You Think You Know A Lake

You Think You Know a Lake

After a very disappointing result at a recent fishing competition, followed by a couple of weeks with a serious lack of fish banked, I have been well and truly irritated with my own fishing. So instead of doing a few hours here and a few hours there I decided to do a proper weekend session down a lake I thought I knew very well.

I knew the water down Argal Reservoir in Cornwall would be low after the summer but when I turned up there it was very obvious that the water was extremely low. I had never before seen it like this so took the opportunity to well and truly check out the areas I had previously been fishing.

I could actually walk out to the spots I had fished before and what an eye opener it was. There were snags everywhere with perfect clear areas to be targeted in the future months. What shocked me the most was a whole row of tree stumps that I had no idea where there up until that moment. I can’t imagine the amount of times I have fished over them!

I just had to then check out the rest of the lake so spent the next hour walking around it checking out the other pegs. Without seeing it you probably couldn’t even imagine the snags that were there. In front of one of the pegs there was even a full wall that really would restrict any fishing for even the most experienced angler.

I was eager to get my carp rods out but didn’t really have a clue where to place them; all my usual spots were an impossibility. The feeling of fishing a ‘new’ lake gave me a real buzz and before I knew it I’d located three perfect areas and bait was being put out.

All I could do then was wait with an unusual feeling of anticipation. The evening soon came without so much as a bleep of the alarms soon to be followed by the morning. I questioned myself as to whether I should locate some different areas but decided not to. I changed my rigs and re-baited those same three areas. Before long I was thankful I had done so as my rod screamed off resulting in a lovely looking 25.04lb common. A much needed fish for my own self confidence. This was soon to be followed by an 18lb mirror, well worth getting the fishing tackle out.

If nothing else this weekend was a real eye opener. You may think you know a lake inch by inch but in truth until you can actually see it for real how much do we really know?

Tight Lines Samantha


Samantha’s Fishing Tackle Choice

I was peacefully staring out onto my local lake waiting for a bite a couple of hours ago now, when a group of younger lads appeared in my swim. They were asking all the usual questions about the lake and what fish had been out, when one of them noticed my set-up.

I then spent the following half hour explaining my choices to them and why I had opted for these rods and reels etc. I even ended up reeling one of them in for them to have a go casting! Now I have put my rod back out and re-baited the others I thought I would put this little blog together explaining why I have opted for the setup I have. After using 3lb x-flites + for a couple of years, which I know many people have their own opinions on, I highly rated them and they served me well.

I wanted my carp rods to be just as effective for me so I opted for the TF Gear TSI 12’ 3lb rods. I have used them now for about 2 years and they’re still going strong, it would take some amazing new rod to make me change them. What impresses me most about these rods is how thin they are yet how much control I have when both casting and playing a fish. I have also noticed an increase in my casting distance since using them with ever increasing accuracy.

I have recently opted to team these rods up with the new TF Gear Delta GT 10000 reels. I love the design of them and they certainly look different on the bank. Many people have quizzed me on why I have chosen them. I was instantly impressed with how well the line lay on them and the smoothness of casting with them. Being big pits they are perfect for the big lakes I often choose to fish, I have even been influenced to take them down to my local beach to give them a good old test.

Glimmer Bite a

I decided it wouldn’t be right unless I completed the look with a set of TF Glimmer bite alarms. Now those that fish with me would back me up when I say that I am extremely fussy when it comes to alarms. The first things I take into consideration are the look of them, the ease of use and how effective the bite detection is on them. I love the way I can alter these alarms to suit different situations especially between the day and night. Having a receiver with these alarms is also a big plus for me as I like to keep my alarms down low and use the vibrating function only at night.

Well that is just some of my reasons for using the fishing gear I have with me today. I’m still waiting for a bite and hopefully now the weather is cooling down a bit the fish will be on the feed. Hopefully next time I write a blog I will be able to report news of a fish or two from Linford Lakes when I compete in the BIG FISH 2011.

Tight Lines Samantha


Linear on my week off

It was Friday lunchtime and I’d just finished work for the school holiday. I had planned on getting my gear ready over the weekend and heading off on Monday to the local lake I fish for a few days session. Well this didn’t quite go to plan as I had had a week from hell and needed a break! So on the drive home it didn’t take me long to decide a carp fishing sesh was all I needed. I got home loaded the truck and was out of the house all within the following hour.

I drove off towards my local lake but never quite made it there; I’d changed my mind and decided to head up country towards Oxford. To cut a long story short I ended up on Brasenose 1 at the Linear complex right at the beginning of a bank holiday weekend!

Well as you could probably imagine everyone else had had the same idea and pegs were few and far between. I managed to find myself one right in the middle of the lake and that is where I set up home for the week. Now to me this lake has always been Known as a runs water so I had high hopes for the week setting up my glimmie bite alarms and new Delta GT Reels.

