Dave Lane Carp Fishing Diary | Mid September

With nothing much happening on the big unknown carp front again I decided to take another trip over to Kingfisher Lake in the Thetford Forest. I enjoyed my days stalking carp the previous week but I couldn’t help but think that there must be a way to crack the problem of the bubbling carp being pre-occupied on natural food.

I had decided that bait must be the key, as it often is so, rather than just chase them around with a handful of boilies; I was going to set a trap, and a big one at that.

I arrived in the early afternoon and picked an area at fairly close range, about twenty yards from the bank, one that had signs of fish moving regularly through it. By simply watching the surface of the water I could identify the most frequently used areas by following the trails of little silver pin-prick bubbles as they hit the surface.

Once I had picked my spot I fed it as accurately as possible with about one and a half kilos of boilies. The plan was to keep everything so tight on the bottom that, once the carp passed through the spot as they filtered the silt, they would be incapable of not sucking up a mouthful of boilies as the entire bottom in a small area would be covered with them.

Although I had great faith in my new method I decided not to fish on it straight away, instead I put both rods under the island where I had had the twenty six pounder last week and just kept an eye on the baited area, watching for any change in the pattern of bubblers.

I did not have long to wait either, within an hour I could plainly see that the trails and lines of bubbles had converged on the baited area and much larger concentrations of ‘fizzers’ were erupting exactly where the boilies were.

Winding in one rod I flicked it out into the epicentre of the disturbance and, within minutes, it was away with a lively little common attached to the other end.

Now I had a method that I knew would work I had two choices, just trickle in a few more baits and try for a second bite or take it one step further and fill it in again, I chose the second option.

Unlike the previous week’s visit, I actually had the whole night ahead of me so I decided to take a gamble and put another kilo and a half on the spot, making it wide enough for two rods as I did so.

Well, the gamble certainly paid off, although I was worried for a while as it well into dark before the second bite came.

After that it was just like clockwork, every time I climbed back into the bedchair and drifted off to sleep anther screaming run from the mag-runner bite alarms would drag me back out again. This went on for pretty much the whole night, approximately one fish an hour with a welcomed break after four in the morning, the last and biggest fish coming along at first light.

I had managed seven takes in all, landing six of them up to twenty six pounds and all commons apart from one small mirror, which was a bit strange really as it’s pretty much an even split in the lake, maybe the commons just like the silty areas a bit more.

I packed up about midday extremely tired but very happy with my results, all I need now is a result like that on a larger scale from one of my main venues and my favourite month of September will be complete.

Dave Lane Carp Fishing Diary | Early June

Isn’t it funny, a few years ago we would have all taken this week off and crammed the lakes to capacity for the glorious 16th of June and the start to a new season. After an enforced lay off of three whole months, we would have all been champing at the bit to get back out there and wet a line.

I know a lot of carp fishing waters still hold fast to the old rules but, even so, there are very few anglers who don’t find somewhere to fish in the meantime.

Personally I am all in favour of a close season, I would just like it to be for three weeks in January so that I had a decent reason to stay at home in the warm.

I’m glad that things have changed though, the spring is such an exciting time to fish and, even though this year was not so good, we get to see everything waking up and the fish starting to feed once again.

More often than not the middle of June is spawning time and the beginning of the season often used to be marred by the carp starting their rituals just as we all turned up to fish.

I saw a little attempt at spawning a week or so ago, on a new and extremely large pit I have just started fishing.

The lake itself is roughly two hundred and fifty acres and location is obviously the main aspect of success on a place like this. I am not entirely sure of the stock in there but I know it could possibly have a few old original carp left somewhere in its depths, mixed in with two sets of stock fish, both of which are at least six or seven years established and could also be a fair size by now.

I was over the moon to find a group of carp within a couple of hours of my arrival for my second session; they were cruising around in some shallow water next to a huge reed-bed that stretched along a hundred yards of bank.

Within half an hour of watching I had seen at least six or seven different fish and that was all the incentive I needed to haul my gear up to the top end of the lake and get a couple of rigs into position.

Big pit angling is my favourite form of fishing and, if you add the fact that I had no real idea of what I might catch, you have the perfect water in my book. The excitement when that magrunner bite alarm screams out its battle cry is electrifying and I still visibly shake when I am playing fish from a lake like this, even though I have been carp fishing since god was a little lad!

