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”

Floater fishing the Total Fishing Gear Way

Summer’s now with us and as we all know carp love to get the sun on their backs, so its time to look to the surface for our action throughout the day. Stalking carp off the surface has to be one of the most exciting forms of fishing there is but week after week through the summer we visit lake and see carp cruising in front of anglers who sit there watching motionless bobbins seemingly oblivious to what’s in front of them.So we would like to go through some of the basics to help you catch a few of those sun bathing carp.

A little more thought.
90% of the anglers that do venture out to catch carp of the surface grab a bag of Pedigree chum and start firing them out at the first fish they see. With a little more thought and preparation you’ll find that your catch rate will improve dramatically.

Flavoured dog biscuits
A simple tactic that will put more fish on the bank for you is flavouring and adding oils to your free offerings which will draw carp from some distance away and also draw carp up to the surface. One of our favourite mixes and one that we would never be without on the bank is the TFGear Hot Krill and Special Brew mix. Mix around 100-200ml of Hot Krill oil and 100ml of Special Brew together, pour a 2kg bag of Pedigree chum dog biscuits into an airtight container then add the liquid mix seal the lid and give it a good shake until all the biscuits have a good covering, then leave overnight to soak in. The Hot Krill oil will float on the surface creating a calm slick around the free offerings while the Special Brew being water based will sink through the water column drawing fish to the surface.

Hook baits
I know many top carp anglers who still use dog biscuit as hook baits but we find this way too time consuming. Hair rigged cut down boilies are the way we do most of our surface fishing and the boilie of choice at the moment is a cropped down 15mm Amino Active CSL boilie hair rigged to a Korda widegape size 10 hook.

Without doubt the best surface controller is the TFGear surface missile in the 30gm size, this casts up to 80yds with ease and due to the design of it when the carp takes it will act like a bolt rig and the weight and shape will help to hook more fish. Using a hook length of around 6ft and greasing this up to 1ft before the hook will also help hook-ups.

Fishing rods of between 2 & 2-½ lb test curve with a parabolic action are a better option than the quicker action heavier test curve rods that are more in vogue today. The TFGear X series 2.2lb test curve barbel is an ideal choice.

Horseshoe Revisited

Not long after dawn, I was again setting up in swim number 1, for another crack at the tench. The general consensus had been that, the previous week, I had been a little unlucky not to have at least one big female of 8lb or over. In fact, the swim had produced a few doubles already, to over 11lbs. As my personal best is 11lb 11ozs, I was certainly in with a fighting chance of upping that with a little good luck.I approached the fishing in the same way as the week before, only this time I was using some of the new generation of rubber maggots that Chris Hormsby of Enterprise had sent me to try. He has imparted a very lifelike “wriggle” into them, so lifelike in fact that my wife was loath to touch them! I was also using for the first time my new TFG Specialist Bivvy, and was very impressed with it. The erection time stated of 20 seconds is certainly no lie, in fact it took longer to peg out than it did to erect. And pegging out was important in the very strong south west wind which, luckily, was directly behind me.

The session was the complete reverse of the first, the first day being completely blank apart from just one small rudd. Other anglers on the water were saying that the fishing had become very hard with very few fish landed for a few days. On the second morning, after an uninterrupted sleep, I still had over a pint of casters left and debated whether I should introduce any bait on account of the total lack of action in the previous 24 hours. In the end, I put them in, with half a pint to each rod. All or nothing, I said to myself.

At mid morning, another angler Leigh stopped for a chat and as we talked the wind really got up and a fine, squally rain started. I said to Leigh that hopefully the rain would bring the tench on and within seconds of the words leaving my lips, both rods were away. You wait hours for a bite, and then two come at once! With Leigh on hand to deal with one fish, both fish were played at the same time and landed in the same net, quite a bizarre occurrence. Leigh weighed them for me and declared two males of 7lb 6ozs and 6lb 8ozs. Quite an exciting way to end a quiet spell!

There were to be two more tench of 7lb 3oz and 6lb 6ozs before I eventually packed up in late evening, plus a few rudd. The one negative was a big rudd that got round my other line, dragging the second feeder into thick weed. Eventually, with everything solid, the hook pulled out of the fish and I was left cursing my luck.
I’m off to Acton carping next week ; I’ll let you know the outcome.

