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It was late August and I decided to pay a visit to the Lavers Syndicate in Essex. Itโ€™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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 myย left hand rod is screaming too! What the hell! Double take! Iโ€™m struggling to keep the first fish out of the mass of weed thatโ€™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 Iโ€™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 – Iโ€™m gutted. I chuck the rod on the floor as the other alarm is still sounding.

I strike into that rod and Iโ€™m amazed that I can still faintly feel the movement of a fish. Within seconds itโ€™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. Itโ€™s carnage! Snapped up rods on the floor and me slowly realising that Iโ€™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 – itโ€™s a horrible feeling. I’m just waiting for the line to give way but it was holding up to the task. ย 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 earnedย prize.

I like the idea of sneaky sessions with my little dwarf rods. Theyโ€™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 Iโ€™ve realised that Iโ€™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 youโ€™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 Syndicateย when Iโ€™ll be better prepared.

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