May 2019 was the start of my Campaign. The two musts for me were Orion and Hoover. Orion was a stunner of a fish the purple hints on that fish was amazing, then Hoover an old warrior last of its kind this was as old as me and a must catch. Plus Shoulders, Bomb Head, Birch fish, Pluto, and Cassius. so it began, on the first session just throwing a few chods around the pond and slowly found a few areas but no fish came my way… the odd fish was being caught but I was slowly working the place out. it was a game of two half’s day time bites in the shallows and night time down the deep end. that 1st spring just fizzled away and the death of shoulders was a blow and a sad time to be on the lake… Then the carp started to spawn, by now I’ve worked out a little bit so the lake closed to let them do their thing.
Once the lake reopened I wanted to be there, anyone who has fished the Quarry will know how the lake just gets a hold of you.
So I was back down there, this time I went in a swim called Winters the plan was three on the spot and give them some feed as I knew they would be up for a feed, that session l had 7 Fish and one of them was “Bomb Head” 34 lb 12oz… a very angry fish!

A good start and I felt that it was all about the bait at this time of the year they just love it after spawning and this was the case. The next few weekends were going to be key to the campaign, after the next few weeks, everything started to fall into place with plenty of fish coming my way. For some reason, I couldn’t fish Friday night So Saturday was going to be a bit of a social with my good friend Paul Davy (Barty) the plan was to get down have a barbecue do the night then home so put 7kg of particles out with 1kg boilie sat down and had a great BBQ and a few ciders and settled down for the night – 2.30am the rod absolutely peeled off, as I lifted into it, I knew it was a good fish it slipped into the net, as I looked down it was a fish called the broken Lin this wasn’t on the list but it should have been what a creature which went 30lb 8oz. Only a few hours later I was in again as he kited round to my left I knew it was something big after a great battle it was in the net. The fish I joined the Quarry for was in the net I shouted to Bart “it’s Orion mate” it was only 5.30am so we left her in the net to recover sat down made a cup of coffee before we dealt with her.  She was spawned out at 38lb 8oz but she was looking good and  I was buzzing! Sadly I was the last one to have her as 18 months later she passed away a very sad day indeed. The next weekend came and I was back on the spot baiting it again with 7 kg of particle and 1kg boilie late morning the rod was off and I couldn’t stop it as it stripped 50 to 60 yards of line a 30-minute battle commenced then she was in the net, couldn’t believe my eyes “Pluto” was in the net 37lb 14oz! Again healthily spawned out but I would take it.

The summer passed with plenty of bites with some really nice-looking fish…September was a busy month at work so really didn’t get down at all. October I managed to get down and it was a typical autumn night, winds were blowing and rain was lashing down when the rod ripped off and a nice scaly carp in the bottom of the net. Before I could deal with it the 2nd rod ripped off so with only one net, both were sitting in the bottom of it the other fish was a grey looking fish so I weighed it took a few pictures and put it back, and dealt with the lovely scaly fish, then went to bed. After waking up looking at the pictures again, it dawned on me it was “Hoover” at 32lb 4oz and didn’t even realise I just put my hands in my head knowing I should have taken more time with the camera to say I was gutted didn’t even come close to the way I was feeling. I fished hard till the end of November with the odd fish but with work being busy and a new extension going on the house that was my winter over.

Then what happened next came COVID-19 so no fishing that spring, then things started to re-open and we could travel then the carp started spawning but once the lake was open I was back down there I fished a swim called “Pipes” and got it rocking with plenty of fish nothing that big apart from “The Upfront Common” and “The Broken lin” again! to say the lake was busy that year was an understatement and due to furlough, it would stay that way! I did try and get something going in a swim called Stoney late summer really for Autumn as it seems to be left alone most of the year. So I spent most of September in there just feeding it up knowing the big fish would turn up at some point. Early October I had a single beep about half 2 in the morning up I jumped and went out to investigate, it was still in the line clip I put my two fingers on the line and give it a little pull – I felt a little tug back so I pulled a little bit harder and it pulled back that was it I pulled into the rod and there was a fish on the other end, after a battle lasting 10-minutes as I pulled it over the cord of the net I knew it was “Hoover” I wasn’t going to make the same mistake twice! This fish just blew my mind it wasn’t grey like the first time it was looking good with chestnut colour, this fish had been around nearly as long as me, two old gits together for the records this one went 32lb 10oz. A big thank you to Aidan Sharp for some great shots that night thanks, mate. I couldn’t wait to get back down after a long week at work the weekend was here but that was the last time I got in Stoney as It was taken that autumn it done all the big fish but that’s the way it goes sometimes. I drifted around the lake from swim2swim that autumn and didn’t get anything going then winter came only for a few fish. So I took the rest of the winter to spend some with the family and get some bonus points with the wife so I could fish it hard in the spring. I had done one trip that spring then out of the blue my wife found me collapsed on the sofa I was rushed to hospital I had a stroke that was the end of the spring campaign before it had begun. It fished well that spring one of my good friends Jim Chisnall and Loz Huff had a spring.It took me weeks to recover so I spent my time just cleaning the gear down and waiting for the time I could get back down there. So as I couldn’t fish I looked for a new bait something that complemented peanuts, tigers, buckwheat, and maze I found a bait company called Xcel Baits and at the time I didn’t realise how this would turn my third season around. What I like about Xcel was they only did two boilies a nut protein boilie called V. N. F (Vanilla-Nut Fudge) and fishmeal called K.S.C
The VNF is on a Birdfood, Nut & Milk Protein base with the inclusion of roasted peanut meal, tiger nuts, crushed hemp, vegetable proteins, with the addition of CSL, selected digestion aids, laced with two unique feed inducing palatants and finished off with a vanilla & fudge flavour package. This one was the one for me knowing I could use this all year round.

