though it started a long long time before that moment.
Carp fishing is nearly always on my mind and ever since I was little if I wasn’t fishing then I would be reading about it. As many of you will know Horton has been written about many times over by some of the greats and every time I read something about the venue I would get a feeling deep down that some day I would have to walk the same steps of my Heros and see if I could catch one of the carp that not only haunt the depths of the gin clear lakes but many of my dreams too.
Getting my ticket wasn’t really planned for this year but when one was made available how could I refuse? With the money paid and the confirmation saying I was a gold card member my excitement was hard to conceal, every carpy conversation would always lead back to Horton and the carp which inhabit its lakes. Their are always ones which you would dearly love to have a cuddle with and capture the special moment in time by freezing it forever still, safely sorting it away so time and time again you can glance back at it and get that fire burning. But for me I didn’t want to set myself targets apart for getting some Horton carp under my belt.
With the opening date set, plans began to hatch as I tied rigs, double checked rods and reels and just generally got everything prepped all ready for the big day. The rules dictated that no one was to be on sight before 7:30am and once it was time to drive through the gates swims were to be chosen on first come first served basis. Although we couldn’t be there before 7:30 I was still outside Andy Phillips house at 4am ready to hit the road just incase we had any problems along the way. We arrived rather early at about 6am so sat outside the gates watching every movement the clock hands made until the special time came.
We decided that our first venture was to be on the most famous of all the lakes the Church! We was amazed to see the banks empty as we strolled around trying to locate our quarry. Our only problem being that there was just to much choice and the carp wasn’t giving us any clues. We settled on two swims which where in the central part of the lake and started to make our way back to the van to grab the rest of our tackle when Andy caught a glimpse of something roll out in front of the plateau swim.
we rushed back to Collect our buckets before dropping them in our new choice of swims. I decide on a lovely little corner called the RIP with a big westerly wind hacking in. It looked perfect as I sat at the waters edge just taking it all in.
After a good lead around I was happy with a couple of spot and gave them a nice helping of the deadly KSC. Every bleep had me on edge and my heart thumping out of my chest. As darkness fell it wasn’t long before I received a call from Andy informing me he had his first Horton carp sulking in the net and awaiting pictures. It wasn’t one of the A-team but instead a lovely stockie of around 21lbs and a great way to start his adventure.
Two days later I was still yet to see any carpy signs and began to get itchy feet. I felt a move was on the cards and decided a walk was in order. By this time most of the swims were gone and any that were left didn’t look to appealing so I had a quick stroll around the boat lake. I had literally only stepped onto its banks, When I was halted to a stop. I crept forward and was welcomed by some stunning carp hiding away under a snaggy tree line. I could have sat there for hours just watching them in the aquarium like setting but knew if I didn’t act soon then somebody else would. I rushed back to my swim and packed up in record time before settling into my new swim on the boat pool. I didn’t want to alert the carp to my presence so was double quite as I set up. I couldn’t risk casting to much and skilfully ( more like luckily) managed to get both rods out with just two casts before melting back away from the waters edge. The afternoon past too quickly and it was obvious that the carp knew they were being angled for as they became incredibly twitchy. The first night came and went without so much as a bleep and it wasn’t a shock to find that the fish had now vacated their hidden home. With no fish to be seen I decided to have a quick lead around to see if I could find a few spots to present a bait on. I eventually found what I was looking for and once again got some bait out hoping that it would be enough to entice the fish back. It certainly worked as during the hours of darkness fish after fish crashed all over me and the savage liners told me they were certainly back. I sat on the edge of my bed fighting the urge to hit every bleep that the alarm gave out. Until the sun had risen and the liners stopped.
What had happened? I was sure it was only a matter of time before the bobbin went up without ever coming back but no! I had been done well and truly. Before I could even think of hatching a new plan there was an almighty Crash Bang Wallop. I looked up in disbelief as another member threw his gear into the nearest swim. He didn’t even have the courtesy to pop round for a chat or ask where I had my rods before a marker landed not ten feet from my rod tips. Gutted was an understatement and I quickly walked round to find out what was going on. His excuse was he didn’t see me there ( we were only about 40yards apart) and with that started hammering in his banksticks. Now by this point I was ever so slightly fuming but I knew the damage had already been done and getting into a row wasn’t really my best option although I made my point of thinking that it was certainly not quite cricket which fell on deaf ears. I couldn’t sit there and stew on it any longer so bit the bullet and decided another move was my best option.
By the time he had hammered in his last peg I had pulled mine out and headed off, kingsmead 1 bound…