Calum is an angler destined for great things! Gifted with enormous natural angling ability and an extremely amenable personality we are excited to take Calum on board as a sponsored angler.
Like many of us Calum started off content to catch whatever came along whilst fishing at the lakes owned by his local club. However, he was soon drawn to catching bigger fish, and started to specifically target the carp that resided in these venues. He has always preferred to catch plenty of fish, fishing prolific lakes such as Brasenose 2 on the Linear complex, but he is very lucky to also have access to a vast choice of big carp in his local lakes that he can’t always resist! He now has a ticket for a 60+ acre gravel pit containing some massive carp, and can’t wait to get started!
He already has a very impressive personal best of 47lb 6oz (an awesome looking beast too!) and this was the first ‘target fish’ he ever specifically focused his attentions on!
Calum came a solid second place in the BYCAC in 2010, and will be fishing this competition again in the future; as well entering the popular Midlands Carp Masters event. Calum’s main ambition now is to catch a big Common, and to try and improve his margin and surface fishing techniques! We look forward to watching and helping Calum fulfil his full potential in coming years…
Name: Calum Kletta
Nickname: Veggie Netter
Location: Ringwood, Hampshire
Date of Birth: 07/08/1993
Favourite Venues: Hightown (local club lake), Brasenose 2, Horseshoe
PB’s (lb): 49lb 8oz mirror, 9lb 12oz Tench, 11lb Bream
Achievements: 2nd place in the BYCAC
CALUM KLETTA POSTS
Having taken a break from carp fishing for the best part of a year, the first rays of spring sunshine and the close season on the rivers made me think about dusting the rods off. It took a few hours to get all my stuff together, but by that time I was actually looking forward to sitting under the brolly for the first time in a very long time. The first session was pretty eventful, with a 17lb common tricked off the surface before a 30lb 2oz mirror succumbed from the bottom in the early afternoon! Long gone are the days of me fishing whenever I wanted, but luckily I had a week booked off work the following week, and planned to do at least a few nights on the syndicate.
I arrived in the early afternoon, and set off on a wander round to see if the fish were anywhere to be found. With my Polaroid’s fish were evident basking in the sunshine almost everywhere. This gave me a plan, baiting and waiting in the middle area of the lake, attempting to stop groups of fish as they passed around the lake. My gear was dropped in a central swim called Armchair, and a big bucket of Odyssey XXX, hemp, mixed sized trout pellet and a good helping of the new Pacific Tuna boilies. Armchair is one of the most popular swims on the lake, covering the middle area, and there is a huge spot straight out in-front that sees vast quantities of bait every year. It goes against what I normally like doing by going against the grain, but the fish know where to go when they want to feed so the whole bucket was spombed to the area and 3 hinged stiff rigs placed on top to counteract the light covering of silk weed. Rigs were made up of 20lb Trick-Link booms and 25lb Trip Wire, and a super sharp size 6 Covert Chod hook baited with a white NS1+ pop-up. The Pro XM mainline was fished slack from the tips to give me the best presentation on the undulating bottom.
With the rods sorted, the brolly and bedchair went up and a few cold ciders were consumed with a couple of friends as the sun dipped over the horizon. At first light I was awoken by a couple of liners, before the left hand rod received a fast take. The fish fought hard before eventually getting a ball of weed over its head and being lead into the waiting net, a lovely scaley mirror of just under 20lb.
The morning passed slowly before I noticed a large number of fish in a swim called Main Woods so the gear was quickly assembled. I quickly eyed a group of fish that were slowing moving their way across the swim at about 30 yards. I thought it was worth a cast, so flicked the duo floater hookbait slightly past their course and dragged it back. The first of the group stopped and then slurped in the bait before sending out a huge swirl as it realised it was hooked! It was an incredible fight on 8lb line and a 2.5lb test curve rod but eventually I was victorious and cradling a lovely low 20 with a big smile on my face. After this the fish proved hard to tempt on the surface having shamed themselves by giving one up so easily.
It was while surface fishing that I noticed more and more fish turning up in front of a swim called Comfy. I had caught lots of fish out of this swim before, but I was unsure whether to move off the bait or not. That was until a huge mirror showed right on one of the areas, and I was moving as fast as I could! The plan was the same, large amounts of bait on the first night with bright hinged stiff rigs over the top to counteract the silk weed covering most of the lake bottom. A couple of shallower gravel areas were identified with the leading rod, and with everything sorted I settled back for the night quietly confident something might happen.
It was 8:30am the next morning as I was just having a brew with the guy fishing next door, discussing how the hot and windless conditions would probably limit the chances of a bite when my left hand rod received a savage take. The fish gave a traditionally brutal fight, going on several long runs before finally succumbing to the waiting net. On the scales the stunning common went 29lb 2oz and went some way to prove the move had paid off! Shortly afterwards I lost another one on the same rod, and an opportunistic single floater bite was lost in the same weedbed. I didn’t have long to think about it as a few floaters were introduced and soon fish were taking, before the hookbait had even settled it was taken but it turned out to be one smaller ones so I slipped it back quickly, but again the fish did a disappearing act.
Rods were again re-done in the evening, and there was lots of fish in the area so I was quietly confident of a few takes. At midnight it was the productive left hander signalling for attention, and as it kited round in front of the swim the right hand rod also started to peel line from the clutch – I couldn’t believe it a double take! Fortunately neither put up too much of a fight, and a brace of upper doubles were resting in the net. Rods were re-done and I was definitely confident of a few more now! At around 8am again, I had just nipped back to the car when I noticed the left hand area looked more like a Jacuzzi than a fishing spot- they had certainly found the bait now. A friend was fishing the next swim along and he wandered into the swim just as the middle rod was away again. He offered to get his waders to help with the netting, but before he got back the left hand rod was away as well so he picked that one up and started to play it. It was crazy action, and this time it was mirrors of 19lb and 23lb.