It was now June and I headed back to the Quarry It was the 1st time the rods have been out for several months. I was buzzing, it took me hours to set up and my casting was all over the place this was so frustrating as I knew how to do but just couldn’t it’s only times like this when you’re done fishing for over 30 years then to have something happens to you it’s a long hard road back to yourself but what better place to be. I was worried to sleep on the bank just in case it happened again but there’s one thing about the Quarry the people who fish it are the best and I had many people popping down to see how I was and because of this, I felt safe knowing if anything did happen down there I wouldn’t be long before someone came along plus Jim Chisnel would always text in for a coffee on his walk around the lake top man. Somehow I managed a bite on my 1st trip not big but it was the 1st carp I ever had out of the quarry 3 years ago and on my return, it was most welcome.

The 2nd trip was much the same still wasn’t myself so kept it simple with short casts out into the pond so I knew I was fishing the best I could and that night I had two. I was just thinking to myself that it seemed like the new bait was working then it was that time of
year the carp had started to spawn I think it was 4 weeks before I was down again. walking round the lake I had seen a few fish fizzing in a swim called the dugout so I jumped in there. It was amazing how far I had come in 3 months, I think it was the best thing to happen them fish spawning. I got the rods out, everything just seemed so much better I felt more like my old self. That trip I had 3 so on leaving 15kg when out there on the spot a week later I was back straight back into dugout the weather was warm and the weed was coming up fast and a weed bed had come up between me and my spot so line lay wasn’t the best I had three that trip up to 35lbs but I had also lost two one being Elliot’s. I had to take to the boat as it had gone in the back of the weed bed I got over the fish and was just teasing the line and clearing the weed when I pulled the weed back and there it was Elliot’s looking big too but it sees me at the same time and just shot off. I let the line go but as the fish shot the line just caught my little finger and the hook pulled and that was that. Everything was working right so just pressed the repeat button and put 15kg out before I left that week. work seemed to last forever a few people had heard of the captures would I get back in there. So the weekend traveling down to the Quarry pulled in to gate went and got my net and mat dugout was free didn’t even look round the lake I knew I needed to be here, got the rods out and the drop was unbelievable it was rock hard now that night went by but at 1st light they turned up, the middle rod ripped off and a great battle commenced after a short battle it weeded me up so jumped into the boat got over the fish I broke free of the weed towing me around the lake, after 20 minutes it found another weed bed got over it and started to tease it through the weed clearing it as I went I could now see the fish through the weed it looks big freeing a bit more weed and teasing it up the net finally went under she it was the big lin heavily spawn out at 37lb 3oz that session went great with another three fish so why to change anything so another  15kg on the spot on leaving.Next weekend came and on getting down the quarry dugout was taken so off for a walk around the lake to see if I could find anything I got down to
peg 15 and a few fish were on the top in the weed so back to the car got the gear and barrowed round. Out with the leading rod and after a few casts and not really finding any clear spot decided to fish low-level weed 7kg went out and 3 pop ups over it at 1st light the spot was clouding up it was 2 fish that trip next few weeks saw fish every time. I was on a bit of a roll with 10 30lb in a row I was starting to feel close to the only fish left to catch Cassius the trip back in peg 15 the stop out there was rock hard by now with three rods on the spot I was feeling confident then the late morning I was in it felt big was this Cassius? The fish ploughed into the weed bed soon with the life, jacket jumped into the boat this power was immense what seemed like hours it was finally in the net peeling the weed  back could believe it the big lin again, she had put on a bit of weight going  38lb 8oz this time and was starting to look good put her back and that even the left-hand rod ripped off which ended with a 32lb on the bank. By now the weed in peg 15 was growing fast this would be the last time I fished it but then weeks I spent in there I’ve seen a lot of fish over the other side of the lake in bonds set the following weekend I was in there and the weed was now right up so that meant on the other side of the lake was now unfishable which was good for me, had a lot of water to go at in bonds two rods fished towards sticks and the other close in on a nice gravel run that trip had two more so straight back in at the following weekend fishing the same two to sticks and one close in, that weekend the spot out to sticks was rocking so my near side, rod went out so there was now three on a spot I feel most confident when fishing this way. Jim Chisnall was doing a lap of the lake so on when the kettle. As we were just sitting there chatting the fish shoe on the near side spot which I had only moved a few hours ago and as we sat there chatting we must have seen another 6 or 7 shows I remember Jim saying you gonna put that rod back on the spot, was reluctant as it was shallow water and a lead going in there would just scare them. Jim left and they kept on showing that was it I needed to get a rod on the spot.I reeled one of my rods in then I was looking for the smallest lead I could to try and get a rod out there without scaring them. all I could find small enough was a back lead that would have to do. So on it went I remember the noise of the rod when I cast it sounded like I was fly fishing but it went out there sweet enough so I back the line right off didn’t even bother with a bobbing and just sat on my hands the fish were still showing it had worked, 30 minutes later the line pulled tight I looked out to the spot the water just dipped on the spot then all hell let loose this fish just rip line in the shallow water ploughing through weed bed after weed bed life jacket
on I was in the boat what is just a small fish on steroids or was this something a lot bigger. after getting on top of the fish many times and it just ploughing to the next weed bed it popped in my head could this be Cassius this battle just kept on going and going every time I got close it ripped out the weed bed into the next now it was pushing me down towards some snags, my heart was in my mouth I haven’t even seen the fish yet luckily it turned at the last minute and dived into a weed bed this
the time I got over the fish and started to slowly tease it up pulling the weed away as I went, then I saw a little bit of colour so the net was in with amassive scoop and a half a tonne of weed the fish was in the net as I reached down pulling the weed away I knew this fish was very big it was a fish called Pluto which I had two years ago spawned out but it was looking really big this time so I dealt with the fish out in the boat unhooked it and put him into the mat rowed back to set the net up again and put him into rest. I knew Rob was just fishing up the bank so I asked him if he would help he came down and weighed it 39lb 8oz what a creature.

