Rick Golder Blog June 2016

I had been on one trip to the big pit, my new adventure for this year, and as well as proving a considerable new challenge, it was a massive learning experience too. Fishing using a boat is indeed a new skill, and whilst it has fantastic advantages, it was also proving to be tricky to master to say the least!

It was a big boost to have had a fish that first trip, but deep down I wanted to prove it wasn’t a fluke, and I knew getting the next one would be by no means easy. The next trip was another leaning one, in that I left after two rain filled nights without a bleep, but still I had more confidence in using the boat, and more valuable knowledge of the lake. In truth I’d not seen a thing, despite motoring round and round the lake for hours, so had set up on a guess. It had failed, but I wasn’t too despondent, as I’d come away with a better understanding of how to find spots from the boat out in the lake, and then how to fish them effectively.

The next trip turned out to be a very memorable one. I’d arrived later than my usual first light, and knowing my good friend big Jim was fishing on the first island, I took my loaded boat over there to catch up with him first. As we sat there having a cup of tea, he had a violent take on a rod fished over to some far bank snags. He was locked up, but by the way the fish was pulling, and the deep boils that were coming up, it looked even that early on that it was a good one. As it rolled I got a glimpse of the golden scales of a big common, and I held out the net as it pulled it over the cord. One look inside and I knew I’d never seen a common that big, and at 51 lbs plus it was an incredible moment, just to witness such a capture.

I let Jim get himself together as I set off to find somewhere to fish. I had made a pact with myself not to start until I found fish, and after a fruitless search around the main body of the lake, I found half a dozen small ones against some snags in the area I had taken my first fish from. They weren’t the biggest, but they were all I could find, so I hastily set my Tempest brolly up, before doing some photos for Jim.

Back in my swim I knew of two spots, but while out looking in the boat I found a polished glowing sandy area amongst the light weed of the far margin. It was pretty blatant though, as it was shallow and shone bright yellow in the sunshine. I didn’t have great hope for it, but none the less I was soon dropping a pink pop up on it from the boat, coupled with a handful of B5 free baits. I guessed it to be around 6 feet deep, but as I lowered my rig I could easily see it settle on the bottom, the stiff Mirage boom section kicking the pop up away from the lead as it touched down, and I plunged the rod dip below the surface and using my finger against the spool played out the line as I motored back to the swim. As I got back I laid the rod on the floor and began sorting the next, until I heard the clutch spinning on the rod I’d literally just put out. This one really went hard, even at about 120 plus yards, and I was grateful for having the 18lb GT-HD line on. This one got stuck fast though, and I was soon heading out to it in the boat, winding down with the rod and using that as the way of getting out to it. I had in my mind that it was only going to be a small one, as that is all I’d seen, but as it all came free, I could see a decent mirror twisting and turning beneath me. Playing fish from the boat isn’t easy, and a number of times I was spun around and facing in the wrong direction as I tried to put some pressure on it. On the bank they want to run away from you, but in the boat all they want to do is go hard down for the bottom. It was exciting though, and I prayed for a decent hook hold as time after time it buried itself deeper and deeper. With my knees aching from kneeling on the bottom of the hard boat, I eventually pulled it into the net. It was a lovely long dark mirror that went 31 lbs, and within a few hours of arriving I’d netted a 50, and had a 30 myself!

The following evening, I witnessed a show like I’d not seen before on this lake, as fish after fish rolled in an area about the size of a tennis court, in front of the swim behind me, but ¾ of the way across towards the far bank. After I’d seen the first 20 plus shows enough was enough, and I bought one of my other rods in, and was soon boating over into this area. It wasn’t hard to see where to be, as on the surface lay strands of torn up weed, and in the eerie silence, one jumped out a matter of feet away, as I was preparing to swing out my rig. I’d put on a naked chod, with a little 1.5 oz Bolt Bomb lead, and I swung it out in the zone when I was still about 15 yards short, in the hope that would give me the most stealth. The lead went down with a dull thud, and putting the motor in reverse I slowly made my way back. In truth I thought I’d ruined it, as from dropping the lead I never saw another fish. I was rewarded though, as an hour later that rod was off, and I was soon netting a 23lb common. This one was nailed on the chod rig too, the lead having discharged from the Drop Out Chod Safety Clip I was using. It was a bonus capture, the result of watching the water and being prepared to grab an opportunity.

