One Night in Heaven – 12 hours, 10x 20s, 4x 30s, 1x 40, 3x PB’s and no sleep! 

In my previous article I talked about some of the obsessive behavior I have displayed in order to catch the carp of my dreams. My most recent obsession was the quest to catch a 30lb USA mirror. This might not seem like too difficult a task in Europe, but in America 99.9% of the fish are commons. In my first 12 months fishing over here I had landed only three mirrors to 21lb and easily 1000+ commons. However, certain states and sections of rivers do contain a good head of mirrors. So in the summer of 2012 I found myself driving 15 hour, 900 mile round trips to try and get my hands on just one 30lb plus mirror. The previous article ended with a trip in September, where I landed a new PB 33lb 14oz linear mirror and moved swims the next day to catch a stunning 30lb 12oz starburst mirror. I had previously arranged with two mates to do a session in October. So with a free pass from the wife already agreed I decided to continue to fish these areas into the winter to see if I could add a few more fish to my tally.

















The stunning back up mid twenties are also well worth the journey!

Mid October rolled around and after finishing work on the Friday I was heading up the highway again all set to fish the same area as the last session. I really have only scratched the surface of what I have seen from that area and was excited to see what else I could catch. However, my friend Dean was already in one of the other swims we fish regularly and said he had a good night up there taking about 15 fish, with one being an upper 30. This swim is not the most appealing to me having fished it a few times before and not even seen let alone caught a fish. However, we had planned to fish together and he was obviously on fish so I decided to join him. It was also an area we knew the fish visited this time of year and I had a few days to fish so it was no bother to move to my other area if I wanted too. I arrived just as it went dark and stuck both rods out into the deeper channel at the same range as Dean and turned in for the night as the 7 hr drive after a full day of work had wiped me out. Dean had a few fish through the night, but all I had was one nuisance chub. The next day Dean packed up and left and I set about getting some bait into the swim and concentrating on the task of catching some fish. I put out both rods out on a Dynamite Carptech 20mm/10mm Flouro snowman blowback rigs with a size 4 Nash Twister hook. I was not really interested in catching anything under 25lb, and the bigger baits and hooks have produced many big fish for me this year. I sprayed about half a kilo of boilies over each rod and hoped for some action to come my way.

Don’t be shy, give em some bait!


Carping is easier when you have confidence in what you are doing. Having 100% confidence in this bait and rig means i have less to contemplate and fix if I am not catching













Most of the action this fall had been throughout the hours of darkness, so I was not expecting much day action and try to use this time to rest for the busy night bites. A couple of hours before dark and the left hand rod was away with a stunning 26lb 8oz common. Rod back out, bit more bait over the top and I had a feeling this was going to be a busy night with the swim to myself. I was just getting into bed about midnight when my left hand rod ripped off again. This was a much heavier fish and I had a feeling this was probably going to be around the 30lb mark. About five minutes into the fight my right hand rod ripped off, and being alone I just tightened the clutch a little bit more so the fish could still run but not disappear down river. I landed the first fish which was a bit of a tank, and a few minutes later a nice scaley twenty joined it in the net. I slipped back the twenty and set about weighing the bigger fish. The scales settled on 32lb exactly and I was buzzing to once again bag another 30 plus USA mirror from a different State to Septembers brace of 30’s.

Second fish of the session 32lb. Named “Santiago” by my wife…..don’t ask lol.

Netting both fish in the one net caused a major braid mainline tangle which meant I now had zero rods in the water and I could hear fish rolling over my areas. I put out another kilo of bait and set about getting the rods back out. Half an hour after landing the brace I finally got a rod back in the water. I let the line sink, clipped on the bobbin, fired out one handful of bait and before the second handful of bait could be put out the only rod I had in was away again in less than a minute. Unbelievable! The fish were clearly seeking out the Dynamite baits I had been feeding. This too felt like a big fish and amazingly the PB I broke three weeks earlier was broken again with a 36lb 14oz fish. Although, this fish had some beautiful big scales and a huge frame, it had some kind of flesh eating disease which had taken half its tail and affected it skin. Poor fella!

It was a shame this huge framed fish (1st PB of the night @ 36lb 14oz) was not in great condition. I was so tired through the night I never even noticed until i got it out the sack a few hours later. Had I been aware of the condition the carp was in I never would have sacked it up because fish care is of paramount importance to me. I am happy to say that the carp went back fine, and swam off strong.

