Carp Fishing ~ Eclipsed on the New Moon ~ Lewis Read

Some of you guys will already consider moon phases as being important when it comes to arranging holiday and getting out on the bank. The debate on whether the moon phase has a direct impact on the fish we angle for has been raging for many years and both sides seem to be able to offer some statistical evidence leaning one way or the other.

Personally I have always erred on the side of their being an indirect link, that given half decent weather conditions, a positive moon phase seems to edge the odds of the big fish making a mistake in our favour. I have difficulty rationalising the logic that there is any kind tidal influence, but we know with certainty how most invertebrates seem to be tuned into moon phases.

Anyway it’s been a while since I have scrawled anything about my angling. It’s not been utterly bereft of any captures, though those few bites I have extracted have tended to be the more modest samples of Welly’s inhabitants, scratching bites on over nighters during a period when the majority of bites have seemingly come mid afternoon is par for the course. If that’s when you can fish, then that’s when you can fish and these patterns are normally only temporary in the broad time scale. All these efforts had resulted in a mid thirty ghostie and a 27lb mirror since I last wrote which was better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

This weekend I had a horrific chore to complete at home – namely tiling my bathroom – so I stayed indoors Saturday day time and cracked on and did as much as I could bear before begging TLSW to let me go, after all by this time in the evening I was as grumpy as her! It was also my daughter’s birthday, but as she had been out all day and had a friend staying I thought it was probably safer to usher myself out the door where I couldn’t say anything that could upset the two wonderful women in my life.

Subsequently, I got sown the lake for 7:30pm after an arduous 10 minute drive (LOL) and the first sight of the car park indicated that it was relatively quiet for a weekend. Rather than jump in a plot I spent the next 1 ½ hours having a little mooch about, but the fish were not showing anywhere so I opted for night in the ‘Up and Over’ in Bramble Bay. It’s a sheltered (warm) snaggy deep corner that tends to hold a couple of resident fish, but also an area that the fish have been visiting occasionally over the last few weeks and I guessed with the lack of fish activity in the main lake it would be worth a go.

During the night I heard a really good fish lump out in the corner to my right and also had the occasional nudge on the slack Mirage, which is always a really good sign that there is a fish or two nosing about in the sediment.

It was getting late by the time I pushed the Barrow into the swim. As I cast out my first rod the light was already going and by the time I had honed the third rig and flicked it out with a 3 bait stringer attached and a 12mm pink Caviar and Cranberry pop up on Ronnie, it was pitch black and I proceeded to fire in about 100 boilies roughly over the middle rod positioned in a silty gully at 35 yards. The left and right hand rods had a few halved boilies dropped close to the hookbaits, all very easy and accurate due to their proximity to the bank.

I woke at about 6:30, after a chilly 5C night under the stars, and slowly started tidying bits away so I could make a hasty exit at 9 when the public are allowed entry into the park. Fortuitously, at 7:30am the middle rod pulled tight and whizzed off taking line of a relatively tight clutch! I had a big tree line over to my right and in the end I had to be quite forceful to stop the fish from making it all the way there, which would have been a good 35 yard dash and would have almost certainly ended in catastrophe!

After that it kited hard right and ended right down in the corner and it was a ‘submerge the rod’ and cajole the fish back down the tree line job! Dear god, I hate the buffered vagueness playing a fish like this gives…

Luckily it never caught up once and a few minutes later I rolled a nice looking two tone mirror into the waiting net! I recognised her as a fish I had captured on my first year form the swim next door (quite territorial one this) and she looked in great condition so I called the Gaskinator could snap a photo or two for me. In the end we elected for path shots that Dave swears blind are ‘carpy’, and as he didn’t have a nasty Jimmy shirt on I just went with it.

The other usual Sunday morning arrivals all turned up including the goodly Dr Dave, Darren Belton and his guest Rob Marsh and I got myself off home to walk my hound, do some more DIY (YUK!) and go out for dinner with the girls. Much later, after enjoying a curry that turned out to be a bit fiery, I arrived back at the lake and just made it to the hut. Dear god I hoped I would last the night even after the contortions and groans that emanated from the throne room!

Another dark set up, and as I readied the rods as quietly as I could I heard a few fish show in the middle of the bay and then a clutch going for a few seconds before a buzzer burst into life animating movement form the bivvy. I knew that ‘Greg’s Girlfriend’ (Darren) was on Daisy and a short while later news came through that he had caught the awesome/magnificent Ulcer Fish at 58lb 12oz! A new PB and to one of the true gentlemen of a super friendly syndicate, it’s always nice when nice people catch.

I finished doing my rods and put the RHR down to Turtle Corner again (I had to, after hearing that chunk in the night) and then putting the left and middle out near where I had caught from in the morning. This time I scattered about a kilo of mixed 20mm boilies out with the catapult, spreading them between the two Ronnies (boom boom).