That evening my friend and fellow Gardner angler Tom doubled up with me as the lake was now very busy. With both of us having rods on productive areas it looked good for a few more, and we were right as first thing the next morning we again received a double take! His being a 23lb mirror and mine a 31lb 9oz mirror called “The Thick Skinned”, shortly followed up by a 14lb common on my rods. The next day was not as productive with just 1 fish, but another stunning common with a huge heart shaped tail, pulling the scales round to 28lb 2oz. This was my 11th and last fish of the session, and as I packed up on the final morning I was already buzzing to get back, just looking out the window now, I wonder if there is a surface opportunity this evening…
As 2014 slowly draws to a close, and the festive period begins it is always a good time to take stock and reflect on how the year has gone. Overall, it has been a very varied year for me, as I have started to try and do a bit more specimen fishing, ending with a very pleasing total of 9 new pb’s!
At the start of the year in the grips of the horrible rain and cold weather I was much keener on a day’s predator fishing than sitting in a bivvy in what resembled a bog rather than a swim. Several trips yielded perch to 3lb 12oz and pike to 15lb 8oz, both of which are pb’s I really hope to improve upon this winter!
As the weather started to warm up into March my mind started to switch back onto carp fishing. After a brief unsuccessful and uninspiring campaign on one lake, I was back on the 10 acre syndicate lake I had fished in September 2013. The fish are always much bigger in this lake in the spring, and having caught lots of smaller ones in the autumn I was hoping for some bigger ones this time! My first trip back yielded a lovely 24lb mirror within minutes of casting out and the buzz for a spring campaign had well and truly returned.
The most memorable trip of the year was when I took my mate Andy down for a 4 night guest session. The first couple of days were successful with fish to 26lb falling to Andy’s rods and a lovely scaley 32lb’er on my rods fishing out to the main spots in open water. However, it was very evident that as the temperatures increased the fish were spending much of their time in the snaggy shallow margins and it looked spot on for a stalking chance. A big bucket of hemp, trout pellet and chopped 15mm CC Moore XXX laced with a good amount of Feedstim XP was prepared and several spots were well baited in preparation for the next day.
As the sun rose high into the sky, all signs of feeding fish on the main spots had died off so we reeled in to go and check on margin spots. The first spot we checked had at least a dozen or so tails up already so we quickly threw a bit more bait in before legging it back to the swim to tackle up a rod! A short hooklink made of 25lb Sink Skin was whipped to a size 6 Covert Mugga and a 5oz inline lead completed the set-up. It was Andy’s turn first, and before the lead had hit the bottom a 24lb mirror snaffled the XXX wafter. Fortunately not too many of the fish has spooked, and half an hour later there was 3 big fish tails up again, and this time it was my turn on the rod! Within 5 minutes the clutch was screaming as a fish made its mistake. It was obviously a big fish, and after a long dogged battle up to my chest in lake water it was in the net. Weighing in at 37lb 14oz it was my biggest ever common and the lake record common at the time.
The fish spawned several times in the coming weeks, and being busy with work my mind turned to other species to fish for to pass the time. After a chat with Alan Stagg the gear was being loaded up heading for Surrey for a bit of crucian fishing with some surface fishing mixed in. The day was extremely hot and the fish were suckers for a mixer- we couldn’t spod out enough! I think I ended up with around 10 fish the biggest a tad over 25lb, but as the sun started to dip it was time to get the crucian rods out. Small method feeders, 5lb Target fluorocarbon hooklinks and a hair rigged piece of corn fished over groundbait soon had the bobbins twitching but only the suicidal tench obliged this time. I was back the next week to right the wrongs, and after wading through about 50 tench in a day I was finally rewarded with a brace of crucians weighing 2lb 15oz and 3lb.
It was a few more weeks before any plans were made, but again Alan and I were meeting and loading up the car but with rudd in mind this time. I had never caught a big rudd before, but had always wanted to so I was really excited for this trip! The first trip was difficult with rudd regularly rolling over the area but only 2 fish of 1lb 15oz falling to our rods. I was back the following week, and was much luckier this time, within minutes of casting out landing a fish of over 2lb, but like the walking disaster that I am- I had forgotten my scales! Later on through the night when a monster graced my net I was even more gutted about this fact. It only meant I needed to return again, and on my final trip of the summer I was rewarded with 4 rudd all over 2lb the biggest weighing in at 2lb 10oz which I was more than happy with!
Most of September and October was spent moving house, although I did spend 4 nights on the road with Lewis Read going to the Czech Republic, but the less said about the better! Some very poor angling on my part meant two 3lb carp and a 14lb grassy were all I had to show for a 30 hour, 2000 mile round trip!
As the weather chilled, my attention switched to the rivers. Living where I do in the Avon valley, and 30 minute drive from the Stour, Test, Itchen and Frome it’s embarrassing to say that I have never really spent that much time on the rivers. This was a fact I was determined to change this winter, and so far I have had loads of chub, roach to 2lb 8oz, dace to over a pound and grayling to 2lb 4oz! Hopefully 2015 will be as good to me, and I hope you achieve your targets as well!
I am not an angler that spends sleepless nights over minute changes that I could make to my rigs, I would much rather they are simple and effective. For this reason, my favourite rig is the snowman rig, with a few little tweaks that separate it from a bog-standard snowman rig, and make it work in the situations that I want it to!
The rig is very simple to tie up and use, and very hard to tangle due to the large bait and anti-tangle sleeve used with a streamlined lead clip set up. This means that I would be as happy using this rig when fishing at extreme range as I would be lowering it under the rod tips. Using the set up with a size 6 Covert Continental Mugga hook and a large, curved piece of Covert Shrink Tube has given me an amazing hooked to landed ratio, even in weedy and snaggy conditions.
I prefer to fish the rig over a bed of spod mix, generally consisting of whole and chopped boilies with a sprinkling of hemp and trout pellets to get the fish grubbing around and competing for food. A snowman fished over the top will be most effective in the situation, and the hookbait can be tweaked to give even better results. I will start with each rod on a different hookbait, say 2 coloured pop ups and then a pop-up matching the bottom bait. Once the successful rod has been identified, all rods should be switched to this giving the best chance of multiple bites!
This rig will work when fishing over any time of bottom, simply altering the length depending on how firm the bottom is and balancing the bait so that it will not sink too far into any silt. The 2 large blobs of Critical Mass putty placed on the 25lb Sink Skin hooklink will help to make sure it is sat on the bottom out of the way, if say the lead has sunk into the silt slightly.
There can’t be a much more exciting way of catching a big carp (or any carp for that matter) than watching it feed close into the bank, planning your approach and then watching the moment the fish is hooked! It is an easy and effective way of fishing, but too many anglers get caught up in the 3 rods on a spot and sit back and wait approach, when there are so many more opportunities to be had with a little hard work.
