Willowgarth again this weekend and my second win in three visits! Will be getting to the status of venue expert soon.

I go to Willowgarth because I love the roach fishing there and anyone who knows me and roach - thats how I got my nickname in the first place by catching roach "One a Bung!"

Anyway, I drew in the corner and even the great Alan Scothorne couldn't win off that peg by fishing for roach so I made my mind up to fish for big fish, in saying that I didnt immediately target carp as there are some big perch, the odd big roach and of course the carp.

Sitting on my box at the start I picked out 4 lines to fish - two in front at 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock at 13M, one down the edge and one right up into the corner at 14.5M next to the reeds. As I was pretty much on my own at that end of the lake and it had been a very hard frost that night I thought the the fish were not going to moving around too much so took a softly softly approach with the feeding, the lines in front I fed 20 casters on each and 100ml of hemp, the down the edge rig I just dripped maggot and against the reeds I went in with 10 dendras finely chopped and about 40-50 caster.

Starting on the long line I couldn't buy a bite on either line so pinged a few casters for 20 minutes but to no avail, those in the middle of the lake were already getting a fish a chuck on the long pole so it was evident that no silvers were in my area, I then converted these lines to big fish lines for later in the match by potting and spreading a good handfull of caster and intended to then leave these lines for at least another hour.

My rig for against the reeds was a combo rig, I call it that because its light enough to catch small fish but heavy enough to give me a good chance of a carp, it consisted of 0.12 sarfix (which is 7lb) straight through to a 16 tubertini 175 .... float was a mick wilkinson 0.2 fished in about 4ft of water, fishing in amoung the stickups I shotted the float with all the shot 8" from the hook so I could easily see if the line had not settled correctly. First drop in, float settled.... waited, lifted and dropped, float settled again then bite within 10 seconds - 2 minutes later a nice ghosty about 6lb was in the net.

Rested the line for another 20 minutes, I then dropped a nugget of chop in with another 20-30 casters, gave it five minutes then in again - straight away the float went, a bit too quickly this time for my liking - thoughts of foul hooking went through my head, now bearing in mind I was on white hyro at this point and people say that carp in winter don't pull back the one I now had bending my pole having bottomed the elastic was doing a very funny impression of an atlantic nuclear submarine.... somehow it didnt come off and after probably five minutes I got to the point of seeing the fish - it was mahusive! 15-20lb common carp and like an idiot I tried to net it at the very first opportunity with my landing net that wasn't big enough for the job.... having scared the beast it the woke up and (it wasn't foul hooked by the way) it took off at speed, got to the limit of my pole, bottomed the elastic and then broke me much to the amusement of the rest of the anglers in my section to whom I had already shouted that the match was all done and dusted!!! Isnt that always the way.

Having hooked two carp in two puts out came the proper gear (0.14 sarfix = 9lb+ and a tubertini 175 size ten) ... this was the rig for the rest of the match.

I kept resting the line against the reeds and cupping in nuggets of worm + the caster, to cut a long story short I hooked three more fish and landed two of them, both double figures - again losing a very big fish and learnt a few lessons.

Today I learned not to try and land the really big fish too quickly and show them a little more respect - however I havent fished for carp that size for 4-5 months so I was bound to be a little rusty so I paid for being greedy and trying to catch silvers as well as carp on the same rig which cost me the biggest fish having been lulled into a false scence of security by getting the first one out!

Anyway, I won the match which was the important thing and two fish would have been enough as it turned out. I weighed in 27lb 13oz but it should have been 50!