Well that night I managed to lose not one but two fish in the weed and woke up the following morning a more than a little annoyed. I decided a change of rigs was probably the best option and made a fresh start recasting my rigs and baiting up some perfect little clearings in the weed. Early the following morning I was rewarded with a lovely Linear mirror. Over the following two days I had the pleasure of landing a few more stunning linear mirrors.

It all stopped then, the weather had been creeping up in temperature as the days went by and the fish were no longer interested in feeding. They were getting ready to spawn and that was that! I decided to stick it out till the end of the week just in case but ending up spending my days camping and not really carping. My TF gear bed proved too be the perfect place to spend some time relaxing and sunbathing.

Hopefully all carp have spawned by my next trip wherever that might be.

Tight Line Samantha.

New Season

Being a bit of a warm weather lover the new season has only just really started for me. I have been out and about over the Easter holidays looking for the perfect venue to focus my attention on when I’ve only got a few hours or time to do an overnighter.

Now here in Cornwall there aren’t that many lakes to choose from and ones with a decent head of fish are few and far between. I had word that a very small lake far down the south was producing some good carp to 30lb so headed off down there to check it out.

The sight of all the fish bathing in the pads proved to me that they were definitely in there and some them were looking like right lumps! I couldn’t resist and had to get a zig rig out to try and tempt one of them out. It hadn’t been any longer than 30 mins when I had a 16lb on the bank. Happy with an hours fishing and looking at photos of other peoples captures from this lake I decided I would definitely be back for some more action in the near future.

One thing was bugging me a bit though, this lake was mainly a carp lake and I was hoping for a little more variety. After ending my season on Linear Lakes Manor Farm last year I managed by some complete stroke of luck to land a 19lb Pike. I have to admit I was a bit wary of it at first and needed a little help with unhooking it but after putting it back I wanted to catch another one.

So now I’m off to investigate a 70 acre lake that I know has only a low stockage of carp but these are up to 40lb and a very rewarding catch when they’re in the net. I have heard that this is also a local attraction for pike anglers so you never know I could tempt one of them out too.

TF Gear Trail Blazer Barrow and Bag

TFG Trail Blazer Barrow

I’ve tested out the new TF Gear Trail Blazer Barrow for some time now, and really put it through its paces. It caters for all my angling needs, from carting my excessive amount of fishing tackle around a 70 acre lake for 3 days fishing, to light loads for a day session. The barrow is lightweight and has adjustable front and side bars for larger loads with 2 adjustable back legs. When fully loaded, the barrow has a good centre balance and really impressed me by not tipping over – something which has happened to me on numerous previous occasions. The barrow comes with 2 bungee ropes that hook onto 4 rings which are built into the framework for better grip.
The frame is lightweight and has a removable wheel for ease of loading in your car, with screw-in hands making the barrow useable in a matter of seconds. The tyre has good tread that is nice and thin which helps when pushing over rough terrain. You can even place 2 buckets at the back of the barrow which will rest on the 2 bars perfectly when requiring more space.

TF Gear Force 8 Heavy Duty Barrow Bag

The barrow bag is the perfect accessory for the barrow, with a hard top and bottom and heavy duty material which will protects all your gear inside. The bag comes with 4 large pockets on the outside, and one large pocket in the lid with a heavy duty zip. Inside the bag there are pockets built into the back and sides for easy organisation of your tackle. For the best result, try 2 barrow bags –  this will take all your gear and fits on the barrow perfectly side by side.

Margin Fishing

How many of us inspect the margins when we arrive at a lake?

You might want to, if you want to improve your catch rate. Fishing for carp in the margins can be extremely productive if you find the right places and apply good angling tactics. How many fishermen/fisherwomen ignore the margins when fishing? They see all that water out in front of them and think that the fish must be out there. I often see anglers using three fishing rods with all of them cast out to the far bank. With so many anglers casting out far it makes the margins a safe place for carp to hang out. In fact, the margins can even be the best places to target the bigger carp in the lake.

Fishing in the Margins

As long as you’re quiet when setting up and fishing, you can take fish from the margins in most lakes. Carp have great hearing and will be able to pick up vibrations from the surrounding bank, so you do need to be as quiet as possible.

Centre Pin Fishing Reel

When it comes to margin fishing I tend to use a small 8ft rod and centre pin reel; this allows me to fish in-between trees, and other places where it would be hard to use a 12ft rod. It’s best to wear dark green or brown fishing clothing, or better still, use camouflage clothing, as you can blend into the surrounding. I like to find the more subtle features rather than the obvious ones such as overhanging trees, island banks, etc. I like to look for features like undercut banks, posts or trees sticking out of the water, small bulrushes, bushes, lily pads or inlet pipes all these can be ideal feeding spots for carp.