First Horshoe Experience

I’ve been meaning for some time to have a go for the fabulous tench of Carp Society water Horseshoe Lake near Lechlade in Gloucestershire and this year I finally did something about it. On my arrival I was greeted by Luke and Dave, who man the lodge at the venue, and I was immediately impressed with their professionalism and the terrific way the water is run. They were also very helpful with advice on where tench had been showing and I was soon ensconced in peg number 1. the most productive swim had apparently been Summer Point, the swim next closest to the lodge in Summer Bay, but it was temporarily closed, as were the swims round the shallows, as carp had started spawning.

Once again, I was using a size 12 Pallatrax hook on short Gamma fluorocarbon hooklinks, fished above the Kamasan feeder and held between rubber grip beads on rapid sink rig tubing. This rig ensures that no fish can possibly be tethered on a main line break. It is also easily adjustable to fish the hook bait right alongside the feeder or as far away as deemed necessary.

After finding a nice clear area about 30 yards out, with light Canadian pond weed around the fringes of the swim, I baited with six of my large cones of mixed hemp, casters, mini pellets and dead red maggots. Hook baits were two Enterprise buoyant red maggots with two real ones accompanying. By the time I was sorted out it was late morning, and the first two hours passed uneventfully as far as tench were concerned, although I was being regularly plagued by small rudd. Then, at 1.30pm, I had a real screamer and soon landed a superb tench of 7lb 8ozs. That fish opened the floodgates and in the next four hours tench came regularly. I wasn’t to get a really big fish but there were three more seven pounders and a few sixes. Nothing under six pounds was landed.

After a quiet night, I was expecting more tench action on the second day. But, typical of fishing, for some reason the swim had just died. Apart from more rudd, not a tench was tempted on day two.

It had a been a great first session on a fabulous water and I couldn’t wait to get back. That was planned for the following week.

A First Catfish Session

After missing a week’s fishing fulfilling a promise to the wife to re-decorate the hall, stairs and landing, I was certainly in need of two days fishing! This season, I have made myself a promise to catch a catfish to beat my current best of 22lb 12oz and headed for Cemex water Jones Pit on Wednesday morning for a 48 hour session. It was my first visit to the water and I was given some tremendous help by bailiffs Ed and Chris on the water. On their advice, I settled in a swim called “Dead Man’s Hole”, so called because an angler shot himself there a few years ago!

It was all close range work, with interesting small islands to left and right at roughly 10 O’clock and 2 O’clock respectively. A cast of barely 30 yards would be needed for those, while to my right, wooded margins coincided with a nice lily bed only feet from the bank. Ed informed me that a bait fished right alongside those lilies was a reliable tactic for the cats. Eventually, I settled on one rod to that margin, one to the fringe of the right hand island, and the third about a 40 yard cast midway between the two islands.

Because of the closeness of the swims, loose feeding was easy enough, and I prepared the margin swim with 1kg of 18mm Halibut pellets plus another 1kg of fish meal boilies. To this was added a bag of Fox Blood Red groundbait, which is specially formulated for attracting predators with its heavy fish oil content.

The middle of my fishing rods was baited just with halibut pellets via catapult, and I went in initially with 3kg. I wanted a bed of bait that would stop a marauding cat in its tracks, and as they go to near 70lb in the water, 3kg would not be overdoing it.

The left hand rod was just a boilie attack, and I fired out the best part of 3kg of 18mm boilies.

The left and right fishing rods were both baited with 18mm boilies, wrapped in fish meal paste to make offerings of around 30mm, and then dunked in a thick, gooey gunk of anchovy flavoured dip. The middle rod was baited with a 30mm Catmaster Tackle Mega Chunk halibut pellet. These are specially formulated for large cats and feature a tough exterior but soft interior. Unlike many pellets, these can be left out for several days if need be without dissolving.

There is not that much to say about the fishing. Both nights I was plagued with line bites from the lakes large bream population, but never had a proper run in the dark hours. The only real run I had occurred just after dawn on Thursday when a I struck into a very big fish after getting a real screamer on the open water rod. Unfortunately, and a rare occurrence for me, the hook pulled after about three minutes and I practised a few well rehearsed swear words to myself!

The lost fish could have been a big carp, of course, but, as the hook point was turned over when I examined it, I rather fancy a catfish hooked in the hard, Velcro like pad on its top jaw.

Ah well, there’s always next time!