Carp Fishing – Rick Golder Blog – May 2016

I had made a start on my new water with my first session over there kicking off a massive learning experience, and it’s one that will almost certainly be a long term campaign to fully understand. After all 60 acres is a fair bit of water, but being split by 3 islands makes it feel more manageable and a bit less daunting.

After that first trip I was really keen to get back, but with work being busy for the next couple of weeks I was limited to single overnight sessions in between work. I knew where I was going to go; somewhere local that’s nice and easy to fish on work overnights. On the Sunday before my first scheduled session I had a walk around the lake, just to get a feel for it as I hadn’t been there for almost a month.

Spring was slowly coming, and the trees were greening up, but the weather was still cold with the night time temperatures dropping down into low single figures. I wasn’t too worried as I knew the fish were awake and on the move, I just had to get the vital location bit right. I had a rough idea from previous experience and after seeing nothing I elected to put in a kilo of boilies in the first corner, just off a big over hanging tree. This was at the end of a small snag filled bay, and in early Spring the fish are always in there. It was a tiny swim, and one that just a single night was more than enough as it was a bit claustrophobic, as bar a tiny sliver of water, you can’t see much else in there.

I was back a couple of days later after work, and had two rods out fishing in the corner swim within a few minutes of arriving. Both were underarm flicks either side of the swim with my short stiff rigs on and little 1 oz Bolt Bomb leads, with balanced 16mm pink pop ups on. I just felt for nice firm drops and then broke a few baits up and threw them in by hand. Now the water temperatures are rising, I was glugging up my freebie boilies at least 24 hours before I go. I simply pour over 200ml of Essentials ‘Salami’ glug onto the frozen boilies and seal them in a clear bag overnight. The coarse nature of the B5 base mix allows the boilies to suck the lot in, and coupled with a bit of rock salt, the finished baits come out a lot darker and softer, oozing the attractors. When they are broken up I am sure they are a significant edge over standard flavoured round baits, because of the shape and enhanced attraction.

The weather wasn’t great though, it was blowing a strong cold Northerly wind, that luckily was blowing over my head, but with a frost forecast to come I wasn’t overly confident. In truth it was a bit of a surprise then when the left hand rod ripped off and I was bent into a fish that was determined to get into the snaggy tree branches to my left. I’ve been using the 0.39mm Gardner GT-HD mono this year (rated 18lb), and as well as sinking like fluorocarbon, it’s proven to be mega strong. I needed that strength though, as fish hooked this close in always ruck, and I had an arm aching few minutes trying to steer the fish out of danger. In the end I was grateful too for upping from a size 6 to a size 5 Chod hook.

I could see it was a nice common, and after a few more runs I drew it over the net. At 27 lbs it was a real bonus, but I felt that would be the end of any further action in this little bay. I was wrong though, as I followed it up with a 15 lb stockie mirror and a 10 lb Tench in the next two hours. I packed up and left for work in the morning more than happy with the captures.

I was back the week after, again for a quick work night, but the weather was much warmer- so I was confident that I had another chance out of the corner spot again. However, there was someone fishing in the next swim up, and I didn’t fancy more lines in the bay so I had a look round the far side where there was a long no fishing bank full of snag trees. Tight in the corner there was a large tree, and with the sun on it all day I wasn’t surprised to see at least 7 fish sat amongst the branches. A mid 20 common was tearing the bottom up in there with its gills flaring, and several others drifted slowly in and out. One fish especially caught my eye, as it was much bigger than the rest, and it sat motionless in the thickest part of the snags. I couldn’t tell which one it was, but it was good enough for me, so I rushed round to collect my gear, my mind ticking over as I figured out how best to fish the area with least disturbance.

The swim nearest was a small platform that had the main snag tree to its right, and I hadn’t fished it for a while, so wasn’t exactly sure of where to put my baits in there. The last thing I wanted to do was lead around too much with the fish already there. I put the light leads on again, and flicked one just off the tree branches almost at my feet, and the other to the left, taking about 5 casts until I found what I was happy with. The bottom was all pretty clear and fairly soft, but one spot was noticeably harder, and I could feel a dull thud all of the way down the rod butt as the lead hit bottom.

As soon as that was done, I crept back up the bank to my right; the fish were all still in there and I was relieved I hadn’t ruined it getting sorted. As the evening wore on the fish began to slowly drift out, and I thought my best chance would come as they left, or hopefully in the morning as they returned. The morning it was to be, as I had a couple of serious liners in the night, but at 8AM the left hand rod (on the harder spot) was away.