The first take came mid-afternoon and was a double figure common, looking a bit on the plump side.

The next fish managed to hold off until the early hours of the morning but then it all seemed to go a bit mad. By the time I packed up the following day I had managed to up the tally to seven fish, most of them were male mirrors in the eighteen to twenty two pound bracket, obviously ganged up before spawning as this constituted a real red letter day on a pit this size and with not a huge stock.

All of the carp I banked were in mint condition and stunning examples of what a carp really should look like, huge scales and fantastic colours and every one of them fighting fit.

On my last morning they started to show the odd sign of getting a bit ‘jiggy with it’ and, although they didn’t actually start to spawn, there was the odd little thrash about in the reeds.

I did hear from the bailiff that, a day or two after I left, they absolutely smashed the reeds to pieces in a wild sexual frenzy, lucky buggers, and I am sure that the fishing will now return to a normal state.

I am under no illusion that it will get a lot harder as the fish start to split up into smaller groups and I will be walking my legs down to stumps in an attempt to keep on top of them but I am looking forward to every minute of it and, who knows, maybe I will be lucky enough to hook a long forgotten monster one day soon.

Dave Lane Nets Two 30s!

Happy New Year to you all, 2013 is here and once again we have survived through another ‘end of the world’ scenario.

This time it was the Mayan calendar coming to its last page on 21st December but, despite the lunatics sitting on a hilltop waiting to be rescued by aliens as the world crumbles around the disbelievers, we are all still here and live to fish another day. I reckon this must be at least the fifth such event I can remember, what with George Orwell’s ninety eighty four, the millennium bug, Nostradamus predictions and the lining up of various planets to ensure we all perish in a ball of fire. It does make me chuckle but I suppose it gives Yahoo news something to write about eh?

Personally I had a great end of the world party down at the Estate Lake, having struggled for a few weeks prior to this trip it was as if the fish had decided to have a last supper as well, just in case.

The last capture from the Estate had been my twenty two pound mirror over a month before but on the Tuesday morning, after my first night of the session, I received my second ever bite from the lake. I was wandering up and down the bank looking for signs of fish when the Sounder box from my Mag-runner bite alarms screamed out in my pocket as something made off across the lake with the bait.

There was no pre-amble or hesitation, it was just a full on take as line was ripped from the clutch. The following fight was not quite as impressive as the run however, and before long a chunky mirror with a big floppy tail rolled into the net, a chunky mirror that looked incredibly familiar as it happens. I’d only gone and caught the same fish again, two carp in five weeks and it was the same fish both times!

I was pleased to have had another bite but a bit disappointed with the result and, after weighing him a full pound lighter than the last time, realised that even he had probably not fed for a while so the others must have been on a strict diet.

Later that evening though, about seven o’clock and in total darkness, I had another pick up and this fish felt a lot heavier, plodding about in the shallow water and silt in front of me. As it rolled into the net I caught a glimpse of golden scales and realised I’d got a common, and quite a big one at that.

On the mat I could see he was way over thirty pounds and, on the scales, I was proved right when he spun the needle around to thirty six and a half pounds.

Thirty six pounds plus is still a huge size for a common in my book, I think I have only ever had three or four bigger in my life so I was well chuffed. I popped him into a hard-core safety retainer for ten minutes while I sorted out the camera equipment and then took a few shots before sliding him back into the lake.

Nothing further happened that evening and, after a nice warm night’s sleep, I woke up quite surprised to find that I hadn’t had another bite as the conditions were perfect, mild and overcast with a light wind, about as un December like as you could imagine.

I had to be off the lake by one that afternoon and I was all packed up on the barrow and hovering behind the rods as my time ran out. In fact I waited until about ten past before walking towards the first rod, just as the line lifted and started kiting around from the tip, the alarm sounded and I was in again, talk about last second!

This fish fought a lot harder than the other two, repeatedly tearing off across the lake and refusing to be netted. Eventually though, the rod wore him down and I brought him up and over the net cord. Because I am fishing a smaller venue than usual I have recently swapped over to a set of three pound Nan-Tec rods, lighter than my usual distance versions and a pleasure to play fish on, I do like to see that tip cranked right over and feel every twist and turn from the carp, it makes it all so much more fun.