On a recent session, a friend and I enjoyed some brilliant stalking action on a small syndicate lake I have been targeting this spring. The fish in this lake love spending their time in the dense marginal snags once the water warms up, giving the perfect opportunity for some close in action. With this in mind, I had been baiting a handful of areas around the lake on a regular basis to get the fish used to finding free food in areas it was safe to fish for them. Not a lot of bait was needed, just a couple of handfuls of hemp, 2mm and 6mm CC Moore trout pellet and some chopped and whole Odyssey XXX boilies every few days, soon had the areas polished down to the gravel. Several times when baiting the area there was already fishing there having a grub around, but I had to resist the urge to fish, knowing the longer I waited the better chance of getting several bites.
The session finally arrived, and with hot weather forecast for the duration of the stay I knew that we would be in for a few marginal chances. So with the gear set up in the main swim, I went straight round to put a bit of bait into the spots. We had both managed to get bites from our main swims during the night, the biggest being a 28lb mirror falling to my rods, but we were buzzing to try and get some margin opportunities during the day. With the sun beaming down, fish were cruising all over the surface by 8am and they could be seen heading into the margins so I was quickly round to the first area with a small bucketful of bait, net and a rod.
Having already baited the area during the morning, by the afternoon it was evident fish were visiting the area in numbers so it was time to get a rod in position! The set up was strong and reliable, with a 2.75lb TC rod couple with a small reel loaded with Pro XM main line to be able to steer the fish away from the nearby snags. This was attached to a length of CamFlex Silt leadcore with a 4oz inline lead set up drop-off style. The rig was something that my mate had been using lots, and as I was going to give him the first bite we decided to give it a try. It is a variation on the D-rig, using a whipping knot to create a large loop on the back of the hair, with a trimmed Odyssey XXX wafter mounted on a small swivel running on the D.
At around 1pm the spot was alive with feeding fish, so Andy managed to lower the rig in super slowly amongst the feeding fish. However, before he had even managed to sort the rod out a fish had snaffled the hookbait and was hooked! It darted straight out into the lake and Andy followed it with his waders on and I was close behind bringing the net. After a tense battle it was eventually netted, and we were actually stood further out into the lake than where the fish was hooked- such was the shallowness of the water! It was a stunning mirror of just over 24lb, and a great sign of how confident the fish had become due to the lengthy pre-baiting of the area.
The bait was topped back up, but with the disturbance of the other fish being caught it took a couple of hours before the fish returned to the area. This time there was less fish, but of the 4 fish on the spot 3 were over 30lb topped by 2 huge commons. It was my turn with the rod this time, and after a flicking a few broken boilies into the water to semi-spook the fish the rig was carefully lowered into position. Within seconds the fish were back, lead by the biggest common of the lot! My heart was in my mouth as it up-ended right over the rig. Suddenly, its pectoral fins stiffened up as it rose from the bottom shaking its head savagely, I saw the lead come flying off the line as line was ripped from the clutch of the rod resting by my feet. I grabbed the rod and jumped in the lake to steer it away from the trees down to the left, and it was soon in open water. Knowing the size of the fish I was attached to was a big nerve wracking, but after around 5 minutes of it waddling around in the margins in front of us, Andy expertly slid the net under the fish. After quickly getting the mat wet and zeroing the scales we hoisted her ashore. It was in scale perfect condition, and on the scales pulled the needle round to 37lb 14oz, which was a new PB common for me and also set a new lake record common! Andy did me proud with the shots, before she was carefully slipped back into the lake to fight another day. With 2 bites off the area, and darkness drawing in, we decided to bait the area again and return the next day for another try.
By the early afternoon there were fish all over the spot again, including one of the big ones called “The Scar” easily recognisable by its big scar. The fish were a bit more cagey this time, but once Andy had got the rig in position there were fish constantly visiting the area to have a munch and surely it was only a matter of time before one of them made a mistake. This is where this type of fishing can be so exhilarating but frustrating at times as you think you should be getting bites but the fish manage to avoid the hook bait time and time again – I hate to think what it is like when fishing out in the lake! It took much longer this time, but eventually 2 fish were mopping up every bit of bait on the spot and all of a sudden bolted from the spot accompanied by a screaming clutch! Andy was on it in a flash, and guided a lovely 26lb mirror into the net shortly afterwards. Sadly, this was the last bite from the spot as the weather changed to much colder and windier which moved the fish into a different area. But it did show the effectiveness of fishing the margins as the lake only did a handful of other fish while we were there, and I don’t think we would have been able to single out the bigger ones in the way we did!
Don’t be scared to get out and give it a go, you can learn so much about how the fish react to certain situations and rigs which will help you put more fish on the bank in the long term!
In the early spring of last year Tom Oliver, Andy Loble and myself had a brilliant long weekend trip to France visiting a lake called Lac de Laneuville. We all managed bites, which given the freezing cold conditions, was a result! I managed 3 30lb’ers tipped by a stunning common of 36lb. At the end of march 2014 I was lucky enough to be heading back to the same venue with Tom and Andy again, but this time Gardner Tackle’s Alan Stagg would be joining us to do some filming and Andy’s mate Ben would also be coming along. With the vans filled to the brim with enough bait to sink the ferry, we were soon hitting the road and arrived at the lake in the late evening. The lake has some absolutely stunning big commons to over 55lb in, and it was these that all of us were hoping to stick a hook into during the week.
The light was fading fast, so we had a quick walk round the lake before drawing straws for the swims we would be fishing for the week. I opted for the swim which controlled the most open water and had plenty of fishing showing while we walked round, and also was conveniently placed near the lodge where we planned on having many BBQ’s!
The first night was spent just with single pop-ups on old rigs launched at fish that had shown, and I wasn’t that hopeful of getting a bite. I awoke at first light to fish showing all over the area, and I quickly reeled the rods in to have a thorough lead around in order to get ready for the week. Up to around 70 yards range the bottom was very solid clay, before it slowly sloped off into thicker silt against the far bank. I decided to fish on the edge of the clay, where I thought the cleaner bottom would lead to a better presentation. The next plan of action was to give them some bait! With the vast quantity of big fish in such a small lake, I thought that they would need to eat so I was going to give them plenty of bait. Into a large bucket went around 5kg of chopped and whole 18mm CC Moore Equinox, hemp, trout pellet and a good helping of maize. The final addition was some Antarctic Krill Meal and a good glug of the brilliant Feedstim XP, before I spodded it all out around the float.
