2022 RECAPPED Pt3 – Dale Leeder

Published by on December 22, 2022

2022 RECAPPED Pt3 – Dale Leeder

With the summer antics out of the way and September on our doorstep it was time to start a new campaign going into late Summer and Autumn.

 “Open to the elements”

Situated about ten minutes down the road from my home in Staffordshire are four big reservoirs, One particular that has been on my radar for many years. Sixty four acres of windswept, deep sailing pit containing a handful of fish that were apparently stocked in 1992 with, in my opinion, one of the best looking fish in the Midlands, The Big Plated.   

“Bait and wait, i didn’t need to wait long”

As I mentioned it was windswept and on one of my first trips I was joined by my partner Lauren. It was extremely windy that night and around 4amin the pouring rain the wind literally ripped the bivvy from above us, leaving us open to the elements with 70mph gusts and us hanging onto the bedchair for dear life… It was safe to say Lauren wasn’t in a hurry to come fishing again and I had some making up to do. (Nothing a Nandos couldn’t sort out).      
“the perfect common at a top weight”    

With it being a boilie and pellet only water I called on the old faithful again, Formula Red & Plum boilie with bucket loads of Vita-Lac pellet. With a slow start to the campaign with around eight nights without reward something had to give. After finding a few fish showing around two hundred yards out I decided to fill it in and sit on it. The power of the bait worked and I had five or six bites that night to upper twenty. Bait was key.

It was a case of finding them, giving them plenty of bait and when they found it, they were pretty simple to catch.

Finding them down the opposite end of the reservoir on my next trip I simply repeated the process and when they found the bait I had two bites within ten minutes, unfortunately losing the first one. The second fish felt heavy, It was one of the big commons, and I was absolutely made up when it finally went in the net. A quick message to the fishery owner confirmed it was a real rare one and at its top weight.

“The valve, i zone i needed to be in”

With another lovely mirror from that end of the lake a few weeks later, before I knew it we were into November and with the milder weather continuing it really felt like big fish season. I have to say though the fishing was tough and I found myself racking up the blanks again. One trip in particular they started showing in a zone over deeper water and as I packed down to head home the chap fishing that area had two bites just to confirm where I needed to be. It was a swim called the ‘Valve’ which was central and had deeper water on offer.

The conditions on my next trip were absolutely spot on and to my surprise the ‘Valve’ wasn’t taken. One thing I’ve not mentioned is that the reservoir also has a sailing club present and I set up that day just as a coach load of school kids pulled up and set sail on their weekly kayak, sailing and water sports day. Trying not to swear at the kids I positioned 3 baits to the “zone”.


“The other big common”

 What happened next will stay with me forever.. I had 2 quick bites and as I stood there looking down at two incredible carp in the same net I couldn’t believe my luck. A mirror known as ‘Bert’ and the other big common that resides in the lake known as the ‘Missing Common’, maybe the screaming kids weren’t that bad after all. 

“Staffordshires finest at 44lb”

Keeping them safely in the net I repositioned one rod and just as I clicked the bobbin on to my disbelief I was away again, by this time I had a group of anglers behind me, one of them very kindly standing there with his spare net. After all, I bloody needed it! This fish felt heavy, surely it couldn’t be another ‘biggie’? As it got closer in the crystal clear water, big plated scales became present. I could tell from the voices behind me that I was connected to something a bit special and we were soon all staring down into matey’s spare net at a truly special carp.. Staffordhires finest ‘The Big Plated’ and at forty four pound i was blown away. 

A special end to a brilliant year! 

Merry Christmas. Dale