Lord of the Manor: Steve Coe’s Incredible Spring on Linear’s Manor Farm
It’s fair to say Dynamite videographer Steve Coe had a spring to remember when he slipped his net under 43 carp from Manor Farm at Oxfordshire’s Linear Fisheries in just two sessions! Among these were some of the best fish in the lake including several of the highly-prized ‘A-Team’. Below, Steve recalls both sessions and shares the tactics that could help you get more out of day-ticket carp venues this Autumn…
I arrived at Linear fisheries for my first proper session of the year after what felt like a never-ending winter! As a bonus it happened to coincided with one of the first spells of nice warm weather.
After walking round most of the lakes on site I ended up settling on Manor. This was one of two lakes on the complex that I had never fished on. However, having spoken to friends, they said it had the potential to fish well in Spring, how well, I was about to find out!
When it came to selecting a peg, it was less about water craft and more about getting lucky and finding someone who was getting ready to leave! So on my first lap of the lake, it looked like the river bank side looked really good with a fresh south westerly wind pushing in. After speaking to a guy in the “Muddy’s peg” he was packing up, so I dropped my bucket and returned to the van to collect my gear. On the way back to the van I stopped in a peg called the “Willows” as this was where a lot of the fish seemed to be holding up. There was no chance of getting in the peg but I logged what I had saw for what would become my next session.
Once I had set up back in the Muddys swim I spent a fair amount of time with the leading rod at the start to try and locate a spot that I was happy to fish on. As previously mentioned, the sun was out and with it becoming an incredibly clear lake and I could see a long bar glowing in the afternoon sun. After further investigation it was a long gravel bar around 7ft deep on top.
As is usually the case at the bottom and/or sides of these pronounced bars you get what I like to call a “glassy spot”. This consists of a smooth pull back, with no bumps, but not the same resistance as if it was deep silt. The spot was located at 21.5 wraps and I was super happy with it especially after I brought back some clay on the lead, this can be a real good tell-tale sign you are ‘on the money’.
The next key issue was the choice of bait. For some reason in the Spring, I tend to shy away from liquids and oils and much prefer to have a “clean mix” consisting of a few main ingredients. Lots of Corn, Dynamite Frenzied Hempseed and 12mm Monster Tiger Nut Boilies. This was a mix I had used for years and is the same key ingredients that many good anglers have been using at Linear Fisheries long before me. As long as the bait is fresh and good quality it doesn’t matter too much, the focus is making sure you present it on the right spot/depth and as accurately as possible.
After making a mix up I dispatched about a half bucket onto the spot, and with the head wind coming straight into me, it made for some really accurate baiting. For the first night I fished three spinner rigs fished medusa style with a 15mm yellow Hit-N-Run. I would then take the time to meticulously trim down so it was very critically balanced. Which is how I like to fish for pre-spawn carp.
The first night passed very quietly but I was awoken just before first light with a lovely brace of mid 20s and my first carp from Manor. It’s always better to be awaken by the sound of a receiver going into meltdown than the first light alarm clock we all set on our phones!
After slipping the brace back the sun was just starting to peek over the trees and this triggered the fish into putting on an almighty show! In the next 10 minutes over 200 fish showed right out in the middle of the lake and it didn’t take me long to realise that I needed to get a zig out there ASAP. After punching a 6ft black zig around 100 yards towards the middle of the lake, I knew it wasn’t going to take long for a bite and around 2 minutes after setting the bobbin, I was playing my third fish of the morning. With the sun blinding my vision, I had a mega scrap, but eventually netted a lovely chunky mirror carp that went just over 33lb. This truly did top off the morning…
Before noon, I managed one more smaller carp once again on a zig, but little did I know that was to be my last carp till the following morning. The rest of the day was very quiet and try as I might chopping and changing zig depths, colours & placement, the bobbins remained motionless throughout the rest of the day and into the night.