The rods were the next thing that needed sorting. As the fish were very line shy the last time we had visited, my mainline was the incredible Pro XM which sinks like a stone, through to a length of CamFlex leadcore and a 3oz lead on a Covert Lead Clip. The rigs were the same on all the rods, my standard set up when fishing over a spodded area, with around 7” of 25lb Sink Skin attached to a size 6 Covert Wide Gape Talon Tip with a small Covert Rig Ring opposite the barb and a large Covert Shrink Tube kicker. The left hand rod went on a snowman rig, the middle on a maize stack and the right hander on a single bottom bait, to keep my options open for what was working on the day. With the rods out on the spots I spent the rest of the day sunbathing, before we all gathered round for a social and a BBQ in the evening by the lodge.
With the amount of lines in the water and the disturbance we had caused, it was understandable that nothing happened until the 3rd night of the trip. It was Staggy first into a fish, receiving a belting take on his middle rod. The fish put up an incredibly scrap under the rod tip but eventually it was slid into the waiting net. The immaculate common weighed in at 41lb, which was a new PB for Alan and what a fish to do it with! Over the next couple of nights Alan was in the action again, bagging a few more lovely commons to over 30lb. Tom also managed to get off the mark with one of the stockies weighing a little over 26lb.
It seemed that the majority of the fish were at the other end of the lake to me, but there was fish showing on or near my rods every night so I was sure that I should have been having bites. For this reason I decided on a tactical change so that if the fish were feeding with extreme caution on my spots I would have a better chance of catching them. The rigs were shortened right down to around 3” with the same hooking presentation but the hooklink made of 20lb Trickster. I then decided to use a 4oz inline lead just to give better hooking potential, and with these on the spot I was much more confident of a bite or 2.
I had also noticed a lot of activity in a small bay down to the left of my swim. It was extremely shallow and weedy, and for a long time I discounted it as small carp or roach, but the more I looked the more I realised it definitely was carp! I had a stalking rod complete with centre pin loaded in the quiver so I decided to give it a go on the 4th night after having baited the area but not fished it for a couple of nights. The rig was the same as on the main spot, and without too much fuss I had the rig on the spot hopeful of some action.
In the early hours of the morning it was the centre pin rod in the small bay that was screaming for attention! It put up in an incredible scrap in the shallow weedy water, but eventually Ben slipped the net under it for me. Tom and Alan were ripping into me saying it was only a small one, but once we lifted it onto the mat they were proven wrong, the scales swinging round to 36lb on the nose! It was slipped into a retainer sling in the margin to do some filming once it was light enough. I was buzzing to get off the mark, but it didn’t end there as before I had managed to sort the margin rod out, one of the rods on the main spot was away to a flier! This one felt big all the way in not doing much other than a few head shakes. Again, Ben was on hand with the net and this time it was a mirror weighing in at 35lb 14oz. It was slipped into the retainer next to the common, and was one happy angler after a bit of a struggle!
The change of tactics had paid off with a lovely couple of fish, but with a change in weather the fish seemed to vacate the area and Staggy managed to catch a few more at the other end of the lake. Tom also chipped in with an incredible 43lb mirror on the last night too, which capped off an excellent trip to this stunning lake!
I first started using this rig a couple of months ago on a small pressured syndicate that I had just joined. The lake has quite a large head of carp, with plenty of smaller fish backed up with a good amount of 30lb+ fish were the ones that I wanted to be catching! It seemed to me as though everyone was using bright baits on their rods and fishing with sweet, nutty boilies and pigeon conditioner or maggots, something that could be said for the majority of day-ticket lakes as well. In an attempt to gain an edge over them I tailored my approach to outwit the carp and hopefully select the bigger ones as well. Something less obvious, offering a food signal to the carp rather than a instant smell, does tend to pick out the bigger warier fish, and this is what I wanted in this well stocked lake!
Firstly I decided to go against the grain of bait and feed dark, fishmeal baits and the Odyssey XXX was the perfect match for this. I have always liked to fish with two baits on the hair, thinking that a bigger big will be a bit more attractive to a greedy carp, but also that a big bait is harder to eject. It seems the norm for people using two baits on the hair on most lakes is a bottom bait tipped with a bright, flouro pop-up in an attempt to try and catch the fish’s eye leading to quicker bites. However, on this lake I decided to go with two bottom baits on the hair, matching the baits that I was feeding over the top of the rigs. The thinking behind this was to try and get away from the many doubles and 20’s inside the lake, and try and select the fish that were feeding a bit more cautiously. In my opinion if a fish has eaten twenty or thirty boilies and not been hooked, it’s going to be happy to eat another one, but if the first time it eats a bright one it gets hooked- it is going to be a lot more wary next time!
To construct the rig I use around 12 inches of 25lb Sink Skin with a large piece of Covert Shrink Tube over the swivel in the lead clip to reduce tangles, and help to kick the hooklink out straight when it lands on the bottom. I opted for such a long hooklink as I would be baiting up with mostly boilie, in a large area. This will get the fish moving between baits and therefore a long hooklink will allow the bait to be suck in and the carp to move off and the hook will then take hold, giving excellent hooking potential. Going down the rig the next part is two small pieces of Critical Mass Putty to, something that I always use to try and ensure the rig lays flush to the bottom. My preferred hook for this rig is a size 6 Covert Wide Gape Talon Tip, with a large shrink tube kicker to help it turn into the bottom lip. Like most beaked point hooks it’s really easy to give the Wide Gape Talon Tip a really wickedly sharp point with a few careful strokes of a hook file and a quick buff with a Point Dr. That way the hook penetrates quicker and takes an even more secure hold, ensuring the fish won’t come off. For me, this is a vital point when fishing for big fish in weedy conditions, as it is pointless to go through all the effort of getting the bite for it to come off during the fight, and I have lost very few fish on these hooks! I always use a Covert Rig Ring on the hook rather than a piece of silicone, as it gives much greater movement to the bait, and I position this opposite the barb of the hook. The final addition is two 15mm bottom baits, which I drill out the middles of and add some cork. I do this so the baits are a bit more buoyant so to appear more natural to the feeding fish. It will also help with the bait being easy to be sucked into the mouth of the carp, therefore resulting in more bites! The final part of the set up is a long length of Heavy Plummet Leadcore and a Covert Lead Clip to help dump the lead with the heavy weed the lake is filled with!