The following two trips were blanks. The first session I found out the hard way and how difficult boat fishing in heavy weed is. The area I was in had thick stems of hornwort hitting the surface, horrible stuff that completely clogged the outboard propeller. I’d found a couple of nice spots in the middle of it though, just dark holes between the weed, that a bare lead thumped down inside. I dropped off the H -Bloks, but out there in the wind and rain trying to put a bait into them was a different story, as without the stability of the motor, I was soon blown way off where I wanted to be, and unable to get any sort of line lay over the weed. It was frustrating, as I did see fish there, but in truth I simply never got it right, and fished poorly as a consequence.

On almost every trip I had seen fish in one particular area, just off one of the old sailing club buoys. In fact the previous week I had sat watching at least half a dozen show in this area, and had mentally stored it away for another day. There must be something that they liked there, but I had never fished it before. With nothing to go on and arriving late the following week, I thought I’d take a chance and give it a go. It took me a while to find what I was looking for, but I soon had a couple of nice humps rising up from 16 feet to around 12 located. They had lovely hard spots on the back just as they began dropping away in the deeper water, and it was almost dark by the time I had positioned the rods and. I wasn’t too worried, as every show had been early in the morning. With that I mind I was up first thing, full of anticipation, but by 12pm I’d not seen a thing. Feeling disappointed I made a hasty decision to move, and loaded the boat before setting off to the main snags swim for my last night. I’d not fished this one before, and a change of gear was needed. I put on my spools of Hydro Sink braid coupled with a 20lb mirage fluorocarbon leader, with big 4oz leads fished drop off style. In truth I’m not a fan of braid as a mainline, but in these circumstances I could see the advantages, the lack of stretch giving far earlier bite indication, that I would need to get any hooked fish away from the snags. It was also a first outing for the new Dark Covert Chod hooks. This new coating giving them a brilliant subtle finish and retaining a razor sharp point. There were a number of nice looking hollows in the far bank trees, but I chose 3 and boated over to them one at a time. About half way across was a big band of weed up on the surface, and I lifted the motor and rowed through this, before being able to use the outboard again on the far side. It wasn’t easy, but after a while I had 3 perfectly position baits in the different hollows, each with a handful of baits around. I knew this area was a daytime spot, and hoped I would get one chance before I had to leave the next day around lunchtime.

The next day was overcast and warm, perfect conditions, and at 9am the right hand rod pulled up tight and the locked up clutch giving nothing. As I pulled into the fish the lead had already ejected, and I pumped it as hard as I could away from the far bank. Once it was away from there I knew I had done the most difficult part, but about halfway back it became stuck in the same weed that I had to row through to get my baits out. With my life jacket on I was soon paddling out there, and even once I got above it I struggled to free it, with the rod tip juddering as I got line back an inch at a time. With every bit came tip clogging strands of weed, until suddenly the fish woke up and powered off, soaking me and taking back the line I had worked so hard to gain. This went on for an age and at one point the orange pop up came up to the surface mid fight, but like the hook, my luck held too. I got a number of looks at the fish, and could see it was a big scaley mirror, and a cracking looking one at that. Twenty minutes in and my arm and knees were aching, and I felt no nearer to netting it, until almost on its first roll on the surface I pulled it and a big pile of weed, into the net.

It really was a stunner and at 32lbs I was delighted as I held it up for the camera, one of the lake’s jewels.

