I’ve never won anything in my life but, after 42 years that all changed. On the last day of July I opened my emails as usual, expecting a boat load of junk mail. I spent the next twenty or so minutes deleting and blocking spam from ‘Had A Slip, Trip Or Fall In The Last 30 years?’ An email entitled, ‘Darren Belton Competition’ grabbed my attention then it dawned on me and I thought, Oh Hello! Clicking open the email with trepidation I quickly glazed over the contents before the words
‘CONGRATULATIONS you have been picked…’ shaking with excitement, I was the proverbial kid on Christmas morning! After a nervous phone call to Andy Charlton, Carp Marketing Manager at the company, I was quickly made to feel at ease and the given details of my prize: A 24 hour session with Darren Belton at Elphicks Fisheries for me, my son Sam, and a good pal and keen carper, Mark.
An early Monday morning start, setting off from Cheshire at 4am, we arrived at the fishery around 10am to be greeted by Darren who had also made an early start. Everything was set for the session of a lifetime – rigs tied and baited up, rods at the ready.
Darren explained the best way to approach the water which was to build up the swim by spodding small amounts of mixed sized pellet regularly and fishing 10mm boilie on the hook with a tiny mesh nugget of pellet threaded onto the hook link. Simple, but deadly. After a few beep less hours we had our first run ‘Bump’ Oh dear it was off. Out went the rod followed by a few more spods, and the alarm was soon beeping again, a very welcome, small but cracking mirror to open the account! From there on a pattern started to emerge, re-cast, spod, fish. The action was pretty much none stop and only slowed down around nightfall.
After a few hours sleep it was up at dawn, a quick brew and the process began again, a fish almost every chuck on each rod every twenty minutes, by this time my boy was getting restless as his margin rod hadn’t moved at all, tugging on the back of my t-shirt he uttered a few words, “will Darren sign my cap.” Amused I thought, when you catch one aye! Mark, in the next swim was amongst the fish too as we had them going either side of man made feature, then just as the session was coming to an end Sam’s margin rod screamed off, a lovely common topped a once in a lifetime experience, not bad for a dad and lad starting out, armed with the skills and knowledge that Darren coached us, I can now tackle my local waters with confidence. A top, top session with great company, and only made better with some fantastic food, freshly prepared by Mick & his lovely wife. We said our farewells and just as Darren was driving off, Sam bemoans… “He never signed my Cap!”
We would all like to say a huge thanks to Mark, Phil and all the guys at Elphicks. Check out this month’s UK Carp magazine (available with Angling Times) to read the full feature on Pete and Sam’s session.