A perfect summer's evening stretches ahead of me, offering a world of angling opportunity. A lazy evening on the river perhaps, or tench fishing with a tiny waggler in a reedy margin?
No, this is a night for something different. For the first time in 2013 it is warm and still, even muggy. There is a slight covering of cloud, the merest hint of a breeze from the southwest and perhaps even the promise of thunder.
If tonight isn't a night for taking carp of the top, no night is.
Back to Stockton Reservoir it is then - a water that is close to home, peaceful and full of just the right stamp of fish.
From the almost empty car park I walk right around the edge, following the breeze into the far corner. Dark shapes move everywhere on the surface, and the still evening peace is broken only by the slurp of carp feeding on surface detritus.
The slurping moves up a gear as I fire piece after piece of bread on to the surface.
Out goes my line, with just a controller float of broken branch between me and my hook-holding crust. One by one the loose feed is taken and then a pair of fishy lips appear around the hookbait. A touch, a turn, another touch, and then it is engulfed. I count to two, strike, and off charges the first fish of the night.
And what a cracking evening's fishing this turned out to be, with fish after fish coming to the bank, not to mention the many that I missed. Some were just too wily around the hookbait, one defeated me with a determined run at the platform beneath my feet, and one parted the hooklink as I heaved hard to steer it away from an all-too-near reed bed.
But in all, six strong carp fell to floated bread crust that night - the first and last at 5lb, another at 7lb, and three of double figures - the largest, the fifth below, being a fine fat personal best of 12lb 9oz (leaving the excitement of my first 'teen' for another day).