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Mike Redfern Lands Sixth UK Forty!

Long-standing Mainline carper, Mike 'Spug' Redfern recently found the time to use a ticket he'd held unused for a year - boy, was his patience rewarded!   

"My usual syndicate was closed for spawning, so I decided to go to Layfields lakes, which are not far from where I live, just outside Norwich. I have had a ticket for over a year, but I had never been down there, due to being busy at work or fishing my other syndicate. Arriving on Sunday I decided to fish a lake called ‘The Oaks’, hoping to catch a nice old scaly one, of which there are many in Layfields. I had spoken to my mate and he had said there are a few thirties in the Oaks, all cracking looking fish and a good ‘back-up’ of scaly twenties, I thought that would do nicely. So, I got there at 5pm on Sunday and slowly set up, there was no rain forecast so I just fished under the stars with no bivvy, lovely job!

There was a young fella called Dan fishing in the first corner and he told me he had lost ‘the biggun’ that day. Now, I thought the biggest in there was about 37lbs, but he informed me, that a mirror had recently been caught at just over 40lb and he was sure he had lost it, I told him that I wouldn’t be surprised if it got caught shortly afterwards, sulking in a corner, as I had seen that before a few times in my angling life. During my first night, I caught a couple of bream at the bottom of the marginal shelf in about 7 feet of water. So, the next morning I decided to fish tighter into the margins, which meant into shallower water and nearer the over-hanging trees.

On my middle rod (fished in the corner of the lake, in front of my swim) I was trying out a new rig for me, called the ‘German Rig’, one I have never used before. What’s more, I’d also recently swapped over to Korda Krank hooks and wanted to see how they got on, having lost all confidence in my previous hooks. Hookbait-wise I used a Mainline Peppered Peach Pastel Barrel Wafter attached with a bait screw, I like these, as the pale ‘washed-out’ yellow is an awesome colour and they smell great too! This rig was then fished over a handful of The Link and Cell boilies, mixed with a couple of handfuls of The Link Response Pellet.

Traps set, I got my first run around 11am, and preceded to lose it in the lily pads, not a great start for the rig it has to be said! So, I got the rod back into position and then my second run came around an hour later and it was nailed! That turned out to be an 18lb 8oz mirror, a cracking looking dark fish. After running the hook sharpener over the hook and got the rod out again. As I was putting my right rod out, the middle rod in the corner ripped off again, not five minutes after being put out, the fish felt slow and heavy, but then again, so did the 18lb’er!  A classic slow heavy fight then ensued, and the fish went into both sets of pads to my left. I held the rod real high, kept reasonable pressure on and gently walked backwards, this worked both times and I soon had the fish in open water and I could see a big dark mirror which initially looked a good upper-twenty. 

At this point I was beginning to regret using the same hook, as this was now the third fish I had hooked on it and I didn’t want to lose it. I had my net ready and sitting on top of the pads in front of me, and the fish came closer and buried itself in those pads, again gentle pressure allowed it to come free and I went to net what now looked like a definite thirty, but my net was stuck in the pads at a funny, half sunk angle and I couldn’t lift it! Then, all of a sudden, the fish charged through the pads and went straight into my snagged net, I dropped my rod, grabbed my net and lifted it up with both hands and the fish was secured, I looked down and I couldn’t believe it, the fish was massive! As for the hook and rig I needn’t have worried, as the fish was nailed again (so it’s onwards and upwards with zee Germans!)

Frustratingly, I have been stuck on 79 English thirties for two years and this fish looked an upper-thirty all day long, I lost it a bit if I’m honest, and I went to see the two lads in the corner (Dan and Daniel) and asked if they wouldn’t mind helping me out a bit as it looked like a biggie, and they didn’t mind at all. I’m eternally grateful for that, as the fish turned out to be the biggun at a lake record at 41lb 4oz and I believe it’s currently the biggest fish on the complex, although there are a few around the forty-pound-mark, even better was the fact it’s one of the best-looking fish I have ever caught!

Its capture puts an end to a recent slow spell for me. It’s my 80th UK thirty and 6th UK 40lb+, four of which are Norfolk forties from three different lakes. The other two 40lb+ are, ‘Two Tone’ at 56lb 8oz from Conningbrook in Kent and ‘Charlie’ at 42lb 4oz from Frimley Pit 3 in Surrey. So, I guess when your lucks in, your lucks in! To be fair though I deserved a bit of luck, as the last two years have been rubbish! Having said that though, I did say I wouldn’t be surprised if it came out because it was sulking in the corner!"
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