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It was late August and I decided to pay a visit to the Lavers Syndicate in Essex. It’s got some great looking carp and it had been very kind to me on a couple of short visits in June. This was going to be my first full night on the lake and I was very much looking forward to it!

I arrived on Sunday night and I was pleased to see that I had the entire lake to myself – just how I like it! I got to having a good walk around but unfortunately nothing is showing. There was a lot more weed than a couple of months ago and straight away I had concerns about my little dwarf rods that I’d packed for this quick session.

I set up in a corner swim on the far side of the lake. I was on the back of the wind and immediately went about trying to find some spots. The weed was pretty thick in most parts of the swim but I did manage to find a few spots at around 14 wraps range. I decided to fish both rods on a fairly tight patch of bait that was applied via the spod.

lavers syndicate

Above: Set up in the Essex countryside. No light or noise pollution – lovely 🙂

It was a stunning night to be on the bank. As I watched the sunset I felt so privileged to be out overnight for the first time in a few weeks. The wind dropped and everything was good with the world!

It was a quiet night with nothing to report, not even a beep. I woke up early and saw the odd fish crashing over to my left. A few fish poked their heads out over my spot which was enough to make me stay put. At 9am I decided to put more bait out. My bucket was empty so I go to the car to discover that all I have is sweetcorn and a small bag of pellet and maybe a kilo of boilies. I decide to give them mainly sweetcorn (6 tins go straight in) but also add a few handfuls of pellet and boilie.

carp lavers syndicate

Above: All settled in – the sunset over the Lavers Syndicate, Essex.

About 45 minutes after re-positioning the rods my right hand rod ripped off and I struck into a powerful fish. All of a sudden my left hand rod is screaming too! What the hell! Double take! I’m struggling to keep the first fish out of the mass of weed that’s in front of me. I simply have to ignore the second rod which starts and stops as that fish was clearly running from weed bed to weed bed. The fish I’m playing went solid. My little scope rod was struggling and my Fox Exocet Trans Khaki line is really a casting line that is low diameter and is not up to this punishment. All of a sudden the inevitable happens and the line snaps – I’m gutted. I chuck the rod on the floor as the other alarm is still sounding.

I strike into that rod and I’m amazed that I can still faintly feel the movement of a fish. Within seconds it’s completely jammed up. Not really a surprise given that it must have run through loads of weed – the line parts. I literally sink to the ground in a complete daze – what just happened? Utter madness for a 15 minute period. It’s carnage! Snapped up rods on the floor and me slowly realising that I’ve got to get these rods back out.

Before I did that I had another lead about to get a better feel for where the weed was thickest between myself and the spot. I felt confident that I could get another bite but needed to be smarter about how I played these fish, particularly with the tackle I was using. I worked out that the weed was not so severe down the right side of the swim. The bank was quite open and I planned to run to my right if I hooked another fish and bully it over to that side of the swim and try and keep it there – easier said than done! I put out more spod and replace the rods.

An hour later the right hand rod rips off, I hit the rod and run to the right as fast as I can! I wish I had my main carp rods with me! They are loaded with stronger line, however I still think they would struggle with all this weed. The fish is thumping and I can feel it coming through the weed – it’s a horrible feeling. I’m just waiting for the line to give way but it was holding up to the task.  After about 10 minutes I have it in the margins to the right of the swim. There is still a fair amount of weed close in and the fish goes into it about three times. Each time I carefully prise it form the weed and eventually scoop a net under the fish along with a reasonable ball of weed. I fold the net over the fish and shout a few expletives as if I had managed to eventually get one back on the carp gods! I then collapsed on my back and just laid there for a few moments.

I then looked in the net and it was a stunner. On the scales it went 21lb and a few ounces but the weight was irrelevant. It was such a challenge to land that fish in those conditions with the equipment that I had to hand – I was over the moon.

lavers syndicate
Above: A stunning slate grey mirror pulled slowly from the weed beds.

mirror lavers syndicate

Above: The other side. I really was over the moon after this hard earned prize.

I like the idea of sneaky sessions with my little dwarf rods. They’re a good rod but I think more specifically the line let me down. I purchased a low diameter casting line to compensate for the small reels however, after a season I’ve realised that I’m not casting massive distances with these rods. They are being used on the river (which is as snaggy as hell) and on small weedy lakes – so strength is way more important than distance. I came away and purchased a bulk spool of Gardner HydroTuff ready for my next trip.

Hydro Tuff

Above: Gardner HydroTuff, perfect for weedy lakes and snaggy rivers.

Also if you’re on the market for some scope or dwarf rods then get the strongest ones you can, at least 3.5lb tc. I wish I had. Anyway, the session ended with a fish when it could have been a complete disaster. I’m already looking forward to getting back on the Lavers Syndicate when I’ll be better prepared.

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