It was late by the time my chores were completed so I dived into bed around midnight and awoke to a toner at just before 6. Once again the fish went for it, bulldozing over towards the snags over to the right and then right into Turtle corner. Luckily, the super reliable size 4 Mugga did the job and a better fish rolled into the net. I weighed her and settled her in the retainer and messaged Alan to let him know I had ‘one in the slammer’ so he could get to the park a bit earlier for our scheduled video day (media Monday’s as they are known in the office).

Alan arrived at the park in good time – nice and early – and we got the fish safely photographed and returned and set about doing a few product videos.

Late in the afternoon, the legend that is Edwardo Wade arrived and as he did ‘Good Looking Nick’ appeared and I got handed an iPhone. It was Darren and I was dumfounded by what he had to say next. “I’ve just caught Little Big Head, and it’s in the retainer!” Oh my, oh my, oh my…

That was another of the big Welly 4, and he’d braced it that with Ulcer in less than 24 hours! Nick and I popped round and Ed, Rob and Darren were all ready to go so I was happy to goal keep, run and get water and just soak up the magnitude of the capture! She weighed in at 56lb 12oz and the two carp certainly constitute the biggest UK brace ever by some margin. Absolutely mind bending.

Sometimes just being there to help and witnessing angling history like this really blows you away. God only knows how Darren is feeling. Elated I would hazard a guess. The new moon phase had done the whackers again, and both The Turtle and Willow are both still due a capture. Perhaps the next decent moon phase will be the one.

This weekend just reinforced my belief in the Full and New Moons as these phases certainly seem to throw up the monsters at Welly and at most other big fish waters I know.

Carp Fishing ~ Session of a Lifetime (number 3) ~ David Gaskin

This week I arrived at the lake mid-afternoon, which was a bit of a nuisance because it meant that the early morning Sunday arrivals had already filled the main areas, leaving me with a restricted choice of swims. Given the options I opted for the last of the main open water swims, called ‘The Grassy’, which fishes towards the end of the island where I had enjoyed a successful trip during the previous session a few weeks back.I put out singles on the basis that there was a strong possibility of a move in the morning when other swims would hopefully become free. Within an hour of casting out a carp had taken a liking to my special little pink pop up that I had positioned close to the sunny island margin and I found myself doing battle with the first carp of the session. It turned out to be a football shaped ghostie of 45lb 08oz. It may not have been the most desirable carp the lake has to offer, but an excellent start to the session.

The next morning saw me move into the infamous ‘Hole in the Bush’ swim next door where I felt more confident, simply because I could fish previously productive spots that I was sure the carp were regularly visiting and confidently feeding on. Once again I cast out singles on a really effective setup of a size 4 Ronnie Rig tied to the new Invisi-Link as a boom, primed with a 12mm special hookbait. Shortly after casting out I received another quick bite, and after a scrappy battle the result was an angry common of 24lb.

After this I decided to put a kilo of CC Moore Odyssey XXX boilies on a couple of spots, with the idea to fish them through the night. The theory being that the fish would have the whole day to get confident on the spots, feeding without a line or rig in position. The plan couldn’t have worked better!

Just before dark I put fresh rigs on the new spots and again it didn’t take long before one of my rods was in meltdown. As I ran to my rod I performed a face palm cross summersault losing a trainer in the process! Stumbling about with one shoe and mud in my eye I got control of the fish and it instantly felt like a much more powerful creature on the end. After a lengthy fight a huge common rolled into the net, it was certainly one of the highly sought after A-team. It turned out to be the Small Tailed Common at 51lb! This one is a fairly infrequent visitor to the bank, and a new fish for me too, so I was absolutely over the moon.

I baited up the following morning with the intention of leaving the swim free of commotion for the rest of the session. It wasn’t until 2am when another spritely common of 32lb 4oz took a liking to my hookbait whilst browsing on the XXX.

carp fishing dave gaskin with the linearConditions were quite mild at this point so I was confident of another bite before leaving in the morning. I repositioned the rod and was woken up at first light to the little ATTs in meltdown! It felt like an age to get the fish in because it seemed to hold its ground and just waddle in really slowly and heavily. The size 4 Covert Dark Mugga held firm as always, and I knew exactly what carp it was as it rolled over the net cord. It was The Linear! A fish that was right at the very top of my wish list. With a fish like this, size was irrelevant, but at 50lb 06oz it certainly made the capture even more special.

I had enjoyed yet another truly splendid trip, catching two more of the amazing Welly A-Team using tackle, bait and tactics that I have 110% confidence in and enjoying the great atmosphere on this very special venue…

Carp Fishing ~ A Gift From a (Carp) God ~ by Lewis Read

I consider myself to be very lucky being a member at Welly, as it is a VERY friendly syndicate, in which there is virtually no jealousy or sniping; it’s part of what makes angling at Welly so enjoyable. The syndicate is populated by a great bunch of rapscallions; a real mixture of larger than life personalities and carpy characters.