This one felt heavy, and tested the tackle in the narrow confines of the swim. It stayed deep, until almost on its first roll, I managed to pull it over the waiting net. One look inside and I saw it was the big one I had watched in the snags the day before. I quickly put her in the retention sling and rapidly packed up, as by now I was getting late to leave for work.

One of the other anglers came over, and kindly assisted with the weighing and pictures, and after having two the previous week, I was delighted with another. The work nights had paid off and at 36 lbs it was a cracker too, and was a big confidence boost for my return to the big pit for my next outing. I couldn’t wait.

Rick Golder

Carp Fishing – Rick Golder Blog – April 2016

Once the winter came, I enjoyed a few sessions on a local lake fishing with an old friend, Adam. It was great to have some social trips, as the rest of the year I never do it, my fishing is normally always done totally on my own. We had some success too! With my best going 27lb, and Adam having a stunning 34lb common on one of the colder days of what was generally a nice mild winter. These trips also gave me the chance to try out some new things for the season ahead, some of which I liked and have taken into my angling full time.

Once mid February came, and the days started to draw out, I began my proper session fishing again. I had a couple of trips to Kingsmead, enthused with the knowledge that it had produced a few, and hopefully there was a chance of an early fish. However, the first trip was a bit of a disaster, in that I lost a good fish. It happened at the height of a huge wind that had bits of branches falling from the trees, and waves hitting the boards at the front of the swim and sending spray right up the bank. Twice already that night I’d had the rods blown off the rests, and when the buzzer let out another series of bleeps in the early hours (whilst I was almost hanging on to the brolly) I naturally imagined it was just another branch blowing through the lines. In truth I wasn’t that quick to get out, and when I did I found myself attached to a fish that was plodding round out in what looked more like the North Sea than a decent sized gravel pit. It was hard holding the rod vertical in the wind, and I got it all the way back, only for it to drop off at the net!

The next trip wasn’t much better either! The first night was one of solid rain; whilst on the second night the sky finally cleared and it dropped down to -3! Unsurprisingly, I was already getting fed up with poor weather, and the spring couldn’t come quick enough…

The lake closed in mid-march, but I had other plans for another local lake that I don’t fish much now, but is always good for an early bite as it seems to wake up earlier than most of the ones in the same area. I had a couple of walks round, each time with the marker rod and a kilo or so of my favourite Essential B5, but in reality I already had a good idea of the first places to look for them. At one end there is a small sheltered bay, full of snags and overhanging trees that are off the cold winds and a real suntrap. I was stood on the high bank looking down into the mass of tangled branches below, when deep down, right on the bottom, a good fish glided slowly under them. This was followed soon after by another, and that was good enough for me. I spent a while with just a lead finding something to fish to, and I wanted to do this when I wasn’t actually fishing as I knew I needed to keep the disturbance to a minimum within the enclosed confines of the bay on my actual session.

This was limiting too, as there were a number of areas that I could fish, but would have presented serious problems trying to get anything out as the snags are just too severe. I wasn’t doing that, and although I was kitted up with strong gear, I was only going to fish spots I knew I was going to land fish from. In fact I knew of a spot from many years ago, one that had produced a couple of fish for me, but had disappeared over time when I started fishing lakes elsewhere. What it had produced historically was some of the rarer fish, and I concentrated my efforts on that first recce trip trying to find it again. About 20 casts in, I suddenly got one to crack down, and on pulling the lead I got the gentle tapping of broken ground that I remembered from all those years before. It was tiny though, and with one slight pull I was off it and in surprisingly thick weed – the legacy of a mild winter. I clipped the rod up and measured it against my rod at home using the distance sticks in the garden.

Finally, after I had done another bait up visit, I was back pushing my barrow fully loaded across the flooded field towards the lake. I was just starting to use the new GT-HD mainline in 18lb (0.39mm), and straight away I knew this was exactly what I was looking for. Super strong, but with sinking abilities nearly matching fluorocarbon and a lovely subtle colour – this was just what I needed in this snaggy situation. The rods went out well, both with short stiff rigs with pink pop ups.

The nice thing with that spot was you were either on it or not, it was really that easy to tell. I slackened the lines off, and had them hanging vertically down from the rod tips with the bobbins resting on the floor.

During the night I didn’t see or hear anything, but just before first light I had a take on the rod fished on the old spot. It was only half a run, as when I picked the rod up it was already in the weed behind the spot. With steady pressure it came out, discharged the lead and I gave it as much as I dared to keep it in the safe (open) water in front of the swim. I could tell it wasn’t a monster, but it was a cracking jet black long mirror and a real confidence boost so early in the new campaign. I left that morning, but kept the bait trickling in knowing I was back for another single night the week after.