In the net I could see that I had landed something special, the biggest mirror in the lake weighing in at thirty five pounds and twelve ounces, what a lovely Christmas present and, if the world really was going to end in three days’ time, I was going to perish a happy man.

mannor-carp-dave-lane

 

Dave Lane Carp Fishing Diary

Well, I said last week it was prime time to grab the rods and get out there on the banks and it looks like I have proven myself right.

Luckily nobody else on the syndicate took my advice though because the lake was deserted as I pulled into the car park at first light on Monday morning. I knew exactly where I was headed; back out on to the peninsula where I had landed the six fish from the previous session, the only thing I couldn’t decide was which of the three swims to fish. There is one off the end and one on each side, fishing into totally separate bays. As it turned out I ended up fishing all of them and I’d taken three of the new landing nets with me in case this was the outcome. I started out just fishing off the barrow for the day, spending half an hour looking across one bay and then half an hour in the other. Even though there is only a few yards between the swims I’d made a note of the colour of the carp bite alarms and kept the sounder box in my hand, ready to run in whichever direction I needed should a take occur, which it did and pretty quickly too.

The single rod fished off the end of the point was the first one away, a spot that has been very productive for me over the last few sessions.

I knew it was a big fish straight away as it kept deep and very slowly plodded along bottom of the gully that runs around the point. The water on the near side of the gully is exceptionally shallow so I stripped down to my pants and waded out a few yards until I had enough depth for the net. With the pressure now right above the fish it didn’t take long to coax him up through the water and into the net. As soon as I set eyes on him I knew which one he was, the big Italian, third biggest fish in the lake but, unfortunately, a re-capture for me. That’s the problem though with fishing for only one or two target fish, you are bound to have a few repeats along the way but I was sure I must be getting closer to my goal. This was my thirtieth capture from the lake this year and, with only fifty fish in there, it could only be a matter of time before that big old leather carp rolled into my net.

After weighing him in at thirty seven pounds, I decided to take a couple of quick snaps of him and, just as I was sliding him back into the lake, the blue light lit up and sounder box started howling away. This was the rod I’d placed in the middle bay, an area I’d yet to catch from but somewhere I’d baited and was convinced the fish had started using over the last week or so. Whatever I’d hooked in there decided that it wanted to put as much distance between himself and me as was possible in a short space of time and the rod was almost wrenched from my hands as he tore off through the weed. Eventually he came to a halt as he locked solid in a huge bed of Canadian Pondweed and nothing I tried would persuade to come out again. Eventually the only option was to tighten right up and slowly walk backwards, ripping the entire weed bed free and bringing it slowly across the surface towards the bank. It seemed to take an eternity to get it to within netting range and, just as it was drawing close, the fish bolted out of the side of it and buried in the weed at my feet. I’d got a good look as he went past and I was fairly sure it was a fish known as the ‘Bullet Hole’ common, the second biggest carp in the lake and one I dearly wanted to catch. Although he was only a few yards out it was a full half an hour before I eventually landed him, having had to go in up to my neck in the water and free him using my feet in the weed!

On the bank though it all became worth the effort as I hoisted him up for the camera, also thirty seven pounds in weight but, unlike the Italian, perfectly proportioned and covered in big golden scales.

This was turning into quite a session and with the common ticked off the list, realistically, it now only left the big leather for me to catch.

I was amazed not to get a bite throughout the hours of darkness as there were obviously a few fish about but I did see a very big fish show right over my second middle bay rod, the swim I had eventually decided to set up camp in.

Both the other fish had come in the morning so I was practically hovering over the rods as soon as became light. Typically though, it wasn’t until I was busy re-casting one of the other rods in the margins to my right that the first bite came, and what a bite it was. Total meltdown is about the only description that fits and the spool was a complete blur. Unlike the common though, the fight was a dour affair and, barring the odd roll on the surface, the fish came straight in to the bank like a dog on a lead. It was only at the last moment, as he rose up over a bank of weed, that I realised exactly what I had hooked. There on the surface, not ten yards in front of me, was the most enormous chunk of leathery back just rocking on the surface. Whether I hesitated or whether he just realised what was happening I don’t know but he chose that moment to wake up and he dived straight down into the same weed bed I had had all the trouble with the previous day. Not wanting a repeat performance of that fiasco I just piled on the pressure and lifted him straight back out again, before he could get too entwined. Up he came, out of the weed and, as he hit the surface in bewilderment, I just slid the net straight under him before he could plan his next move.