Carp taking bait

I like to use a small float, 8lb fluorocarbon line and a size 10 hook partnered with good quality bait. One of my best methods is to wrap paste around a small boilie, many fish have taken using this approach, as the carp are not wised up to these methods. So as the weather starts to warm up go out and have a go, this is a very rewarding way of catching carp guaranteed to provide a good fight whatever size fish you’ve hooked into.

Landing the Carp

All the best and good fishing!

Fantastic result!

The Chod Rig My Way

The Chod Rig has to be one of my most favoured rigs in my coarse fishing tackle. I’ve opted to use it for a majority of sessions lately and with some personal preferences I think it’s as perfect as I could get it. Instead of using lead core I use a 48″ Tungsten Ex Heavy Leader from TF Gear and instead of using beads, due to a lack of them in my tackle box, I’ve just replaced them with two 6mm Boilies that have been air dried for a week. After looking into it I am confident they will stay hard in the water for up to 24 hours.

My rig station, all the Components I need to make my chod,all my prep work done ready to do their job

Before I cast out I like to put two foam nuggets on the hook to prevent any debris getting attached to it as it finds the bottom of the lake and a small PVA bag of my favourite boilies. Then I can wait for the action but hopefully not to long

This beauty fell to my chod rig November this year
(It works for me so go out and give it a go)

Spodding My Way

On one of the lakes I fish you need to place your baits out a good old distance and in a good size amount. But not having to worry too much about placing them exactly on the same spot every time but being able to create numerous feeding beds. So my initial approach was to opt for a simple throwing stick, and dot boiles around a marker, but soon came to realise that it was an option that had serious disadvantages. On one hand there is the limit to the bait that can be used and on the other hand there is the annoyance of seagulls. Many of you reading this most likely at some point have experienced seagulls picking up your boilies in mid air or as they hit the water. Gulls have come to recognise the sound of the boilie as it leaves the throwing stick and quickly gather in large flocks ready to pick up the bait in flight; those baits that escape are soon picked off as soon as they hit the surface of the water. Therefore I decided to give myself more of a fighting chance and get the trusty spod out.On some lakes I have fished the sound of a spod crashing into the water can draw the carp’s attention to the baited area around your marker float. When I started looking at spods I wanted one which would be easier to cast a fair distance whilst carrying a small amount of bait. This way it would be easier to make many smaller feeding spots around an area as opposed to larger beds that could spook the wary fish off. My personal choice is a Korda Mini Skyliner Spod, Its small but it suits me fine, I can cast out bait to my maker and have confidence in hitting the spot desired almost every time. Using this I don’t need a specially created spod rod set up all I use is my X Flight 50 3lb test fishing rods, with 12lb line which does the job i ask of it perfectly.
My Spod Mix (lucky carp) maze, maple’s, hemp, black-eyed beans, mixed seeds, sea salt and a touch of magic in the form of fruity trifle dip. it smells good enough to eat even by my standards. But you don’t have to stop there you can add anything you wish.
After finding my spot with a marker float I then clip it up and back lead it so there is no line showing just in case I have a fish or the spod get stuck on it, when I have fond the distance with the spod I then clip it up so I can hit the distance every time.
When filling my spod I only fill three quarters of the way with my mix and then place some ground bait on top to plug the mix. this minimises mixture escaping whilst casting out.
Before casting I like to lower the spod into the water, this will give it more weight and helps to reduce any spillage therefore ensuring more bait hits the lake bed.
Ready for the big one all lined up ready for the cast. I prefer to watch the rod rather than look at the float as it helps me to release the line at the correct angle and not leave it too late in the cast. This way i have minimised line breakages in the initial cast and don’t get the ping back motion I first experienced when learning to spod.
Out it goes, all I’ve got to do now is lift the rod vertically and wait for the line clip to do its job.
On the spot she goes to create another small bed of bait.
Splash as it hits the water right next to my marker lets hope the fish don’t get too spooked off.
When I’m not using my spod I like to store it at the bottom of my rod, this will keep it nice and neat and help prevent the bottom of my rod getting scratched.
As I wait for the action the swans go for lunch (Bottoms up) eating all the bits that drop from my spod as I dunked it in the water.
The end result, a carp on the bank not a big one but a carp is a carp!All the best with this method.

