Korda’s Shane O’Grady on a record-smashing season.

Although it is not quite over yet, Shane O’Grady has plenty of reason to be happy with how 2013 has gone.

Proven rigs and bait, along with effort and commitment have proved to be the winning combinaton for him.

He explained: “2013 has been a special year. I had fished Farriers for a good few years on and off and still hadn’t caught a 40lb common. This had always been in the back of my mind and was certainly an itch that needed scratching before I could move on. Another big fish that was on my radar resided in a private lake on the Cotswold Water Park. I had been switching between these venues trying to catch these fish for the last 30 months. Working full time and having family commitments would result in Friday night fishing only, not ideal as many times on a Friday after work it felt like I was simply dropping in where I could, as opposed to getting on the fish.

“This spring I decided to go full on Farriers and see if I could finally get the big bar of gold I wished for. Bait-wise I opted for a mixture of Baitworks Altantic Heat, Monster Red and a few kilos of King Fish left over from last year. I decided to fish all three baits mixed into a bucket and soaked them up in Hot Fish Oil. Rigs were kept simple. I was fishing a supple N-Trap boom section to 20lb Mouth Trap, stiff-hinge style, with a size-6 Choddy hook. This was fished with a 15mm Kingfish pop-up.

“Spring started slowly due the harsh winter we had suffered, but then things were about to change in a massive way for me. The next three bites I landed were commons of 39lb 8oz, 41lb 10oz and then a mint 42lb! All were PBs and special moments in my carp-fishing life. These were all caught on my single overnighters, Friday to Saturday morning. This made them all the more sweeter. All the hard work and thinking had payed off, big time. With my Farriers’ itch well and truly scratched I turned my attention back to the private lake in the Cotswold Water Park.

“This particular fish had never drifted too far from my thoughts. I had been doing a few odd nights just to keep an eye on the carp’s and angler’s movements and had managed to catch mirrors up to 35lb-plus. Having been lucky enough to catch most of the stock over the years there was still that one fish I have been after, named Three-Scale. This particular fish wasn’t a regular to the bank and although it was caught six months previously, it can go on the missing list for long spells. The last capture of this fish was just over the 40lb making it very desirable and top of my wish list. I decided to give it the big ’un with bait and picked up 40kg of Alantic Heat 18mms and a good dose of Hot Fish Oil from Mark at Baitworks. I was going to bait an area and keep it quiet.

“Armed with a marker rod I found a likely ambush spot out in the lake. Due to the amount of baby zebra mussels in the weedy areas, I knew this would be a good area to bait. I had been watching a few fish show in this area around 90 yards earlier in the week. I got the marker rod out and I found a very small hard spot in thick weed, this would do nicely! I started baiting with the Heat and also a lot of hemp due to the crunch factor, mimicking the zebras in the weed. After a couple of weeks of baiting, it was time to fish my secret spot as the leaves were starting to change colour, signalling the arrival of autumn.

“First session on and three mirrors of 31lb, 33lb and a 19lb told me that the effort was paying off. I knew this spot was rocking and it was the only rod that was doing the damage. I had a really good feeling that I was onto something so I booked the next Thursday and Friday off work to milk the situation.

“I set up in my special swim after work on the Wednesday and put out 3kg of Heat and 10kg of hemp. Remarkably only three hours later the banker rod ripped off and the battle of all battles commenced. After a 20-minute tussle I caught sight of a massive fish with the telltale three scales down the flank. At this point my knees went to jelly! A nervous five minutes under the tip ensued but finally I slipped the net under my most wanted… Three Scales! The size-six Choddy was dead centre of the bottom lip and although I was shaking there was no way this fish was coming off. She weighed in 42lb 10oz and was a fish that everyone knew I really wanted; a new PB and lake record to boot!

“That night I had a further five fish up to 35lb, capping off an incredible season. To catch the these three special fish within six months, let alone a lifetime, has really blown me away. Solid, simple rigs, good bait and effort helped me acheive all these goals. Until next time, be lucky.”