The following morning just before first light I received another screamer on the middle rod and this time it turned out to be a mega 32lb common. In the morning sunlight the colours on the fish were awesome.
Later that morning, after watching another breath-taking sunrise, the fish turned up on my spot. Although it looked obvious that they were up in the water and putting on a bit of a display, I hung back from reeling in and putting a zig out as they were showing right over my baited area, so I waited. 20 minutes passed though and I was pulling my hair out! I frustratingly reeled in the rods and replaced the spinner rigs for three black zigs from 5ft all the way to 7ft.
As is usually the way it’s very hard to sit back and relax when you have fish jumping repeatedly over your rods. I was standing over the rods willing them to go when the left-hand rod dropped back and I was finally connected to a carp after a very frustrating half an hour or so. From the get go this fish felt very different to everything else I had hooked that session. It was very slow and ponderous, which can often be the tell-tale signs of a big carp! 20 minutes later I was still doing battle with the beast. By this point I had wadded out just past the reeds and the carp was powering around from left to right, it’s at time like these where you have to have full confidence in your gear.
Another 5 minutes had passed and I finally slipped the net under a fish known as the ‘Pretty On’, a known Manor A-Team resident and my new zig Personal Best at 42lb!
After slipping her back, having a beer and coming back down from cloud nine, the rods went back out and I proceeded to catch another four mid to upper 20’s on zigs.
By the time the sun was starting to set, the fish had moved off so I re-baited the spot with another half bucket and replaced the zigs with my trusted spinner rigs, this time I only had to wait just over an hour before my first bite and this was to be the start of a hectic night. The fish were coming pretty steady and seemed to be a better stamp. Before we lost all of the light I had manged to land another five carp with two low 30s and some mega looking mid 20lb
Once it was dark, I had a brief quiet spell but still felt like I should have been getting bites with the odd fish still ‘boshing’ out near the spot. Although it was dark, I decided to re-bait once again. This proved to be the right decision as only an hour or so later the bites started again and was kicked off with a stunning 35lb Common.
As I awoke on the final morning of my session, after probably two or three broken hours of sleep throughout the night, the action was only intensifying. The morning kicked off with mirror carp of 34lb and 32lb. Both quite different, the first being a sparsely scaled linear and the other being a dark dumpy Mirror.
Once again, I felt like I had been cleaned out as the fish were clearly loving the bait and decided to re-bait but with only a 1/3 of a bucket, as I would be leaving mid-afternoon that day. After baiting, it went slow, which can often be the case on Manor as the fish tend to move off when Anglers bait up.
Around mid-morning the fish turned back up on my spot and it kicked off with almost a triple take of small commons. I actually made a joke to the guy next door saying “that will be the big’uns sending in the fall guys to get rid of the rigs!”
After what had been a pretty amazing session, I only had the one rig ready to go, so I re-rapped the rod and made sure I got it out first time and just left it while I was getting the other two ready to go. I had only just started putting the hook bait on the second rig when it ripped off and after another fight from hell, I slipped the net under another huge common. After safely retaining the fish I made sure I got all three rods back out onto the spot for the final hour of the session. It had been a mega session and to end it on a fish like this I was over the moon. The common ended up going just over 35lb. The colours on the fish were just insane and there is no doubt in my mind that it will become one of Manor’s ‘A-team’ in the years to come.
With the release of that common I felt like that was to be the last fish of the session and began to pack away, but as anglers we always ‘eek’ it out as long as we physically can. Just as the last items were going onto the barrow, Manor was going to give me one last goodbye present.
Once again from the get go this fish felt like ‘The Pretty One’, heavy and gave a plodding sensation. It was ridiculous to think that I was having another mega scrap having had such a tremendous session! By this late point in the day, the wind was really picking up and the line was singing as the carp pulled my tip to full test curve as I tried to guide another huge mirror towards the net and fortunately, I manged to bundle her in.