Putting this all into practice I headed to the lake for a four night session. Arriving at the lake for first light I noticed a lot of fish showing in front of a swim called ‘Comfy’ so after a quick lead about to find an area I would be happy to fish on. After a couple of casts I found a lovely strip of clean, firm silt at the back of a gravel area. This is the kind of area always prefer to fish on silt as it is the area carp will naturally be feeding on due to the naturals in contains, rather than the bare gravel areas. All the rods were clipped up to the area, and a good helping of Odyssey XXX chops and hemp were spodded to the area before casting the rods out. I had two rods on the double bottom baits and one on a bottom bait tipped with a white northern special to see if it did make a difference.
It took a couple of nights for the fish to get on the bait, but with a lovely south-westerly wind blowing into the swim and light drizzle in the air the runs started to come! Over the next 24 hours I managed seven bites culminating in four 20’s, two 30’s and the biggest fish in the lake called ‘Single Scale’ weighing in at 40lb 2oz. All of the fish were absolutely nailed in the centre of the bottom lip, an inch or so back. This indicated to me how well the rigs were working, but also how confidently the fish were feeding over the rigs. I also didn’t lose a fish, a problem alot of anglers have on this lake. I was blown away by such a result quickly into my campaign on the lake, and with all the bites coming on the double bottom baits I thought that I had stumbled onto something a little special!
I was back for another session a couple of weeks later, and the run continued with mirrors of 28lb, 30lb 4oz and a common of 30lb 10oz on the first night! If that wasn’t enough over the next couple of nights I managed another nine fish that session including three further 30lb commons to a new pb common of 33lb 12oz, with all but two of these fish fell to the double bottom bait approach. It certainly provided me with an edge in my fishing, and I would recommend it to anyone fishing a heavily pressured lake with a large amount of smaller fish, as well as nuisance fish such as bream and tench, that can stop you getting through to the real big prizes!
How to tie Calum’s Rig
What you will need…
Step 1 – Take around 14 inches on 25lb Sink Skin.
Step 2 – Tie a simple blow back rig utilising a large Covert Rig Ring and a size 6 Covert Wide Talon Tip hook.
Step 3 – Thread several inches of large Covert Shrink Tube down the hook length as shown and carefully steam over a kettle. Calum also adds a long piece over the swivel which acts as a boom eliminating tangles.
After spending some highly enjoyable fishing throughout September on a relatively small syndicate near my home, it was time to head back to the big pit I have been targeting for the last couple of seasons after the few I still really wanted to catch!
I had timed my first trip back to coincide with the time that I had caught well from a certain swim on the ‘Noddy Bank’, and after arriving at first light on the Sunday morning I was soon setting up in that swim. It was not all plain sailing, and on my first cast into the lake I managed to hook a cracked off spod, and the next one managed to hook a rig and nearly 100 yards of braid. This did not boost my confidence, thinking of the chances of landing anything that I was able to hook! I then managed to crack off, and couldn’t find any areas that felt presentable in front. I was in a bit of a mood by now (understandably!) and about to pack up, but a chat with a couple friends made me have another lead about, but further to the left this time. The first cast landed with an almighty ‘donk’ and I knew it was an area I would happy fishing on for this trip. All the rods were quickly rigged up with a Kinetic braided mainline, Covert Lead Clip set up, long length of Covert Shrink Tube to prevent tangles and a size 6 Covert Wide Gape Talon Tip. The hookbaits were all 18mm Odyssey XXX bottom baits tipped with a 12mm white NS1, a hookbait I would confident of catching on anywhere.
It was dark by now, but I wasn’t happy fishing with singles so I quickly spodded out a couple of kilo of XXX chops and a good helping of hemp covered in Chilli Hemp Oil. With that done, it was time to get the bivvy set up and put the kettle on! It was not exactly how I wanted my first night back on the lake to go, but the rods were out and I was fishing. At around 10pm the left hand rod pulled up tight, and I lifted the rod up sort of expecting to be connected to a carp, but it turned out to be ones of the lakes supercharged bream. I quickly recast the rod and about fifteen minutes later heard a carp show in the area out in the darkness. At 11pm the left hand rod again pulled up tight, and assuming it was a bream again I was in no rush to hit the rod so quickly finished the teas I was making for a mate who was sat in the swim before going to the rod. I picked up the rod, and suddenly realised the clutch was locked tight, and I was attached to a carp! It felt quite big all the way in, but after about ten minutes it was nestling in the net. I was a big disappointed to realise it was a recapture, and at a smaller weight of 35lb 6oz (3lb smaller than last time) I was happy to get back amongst the fish.
I decided to not recast the rod after having a carp bite, thinking there may be a few more still on the spot. This was the right decision when around an hour later the middle rod was away! It was a strange bite, as I had somehow managed to not put the line in the roller of my ATTS, so all I heard was a screaming clutch! It put up an incredibly powerful scrap, and I just knew it was going to be one of the lakes real big ones. A few minutes later it was in the net, and unbelievably it was another recapture of a fish called ‘The Lord’ weighing in at 44lb 6oz. Two bites in my first couple of hours back on the lake, but sadly both of them were recaptures.
The next night I was completely destroyed by bream, catching five by midnight. This lake is classic for this, and by the 5th bream I was so tired that I stopped recasting the rods, so I could try and get some sleep and be able to wade through them the next night. The next day the weather was much nicer, with a gentle south-westerly blowing over my head so casting the rods out was easy. The obligatory bream was soon hanging itself on the middle rod, and it seemed like I was going to have another nightmare with the bream. It was all quiet until 3am when the middle rod was off to a flier! It came in most of the way with weed on its head, but once in the margin put up a really dogged battle and it was with great relief that I slipped the net under it! It turned out to be a stunning fish called ‘Roach Head’ weighing in at 38lb, and I couldn’t believe I had three bites in my first three nights back on the lake!
