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And then there was even more!


Following from my last post I had a long talked about fishing trip planned with one of my oldest and best friends, Paul ‘Pip’ Truscott. We had been, kind of, arranging this for a couple of years.
Pip and I are both members of a long established and well respected organisation called The British Carp Study Group (BCSG); it takes quite a lot to be accepted as a member and it is something we are both very proud of.
The group has it’s own complex of waters in the very beautiful Colne Valley in Hertfordshire very close to London and I am lucky enough to have a membership for it. Pip can fish it for 4 days a year as a guest.
We work opposing shift patterns so Pip had booked a few days off work to allow us to go together for a social trip. I can fish it anytime so I arrived early on the Sunday morning to check it out and to find how it was fishing from anyone who might be there. Pip, as a guest, wasn’t allowed to fish until midday on Monday but had planned to come down on Sunday afternoon and camp for the night.
It was slow according my mate Pete who was set up on “The Point” swim. One other guy was fishing further around the lake in “The Roundabout” swim. Neither had caught any Carp.
With a good south-westerly wind forecast I decided to set up in an area I knew well called “The Winter” swim. I baited a couple of spots and then waited for Pip to ring me before meeting him at The Village cafe in Harefield, a couple of miles away. The day was quiet and we enjoyed chatting and winding each other up as usual.
05.45am Monday morning and my left-hand bite alarm was singing it’s wondrous song as a fish tore off in to distance; I shot out of my tent, picked up the rod and set the hook with a firm strike.
This was clearly a big fish and we battled for about 15 minutes until I managed to draw it into my landing net. I had a quick look at it in the half light of dawn and realised that it was a very big fish.
I left it resting in the net whilst I sorted out the weighing gear and camera etc. On the scales it pulled the dial around to 36lbs 2oz (16.3kg) and was a fish known as “The Half Linear” due to it’s scaling pattern; I carefully placed it into a special retaining sack in the water and recast the rod. 45 minutes later and the other rod is away (I usually fish with 2 rods), Pip heard the bite alarm and came wandering down just as the fish was ready for netting. “Have you got one?” he asked. “Sort of” I replied; “I’ve got two”. Pip took a look into the landing net and proclaimed it a big ‘un! (In language I can’t really print here in case children are reading).
He lifted the scales and read out a weight of 37lbs 12oz (17.1kg) and was another well known fish by the unusual name of “Codzilla”!
That’s the biggest brace of Carp I’ve ever caught in an hour in England!. We photograph it and returned it to the water before doing the same with the one I had retained earlier.

The fish known as “Codzilla” at 37lbs 12oz from Korda Lake, Hertfordshire.

“The Half Linear” at 36lbs 2oz. Korda Lake, Hertfordshire.

I had a feeling that I had caught The Half Linear 10 years previously when Pip’s brother Neil had accompanied me here as a guest, when I got home and checked the photographs it turned out to be so. What a strange coincidence; the only two occasions that I have caught that fish I was in the company of one or other of the brothers.

The Half Linear 10 years previously at 17lbs 8oz!

 Even stranger is the fact that both myself and the fish each way about 19lbs heavier! Hahaha 😀 … Bummer!
I fished on for one more night and had another bite in the early hours of the following morning, Pip again turned up to assist with the netting but managed to miss it twice before poking it off the hook; I’m still wondering if the normally expert netsman did it on purpose! 😀 (Only kidding).
I left him to it on the Tuesday morning, but not before he had quizzed me as to the precise location of my hotspot in the swim. He was moving his gear into my spot before I had even managed to load the car! I didn’t blame him either; I would have being doing the same thing!
I am very pleased to say that he did catch one that night; a splendid Common Carp in excess of twenty pounds. Good one mate.

Enough of this fishing nonsense already I hear you cry. OK, I promise not to mention it ever again…  not until I catch another great big monster that is!

Mitch getting ready for our excellent day at Llandegla.

My latest mountain biking escapade saw Mitchell and I winging our way westward in to the beautiful Snowdonia National Park in North Wales for ride at one of our favourite trail centres, Llandegla.
Although short on actual trail distance (about 13 miles), and with a very dull fire road climb to the trail proper, it more than makes up for this with superb bench-cut descents and huge berms through thick forest and with a great variety of technical riding. The black-graded descents are as good as any you will find at UK trail centres. Fantastic!
We arrived at a sensible (for a change) 10.00am after an easy and pleasant two hour journey through lovely English and Welsh countryside. The car park was fairly quiet which is always a good sign and we argued for a while about whose turn it was to pay for Coffee/Bacon Sandwiches/Lunch/Car parking etc as we normally do. All in good spirits though; but I do like to try and wind him up as much as possible! I did end up paying for the bacon sarnies though. I still don’t know how that happened.

Mitch enjoying a bacon roll and gazing lovingly at the shiny things in the shop.

We set off up the long and laborious fire road climb to the trails, very pleased that we had eaten bacon sandwiches just before and trying not to re-distribute them on the trail. Mitchell whizzed off to the right around a nicely banked turn and shot off into the forest with me wondering why I didn’t recognise this bit from last time?
It all became clear shortly afterwards when it dawned upon us that we may have taken a wrong turn in our haste to get to the good bits. We followed our noses and swiftly ended up back at the trail-head car park which we had left about 30 minutes earlier. The only thing to do was laugh; before crying for a bit because we had to go up that bloody fire road all over again.
When we eventually got back on to the right path we sighed a sigh of relief and launched ourselves at the magnificent trails and bombed around them like the demented idiots that we are. And just for good measure we looped around and rode each of the black sections at least twice to make up for our earlier misdemeanors.

Me launching into one of the black sections as fast as I possibly can without dying!

Finally we rolled back into the car park and headed straight for the cafe to guzzle down a great big portion of chilli each; which tasted all the more sweeter for Mitchell having to pay for it let me tell you. Oh yes indeed.

This weekend Mitchell and I are taking part in The Hope Valley Challenge up in The Peak District National Park; one of our favourite places to ride.
This is a very popular event run every year in aid of local charities and will see upwards of 150 riders tackling the 16 mile or 30 mile courses. We have opted for the 30 miles challenge because we are stupid.
It fits in nicely with my non-competitive ideals. It has two re-fueling points on the course with copious quantities of cakes for the riders. The whole idea is to try and consume more calories than you actually burn off during the ride, which sounds like a very splendid idea to me! d;o) 3000 calories worth of cakes; marvelous.
I’m sure that all the hikers tackling Jacobs Ladder on Saturday morning will be very pleased to see all of us whizzing past!

And to finish on a very exciting note, next week see’s Danny (my son) and I jetting off to the far flung shores of Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia for an … ahem … Himalaya training camp … cough! Yeah right! Or a great big 3 weeks of partying and misadventure on the backpacker trail. Wicked. I might even treat you to a blog or two from the far east if It’s printable.

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Thanks once again for stopping by and putting up with me (that’s if you actually got this far!).

Me looking very dashing in my lovely new Fox top; just before launching down the third of the black runs at Llandegla.
Mitch flying down the North Shore at warp factor 10. Llandegla.

About The Author

Neil Cottam

Neil is the founder of Chase The Rainbow. He has spent a lifetime exploring the outdoors, from a childhood climbing trees and scrambling his bike around old pit heads to hiking in the Himalaya and backpacking around Europe and Asia.

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