Overnight Roach Pit success for Andy Muir

With the weather looking really good last night, I decided at short notice to have a work night visit to the historic CWA Roach Pit. When I arrived I had a quick walk round and found a few fish milling about in the Swimming Pool snags, so I set up in the nearest spot. The swim I chose is awesome as it allows you to fish 1 rod next to the snags and also to fish out into open water in the channel.

Having the use of a boat at the venue made it nice and easy to get things sorted. After I popped up the marker on the bar in the channel I nipped out and spread a large bucket of hemp, maples and tares in an area just big enough for 2 rods. The margin rod was dropped on the spot by the snags and I was all sorted just as the heavens opened. Absolutely perfect timing for once!

Rigs were all nice and simple (but effective) and comprised four inch Ultra Skin hooklinks with size 6 Wide Gapes Talon Tips, with a 4oz lead on a Covert Lead Clip. There is a no leader rule on the Roach so I used Mirage Flouro main line, pinned down with blobs of putty to keep the end tackle hidden form the prying eyes of any carp that came along and browsed over the spots.

The indicator activity started after about an hour, with liners every few minutes on the rods on the bar. A short time later I was to nail the first of the five Tench of the night. I was bucket questioning the big bucket of particle on a work night as the liners I was getting were non-stop all night and clearly the Tench were out there having an absolute field day.

Finally, at 3 in the morning I had a belting take; this was clearly not a Tench and was one angry carp that was trying it’s best to make it up the channel. At one stage it made it around the trees in the margin, but by keeping the pressure on and sinking the rod tip deep down in the margin I managed to coax it back in front of me. Happy days, as another of the Roach Pit originals named the Friendly Mirror rolled into the net at 26lb!

A New Lease of Life

During the summer of 2015 a new syndicate was being planned in the carp mecca of Yateley. Alan Cooper (CWA Fisheries) had purchased a lake known as Little Moulsham during the CEMX sale of fisheries in 2014/2015. Word was some vast improvements had been made to the venue, so it was certainly seemed wise to have a closer look. I knew very little about the lake apart from it held a good head of grass carp, which were rumoured to grow to enormous proportions and initially these were what I hoped to target. After a quick call to Alan, he bought me up to date on the plans he had and what the venue contained. I arranged to meet him a few days later to hand over my hard earned cash. Once I’d got my ticket I stashed it away in a safe place and continued with my obsession for a big pike during the months of January and February.

At the end of March I took my first walk around the venue and although it looked a little bleak, I wasn’t in too much of a rush to wet a line. I continued to walk the venue at every opportunity and as the grass carp weren’t active, I decided to make the most of the ticket and have a dabble for the venues carp population.

I was fairly lucky during my first half a dozen or so trips and managed to slip the net under six fish. The high lights were a wonderful fully scaled mirror and one of the lakes larger mirrors, which was stalked out of the edge. During the daylight hours the fish were spending a lot of time in a set of snags at the far end of the lake, which allowed me to view most of the lakes stock in a relatively short space of time. Just feet away from where I stood were a handful of scale perfect commons and a couple of mirrors sunning themselves in the mass of branches. My approach had been simple up until now, get on the fish as much as possible and use a bait they liked.

By the time May had come around I was well into my fishing and with a three day trip planned around the bank holiday weekend I was hopeful of a bite or two. I arrived to find just two anglers on and after a good walk around I soon had two hinged stiff rigs out in the zone. Both rods went out perfectly and I scattered a good helping of Pacific Tuna over each rod. That night I received two bites, which resulted in a lovely stocky and a fish known as two scales weighing twenty pounds and ounces and a low double stocky. By mid-morning the fish were evident in the snags again, so I wound in the rods and much of the day was spent watching them at close quarters. The lake holds a handful of impressive looking commons and after watching them on numerous occasions over the last month, it was one of these that I so dearly wanted to catch.