On the final night a strong northerly wind started blowing into my face, meaning getting the rods and bait out was a nightmare. However, after a lot of trying I did manage to get them out and felt mildly confident of making it four in four! I was rewarded in the early hours of the morning with my fourth carp of the session, unfortunately another recapture of a 30lb 10oz mirror with the biggest tail I have ever seen on a carp! It was a really big confidence boost and I was keen to return and try and get amongst some more of the lakes real lumps.
I was back the next week with the intention of getting back in the same area, but due it now being an extremely busy club water, everyone had the same idea and the area was stitched! Fortunately the person in the other area that I really fancied was just packing up, so I hot footed it round there to secure the swim. This swim gave long range access to the middle of the lake, but also a prominent feature that the big one had been caught from the previous year, so I was keen to get a rod on that! The first night passed quietly, but it felt much better on the second night with still, warm conditions. On the stroke of midnight the middle rod let out a few beeps, and I was soon at the rod to find the bobbin on the floor- typical bream. As I was about to lift the rod however, it picked up and line ticked off the tight clutch, and on picking up the rod it was obvious a carp was on the end! I managed to gain a bit of line before it managed to pick up my right hand rod and everything ground to a halt! Fortunately, the club now has a boat to go out and deal with situations such as this, so we were soon setting sail and without too much of a drama a decent common was in the net. It was a proper character with only one eye, and weighing in at 29lb 8oz it was the biggest common I had caught from the lake.
That was the only action of the session, and it was similarly grim the next week with heavy rain, strong cold winds and thunderstorms every night! The next and final action of my brief autumn campaign was back in the same swim I had caught the common from. I had given up on the middle as I hadn’t seen anything showing there, so had a lead around more where the fish were showing, to the right of the swim. After a few casts I found a lovely clear area at the back of a weed bed which needed a rig on it! In the early hours of the morning that rod was away with another of the lakes characters, a bright orange koi weighing in at 18lb 8oz. The next night the middle rod was away again, and after an epic scrap under the rod tip a stunning mirror of just over 27lb was nestling in the net. It turned out to be a repeat of my first carp from the lake, I just didn’t know how to avoid the recaptures! I thought that might have been the start of some good fishing, but the next week the lake seemed to have just shut up shop, and with rumours of the big one coming out on the quiet I felt it was time to call it a day and return when the weather was a bit warmer!
Although my favourite kind of fishing is the search for big carp, in big, low stock pits, each year I do enter a few matches such as the BCAC and UK Carp Cup. Although my luck in the BCAC seems to be pretty poor so far, I have done a bit better in the UKCC managing to come 7th in the 2012 final. I recently had my qualifier for the 2013, doing it on the same venue as 2012, being Long Lake at Coking Farm Fishery in Dorset.
I arrived in the early afternoon, giving a few hours to walk the venue before the draw, and soon had my list of swims sorted for the watercraft draw. The fish were evident around the central island and the open water around it, so this was where I would hopefully get a swim! It was soon time for the draw, and with my top two swims going to the first two anglers from the hat I was getting nervous, and as more people were picked from the hat my 3rd choice swim stayed, and when I came out 6th I was still happy with the swim!
With the gear all in the swim I was soon getting set up, ready for a hopefully hectic weekend. I was expecting a weight of over 200lb being needed to qualify, and with the average size of the fish in lake barely scraping 7lb, this would take a lot of fish!
Due to the size of the fish, my approach was going to be changed to suit a much smaller stamp of fish. First of all my mainline was 10lb Mirage, quite thin and sinks like a brick, out of the way of the very line shy fish. Then, instead of a standard lead set-up, I used a flat bed method feeder. This gives the same presentation as a solid bag, but is much quicker and easier to use! The hooklink was then 10lb Gardner Target Speciskin, designed for general coarse fish but still very strong and incredibly thin. The hook was a size 8 Covert Continental Mugga, a big hook due to the softness of the mouths on these fish. Finally, the hookbait was a glugged CC Moore Live system dumbbell, tipped with a piece of fake pink corn. The feeder was loaded with scalded pellet, and the hookbait left free outside on a short hooklink. This set up was very different to what a lot of people would think about using in a carp match – but scaling down will always get more bites on pressured carp in heavily stocked lakes!
With the tactics sorted, it was just a matter of getting the bites. Last year I had gone straight in with the bait, putting out 5kg of 15mm Live System in the first hour, but this year the lake hadn’t been fishing very well so I started off with just a sprinkling over each rod. They were also spread out, two to the island and one in open water where some fish had shown. It took longer than expected to get the first bite, but eventually it did come, and a 5lb 8oz mirror got me off the mark! After that the bites came steadily, having to work the swim with recasts every fifteen minutes all through the night, and topping up with another handful of boilies to keep the fish in the swim!
After the first few hours, I had taken the lead and managed to stay in the lead until the end of the match, finishing with 32 fish for 244lb 6oz! It goes to show the effectiveness of these tactics, as the rest of the anglers who caught large weights had similar set ups, get out and give it a go!
This year I have been targeting a large, local syndicate. I fished last year, and had some success, landing four fish up to a new PB of 49lb 8oz. This year I have been catching with a bit more regularity, the highlight so far being a new surface caught PB of 37lb 14oz. However, as we are now coming into autumn, temperatures are dropping and the fish start to be more on the feed in open water ready for the winter, my tactics change and I’ve had some awesome results recently!
The first session was going to be a three nighter. I arrived to find my favourite swim on the lake free, so going with my instinct, as the fish hadn’t been showing a lot, and the lake was fairly busy, I set up in there. The swim fishes towards a deeper area of the lake, and from past experience I knew there was a large weed bed at 150 yards range. I decided to fish my rods just in front of the weed bed on the smooth silt; this was also where I had caught a few fish early season which helped build my confidence.
The rods were rigged up with 12lb Gardner Pro Carp main line, a shockleader and a 5oz Ranger Distance lead. I like to keep the rigs simple but tangle free as when range fishing tangles can be a real problem, and when leaving the rods out for any length of time it’s imperative to be 100% confident they’re not tangled. Therefore I use 25lb Gardner Sink Skin hook links and a large length of large Covert Shrink Tube to kick the bait away the leader. The presentation was finished off with a sticky sharp size 8 Gardner Covert Mugga. The bait was CC Moore Odyssey XXX in 18mm, and the hook baits were snowmen made of matching bottom baits tipped with white NS1’s.