Wading back out cradling a net full of carp was such a mad feeling, all those nights wondering when and how and, sometimes, if, that big old beast would be mine and now here he was. It was as if I had been working to a script, first the common and now him, all forty five pounds and twelve ounces of him.

My Northants campaign had come to an end and what a way to finish with the three biggest in the lake one after another. Not wanting to break the spell or ruin the story with a little common as well, I wound in the remaining rods and, after a mammoth photo shoot, packed slowly away for the last time, sporting a grin so wide that it almost joined up at the back of my head.

All I have to do know is find somewhere else to setup the carp fishing tackle and target some other large carp!

 

40lb leather

 

A slow start…

My main target this spring and early summer is tench and bream, and the chosen water is a very pretty gravel pit containing big specimens of each species. Certainly, bream to 16lbs and tench just under 11lbs have been caught and verified. My biggest bream is the 15lb 2ozs specimen from Queenford Lagoon over twenty years ago and it has been 14 years since my last double figure tench; so, I’m champing at the bit!

I’m fishing the water in the company of my good friend and brilliant angler Alan Lawrence. Alan fished the water last spring and, after a slow start, amassed a staggering total of big fish of each species. He also took a handful of good carp on his tench rigs and, with the carp running to mid 30s, there’s the potential for a heart stopping battle on light feeder rods. I’m going to resist the temptation to deliberately fish for the carp, though. I have other carp waters to target; I am totally focused on the tench and bream.

I’ve just returned from my second 48 hour session on the water, and have to report that neither Alan nor I have had a bite! I do not count a 1lb pike that took a swimfeeder on the retrieve. We have been suffering the malaise of many waters up and down the country, with unseasonably cold conditions including strong east winds, heavy driving rain and water temperature more akin to February than May. I know, speaking to many friends, that most anglers are also struggling with the decidedly wintry conditions. I live in hope, though, that these cold, wet conditions will see some really heavyweight tench being caught once the weather normalises. My three double figure fish, plus a string of nine pounders as back up, were taken after the water warmed following an equally miserable spring in 1998.

Although there is no exciting fishing to report back on at the moment, I can report on some of the new TFG products. Having finally retired my battered old Armadillo bivvy, I can say that I am delighted with my new Lok Down. Finding bivvies that will do everything with enough space is hard enough. With almost two inches of rain on my first night using it this week, it could not have had a more strenuous waterproofing test, which it passed with flying colours. Also, the Armo was the Two-Man model and I did debate whether to go for a two man Lok Down as well. In the end I opted for the one man and it is very generously sized, more than big enough for a six footer like me plus a mountain of gear. The Two-Man must be like a dance hall!

The monsoon like conditions were also an extreme test for my new Dave Lane Mag Runner bite alarms. Where bite alarms are concerned, I have no patience with all the bells and whistles some anglers seem incapable of being without. All I ask is that they sound when I get a bite, they don’t give up the ghost in the cold or damp, and they don’t require a second mortgage to keep up with the battery use. I don’t need tone alteration or volume control, although the alarms are supplied with mufflers for those who insist on ultra quiet alarms. Personally, I am not a fan of remote receivers, although one is supplied with the Mag Runners. I suppose I’m a bit old fashioned, but still believe that when I have baits out I should be behind my rods. I will use the remote receiver, though, if I’m forced to sit well back from the rods in very rough weather, so it is an important addition.

I can confirm that they passed the cold and damp situation with no problems! What I particularly like is the small size, the lightness and the dumpy little 12V batteries which are so quick and easy to change. A few years ago, I had other alarms that used the same batteries, and the battery life was outstanding. The alarms themselves, though, were a nightmare in damp conditions, but that’s another story!