That night, after getting the rods out perfectly, I received a take at first light and after picking up the rod I just knew this was in a different league to what I hooked up until now. I played it carefully, praying the hook would stand firm and after ten or so minutes she was mine. As I parted the mesh I could only smile, as I knew I had just landed one of the fish I had been watching only a handful of hours earlier. After carefully removing the hook, I cradled a lovely 31lb 2oz common for the camera.

The action didn’t stop there and over the course of the next 24 hours I managed a further three fish, all lovely proportioned twenty pound plus fish. A joy to catch from such a great syndicate.

Carp Fishing – A Week To Remember – by Tom Oliver

We finally reached the end of April and with that came the much anticipated ‘FLE Tour 2016’. We were once again heading out to the fantastic Carp Connections Fishing Resort Du Der in the Champaign region of France. This year we had both JRC and Berkley lake exclusively hired for our trip, meaning there was going to be lots of space on both lakes giving everyone plenty of options to move if it wasn’t happening. An excited group of anglers all met at the FLE site early on Friday morning and we were soon loaded in to the minibus making our way down to the Tunnel crossing. The trip went smoothly and we were soon in France making our way to the lake with a supermarket stop along the way to break the journey up. Everyone stocked up on beer, wine, cheese and French delicacies and we made the final leg of the journey to the lake with everyone in a rather upbeat mood.

We finally arrived at the lake around 6pm and after a very warm welcome from Hans Sissingh and Graham we all set about having a look around with a view to deciding where we would hopefully be fishing. I was going to be fishing with Graham and 13 year old Harrison Beale for the week, and we managed to get into a swim we fancied on Berkley Lake.

The trip started well with quite a few fish being caught over the complex but on our lake the fish were stacked up in one area of the lake and totally in-accessible to me and young Harrison. Graham was catching a few fish by fishing to the extreme right of our swim boundary and this enabled him to pick off the odd fish as they were bouncing between the two pegs that were catching. This situation remained the same and after 48hrs both myself and Harrison were a little despondent having not had so much as a liner – so we decided we were going to move rather than sit there hoping the fish might turn up at some point during our stay.

We went for a good look around both lakes and eventually decided the best plan was going to be to move over to peg 2 on JRC Lake. The swim covers a lot of water and looked bang on with a fresh warm wind trickling in – plus I knew this area of the lake pretty well from previous trips. It didn’t take us long to move with the assistance of the van and both myself and Harrison felt much more confident as we were setting up even seeing a fish show out at range. Harrison set up on the left fishing a bay on the teeth of the wind and I set up fishing straight out to the open water in the middle of the lake. We both had a lead around and put just a small amount of bait out with the Spomb before dispatching solid PVA bags over the top. I always prefer to try and get a few bites before committing too much bait to the swim as you can always give them a bit more but can’t take it away!

The rods had been out for around an hour and I was just stood trying to have a conversation with a French angler I had met on a previous trip when my left hand rod started to slowly pull away. On picking up the rod I was pretty certain I had something fairly big on the end; it was just one of those fights when you just know. I eventually got the fish in to the edge and that’s when the real battle commenced as the fish powered around in the deep margins. I must admit that I was absolutely bricking it at this stage as I had seen the size of what was attached to my line and all I could feel was the fish twisting and turning, rubbing up the main line as it did so. Everything held strong (as I knew it would) and eventually a huge mirror lay beaten in the folds of my Outreach Net and it was certainly the biggest fish I had ever seen in the flesh, let alone caught! I sent a few messages to friends around the complex and they all came around to help with the weighing and photos and we settled on a weight of 55.08lb before having a few beers to celebrate.

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Eventually we got everything sorted again and settled down for the night and by morning I had managed a few more fish to 38lb on the solid bag tactics. Harrison however was still without a bite and rather despondent so I moved him from where he was to my right so that he could walk up the right hand bank and cast his rods to the same area I was fishing before walking them back down the bank to our new swim.

