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My Most Memorable Capture

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Last Updated: 3rd May 2016

I was asked to write about my most memorable capture. Simple though it sounds, it’s not actually that easy once you start thinking about it.

Through the years there have been several special captures, each as their own twists and tales in the story, hardships and rewards. After much thinking though, I did settle on one particular capture for this piece. The capture that dates from the year 2006.

It was already my third season on the Integra syndicate. This great peace of water actually sits at the end of the garden of Solar team member Wesley Lagaert. Integra was, at that time, a completely different lake to what it is nowadays. Not that it is now easier, on the contrary, but the carp population was much smaller back then, with about 80 fish in the sizeable venue.

In the first two years on Integra I managed to catch some wonderful carp, a few of which were big, but none of which were the biggest, or part of the lake’s ‘elite’, the ones that everybody ‘really’ wants.

It was in mid November, I can’t actually remember the exact date, that I had planned a short session together with Wesley. We had opted for an area towards the center of the lake, which gave us access to plenty of different depths. The weather forecast for the session was perfect. Warm temperatures and a strong, southwesterly wind. The weatherman had not lied; in fact he’ rather played down the ‘strong winds’ and it turned into a storm that was very close to hurricane strength!

Thankfully the strongest of the winds hadn’t got up until later in the day, giving us the chance to get the rods out and in position before the strong winds made it impossible. It was at about midnight when my right-hand rod, which was positioned on a spot a little over 10-meters deep, let out a few bleeps.

A Club Mix pop-up fished over a bed of home-made Club Mix freebies has always served me well on Integra, and many other lakes, and it seemed to have done the trick yet again.

Wes was joking from the safety of his bivvy that it was a bream, but seconds later the STR buzzer screamed into life… this was no bream! The first contact with the fish wasn’t that good. The strong wind that battered on the rod and put a bow into the nylon mainline, making it very difficult to feel what the carp was doing on the other end, or indeed gauge how heavy it may be. We could barely balance ourselves stood on the bankside the wind was so strong.

The only thing that I could do was to land the fish as quickly as possible, no matter what it took, and hope that it’d go well. After a fierce battle with Mother Nature, before long we got out first glimpse of the carp through the waves as it neared the bank in the torchlight.

Wesley and I looked at each other, and we knew enough. This had to be a very big carp! The first attempt to land the fish was spot on (good job Wes as a 42” net in gale force winds is not easy to maneuver). Once the fish was pulled on the unhooking mat we saw who we were dealing with. It was one of my dream targets, the long, two-tone mirror!

Finally, one of Integra’s top three target fish, and one that rarely visits the bank, was mine. I was elated, but when the needle on the scales settled on 50lb, it was also a new PB. The perfect capture and one that will stay with me forever, etched in my memory.

This carp is still alive today and, at around 45 years old now, he last put in an appearance weighing just under 55lb.

Hopefully, there are more moments like these to come in the years ahead.