The final fish ended up at 37lb 5oz and cemented my love for the lake. On my journey home I reflected on what had been an amazing session, but my thoughts had already turned to how soon I would be back and what I would catch next!
Just one week later and I had managed to get back down to the lake. To be honest, I was still on cloud nine off the back of the last session and was hungry for more. I never thought I would have another mega session like the last one. Boy was I wrong!
I was really happy after bagging the Willow peg, which I had checked out on my last session. The fishing however could not have been any more different. Willow was more of a shorter-range peg with a far tree line and an average depth of 4-6ft. It was shallower but also full of weed, but where there’s weed there’s carp!
When looking out at your water in the Willows it’s hard to know where to start as there are literally hundreds of options for spots or areas that you could present your rigs on. Similar to the last session, I started out the same way spending time with the leading rod trying to locate a “glassy spot” similar to the last session. I could see a very pronounced bar that looked like a smaller version of the one in front of the “Muddys swim”, and just like previously, at the bottom of the bar I found my “glassy spot”. After a few more cast it was just a case of repeating the process from the week before. I got the bait and rigs out, but I didn’t quite feel 100% confident.
The day remained quiet and I didn’t change or do too much as I had a fair bit of work to do while on the bank.
The first bite came the next morning, with a series of fish following in quick succession. The first was a lovely mid 20lb, followed by a mega scrap from a second fish which weeded me up multiple times.
It was my mate James who recognised the fish first and said “That’s Spike”. To be honest, I thought it was just a upper 20 low 30, and I was put off by the proportion of the fish. Its head was huge and the rest of the body really quite small. Never the less it was one of the oldest carp in the lake and a true dinosaur at just over 38lbs.
After releasing that fish, I re-baited the spot and made sure all the rods were presented perfectly, and similar to the last day of the previous session the bites started to come steadily throughout the day. One thing that I learned was that after landing a fish if I left the other rods out and didn’t re-chuck, I would get a quicker bite. That day I went on to catch another 3 fish, 2 smaller ones at just under 20lb and one absolutely stunning low 30lb.
That night was very quiet as were all of the nights which to be fair is what we all love, a good night sleep and plenty of action in the day. The second day started much the same as the last, with the fish moving back in over the spot, and receiving a bite from a smaller carp usually followed by a larger carp!
It was at this point in the session I was hoping to move pegs as the weather was due to change and I wanted to chase the fish as they moved. Unfortunately, or fortunately as it turned out, I was unable to move so stayed put.
A huge storm rolled in with really strong gusts and torrential rain. I assumed the fish would move into deeper water, but this was simply not the case. They stayed put and the weather turned them on even more, and the big girls to!
After having another couple of carp in the morning, it had gone very quiet when out of the blue I had a very savage take. Once I’d connected with the carp I just couldn’t do anything with it. It just powered out towards the middle of the lake and if anything I felt like I had hooked a cat fish. Before long the fish had found a series of weed beds and it went absolutely solid. After 10 minutes of trying to free it to no avail, I put the rod back down on the rest to see if that would help. 20 minutes later and no indications I picked up the rod and gave it everything. Still to this day I don’t know how my line didn’t snap, but eventually it budged a few inches, only for it to power straight back into the bed and I had to repeat the process.
After freeing the carp from the weed bed again, I had the craziest fight I have ever had with a carp. I was stood out in the lake in the monsoon rain getting absolutely beaten up by this thing!
Eventually after an hour I managed to get it in the net, and it was another huge mirror. I didn’t recognise it, but yet again my mate James did. ‘’It’s Mr Ridiculous’’, one of the Manor’s A-Team, with a weight of over 40lb. Wow!
The session went on and I manned to carry on catching constantly throughout the last day and finished off with a brace of 30’s.
All in all, it was an amazing couple of sessions and a Spring I will never forget!
Steve’s Spring at Manor in numbers
Number of sessions: 2
Carp count: 43
30lb-plus carp: 14
40lb-plus carp: 2
More catches from the both trips…
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