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!