Amongst them is an absolute living legend. An angler of such diverse angling skill, casting prowess and guile that he literally amazed many syndicate members on his debut last summer, when he caught an extraordinary number of fish from the 2 swims nearest the car park. He certainly isn’t 1 dimensional – after all he fishes exactly twice as many swims as David Akr1Dman!

Anyway, the chipper chappy in question is none other than ‘Cheeky Chubby Chops Charlie Hayes’ and he is getting a super special mention today as he was kind enough to share the fact that he saw a fish top over in Bramble Bay on the end of a nice fresh Southerly on Sunday afternoon; and whilst the lake was horrendously busy the bay was pretty devoid of anglers. With 10 anglers scattered around the rest of the lake I decided to take this great ‘intelligence’ on board and have a good look in the bay.

The lake has been blowing hot and cold in terms of consistent results, and the fish seem to be clustering up every few days, whereupon one angler would get lucky and nab a couple of bites before either the conditions went tits up again or the group/concentration dispersed and everything went quiet again.

Geographically, the lake at Welly is slightly elevated, and combined with a relatively shallow average depth the combination means that it is really affected by the wind – but not always as you might expect. Rarely have I ever fished a venue where they actively move off anything but the warmest blow. Sunday was very much on the edge in terms of the temperature/relative humidity. It certainly wasn’t warm stood there in ‘The Up and Over’, but in the shelter of my silly little brolly, out of the breeze, it felt good enough and I hoped any fish present would stay overnight.

In fact, as I sat sheltering and working out where to put the rods a sizeable chunk hurled itself out of the water right around where 4C hero lad had said he’d seen one. It’s amazing how a sighting energizes an otherwise slow and methodical setup – and in about 30 seconds I had un-sleeved the old Centuries and set about checking hook points and putting fresh rigs and baits on.

One rod was immediately flicked out to the zone that the fish showed in; the ever faithful little pink pop up (a la Gaskins) on a Ronnie tied onto 15lb Subterfuge Soft boom section. It felt like it landed in about 4ft of water and it was a ‘that’ll do’ moment (these fish hate leads going in near them).

The next rod went up to the deep corner to my right – an awkward cast, especially with a small stringer slowing the rig down in flight, so I punched it low and feathered it hard to straighten the line and stop it being blown into the trees. It went in sweet too and that was number 2 done.

I tried something a little different rig wise on this rod, thinking (knowing) that the rig would work but with a tiny bit of a niggle that the hooking arrangement could cause a hook pull. I purposely buried that negative thought down deep down as without a little experimentation now and again our rigs wouldn’t ‘evolve’ and the fish would end up with a big advantage – dealing with the same old presentations on a regular day to day basis.

The third rod went out a couple of rod lengths to the left of the jump spot with a ‘Turbo Tweaked’ German Rig baited with a trimmed down Carp Company Caviar and Cranberry 14mm wafter (with a slither of pink pop up on to improve rig balance and add a hint of colour) and this was primed with a stringer/bag with one whole and one dusted boilie.

I slid a little 1/2ounce Drop-Out Back leads onto each line and dropped them to the bottom of the marginal shelf and let the line settle slack before clipping on the Lazy Bugs on short chains. The wind was really blustery – pumping in at me now – and setting the indicators up like this would hopefully save me suffering relentless wind bleeps from the test TLB+ alarms I was using.

The rods had only been in position a couple of hours at the most when I had a couple of bleeps on the right hand rod and I scrambled down the steps to see the locked up rod arched round. Lovely! It seemed like an age since I had snared one and I was really eager to cash in on my recent efforts at the venue.

As I picked up the rod I was greeted by one of those slow and heavy ‘sand bagging’ ponderous fish that screams MONSTER and I was gently leading her back out of the corner when I felt a bump and the rod sprang straight and I reeled in the fishless rig. I was flipping furious for taking a chance on a ‘different’ presentation, especially in such a precarious position – but without trying stuff there is no basis for progression. The mechanics worked (I got the bite!) but I think that I just need to adjust one little facet of the finished rig to keep it in. Work in progress…

Anyway, disconsolately I snipped the offending rig off and tied on a MkII German and lobbed it down to the corner into the blackness (a bloody dark night) and went and rang TLSW (Tracy) to moan about my ineptitude. I was just on my 5th whinge when the left had rod bleeped twice and was away! I hastily said ‘I’m in’ whilst dropping the phone and off I ran down the steps just as the line started peeling off a relatively tight clutch. As the rod arched over a big fish surged away and yard after yard of line was dragged off the spool. By ‘eck! This one was certainly hanging on some.

