Forces Carp at Pool Bridge Farm (Brian Skoyles) …

I’m very proud to be a Patron for the Forces Carp Project which is organized by Simon Bangert. Through the therapy of carp angling its aim is to assist the rehabilitation of wounded, sick and injured service men and women.

Each year there are several fish-ins organised by Simon, the latest of which took place at Pool Bridge lakes. My task was to help the participants catch some carp off the top.

The carp lake is very well stocked with a mix of mirrors and commons. Although not huge fish, there are lots of them, so I was confident that we would see plenty of fish on the bank.

Joined by fellow patron Julian Cundiff we agreed to leave everyone to get organised whilst we would concentrate on getting the carp feeding. This proved to be reasonably straightforward and a steady mix of 8mm and 11mm floaters soon had fish feeding in front of us.

Martin Britton was the first to try to tempt a fish off the top. It looked like a simple task but surprisingly the fish were proving a bit tricky, often taking the free baits and leaving the hookbait. But Martin wasn’t giving up and eventually the rod hooped over with the first fish of the weekend on. Martin carried on fishing and I was joined by Lee Mason.

I’ve fished with Lee before and admire how he copes with his injuries. I was hoping for a nice easy take or two but conditions got even trickier, with a breeze springing up, that drifted the fish away from us. After a while it was obvious that we would need to change swims. So we upped sticks to the opposite bank to fish the margin where the drift was pushing fish towards.

It was amazing how close the fish were picking up the free baits so we ended up staying well back from the edge with just the rod top over the water. The clutch was carefully adjusted and just a couple of feet of line from tip ring to freelined floater was lowered onto the surface. This really was going to be hit and hold and so it proved as a lively common took the tip under the surface ... great fun and Lee was also off the mark.

The weather took a turn for the worse and the light rain made the surface fishing a bit trickier. After a BBQ and lively social it was time for me to leave.

I said my farewells to a great group of guys, who I suspected were going to be in for a busy night. It had certainly kicked off with another brilliant day. A special mention to Andy Nettleton and Dave Maclean who spent the weekend supporting Simon with the general running of the weekend and once again a big thank you for the invite.

Brian Skoyles (May 19)