Drayton Reservoir, 10th September 2011

The best of the day - 14lb Mirror
The story of 4 fish and two new personal bests!!

After a month of not fishing due to other social activities such as tackling and conquering Helvellyn in the Lake District I was itching to get out on the bank again.

Mark and I had discussed fishing Drayton Reservior for sometime.  The lure of large carp, averaging 12-18lb was just too tempting...  unfortunately Mark couldn't make the day so I set off on my own.

After a call to the baliff, he confirmed that the middle of the dam wall would be the best area to target, between pegs 35 to 55. 

Tactics for the day would be Bagging Waggler, Pellet Waggler and Method feeder.

Drayton opens at 6:30am, I managed to get there from London at 6:45am... the place was packed!  I managed to secure Peg 53, so within the area that the baliff had recommended.  Drayton has platforms for each swim, with the exception of the beach swims.  The platforms are very well made and quite large with a metal reinforced hole for your umbrella, corner tie points for bivvies and umbrella guide ropes and four stainless steel area's to put any bank sticks in with tightners on.

The water level was very low and was well below the platform, again British Waterways have though this through by creating concentre steps next to each platform.

The Session
I decided to start on the method feeder at 30 turns, I didn't want to use the line clip due to the size of the fish.  I laid out a bed of groundbait and soaked pellets after sending out ten "double skinned" method feeder by loading the feeder using a mould, then refilling the mould by 75% and reforming over the already formed method feeder.

The wind was blowing quite hard and I was flicking 8mm and then 11mm pellets out over the method feeder line to try and get the fish feeder higher up in the water.  If they weren't then the pellets would help the method feeder line.

The carp were topping quite regularly and after a fruitless 2 hours on the method feeder with the exception of some large line bites I decided to give the pellet waggler a go.  By this time the wind was really blowing strongly towards me and it was tough to get the pellet waggler to the required distance, so I swapped to a bagging waggler, the extra weigh of the grounbait allowing me to reach the right distance.

After an hour on the bagging waggler, nothing, no bites, nothing.  I was starting to think I may blank at Drayton, not a good prospect.

10lb Mirror
The carp lads around me where picking up fish about every 40 minutes there would be a spell of "bleep, bleep" from the bite alarms and next thing a healthy carp would be netted... this wasn't doing my confidence any good.

Change of Tactics
I noticed the carp lads were taking fish at some distance, so I quickly set up my 12 foot feeder rod up with a 1oz running bomb on and double 10mm krill boilies.

My mate Mark arrived with his nephew Jason who had been playing a junior match for Peterborough (they won 3-1).  No sooner had he arrived that the tip flew round and the first fish for the day was on.  Now I had to take it easy as I had 6lb mainline on, the fish gave a great account of itself and after 10 minutes was capably netted by Mark.  It was a lovely 10lb Mirror Carp.

Now Mark has some good carp fishing skills and knowledge and after landing the first fish of the day he recommended that I shorten the hook length.

Another hour passed and Mark mentioned that I should feed the "margin" line, so a couple of handfuls of 8mm and 11mm pellets went in and I dropped the single boilie in along with them.

12lb Mirror
As there was very little distance between bait and rod tip I slackened off the front drag to act as a sort of bait runner.  Mark and Jason went to leave and no sooner had they got to the car as the reel screamed off and another fish was on.  Mark parked has car and came down to net the fish.  After another seamingly long battle the net slipped under a 12lb mirror.  I was elated as this became my new personal best carp after the 10lb 4oz fish at Tunnel Barn Farm earlier in the year.

Mark and Jason now left for a second time.  The bomb rod rig had a terminal tangle in it so I dropped the method feeder rod, my small 10 foot rod loaded with 5lb line into the margin, again using a single 10mm krilled boilie.

The wind and the weather had taken a turn for the worse.  An hour later, around 6:30pm the reel screamed and another fish was on.  This struggle took longer, 10 foot rod, 5lb line, not a good combination against the carp in this water, but the drag was set correctly and eventually I brought the fish to the net.  It was a real fat mirror carp, weighing it it turned out to be 14lb and I'd broken my PB for a second time that day.

The hair rig had broken on the hook length so as the day was getting on I baited two large worms and again dropped it in the margin.  The tip flicked round and then nothing... on retrieval a greedy little perch had take the two huge worms...  time to pack up and head north.

Conclusion
Drayton is a great water, dominated by carp anglers, but that is not to say that pleasure and match anglers don't fit in, just makes sure that your tackle is up to the job.  Keep the rigs simple, keep an eye out on the anglers around you, see where there are casting and don't even forget the margins, it produced two cracking carp for me.

I'll be back, but next time I'll be bringing the carp rods and buzzers, not forgetting a comfortable chair!

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