After a powerful and dogged battle I finally teased a nice looking lump into the waiting net and rang the Gaskinator back to see if he could pop round and do a couple of pictures for me and some general gillie assistance (it’s obviously always safer for these fish with an extra set of hands to help).

When the Goose Point Impregnator got round we hoisted her out, popped the Covert Dark Mugga out, that was in dead centre of her bottom lip (an awesome hook hold) and carefully weighed her at 44lb on the nose. Sweet revenge!

She was in absolutely mint condition and the cluster of scales down by the tail on its left flank indicated this fish was a new one for me (always a Brucie bonus!) and I got the rod back out sharpish with another 30 boilies scattered around the area.

Despite hearing a couple more fish show nearby shortly after recasting the rest of the night went by without further interruption to my much needed beauty sleep and soon the alarm was making its heinous noise and it was time to get up come to work…

I think I had timed it just right and with fish being seen out in the main lake for the first time in a few days and I suspect the main group has now left Bramble and gone off to quieter pastures to sift some invertebrates from the silt.

Good god! I can’t wait to get back…

Carp Fishing ~ A Proper Brace! ~ by David Gaskin

I was as keen as ever to get back the lake after a short absence, especially after my previous successful session, as I wanted to keep the momentum going! This enthusiasm meant that I arrived at the lake in good time for the gate to open at 6AM.

The lake had seen an awful lot of pressure over the weekend but thankfully most of the anglers that were on were all due off, so I had plenty of time to decide on a swim. Pushing the barrow round the lake it wasn’t long before the sight of one of the big ghosties leaping out tight to the island greeted me – in fact she came out no less than five times in about ten seconds! Without hesitation I put my barrow in the Bush swim, as it was being vacated at midday.

I’m not sure if it was a coincidence, but I was more than happy to be fishing in the same swim on the same spots as I was a few weeks previous, when I had enjoyed a session of a lifetime, understandably my confidence was sky high. I got the rods out to the island as well as they could be and sticked out around a kilo of CC Moore Odyssey XXX over the two spots. Feeling ever so confident I felt a bit dejected with the night time conditions because the temperatures dropped down to 2 or 3 degrees and even threatened a slight frost. Yuk!

With the daytime temperatures set to soar I remained confident and decided on a re-chuck after lunch. I armed the two long island rods with NS pop ups with Ultra Skin Stiff ‘Munnie Rigs’ and blasted them out on a helicopter setup. It was evident one or two fish were enjoying the islands shallow margin and as the temperatures peaked I received a bite. The fish stripped line immediately and just as I managed to turn it at all of about 160 yards my other island rod registered an absolute ripper! Now a double take on Welly is as rare as rocking horse….. and I found myself in a very tricky situation.

Fortunately, the legendary and handsome Dr Dave was on hand to take control of the second fish whilst I took care of the first. Eventually I steered the first one into the net and grabbed the second rod whilst the Doc grabbed another net from his plot next door.

This fish felt a lot heavier; almost too heavy. The remainder of the battle felt weird and the cause for this was revealed when the tips of a large branch that the fish must have picked up broke the water’s surface. It was a heart in mouth moment because as the branch rose up out of the water I thought it was all over. A moment later and the flank of a colossal carp appeared wallowing underneath the woodwork, still held firm with the size 6 Mugga! In an almost comedic way me and the doc bundled the beast, branch and tangled line into the net and gave each other a wry smile knowing it was a good’un! Thank goodness I had the ever reliable GT80+ on!!

We got everything ready to do the honours and with a mirror of 43lb 4oz and the ‘Little Two Tone’ 50lb 8oz it was a mighty brace of 93lb. With the light fading I needed to get the rods back out there and in hindsight I was shot to bits and I don’t think I got them back out as far as they needed to go. I got some more 18mm XXX out there with the Pro-Pela stick and I went to bed a happy bunny.

The following day passed by with fish activity showing elsewhere, I found myself in another predicament, should I stay or should I move?

In the end I decided to move onto the showing fish. I’m not going to lie, this decision was slightly influenced by the thought of being close to the car park for the early morning pack up the following morning when I would be off early to go work!

I swapped the leads over to lighter, more discreet 2oz distance pears and flicked out some Northern Specials on Munnie rigs once again. I was certainly on fish and within minutes the move had been justified as I was attached to another angry carp. In typical fashion it went through one of my other lines, but the carp gods shined on me again and I had an absolute belter in the net.

Wayne the happy bailiff timed his rounds on the lake to perfection, and was able to help me weigh this one in and take some snaps. At 48lb the wondrous ‘Shoulders’ topped off an already perfect fishing session. 3 carp for over 141lb, Welly never ceases to amaze me!

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