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Being a team member of Successful Baits I’m lucky to be in a great position to meet different anglers from around the country and even some parts of Europe. It was that time on the calendar for some of the UK Successful Baits team to get together for an annual social. 
The venue of choice was Elson’s lake on the Stanwick lakes complex, home to some very special commons to over 40lb. For me this was a great chance to catch up with other members of the team - some of whom I hadn’t seen since the Carpin' On trade show earlier this year. It was also a chance to meet some of the newer recruits to the team. All of who, I can say, that I will keep in contact with and will be travelling to different areas of the country to fish more socials. 
The session for me started while on my lunch break at work on the Friday. For me this was a great time to get the tackle box out and tie up a few leaders and rigs ready for the session. Having previously visited the lake for a look around, and when we were choosing a venue for the social, it was apparent that the lake is very weedy with a few present clear spots. With my current syndicate being weedy itself I was confident in fishing my favoured hinge stiff rig. After knocking up the leaders and some chod sections for the hinge stiffs it was back to work for me, while always thinking about the lake in the back of my mind. 
2pm finally came around and I was able to load the car up and be on my way, with every piece of tackle I own in the car, from stalking rods to floaters - I was ready for whatever situation I was faced with. It was a relatively short journey for me of around an hour, with traffic on a Friday afternoon being my main problem, but without a hitch I arrived at the lake in good time and was greeted in the car park by some of the boys. After meeting and talking to some of the team it was time to draw for the swims. Each swim on the lake had already been numbered and the idea of the draw was for different members of the team to fish with people they didn’t usually fish with. My current track record for draws is usually underwhelming so I wasn’t confident beforehand, however, after drawing peg 6 I was slightly more confident. With the barrow loaded with all the necessary tackle, I was ready to get the session underway. Arriving at my swim I was greeted with a snaggy far margin which I was sure the fish would use as a patrol route. With snag fishing being one of my strengths in carp fishing this was my first choice of areas to target. I was able to walk around the lake to this far margin, and managed to climb a tree and get a better picture of which area to target, keeping my eye out for that fancied clear area. Annoyingly, I had broken my polaroid glasses just days before the session so I wasn’t as confident in spotting the clear areas with the naked eye. Having picked out a couple of likely looking areas it was back to the swim to have a few casts with the leading rod and find a spot. Unfortunately for me, the far margin was littered with big beds of Canadian weed and I wasn’t happy with presenting a bait with such thick weed. Lucky for me, before exploring the area I had to make a dummy cast to get a line clip off the reel, and fortunately this actually found a clear area two thirds to the far margin. Upon exploring the area further I was happy to find a low lying bed of silk weed surrounded by big beds of Canadian. This was the spot for me as I was confident in slow sinking hinge stiff rigs presenting perfectly over the area, not wanting to trash the water to a foam. With both rods out, one on Scoberry and the other on VNX+, I was fishing, baiting the area with boilies and confident of what the night had to bring. It was time to sit back and chat with the lads about all things carpy and discuss on each other’s angling. 
carp fishing bait successful baits
4am arrived before I knew it and with the first coffee on I was ready to look for signs of showing fish, sat next to the rods at the bottom of my swim I was ready and waiting. Sure enough as always seems to be the case in those first couple of hours of light the carp revealed their position to me. With the bulk of shows being to my left about 20yards from my spot, with continuous shows and fizzing I was sure it was only a matter of time before there was a bite. But unfortunately for me, the fish were happier to remain in the same area and were unwilling to venture onto my spot. After bite time had passed I decided to bring the rods in and rest the swim, hoping that baiting the spot and not having lines in the water for the most part of the day would benefit me when replacing my rods in the evening. Before doing so I wanted to explore a little to my left, where I had previously seen signs of fish in the morning. Again I found a similar area to the one I fished the night before so that was good enough for me, with the rods clipped up and ready to go with the spots baited it was time to rest the swim and explore more of the lake. 
The day for me passed uneventfully on the fishing side, but the social side was well underway with the pizza being ordered and more angling stories hitting the listening ears. Late afternoon arrived quicker than expected, and I wanted to get the rods back out on the two spots earlier than I had the previous evening, hopeful of a fish through the night or early morning. Again I was up at first light, but it was a completely different morning to the previous without a fish in sight! That’s carp fishing unfortunately, the best laid plans don’t always come through, but that’s what keeps us coming back for more! With the morning passing uneventfully it was the dreaded time to - get the kit on the barrow and head home. With the car loaded and goodbyes said, there was already talks of another social later in the year. Let’s hope for me I can sneak a carp out next time. Each time we fail gives us more motivation to succeed next time. 
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