The next few hours were pretty crazy with some nice twenties making an appearance along with another thirty at 33lb 4oz. It was 2am when I finally got two rods back out in the water together. I really could not get the rods out fast enough, and the fish were wiping me out of bait. The Dynamite Baits Carptech range is an instant hit for sure. This was the first time I had used the bait in this swim, and the carp were on it like a dog eating hot chips!

Third thirty of the night at 33lb 4oz. Now named “Gepeto” …..(inside joke).

A local angler I know came down in the early hours of the morning and fished next to me, kindly taking a few pictures of my catches. At 4am I finally attempted to get into bed when…..bbbbbbeeeeeeeeppppppp, a rod was away again. Another plodding lump was attached to my rod and after a long battle a beautiful 37lb 8oz starburst mirror was mine. I sacked the fish up for some morning pictures and got into bed, but not before sending a Facebook message to my friend Sean who was joining me tomorrow afternoon informing him of the evening’s events as I knew he had to go to work first lol.


Stunning 37lb 8oz starburst mirror was the second PB of the night. Now named “Opal”.

Safely returning the beauty!












Amazingly my mirror USA PB had now been broken twice in a couple of hours. It was then that a thought popped into my head. All my previous so called “sessions of a lifetime” had been similar to this, where the fish had gone nuts and I had gone on to land several really big fish. On Weston Park back home I landed the lake record slate grey common during a mega haul, the next season a similar session resulted in the lakes second biggest resident and another awesome thirty being backed up by 10 twenties. Earlier in 2012 I had landed a new common PB at 40lb 6oz on a New York lake where I took 30 fish in 24 hrs including a backup 32lb fish. I just had a gut feeling that a forty was going to make an appearance.

Nash Twister hooks and Saxon Hexalite rods are a combination that have resulted in zero hook pulls for me in 2012. A massive achievement when you consider the amount of runs we can get here in America!

I probably had about half an hours sleep when a rod was away again. By now I was so tired I don’t even remember if the fish felt heavy or not. I had landed over 10 fish in the night, my eyes were barely open and my arms were aching like crazy. The guy fishing next to me had just put a fish back and came down the bank to see me. The fish rolled in front of his headlight and he said that’s another tank. I had the fish almost ready to net and I could not believe it when the net and handle broke near the spreader block and I was left holding just the handle. The net was on the bottom of the river and I am attached to another very big fish. Thankfully, the angler next to me went right into the margins, grabbed my net and scooped the fish into the net. He then said “that is a forty right their”. I had not really gotten a good look at the fish, and then with all the panic of the net breaking I was just glad to have the fish in the net. We set about getting her weighed and he was right, she went 40lb 4oz and the PB was broken for the third time that night.


The biggest of the session, third PB of the night and first American 40lb+ mirror. Now named the “Charlie Sheen” fish…….(another inside joke).

I was overjoyed at the fact my quest for a 30lb mirror had resulted in an unbelievable session and a 40lb fish. I was extremely grateful to the angler in question for jumping in to the river to get my net and land what is without doubt the greatest accomplishment of my angling career. I sacked the fish and finally managed to get a couple of hours sleep before getting up at first light to get some pictures of the greatest nights fishing of my life. It was special that a good friend arrived that morning to take some great pictures for me. In that 12 hour period I landed 10x 20’s to 28lb, 4x 30’s to 37lb and the 40lb 4oz mirror, with the PB being broken three times in six hours!

A good friend was coming the next morning to visit me. He was shocked when he saw this in the margins as he just expected a cup of tea waiting. The smallest of these three was 36lb 14oz.

I landed three more fish the following afternoon including a nice 28lb common, and then fished for another 24 hours in freezing conditions without a single bite. But after a hauling like that I really just wanted my friend Sean to come and get amongst some big fish. He did indeed get amongst them, landing a stunning 29 and three fish over 37lbs. Dean my other angling chum also came down to land a mid-thirty the final night, and it was an amazing team haul for the Big Carp News crew!

Weather conditions were often tough, but the fish still fed hard for team Big Carp News!

I was due to go and fish one more session in November. However, hurricane Sandy has caused some major issues in the Northeast region where I live and fish. As I write this (a day before the planned trip) we still have no power, closed roads and little access to gasoline, but thankfully my family and friends are all alive and well.  I may have to try and sneak one more session in during December. However, if I have to wait until 2013 I am quite happy to end my most successful season with my most successful session ever!

Until next time, tight lines and happy angling!

Craig “Brit” Parkes