The next morning the left rod out towards sticks went and a fish called “flip” was in my net another 30lb plus fish.it couldn’t be long now till Cassius was in my net I was feeling really close now. the next session was a blank it was now September I needed to find somewhere for the autumn looking around the lake, I settled on a swim called “New Summers” the plan get the bait going in even if it meant a few blanks and wait for them to turn up New summer point was a swim that was overlooked by most and I was hoping it would stay that way. So the weekend came and I headed for new summer I had lead around and most of the swim was choked with weed. But there was a lovely clear spot out in open water so that was the starting point. It soon became apparent to me that the fish will track Round the Island but it was solid weed and to make it worse play Old weed bed had rolled in against the weed I needed to be by that island but the weed was too dense but between the weed bed and the weed bed that rolled in between it wasn’t so thick about 4 foot high so at the end of the session it was off to the van to get some bait I rode out with 4 buckets and dumped them all on top of the weed the plan was for the coots to get on it and clear a hole and that’s what happened on my next trip I chucked the lead and it went down with a crack it looked like the carp had got in on the party too. The whole wasn’t big and I wanted that way with 6 feet of weed all around it, the carp had to drop down into it which would make them a lot easier to catch so only one rod on it one rod in the middle of the channel and one in open water not the way I like to fish but it was the only way.  It was an eventful night Sun came up the mist rolling across the lake with a few fish showing, my spot in the channel started to fizz I sat there watching it the plumes of bubbles was as big as my bivvy.  It was an eventful night Sun came up the mist rolling across the lake with a few fish showing. my spot in the channel started to fizz I sat there watching the plumes of bubbles wondering why the rod hadn’t gone off by now Rob had popped down for a coffee. I showed him the bubbles we just sat chatting and watching nothing happened and by now the sun was high in the sky. Rob left to go and set up in winter with the swim still fizzing it was now 11am so with it getting hot I retreated back to the bivvy for a laydown. At 11.30 the rod let out a few beeps I look out the bobbin was wedged into the bite alarm I went out and lifted the rod it was solid, I bounced the rod tip a few times but it was locked solid. going through my head I thought it was just a tench as this is what normally happens a few bibbs and in the back of the weed bed great so off I went into the boat reeling in to get on top of it. I got on top still thinking it was a tench I look down and out of the other side of the weed bed was a very large shadow
of a carp, my hands went clammy and my heart began to race I had to put the rod down and started to clear the weed. I had got most of the weed from my line when the fish woke up and went on a run, I picked the rod up the line pinged off the weed and I was being towed across the lake towards the island and the snags I was just a passenger as I headed towards the snags, if it made it to them it was all over… the rod was bent in two but there was nothing I could do this was a nightmare, I was only 2 or 3ft from the snags when it decided to dive into a weed bed the boat stop I just sat there wondering what to do next. if I pulled it might pop out and go into the snags, I put the rod down and rowed very slowly into the snag the plan to get the boat between the fish and the snags the line was slack I didn’t even know if it was still on, the boat was in position I started to clear the weed and tighten up the line it was still on but it was under the boat. I pulled on the branches of the snags to get the boat into them more the fish was now on my right-hand side so I cleared more weed, suddenly the fish saw me and the boat and went for it back out into the lake a sigh of relief as I picked the rod up it towed me down the lake and after that, it was a textbook landing straight into the net.I peered down and looked in I couldn’t believe it… “The big lin” again! what was the chances of that this fish only does 3 to 4 bites a year and it