All the rods went out well the first night, and I spodded 2kg of chopped and whole boilies over the top, and sat back waiting for a bite. I didn’t have to wait long, as about three hours later my right hand rod signalled a bite, and after a good scrap I slipped the net under a mid 20 mirror. Unfortunately it was a recapture so I did a few pictures and slipped it back. After recasting the rod I went back to sleep, and woke up to motionless bobbins in the morning, so in the early afternoon I reeled in and re-did the rods, topping up the swim with some more bait as well.
Just before first light the next morning my middle rod screamed off. The fish fought really well all the way in, causing me a few problems under the rod tip when it picked up the other lines, but fortunately it went in the net at the first time of asking! It was a big fish, so I called for my mate who was in the swim next door to come and give me a hand. The fish was in immaculate condition, and pulled the scales round to 38lb 10oz! I was really happy with this result, as two in two nights was a very good result for this lake.
The rods were all re-done again and I was confident of another bite on the last night, but it seemed the bream had plans to ruin my chances as I had two in quick succession, with one wiping out one of my other rods. I was fuming, and unhooked the bream and tried to sort out the mess when the only rod left in the water tore off! The fish went on a mental run, taking easily over sixty yards of line, and it was a stalemate at extreme range. Slowly, but steadily I worked it back, and eventually it was in the margin where I could see exactly what fish it was; one of my targets which I desperately wanted in the net! Finally, it gave up and I netted it, a fish called “The Lord”. A small group of mates were soon in my swim to help with the weighing and photos. The fish pulled the scales around to 45lb 12oz, and being one of my target fish I was absolutely made up, and held it proudly for the photos!
I packed up soon after, on cloud nine, but keen to return to try and bag another one of my targets. I had the final of the UK Carp Cup the next weekend, where I came seventh after drawing a bad swim, but most of the time was planning a return to the syndicate! I decided I was going to do a quick overnighter before college on the Monday, and fortunately managed to get back in the same swim I had caught from the week before.
The rods all went out smoothly, and with another few kilos of boilie over the top, I was confident of a fish. The right hand rod had the first action, an absolutely savage take and a powerful fight resulted in a mirror of 30lb 2oz being sat in a recovery sling awaiting photos. I was pleased with this as it made four takes in four nights, but I couldn’t have expected what happened next!
My middle rod (which I had forgotten to loosen the drag on) was wrenched forward, and again I lifted into a powerful, but very heavy fight. I took it very easily and steadily, I really didn’t want to lose this one, and when it rolled in the margins, I knew exactly what fish it was again. It was soon in the net, and it was the one I really wanted “The Big Linear”! Before I had a chance to do anything else, my last rod was screaming off! Another incredibly powerful fight brought a fish that looked like an upper 30 into the margins. At this point I realised I didn’t have a net as my only one was already filled! After some frantic shouting a friend from further up the bank brought one down, and the fish was netted soon after. We sorted the linear first, and on the scales she went 46lb 12oz!
I couldn’t quite believe it, and quickly put it in another recovery sling while the last fish was sorted. It was an awesome scaly one, possibly the best looking fish in the lake, and another one I really wanted! This one pulled the scales round to 39lb 10oz! I was absolutely blown away, and needed a minute to recover! The photos were soon done, and I decided to stay on another night, and was again rewarded with a 22lb 6oz mirror.
This topped the most crazy five nights’ fishing of my life, and just shows what the autumn can bring!
How to tie Calum’s rig
Components are 25lb Brown Sink Skin, a size 8 Covert Continental Mugga, a Small Covert Rig Ring, half a section of large Covert Shrink Tube, four feet of Plummet Leadcore, Covert Kwik Lok swivel, a Covert Multi Clip and Covert Tail Rubber.
Step 1 – Strip back roughly 5″ of Sink Skin.
Step 2 – Tie a hair loop, cut the hook length to 12″ and thread on your chosen hook bait. Slide on a Small Covert Rig Ring, and attach 1cm from the bait using two overhand knots.
Step 3 – Slide on a size 8 Covert Continental Mugga hook and set the rig ring to as far as it will go down the hook without being able to come off the point (roughly on the start of the bend). Attach the hook with a 7 turn knotless knot.
Step 4 – Set up the leader with a loop at one end and a Covert Kwik Lok swivel and a Multi Clip at the other end.
Step 5 – Thread the section of Large Covert Shrink Tube onto the hook link. Strip back around 2″ of the hook link and tie the hook link to the Kwik Lok swivel with a blood knot. Push the Shrink Tube over the Kwik Lok swivel, then steam the whole rig!
The finished rig
The Shrink Tube is imperative, eliminates 95% of tangles when range fishing!
This year I have been concentrating on a low stock, 55 acre gravel pit near where I live. I had some success during the summer and early autumn culminating in 3 fish, including a new PB leather of 45lb, and 3 fish lost as well.
All year it was the autumn I was really looking forward to, when, from what I had been told, the fish threw caution to the wind and couldn’t get enough boilie – which suits my angling style perfectly! However, it never seemed to work out like that, with the fish held up in the huge weedbeds on the end of the wind stuffing themselves on the abundance of naturals, and I suffered 17 blank nights in a row which really started to dent my confidence.
I turned up in the early afternoon of Tuesday 8th November for another quick overnighter, and managed to secure a swim that fished towards the weediest area of the lake on the end of a warm south-westerly wind. The weather was still unseasonably warm and a 51 pound mirror had been out from the area at the weekend so I was really confident!
After a few casts with a bare lead I found an area of light weed, perfect for the long running chod rig I like to use, incorporating 6ft of Camo Plummet leadcore, an XL Covert Buffer Bead and a 4” chod section made with 20lb Tripwire with a size 4 Covert Chod Hook.
I had been using a shellfish bait over recent months, but with the water temperatures dropping and the recent lack of action I decided that a change was needed. This time I was going to use Cell rolled by Kent particles in a mixture of 16mm and 18mm with some spicy hemp and the new Kent Particles ‘Cell boilie crumb’.
I mixed up about a kilo of this and spodded it out to the area and positioned all 3 rods just on dark; 2 with Cell 18mm corkball pop-ups and 1 on the faithful Hawaiian Pineapple. I decided to fish my 15lb HyrdoTuff nice and slack so it hugged the bottom, avoiding the drifting weed and hopefully not spooking the fish from the swim which had been heavily pressured lately.
