Thumbing through my dusty old fishing diaries, I was thrilled to come across the account of my first ever night fishing session on Wetlands specimen lake, dated Wednesday 18th September 2013. Along with Dean, I was one of the first few anglers to enjoy the privilege of fishing a full night on there, once the day ticket only rule had been relaxed. That night I received a staggering 33 bites and successfully banked 23 of them. Eight were single figure carp and the rest were low doubles, apart from one Mirror that just crept over the 15lb mark by a mere 2oz. Of course, things have changed dramatically since those first heady honeymoon days. Five years on, the carp have wised up significantly, such that catches of more than half a dozen carp per 24 hours are rare (unless your name is Pat). Additionally, the average weight of the carp has increased considerably due to the removal of most of the singles and the introduction of a 30 pound Mirror plus several upper twenties. Furthermore, the existing fish have been piling on weight in response to increased feeding with anglers baits. Another interesting feature of that inaugural 24 hour session was that virtually all the takes came during the evening and night. In fact only two carp were caught during normal day ticket hours. Clearly, the fish were highly cautious during daylight hours, but fed with gay abandon after dark. This contrasts markedly with my results over the recent summer months, where the vast majority of carp captures have come during the day. Interestingly, this week's session seemed to buck the trend, as will become evident. It all began on Wednesday morning at 7.00am as I reserved peg 10, peppered a few likely looking spots with a mixture of Wet Baits Tuna 18mm boilies and Skretting 10mm Course pellets, and then legged it to the stock pond armed with a 4 metre whip. A change in the weather had brought a chill to the air, such that I regretted leaving my jacket behind. Nevertheless, I spent a pleasant morning filling a keep net with 1lb plus home grown carp, destined for transfer to the match lake. In spite of using a 10mm Skretting pellet (on a latex band) as bait, I still ended up catching scores of smaller F1's that had to be returned to the stock pond. Eventually by midday, I grew weary of staring at a float and after releasing the fruits of my labours into their new home, made my way back to the specimen lake, hopeful that my pre-baited spots were now ripe for a bite or two. From left to right, my 3 chosen spots were: adjacent to mushroom island; just off boathouse point; and in the corner of the right hand bay. The latter was assigned to bream fishing, which deployed a method feeder, packed with scalded Skretting Protec 4.5mm pellet paste, baited with a light brown 8mm dumb bell hook bait on a size 10 hook. The other two rods were armed with Wet Baits 18mm Tuna dumb bell hook baits, delivered to their target destinations by my newly repaired bait boat, whose hoppers had been suitably loaded up with Skretting mixed size course pellets. At this juncture a word about my bait boat is in order. You may recall that I have been without it for several weeks pending major repairs at Bait Boat Works of Preston. I must say that I am heartily glad to have it back again and that it has been wonderfully transformed, albeit at the cost of 'an arm and a leg'. Whereas, it used to weigh an absolute ton and was frustratingly sluggish in motion, it is now as 'light as a feather', rides much higher in the water and races around the lake with ease. What's more it's all controlled by one joy stick, instead of two and is guaranteed for 2 years. What an improvement! Anyway, back to the fishing. Surprisingly, I didn't have to wait long before the middle rod, positioned 3 metres off boat house point, signalled a rapid run. As expected, the perpetrator kited right towards peg 1. Thankfully, it didn't opt to swerve sharply to the right, in an attempt to get down the boat house channel. Hence, the direction of pull was reasonably straight, such that, after a little bit of nerve jangling grating, I managed to tease it back round the protruding corner into the main bay. Once in open water, it shot back towards me making a determined bid for the marginal trees bordering the right hand bay. To my relief, it ran out of steam before gaining sanctuary within the overhanging branches and thereafter, following a few frantic bursts in the shallow waters beneath my feet, was coaxed kicking and screaming into the poised net. It had the appearance of a hefty Common and when I lifted it onto the cradle my hopes were confirmed that it would break the 20lb barrier. On the scales it recorded a respectable 21lb 12oz and Simon in the next peg, kindly did the honours with my SLR camera, once we'd figured out that the lens cap was still on. After an excellent start to the proceedings, all went quiet for the remaining daylight hours and I eventually retired to the comfort of my bed chair, fully expecting an uneventful night. On the stroke of midnight, I was awakened by a series of bleeps on my left hand rod, fished to mushroom island. I hovered over it, debating whether to strike at what in all probability was a rogue bream, when the bobbin rose and fell with sufficient commitment to prompt me to strike. The action was met with immediate resistance, indicating that this was no bream. What's more, the action stirred my quarry into full blown flight towards peg 2. I found myself in a hit and hold situation, in which nothing changed for half a minute or so. Eventually, the stalemate gave way to a slow and begrudging movement back in my favour. After a further pause, the rate of retrieval gathered pace and I eventually succeeded in hauling my opponent back into open water and subsequently into the anxiously awaiting net. In the light of my head torch a chunky Mirror came into view, which registered a very acceptable 17lb 6oz on my Reuben Heatons. I had scarcely finished dealing with the capture and returned the rod to it's original position, when at 00.30am the bream rod, fished to the corner of the right hand bay burst into life with what was obviously not a bream. Fearing that the 10lb breaking strain hook link and size 10 hook might struggle to take the strain, I played it with the utmost care and respect. After an elongated battle, and without too much drama, an orange-hued 13lb 12oz Mirror finally hit the spreader block, boosting my overall total to 3. At a time when captures are noticeably slowing down towards autumn, this was a most satisfying session, that included three decent carp and one very welcome 20lb plus specimen. Understandingly, I returned home with a smile on my face, and a skip in my step.