A Day Session Success

I decided to go down to the new lake I’ve started fishing this year and complete a short five hour session on the bank, just to get to grips with the water and hopefully locate any moving carp. This seemed somewhat a difficult task as the lake is 75 acres with just under 100 known carp to its name. So expecting no great achievements for the foreseeable future I set up for the session. As I was doing so I surprisingly caught a glimpse of a carp roll about 50 yards out by a small weedy patch. As any carper would probably do, I decided to put a bright coloured bait and a PVA bag filled with 10 boilies and a small amount of pellets over the top of it. Then all I had to do was wait line tightened and Delkin bite alarm turned on.
In the meantime I put some of my favourite rigs together ready to put my other two rods out.

I always prefer to fish the withy rig in the margins usually over a bed of hot chilli hemp. I find this is a good method for picking up carp patrolling close in and it is easy to get all the hemp out in the required spots.

For a long distance rod I like to paste up 2 boilies on the hair and pair it with a PVA bag cast out as far as I can. The paste starts to leak flavour the moment it hits the water providing an ideal attraction needed especially on a shorter session. I enjoy picking fish up from the depths of the lake they always seem to fight that little bit better

Then it was time to get my other rods out, I landed the second rod to the left of me about 20 yards out in the margin and the third one 80 yards out in front of me. All was set and I was ready for a cup of tea as I sat down, with my son Rhys, watching the water for any movement of fish.

Not too many minutes later I had 2 bleeps on my margin rod, then it stopped, within ten minutes the rod scream off and I was in to a hard fighting fish. It soon gave up and in the net it went, at last my first fish on the bank and it wasn’t looking like one of the smaller ones either. Out came the scales, then to my surprise it weighed in at 32lb not bad for a few hours even if I do say so myself.

I was on cloud nine, but I still had time to catch other carp, this time I wadded out and dropped a few handfuls of hemp in the same place and slowly lowered my hook bait over the top of it. Then I spent the next 20 minutes watching the water hoping in anticipation for any more action.

As I looked out to the lake I noticed some bubbles about 70 yards out, not far from my bait, I watched and there seemed to be more than one fish feeding in the area with bubbles coming up all around. Numerous thoughts were going through my head shall I pull one rod in and put a bait over there? Or do I hope the fish will stay in the area and get onto my bait later? I went for the second approach. Well I waited and waited but no sign of them coming out. It was time to pack up and go home, I was putting my second rod away when out of the blue my last rod screamed off. I was into my second fish, and was a bag of nerves for some reason playing this one. What a fight! As it pulled more line form my clutch, rod bent over I started gaining distance and the carp was getting closer. Then it made for the surface and rolled over when without warning the worse feeling you could ever have – a hook pull. I was so mad but then that’s fishing, I carried on packing away and took the long walk back to the van…

Pursuit for Large Carp

A week’s session

When I first arrived at the lake I took the usual walk around it to get my bearings and pick that all important swim to set up in. Within ten minutes of being there I had already witnessed a couple of fish crashing towards the middle of the lake. Then quickly decided to set up in a peg that would give me the opportunity to reach those fish. I chose some features to fish towards and carefully cast my fishing rods out armed with TF 36inch clear leaders and a 3oz clear lead hopping with this approach wouldn’t spook any fish. This wasn’t very productive and didn’t achieve any instant results so I sat and watched the water with all theories and methods going through my mind. A couple of hours later when the sun was really beginning to warm everything up I noticed a small group of what looked like 40+lb carp cruising around the bay next to me.
Not wanting to spook them off I quickly loaded the bait boat up with some broken up fruity boiles and placed two lines very close to them. I then watched intently waiting for that take, which by amazement came about an hour later. There was what can only be described as an awesome fight and a 40lb 8oz mirror was in the net. This really put my hopes up for what promised to be an excellent week to come. The following night a 44lb 12oz mirror was landed from the same spot. Things became very slow going from then on and I soon realised this was no runs water but a lake you had to work very hard at in order to catch. I decided to take the rowing boat out and really get to grips with what was happening. It soon became obvious that the fish didn’t stay in one particular area but seemed to move every couple of days so I decided that my best option was to move with them.
All Set up and ready to go
I then set up in a peg round the other side of the lake with a bay in front and to the side of me and the island within reach as well. I could cover a lot of water from there really be on top of the fish. Luckily the water was crystal clear and it seemed far too easy to locate ideal clear spots in amongst the weed beds. I marked up some different areas and decided to feed small amounts of bait to them on a fairly regular basis. This helped land a couple more fish a day apart from each other so I decided to stick with it for the rest of the week being happy with the fish that had been caught.

40lb Carp in the Weigh Sling
Towards the end of the week there was the most amazing storm come over, it felt as though a steam train had just come straight through my peg. There was thunder and lightning all around and all I could do was keep my fingers crossed that the fish switched on due to it. It was like all my hopes and dreams came true and during the following 24 hours I landed some amazing fish ranging from 31lb 4oz up to 42lb.All I can say is “What a week”