Early Spring Success – Tom Oliver

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Early Spring Success – Tom Oliver

March is always a funny month as the daytime can feel like summer with mild temperatures and the sun’s rays beating down, then come nightfall it is as if someone has flicked the switch back to winter! However for those willing to brave the conditions some fantastic fish can be caught and lots of big named fish regularly make an appearance in the month of March.
Tom's choice of swim

I had been watching the weather forecast for the last few weeks waiting for mild stable conditions and low pressures before I made a start on my target water for the year. The lake last produced a fish in October and it had looked devoid of life for some time, with the aforementioned conditions predicted I made plans to get down straight from work on the Friday with the plan of doing two nights. I was extremely excited and all Friday the weather looked good and fish were certainly feeding as I was teaching a group of young lads how to feeder fish at For Life Experiences where I work and they were bagging up! Upon arriving at the lake it seemed I wasn’t the only one with that idea and it was pretty stitched up with only one bank remaining free but luckily for me it’s where I wanted to be.
Boosted Hookbaits rolled by Kent Particles

I quickly set about having a lead about in front of my chosen swim and found a nice hard silt area around fifty yards out and decided this was worth putting a bit of bait on. I baited with around 1kg of 10mm Mainline Cell and half a kilo of 15 millers rolled by Kent Particles nice and accurately to the marker float. My rigs were kept fairly simple around seven inches of 25lb Gardner Sink Skin was coupled with a size 8 Covert Continental Mugga , I then used quite a large section of the Covert Super Shrink to trap the knotless-knotted hair to the shank of the hook (see sequence) and to this I attached a 12mm White Cell pop-up. I then threaded a small Micromesh pva stick down the rig and that was job done!
One very happy man!
By the time I had finished getting the first rod out it had got pretty dark so I put the other two on hinged stiff rigs and cast them until I felt a drop I was happy with. The first night was very wet and fishless and I watched the water like a hawk the next day from the steep bank behind me. It gave a great view of my swim and from the slightly higher vantage point I could start to make out a few carp cruising just under the surface by around mid-day. I wasn’t sure at first but then a seagull swooped down extremely close to the surface of the lake and it just erupted as two big fish spooked. I was just tying up some zigs when my right hand rod over the bait went in to meltdown and I was on it in a flash. To say I was nervous was an understatement as this was potentially my first fish from the venue and after a hairy few minutes near some marginal snags a lovely 29lb 10oz mirror was being photographed. After returning the fish I topped up the spot with another kilo of mixed sized boilies and put an extra rod on the area.

First blood weighing 29lb 10oz!

It was soon dark and the fish seemed to have disappeared and another cold fishless night was on the cards. I awoke around 5am to a tufftie picking up my middle rod so I quickly got a fresh rig and bait on the spot before climbing in the bag again as it was now blowing a north easterly straight in my face and was freezing cold! At around 9am just as my mate turned up I had another take on my right hand rod but I lost it soon after hooking it. The rod was re-positioned within minutes and every other angler had packed up and gone home which I was extremely pleased about as it seemed they had woken up again. Over the next half hour I must have seen fifteen shows over my spot and they were clearly having it big time. The next bite produced one of the lake’s A-Team a fish known as “Fingers” that only makes one or two appearances each year and weighed a hefty 34lb 14oz. The fish looked immaculate in its winter colours and seconds after returning it my middle rod also on the spot roared off and after a spirited fight a beautiful 24lb 6oz common lay in the net.

'Fingers' weighing 34lb 14oz

My friend had also got his rods out to the left of my swim and mine were soon ‘back on the money’ and fish were still poking their heads out on a regular basis and just after consuming a well-earned brew my right hand rod was again in meltdown. On lifting the rod it felt like another good fish and upon lifting it on to the mat my suspicions were confirmed. The fish weighed 32lb 8oz and was my second 30lber in around an hour! The process was again repeated and I sat watching fish and I was expecting another one at any minute, but it was my friend who was next with the action. His right hand rod went in to meltdown and as he picked up the rod so did my right hand rod! We were both attached to angry carp and could not believe the mornings events it was incredible! We both had a pretty hairy scrap with the fish that had both decided to kite down the long snaggy margins to our left and right.

Tom proudly displays this 32lb 8oz mirror

We both managed to land the fish and my mates weighed in at 17lb 2oz and mine was a 25lb 4oz mirror. I was made up to say the least and really impressed with my new 12lb Gardner Pro Carp Light Blend mainline. It held strong even during those few hairy moments where the fish managed to reach marginal snags and coupled with four feet of Heavy Plummet Leadcore everything went to plan. The rods were re-positioned but the wind was getting even colder and it had started to sleet and all signs of life had disappeared once more, it was almost as if a switch had once again been flicked to turn off any want of the carp to feed. I gave it another hour just in case but I think I had my fair share and managed to capitalise on a short feeding window when all others had returned to the warmth of their homes! I can’t wait to get back down there and hope my run of recent success can continue this year, only time will tell…

How to tie Tom’s rig

Step 1 – You will need the following materials.

You will need the following materials

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Step 2 – Using a Peel and Pull stripper tool remove around 3 inches of coating.

Using a Peel and Pull stripper tool remove around 3 inches of coating

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Step 3 – Tie a small loop in the end of the stripped braid and attach a 12mm pop-up.

Tie a small loop in the end of the stripped braid and attach a 12mm pop-up

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Step 4 – Secure the pop-up to a size 8 Covert Continental Mugga using a knotless-knot. Ensure that the pop up is positioned at the start of the bend.

Secure the pop-up to a size 8 Covert Continental Mugga using a knotless-knot. Ensure that the pop up is positioned at the start of the bend

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Step 5 – Slide a fairly long length of Covert Supa Shrink on to the rig and position as pictured to trap the bait tight to the shank of the hook.

Slide a fairly long length of Covert Supa Shrink on to the rig and position as pictured to trap the bait tight to the shank of the hook

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Step 6 – Tie a figure of eight loop knot in the end of the rig for easy attachment to a Kwik Lok Swivel.

Tie a figure of eight loop knot in the end of the rig for easy attachment to a Kwik Lock Swivel

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Step 7 – Attach a blob of Critical Mass putty to balance the pop up.

Attach a blob of Critical Mass putty to balance the pop up

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Step 8 – Tom’s finished rig ready to go.

Tom’s finished rig ready to go

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