was the 3rd time this year. the only difference,was it was looking a lot bigger I rowed back to the swim put her into the retainer I rang Rob but no answer I rang him again and again and again with this picked up my receiver and ran down the lake he was in the boat looking for a spot for his night fishing I shouted across the lake “Rob got a 40 in the net” ok mate he shouted back I’ll be round in a bit.,  We weighed her and she went 41lb 4oz which was a new PB for me.Nothing happened after that the day just fizzled away and it was time to leave but before I went jumped into the boat and 1 bucket particles and a bucket VNF boilies out over the spot. to say that week went slow was an understatement but the week went and I was traveling back down to the quarry wondering if the carp would still be there and the peg was free. So gear on to the borrow and off I went. It was now dark by 7ish so it was a race to get the rods outs. That night passed with nothing but in the early hours of the morning the rod just peeled off a good fight commenced and I was in, a nice 30lber, a short time after the 2nd rod ripped off but the
hook pulled I can’t believe it. And that was that nothing else happened that day then about 2.30 the next morning, a one toner it felt big it was a good strong fight. I see it roll in the moonlight It was big then as I pulled it over the net the hook pulled – what was going on two hooks pulled one after the other, I looked at the hook the point was bent over so it had gone right I was pissed just sat in the bivvy thinking were the fish feeding more cautiously do to the lower water temperature or was it just bad luck. I decided to make the hair just a little bit longer to see if that would help. So I changed two of the three. At 1st light, I put the new rigs on and cast out. A few hours after that the rod was off not much of a fight but what a fish a 32lb called the “Birch Fish”. What a stunning old creature this fish was.Rod back out now it was late morning and a few bubbles were popping up on my far rod then more it looked like there were 3 fish working the spot. I left it an hour but nothing I had a gut feeling something was wrong but what. in the end I decided to reel it in wrapped it back up recast it bang on 1st time but as I felt for the drop the lead bounced of a carp back the spot just sheeted up… Great I thought to myself that’s done it I left the rig where it was as I felt the second drop just sitting there thinking it was all over. the rod I just cast ripped off and I lent into the rod the clutch just started clicking slowly then the fish started to kite round to my right it was heading for my over line and I tried to stop. it just kept on pulling, my other alarm sounded I caught my line I tried to go under the rod but by then the fish double back on itself so now I was in a right two and eight! it was a slow ponderous fight, I got the fish two-rod lengths from the net I had wadded out as far as I could but now I was trying to pull the other lead off the spot to gain some ground but wasn’t really working the fish just wouldn’t come any closer. I could see the other line wrapped around the
rig, any minute now this was going to pop the hook so with a quick lunge and going over the top of my waders the fish was in the net. I went into the net bit my other line and pulled it in by hand then dealt with the fish by now my mate who was fishing far side to me was ringing my phone I believe the first thing you said to me is that the rod you just cast out. I said yes mate and it’s a bit of a chunk too. He said don’t worry I’m reeling in and coming round. Loz took some great pictures of that fish for the records it was a fish called “Chantelle” 39lb 7oz.That was it for that trip but what a trip it was! . It was all coming together the fish were bang on the VNF so before leaving,  out in the boat and feed them spots. I had them going well and wanted to keep it going as long as I could.

Next week passed and I was back we had some big winds and rain all weekend which resulted in another 3 fish that bring it up to date. Will I get Cassius this autumn or winter as she is the only one left… who knows but if it carries on the way it’s been going hopefully yes but there is the saying you can’t catch them all or can you?

WPxcelb

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