Well, friendship is everything, right? When we saw this absolutely banging mat shot by Adam Snowden last week, we simply wanted to run a nice mini series of pics on the capture here. So we kindly asked Adam who agreed to it and told us the following.

The few days I spent at Croft Pool were some of the most enjoyable I’ve ever had. The venue is a stalking angler’s paradise and if you enjoy getting up close and personal with your quarry like I do then I can’t think of a better place to spend your time. After lots of frustration and watching a smaller fish eject my hookbait, a few tweaks paid off when this old warrior came along the margin, slowly gliding through the overhanging branches and lily pads. I’d flicked a few broken freebies around the area and we watched with an incredible sense of anticipation as one by one they were taken. We held our breath as a large mirror moved closer to my hookbait, no more than a couple of feet from the bank. Closer and closer, shaking inside. The fish dropped on my hookbait, devouring my trimmed down wafter and tiny bag of boilie crumb in one go. Slowly righting itself, the fish didn’t panic or bolt, the drop off inline had done its job and the clutch on the SS2600 ticked so sweetly as the fish headed calmly towards the nearby snags. Grabbing the rod we both jumped in and a short hectic battle ensued beneath the rod tip. The fish went for the snags using all its power but thankfully I kept it moving, although all the comotion had clouded the water badly and knowing exactly where it was while ducking and diving amongst the branches was difficult. At first glance Dave expertly netted the fish and we both let out an emotive shout.

It had been the most intense few moments of my fishing life and an overwhelming feeling of elation buzzed through me. We knew it was big and we knew it was special, but we didn’t know exactly what we had and I was in no fit state to deal with the fish just yet. Dave waded back over to his swim with the fish safely laying in the net and I made my way back round on foot. I was absolutely drenched as I’d jumped in fully clothed but my squelching feet and sodden clothes just added to the moment. By the time I arrived at Dave’s swim the fish was resting in the sling and I took a few moments to have a brew and gather my thoughts. We sorted the mat and camera, made sure everything was ready and then it was time to truly appreciate my prize. Together we lifted the sling from the margin and placed it on the mat. Once the sling was open we were both rendered speechless, this was exactly what we had hoped for in the build up to the session. All the planning, talking and preperation lay before us, personified in the form of one of Oxfordshire’s finest old carp, an incredible fish known as The Classic Mirror. I think anyone who appreciates carp in the way I do can see exactly why. I proudly held the fish as Dave clicked away with the camera and it just seemed right to don the chesties for a few final water shots before releasing the fish and watching it slip back into the depths. I can’t thank Dave enough for all his help, I would never have caught this one without him, or certainly never have got it in the net at least. It made the capture even sweeter sharing it with you mate. Thank you so much for everything you did. I guess that’s just what proper fishing mates do. I also owe a big thank you to venue owner Nick Bassett and his lovely wife Michelle for inviting us down and making us so welcome. You have a very special place indeed guys. I’ll see you again soon!

If you’re interested in finding out more about the venue, which has been an exclusive syndicate for many years but opens its doors to all in June, check out their page www.facebook.com/croftpool

Adam