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I really wanted him to have a great week and he deserved to as he was fishing extremely well too. I was sure it wouldn’t be long before he got in on the action I was enjoying. I had also decided to start giving them a lot more bait as I had noticed the bites were coming in clusters each time after baiting before it went quiet again – so each time it did I gave them another bucket. I was using a fairly simple mix that consisted of mixed sized pellets, chopped and whole Carp Company ‘Icelandic Red’ boilies and sweetcorn. The mix was all given a good coating of Aminol + and Golden Corn Oil to help kick up a slick and create a feeding response.

The plan worked a treat and a couple of hours after baiting the fish returned and the first bite came to Harrison’s rod. I could tell he was buzzing whilst playing the fish which turned out to be a mid 20 mirror. We quickly unhooked it in the net so he could get his rod back out straight away; something I always try and do to capitalise on feeding windows. To enable us to do this we both had spare solid bags pre-tied on leaders that were ‘loop to looped’ on and off the rods to save time and the proof that this works came just as we were releasing Harrison’s fish when his re-cast rod was once again in meltdown. The fish put up one hell of a scrap and we all knew that Harrison was attached to something pretty special, so I decided to jump in the waders to net the fish which I eventually did first time. Understandably, Harrison let out the biggest cheer before jumping around the swim totally elated at what had just happened and he was convinced he had a 40+ which he had been dreaming of for months leading up to the trip. However I knew it was much bigger, but didn’t let on so that he had the surprise once the scales swung around and settled on 51.08lb!

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Many hands were on deck to help with the pictures and my favourite moment was when I unzipped the retainer and Harrison exclaimed “What do I do with it?!” whilst looking totally gob smacked at its sheer size! He did however manage extremely well, getting some brilliant pictures of the fish whilst treating it with the up most care and respect.

Once everyone had calmed down we sorted out the mess that was our swim that was littered with empty beer bottles and wet clothes before sorting the rods back out and re-tying the spare leaders. I was extremely confident with the set up we were using as it had always worked well for me on the venue and the hook holds that we were getting with the size 6 Covert Longshank Mugga hooks were incredible! We were using simple 6” blow back rigs tied with Trickster Heavy attached to a drop off in-line lead on a 30lb Mirage Fluorocarbon leader with blobs of Critical Mass putty moulded up the line at 1ft intervals to help keep everything pinned down at the business end. The hookbait was one of my home made 14mm pink pop-ups and the bag was filled with a mixture of small pellets and most importantly a good dose of Pure Pellet Oil that always gave a massive slick just before each take.

We both caught a few more carp that evening, even managing a brace of 30’s as part of a double take. The next day we carried on with the baiting and the results kept on coming. The action would always come in small windows a couple of hours after baiting and it would usually always be carnage with the action thick and fast whilst they were on the bait. It would always eventually stop though and this would signal the fact that we had been cleared out so just before the afternoon BBQ social at the bar I stood spombing for around an hour to really top up the spot, and as our swim was right next to the bar we were allowed to leave the rods out which was a bonus too. The BBQ social was brilliant, with a fancy dress theme and lots of happy carp anglers celebrating their PB’s getting rather merry along the way.

After around two hours people were just starting to disperse back to their swims when my rod went into meltdown. I was there in a flash and as I bent in to the fish Harrison’s rod also roared off and we soon had a crowd watching as we both played in our prize. I had foolishly agreed that I would wear my mankini for the pictures so we got a group picture with everyone in their fancy dress before I disappeared to get some clothes on again as it was freezing!

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The following morning I was going to have to leave the lake for a few hours to drop Graham off for the England Team Six Nations match, so I baited extremely heavily at first light. Around an hour later I could see Graham making his way around the lake saying goodbye to everyone at which point my spot started to kick up the biggest slick I have ever seen! I knew it was only a matter of time before one of the rods would rip off but I literally had about a minute before Graham would reach my swim and I would have to reel in. The van was about thirty yards away from my swim when my middle rod pearled off resulting in a 43lb mirror and I was well happy the bite had happened in time.