The next trip came around, and the weather was still cold and dull, but my tucked away swim was protected from the wind, and once again looked good for a bite as I flicked the baits out with little 1.5oz leads. I was fishing within a few minutes of my dawn arrival.

A friend came down to see me, and whilst we sat there drinking tea I had a screaming run on one of the other rods cast over to the far bank. This one really rucked, going hard for the far bank trees, and then kiting round almost behind me deep into the bay. I piled on the side strain and had a good 10 minutes of deep runs up and down to contend with. Once I’d got it somewhere near my bank Jim netted it for me and one look at the size of its paddle and I could see why it had fought so hard! It weighed 28lb 8oz and I was delighted. Two trips and two fish was a real result.

Anyway, having had one so early in the session looked like I was bound for more, but as is the pattern, one fish out of the bay seems to completely kill it. I wasn’t complaining, and felt full of self belief; such is the power of catching a couple of nice fish quickly from what is in reality a pretty tricky venue. Typically, I was bought back down to earth soon after, when I went back over to the Mead for a two nighter, only to have the fish show on me repeatedly, and not have a single bleep – meanwhile my neighbour had 2, so somehow I’d clearly got something wrong!

I had a new challenge lined up for this year, and I was busy building up to it all winter. By that I mean I was buying the bits I needed! I was able to use a boat on this lake, which I had already, but not much else. I sat down and put a list together; leisure batteries, an outboard, gas inflation life jacket, markers, battery charger, it went on and on, so I spent the winter slowing acquiring it all with a view to being ready to start come the spring. It all took a fair amount of time, but eventually the list was ticked off, and my boat was down at the lake, and all ready to go.

This week was my first trip, and what an eye opener it was! 60 plus acres, three islands and a mass of carpy looking features and areas. Loading the boat at dawn, and motoring out through the mist was enough to raise the feelings of excitement and anticipation to whole new levels, and a cracking common on my first morning session was a great start on what promises to be a massive challenge. I have loads to learn and I can’t wait for more.

I’ll let you know how it all goes.

Rick Golder

Carp Fishing – the capture of a PB Common – Kai Richards

I arrived at my syndicate lake for a 48 hour session in the hope of catching a couple of nice fish. After we had had a long walk and a really good look around I really liked the look of a swim called ‘Side of the Gate. It’s in an area of the lake that has a lovely set of snags to the left of the swim, and with a warm wind pushing into this area I wasn’t at all surprised when I found a group of a dozen fish milling around on the surface.

I soon had my gear setup and I quickly set about finding a couple of spots. I found a lovely clear gravel spot down towards the tree line, not too far from where the fish were grouped up. I soon had a rig in position over 8 Spombs of bait. After a little bit of leading around I also found a nice clear spot straight out in front of the swim at 60 yards, where I positioned my other two rods and then put out around 15 spods out over the top.

I elected to tie up rigs constructed using the Camflex Unleaded leader material spliced to a size 8 Kwik-lok swivel with a C-Thru Brown Covert Lead clip (a very nice colour). The hook link itself consisted of a Trick-Link (25lb) and Trickster Heavy (silt 25lb) combi-link with a super reliable Covert size 6 Incizor hook. All good reliable stuff and a set up that I have absolute confidence in.

During the night and the next morning everything was quiet, with the odd few putting their heads out. At mid-day they started to become more active and started to show around 20 yards out. Suddenly, at 3pm my left hand rod screamed off and I hit into what felt like a good fish!

After about 10 minutes it was in my net and looked like my first 30lb’er of the year! On the scales it went 30lb 10oz so I got some pictures done quickly and we slipped her back as I was eager to get that rod back out.

Later that afternoon, at around 6pm, I topped up the swim, putting out the same amount as I did the day before and also reeled in my rods to re-bait them. As I was doing my last rod a couple of decent fish were jumping out about 20 yards out so I quickly got a rod in the zone and 30 minutes later I was into an angry little mirror which weighed 15lb 12oz. I got a couple of pics and put it back.

An hour or so later, just as it was getting dark, I had a weird indication coming from my left hand rod. I watched for a couple of minutes before striking into this sneaky common which had kited out of the left hand bay. After a great fight the beast was in the net and it looked huge! I was excited to see the weight so I got everything ready and my mate came round to take some photos. When it was on the mat we recognised that it was a common called ‘The Immaculate’!

I was so buzzing to have enjoyed such a great couple of hours and to have this beast on my mat. It went 39lb 8oz on the scales – which beat my old PB common by just over a pound. I got some great shots and put her back. The rest of the session was quiet and early next morning I left over the moon with catching ‘The Immaculate’. What a fish!