With the rods out on the spot, I slung the brolly up as the drizzle came in, but soon found out my brolly was about as much use a colander! Trying to ignore the water dripping onto my bed and gear I got the kettle on and thought about how carpy it was looking, but soon ended up playing on my phone and making endless cups of tea as you do on long winter nights! It didn’t seem long before I was tucked up in my slightly wet sleeping bag trying to get some sleep!
I had set the alarm for before first light so that I could see if any fish showed, and as the sun slowly fought its way into the sky a fish showed a long, long way out into the middle of the lake. This was encouraging as nothing had been seen for a while, but also this is where the fish tend to move to for the winter.
The morning slowly passed by and I went into the swim next door to have a chat with the experienced bailiff, Steve, who was fishing in there. We were talking about all things carpy and the history of the lake when I got a few beeps on my alarm. I could see that my spot was covered in coots, so assuming it was a bird I went back to my swim expecting to see the line tight and a coot flapping about! It was my middle rod, and I lifted into a few taps and all the coots taking off followed by a big boil on the surface! I started to pump what I thought might have been a tench or bream with a load of weed round its head back towards me. Steve was stood next to me and also thought it was probably a bream as there was no fight at all. I kept pumping whatever was on the end quite easily back towards the net and about 20 yards out a huge weedball hit the surface, with no sign of a fish in it. Steve offered to net it anyway, and it was a good thing he did as about 5 yards out a huge tail appeared out the side! Steve expertly slid the net under fish and weed and lifted the cord. I was really happy as I just wanted 1 more fish for the year, and now I had it. I jumped in the water and started to pull the weed off to see what fish it was. The fish was sat upright and I soon saw a little row of scales on its right flank, a fish that had been out at 43lb+ in the summer, and one everyone thought would be touching 50! We quickly secured the net, and I called my mum to come and help with the photos. The mat was all sorted, and I couldn’t help constantly looking the fish and thinking “HOW WIDE IS THAT!”.
Mum soon arrived and I lifted the fish onto the mat. It was perfectly nailed in the bottom lip and the fish looked pristine, but already had a few leeches around its pecs and belly- indicating it had been sat in the weed just eating the huge amount of naturals! We then slid it into the sling and onto the scales, with the dial facing Steve. “What’s your PB Calum?” he asked, “47lb 6oz, why?”, “try 49lb 8oz!”. I couldn’t believe it and had to look at the dial myself. Next were the photos, which went really quickly with the fish behaving brilliantly, so I tried for a few returner shots. It was then that the fish decided it didn’t like having its photo taken and tail walked out of the sling back into the lake, giving me a soaking in the process! I just stood in the lake and watched it swim off not quite believing it still. All that was left to do now was let all my mates know, pack up, go home and get on the with college work I should have been doing!
Nearly 4 years ago I first set foot on one of the large gravel pits controlled by my local club. The lake is roughly 23 acres in size, much bigger than anything I had fished at the time! I spent the day catching some roach and the odd bream from short range, but big crashes out in the open water really captivated me and it wasn’t long before I wandered down the bank and spoke to the one of the carp anglers to see what he had caught. He said “Not much really, had a 28lb common 3 nights ago though!” This really sparked my imagination, as at the time my PB was only 17lb! As soon as I got home I was straight onto the Club’s website looking for pictures of fish, and more importantly information on the lake. It was a lake with a degree of difficulty, with a stock of 100-150 carp in its depths, but thousands of bream and tench that would prove to be difficult to get through. There were roughly 10 30’s, topped by a fish called “The Pink One” which regularly topped 45lb! It was decided – I wanted to fish that lake!
I did a few nights in the late autumn/winter of 2008, with only a few bream to show for my efforts, but seeing as nothing else was being caught – this wasn’t surprising! It wasn’t until the autumn of 2009 that I started to fish the lake regularly, starting with a session that began on the night of a bank holiday Monday. Me and dad arrived at the lake early afternoon to find the lake completely deserted apart from a guy packing up in a swim called Peg 9; he’d caught a few, so we dropped in after him. The rods were quickly sorted before dark, but it wasn’t until the morning when I got out the spod rod and laid a big bed of over 5kg of boilies out that the action kicked off! Over the next 36 hours I had 7 bites, landing 5 fish including a fish called “The Stocky”- a massive new PB, my first 30 at 32lb 2oz and a new PB common at 21lb 11oz as well!
The stocky- my first 30 at 32lb 2oz! This fish and session showed me how susceptible the fish were to a big bed of bait!
This session really got me going, and I was back at the lake the following weekend! I was disappointed to find the lake busy, but filled with confidence from my recent success I was soon set up in Peg 5, the next swim down from Peg 9. 3 rods were placed tight to the island, and I sat back to watch and wait. At about 5pm Saturday I began packing up, feeling a little down about the blank that was on the cards, when one of the rods ripped off! The fish came in easily initially, before chugging around in the margins and then going in the net. I took a look in the net, and was amazed to see a fish called “The Pig Linear”- another low 30! Hoisted on the scales they swung round to another new PB of 34lb 6oz – when your luck’s in!
“The Pig Linear” my second 30 in as many sessions! I was really getting stuck into the lake and learning more and more on every session!
I really felt I was getting to know the lake and its inhabitants, but events conspired against me and this turned out to be my last session of the year.
It wasn’t until study leave kicked in at college that I started back at the lake, doing some revision and fishing at the same time! I did a day session in a swim called “Skank” that I had been baiting religiously with Shellfish B5 rolled by Kent Particles. The day turned out to be very eventful, firstly I lost one of the lake’s big commons (both over 30lb), which was gutting, but I did manage a high double, an absolutely stunning linear, which made up for it a bit! But once more other fishing distracted me, namely the BYCAC and going to France for a week. Again, all too soon winter had come around, and the fish had switched off – but this winter was spent formulating plans and marker floating the lake ready for a spring assault!
In February I passed my driving test, meaning that I was going to be able to get to the lake much more often, and to be able to do short overnight sessions after college. I felt this would be very important as I could keep a track of where fish were coming out and on what tactics. I would also be able to keep a stream of my chosen bait going in to get the fish used to eating it and finding it around the lake which I felt was very important for these pressured fish.