Needless to say whilst I was away they went mental on my spot with constant slicks coming up off the bait and fish showing over the top of the spot, so more bait was needed on my return. Both Harrison and I enjoyed a few more fish that afternoon and I even got to witness an incredible fish of 61.08lb that was caught by another angler on the lake.

Around 3AM on Thursday morning I was awoken by a take on my left hand rod and once again I had the distinct feeling that something special was on the end as it plodded from left to right using its weight. I tried to wake young Harrison but he was completely shattered from the previous few days, so left him to sleep whilst I tried to net the fish myself. This wasn’t as easy as I had hoped as the fish kept powering off from right to left and then back again which involved me weaving my rod in and out of my other lines to avoid becoming tangled.

I eventually netted another colossal mirror and quickly got the rod back out before weighing and retaining the fish properly. I struggled weighing the fish alone so placed it in a retainer until it was light enough to call upon some assistance. By this point my re-cast rod was once again away and I was playing another fish when Harrison came around and realised what was going on. He was just putting his shoes on when his rod also ripped off. As luck would have it we both successfully landed our fish with another 30lb’er each!

It was now only around an hour until first light so we sat excitedly drinking tea and I called upon some assistance for first light. By the time a few people had gathered I had had another bite and Hans, the lake owner, arrived just as we were doing the pictures. I must say a massive thanks to Rich Butler as he got some epic shots of the 52!

The week had already been amazing for both Harrison and I, and with only one full day and a night ahead of us we decided to really go for it. We both worked our socks off and were constantly rewarded throughout the day, even having a quadruple take during the afternoon! All three of my rods, plus one of Harrison’s decided to go off in tandem and I think I landed fish of 42lb, 39lb+ and 34lb+ and Harrison had an upper 20. By the early evening I was shattered and with the long drive back ahead of me in the morning I decided not to re-bait once the action had dried up to make sure I would be feeling fresh for the early pack up the next morning. I did manage one final fish, just before bed, then enjoyed a full night of sleep happy with the results of my week.

Once all of the kit was loaded we all met back at the bar to settle our bills and say our thanks before leaving. There was a definite buzz in the air that morning as so many people had enjoyed a fantastic week’s fishing and I really couldn’t recommend the venue highly enough.

In just five days and nights I had managed 27 bites landing 23 including two 50’s to 55.08lb! We finally set off for the long journey home but not before stopping at Maccy D’s for a big scran up. The journey went smoothly and everyone was home safe and sound by around 7pm Friday evening. Facebook then went in to meltdown the following day as everyone started to upload all of their pictures from the week and some of the lads were already out fishing again!

I really enjoyed fishing with young Harrison and sharing all of those special moments and he’s an exceptional young angler that is in the sport for all of the right reasons. We had a real good giggle too and I’m sure we will head out together in the near future too.

Since we have returned Harrison has continued his good run and landed his target fish from a small local pit the other week, a new U.K PB of 29.08lb! Big up mate!

I came back to the good news that the purchase of my first property with my Mrs had finally gone through so it looks like my fishing might have to go on the back burner for the next few months as I’m going to be busy moving and decorating!

GARDNER STOCKISTS
Gardner Tackle has been manufacturing quality carp fishing and specialist fishing tackle for over 35 years. As one of the original carp tackle companies we have been at the head of carp angling innovation and design. We are still a family run business and the ethos of producing ground-breaking carp fishing tackle that is high quality and reliable has never been diluted. Every member of the company lives and breathes all things carp fishing related. From the moment we wake (and even while we sleep!) carp and their capture are at the forefront of our minds. This translates itself into the continual development and refining of our carp focused product ranges. And with a dedicated carp fishing team, that includes some of the most well respected carp anglers in the country, you can be sure that each product has been tested to the extreme and meets the exacting standards that we strive for.