Carp Fishing – Day Ticket Warriors – Tom Oliver

I have spent my last few trips out fishing at day ticket water called ‘Hollybush Lakes’ in Aldershot on the Surrey/Hampshire border. The lake is around 10 acres in size and home to some truly stunning old carp that have been resident for many years. The lake is also reasonably quiet in comparison to a lot of the other day ticket waters in the area, so stuck out to me as somewhere well worth having a visit whilst deciding on plans/tickets for the forthcoming year.

My first trip coincided with some really cold weather and not a great deal was happening, although after a move on the second day I did manage to slip the net under a really old one known as “The Italian” that pulled the scales around to 27.02lb. The fish was supposedly the oldest resident on the complex and the bailiff Stu had catch records of this very fish dating back to the 1950’s! I was really pleased to have caught in such harsh conditions and was already planning a return especially after seeing all of the pictures of the fish in Stu’s office.

My next chance to fish was on a social with my good friend Mike (a local trout farmer) celebrating his birthday. I have known Mike since we went to college together and we have stayed best of friends since – although we very rarely fish together as Mike has never been struck by the carp fishing bug like I have. After a bit of ear bashing and arm bending I managed to convince him that a 48hr carp session was in order for his birthday to try and up his P.B., and Hollybush was once again the obvious choice with several 20lb+ fish to go at.

We arrived at the lake around mid-day on the Thursday and decided to spend the first couple of hours just having a walk around trying to learn where the fish were. The weather was fairly drab and overcast and after two laps of the lake we were still none the wiser. It had started to rain a little heavier so we decided to take one last look before making an educated guess as to where they might be if we still hadn’t seen anything. As luck would have it no guesses were needed as we saw four shows in a matter of minutes in one particular area of the lake and were soon dashing back to the cars for the gear. After a short walk with the barrows we arrived back in the swims and another fish showed in the same area to confirm we were making the right decision.

It took a little while to get sorted, as Mike hasn’t ever done much serious carp fishing and needed some guidance with finding spots and rigs etc. but before long and just as the light was fading we were finally sat sipping a brew happy with everything.

Around 9pm Mike’s left hand rod went in to meltdown as an angry fish powered around in the moonlight. It fought really hard in the margins but eventually we slipped a really old looking mirror, clearly over 20lb, over the net cord. Both Mike and I were elated and the fish looked as though it could beat his long standing PB of 22.02lb – which it did – coming in exactly one pound heavier.

The fish was one of the ancient Leney’s that reside in the lake and was known as “Split Pec” and after a few trophy shots she was returned to her home and Mike replaced the rig on the spot and added a little more bait. After a celebratory brew we both retired to bed for the night but after an hour or two Mike’s recast rod was away again resulting in another PB, this time a Bream of 11.06lb!

The rest of the night passed uneventfully and we decided to reel in and have an early walk around to try and see if we could find them anywhere. Apart from one tench showing at the opposite end we didn’t see anything worth moving onto so we got the rods out again back in our original swims. The rest of the day remained quiet and as it crept into the evening I decided to spod a little bit of bait out to see if I could create some sort of reaction. A mix of pellets, hemp, corn and chopped and whole Carp Company ‘Ice Red’ boilies were deposited on a silty spot with a light covering of silkweed out in the middle of the lake and two chod rigs were placed over the top.

I felt confident that fish were still in the area as I had seen lots of patches of fizzing popping up and only an hour after baiting up my right hand rod pulled up tight. The fish put up a really good scrap and an old common was soon coughing water ready for the net. The size 6 Covert Chod hook was firmly planted in the bottom lip and after unhooking we recorded a weight of 26lb before doing some pictures.

Not long afterwards Mike had a tench off his spot before everything went quiet and we settled down for the evening drinking tea and chatting into the hours of darkness. We eventually both hit the sack and the next thing I can remember is an excited Mike stood in my swim saying “You might want to come and look at this”. After coming round I made my way down to his swim where a mirror lay beaten in the folds of his net that looked like it would set another PB for Mike! This was confirmed when we registered a weight of 26.02lb and we identified the fish as one of the old dink strain fish that reside in the lake. Mike was again elated and we got some great pictures once the light had improved.

We spent the rest of the morning hopeful of another take, but this time everything remained quiet so I took the time to show Mike how to tie up the chod rig set-up we were using, including everything from rig to leader. Mike picked it up really well and commented on how he understood why I enjoy carp fishing so much and he was already thinking about when he could go again! It doesn’t take much for the bug to bite and Mike has been a few times since, and with success to I must add!

We both packed up and left around 11am after a thoroughly enjoyable trip with a few nice fish thrown in the mix too.

Next time the rods my rods will be out I will be France and I can’t wait! Fingers crossed for a good trip and hopefully I’ll have a few pictures of enormadons to show you when I’m back!

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