The King of Elstow

Updated: Dec 9, 2020

Winter can be a tricky and often cruel season to pursue large carp, the poor conditions and festive temptations challenge the resolve of even the most dedicated carp anglers.

In the final days of 2019 JAG’s Jim proved that there's no need to hang up the carp rods in December by landing The King of Elstow; amongst a huge hit of carp!

Here's what he had to say:

'With a strong idea of where the fish were held up and with mild, if a little wet, weather forecast. I got down the night before a 36hr session to do a little prebait of a known feature at 60 odd yards.

Turning up the next morning an hour before first light and with 2 rods already clipped up at home, these were quickly sent out within a few feet of each other on the prebaited spot. The 3rd was to go out later on an adjustable zig. It didn’t take long for the first bottom rod to pull up tight resulting in a very welcome low 30. Before dealing with the fish, the rod was quickly clipped up using the distance sticks, new rig attached and cast back on the area. As I was getting the mat and camera ready the recast rod tightened up and a low 20 mirror was soon in the second net. Not long after photographing both fish and quickly getting them back to their home the same rod was away again with a 26 mirror.

With such a great start I was sat sharing a cupper with friend Rob and was contemplating giving the fish another hit of bait when the left hand rod received a one toner on the zig, not the normal 3 bleeps you get from the Neville on an adjustable. After a very spirited fight I slipped the net under another low 20 mirror.

With the baited area being quiet for a few hours I sent out a good 20 or more spods and decided to redo both bottom rods for good measure. Just into last light I received a series of single bleeps several seconds apart on the ‘hot’ middle rod. I went down to investigate, feeling the line and checking all was well. I stood up thinking it just a liner when the Neville indicated something more definite and I was promptly playing another Carp. This fish didn’t do a lot and was quickly netted. Turning on the head torch to see what I had revealed a much longer and broader fish with a lovely scale pattern. On the mat I recognised it as a fish aptly named the King of Elstow, an incredible fish that was originally introduced in 1975, now that’s old!

Feeling rather chuffed I decided to spod out everything I had left in the bucket as I was only staying the one night. With the lights from the factory in the distance I could just make out where the spod was landing and was confident the fish would be grazing again in the morning.

After a good night sleep without a bleep the middle rod was away around 8am. Once on the mat it was another of the older fish, one of the leathery crew at a few ounces over 30lb. 2 more fish followed, a double and a 20 on that same rod. Bite number 9, again on that middle rod see the fish come straight to the surface and a few seconds later the hook pulled. I had just got that rod back out when the zig rod signalled a few bleeps and I was soon playing a fish in the deep gin clear margins, I could clearly see my hookbait squarely in the middle of its bottom lip when all of a sudden that hook popped out as well. 2 hook pulls in 10 minutes was a little odd but wasn’t going to dampen the spirits. I dragged the session out to last light and managed one more low 20, the first take from the right hand rod which was fished a few feet from the exact same rig that produced 8 bites, still trying to work that one out??

11 bites for 9 fish at the arse end of December was a very satisfying session.'

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