Lastly, I am delighted with the new Hardcore Heavy Duty Carryalls. For bivvy fishing, and for using a barrow, the traditional rucksack is hardly ideal. I wanted a tackle bag that was solidly free standing, and not always toppling over, making finding items a lot of messing about. Similarly, the rucksack is altogether the wrong shape for barrow work. I acquired two of the carryalls, one for my tackle and one for my food, stove, cooking equipment, water etc. As well as the easily accessible load carrying, the hard top makes an ideal table. I had several very favourable comments about this luggage and I predict this will become a big seller.

See you again in a couple of weeks, when hopefully I’ll have some big tench or bream to show. In the meantime, here’s a shot of a big tench from a year back to remind us all of what one looks like!

 

The end of a two year blank

How annoying and frustrating it is to know the carp are in the lake but whatever you try they’re just not having any of it. Well that’s exactly the scenario I have been faced with over the past two years, fishing a lake down in the south of the country.

Don’t get me wrong by saying I’d blanked; the odd upper teen and twenty had graced my rods, which I am more than thankful for, but they were not the thirties I knew were in there and desperately wanted!

As any angler knows you start question just about everything and haven’t a clue where to focus your attention. Is it down to location, bait, rigs or a combination of all these things? You even start to question your ability as an angler.

Well as anyone can imagine I played around with all these things trying different combinations of this and that and much to my frustration didn’t seem to be getting anywhere. To top it off I was getting just a little frustrated with people saying something along the lines of “You’ve got to work your way through the smaller ones in order to catch the bigger ones”. Probably the last thing I wanted to hear sometimes!

Then one Saturday morning I woke up looked out of the window and decided that in my opinion it was a perfect day to go and spend a few hours on the bank. So that’s what I did and boy I’m glad that I had!

I opted to go very light with just two fishing rods set up on combi rigs and ½ a kilo of 14mm boillies. After watching the water for just 15mins I decided where to cast my rods and promptly did so. Within the next hour the first had a screaming run and an 18lb was in the net. No more than 10 minutes later the bite alarm on the second rod had a series of beeps that quickly developed into a take and I was into my second fish. Now this to me was a miracle on this lake and I was desperate not to lose this fish. I don’t think I have ever played a fish so cautiously in all my life. After what seemed like forever the fish was in the margins and I could tell I had hit the jackpot, I was so worried it would escape the net somehow.

When it was finally in the unhooking mat I could have jumped around the bank in excitement but all I wanted to do was weigh it. The beautifully scaled mirror weighed exactly 30lb and I was over the moon.

Okay so it wasn’t the biggest fish in the lake but it was the thirty I had been waiting on for two years. It shows that with a little perseverance you can achieve in the end.
With my confidence taking a boost let’s hope it’s not another two year for my next one out this lake.

Creedy Fishing Lakes

I recently spent a day at a lovely water near Exeter called Creedy Lakes, which is owned and run by Sandra & Stewart Tuner. Set in peaceful, picturesque surroundings, these two 18th century spring-fed waters offer some of the hardest fighting carp in Devon. Abundantly stocked with immaculate commons to over 31lbs, mirror and koi carp, together with green and golden tench, making it one of the best big fish day ticket water venues in the Southwest. The main lake is about 4 acres and holds a good head of carp up to 31lb.

On this session I was more than pleased with all 3 fish over the 20lb mark, but the one I won’t forget is the bigger one of them. I knew as soon as my TSI rod had screamed with this fish and I had hooked into it that is was unlike any of the others I had played that day. It played me hard, much more so than the 21lb I had landed that morning. It used its weight to try and hold up in the water and I had no option but to let it play me and take more line off my vanquish reel when needed.

After what seemed like a long tense struggle with the fish it was finally by the net but was still not going to give up that easily and was still fighting hard. With a final struggle the fish was in the bottom of the net and already I knew that I had a fair sized carp in there. When I put it on the unhooking mat it became apparent that this fish was not only pretty long but also pretty wide and weighed in at 27lb 3oz. What a cracker of a fish it was and I couldn’t wait to have my photograph taken with it.

I was proud to be able to put this fish back into the lake ready for someone else to catch another day. I know that I can’t expect action like this every time I visit a day ticket water but it is a good feeling when it does happen. I will never underestimate, and neither should anybody else, the success that can be achieved from a day ticket water.