Carp Fishing ~ More Highs Than Lows (Part 2) ~ Rick Golder

Continued from part 1… The next trip came around, and the weather was still cold and dull, but my tucked away swim was protected from the wind, and once again it looked good, as I flicked the baits out with little 1.5oz leads, and I was fishing within a few minutes of my dawn arrival. I felt mega confident, a complete contrast to the previous spring when I had one of those lean periods that had me doubting I was ever going to catch again! A friend came down to see me, and whilst we sat there drinking tea, I had a screaming run on one of the other rods cast over to the far bank. This one really rucked, going hard for the far bank trees, and then kiting round almost behind me deep into the bay. I piled on the side strain and had a good ten minutes of deep runs up and down once I’d got it somewhere near my bank. I had a few looks at it twisting and turning in the clear water before Jim netted it for me, and with one look at the size of its paddle I could see why it had fought so hard. It weighed 28lb 8oz, and I was delighted – two trips and two fish was a result. Having one so early in the session looked like I was bound for more, but as is the pattern, one fish out of the bay seems to completely kill it. I wasn’t complaining and felt full of self-belief – the power of catching a couple nice and early from what is a tricky venue.

I was bought back down to earth soon after when I went back over to the Mead for a two-nighter. I found some fish in the main body of water and managed to get nicely in the zone. However, after finding a couple of silty spots behind gravel seams, it was clear that the fish were showing much further out. My carefully placed rigs surrounded by 50 or so Spombed-out free baits weren’t the ones, as the random pattern of show suggested they were just out in open water, with nothing much feature wise to target. I stripped off my stiff rigs and put on a naked chods with a 4 oz distance leads and fired out singles 90-plus yards out into the general area. This was far removed from my normal style of angling, my confidence lying in fishing over bait and on actual features, but needs must, as fish after fish showed out there, so it had to be done. The fish continued to show on me repeatedly, and I never had a bleep, but my neighbour had two, so somehow I’d clearly got it wrong! What that was I don’t know, but I was disappointed, as it was a bit of a knock back.

The following trip was with my boys to a club lake that is always good for a bite, shall we say. This really was an FA Cup style banana skin, as failure here in front of the kids could be a nightmare. My older boy and I had caught a fair few the previous year, but my eight-year-old, Matthew, had never before caught a carp, and more than anything I wanted him to catch one to get an understanding of what his dad was so infatuated with.

It was another cold one, and after two hours all huddled beneath the Tempest brolly, I hadn’t even seen a fish. Bear in mind this was a place you sometimes see three roll at once, so I was certainly getting concerned. I had a quick look at the other end, where the lake goes into a no-fishing duck feeding corner, and sure enough I immediately spotted a number of dark shapes drifting in and out. It all made sense, as it was flat calm, out of the biting cold NE wind, and within five minutes of casting out Matthew was into his first ever carp, a cracking 16lb common, and hopefully a love affair with a sport that has bought me the most wonderful of times. We all added a few more, and I left happy, with a feeling that I’d had another result, both for my confidence and my two boys.

I had a new challenge lined up for this year, and I was busy building up to it all winter. It’s funny how things work out, but after catching my target fish the previous autumn, I was left with no plans for the following year. However, one of my best friends had been fishing this lake, and after hearing of his success and the inspiring stories he had told, I was more than up for it. I didn’t completely think it through though, and precisely the amount of bits I had to get to fish it effectively. I was able to use a boat on this lake, which I had, but not much else. I sat down and put a list together of leisure batteries, outboard, gas, better inflation life jacket, markers, battery charger etc… It went on and on, so I spent the winter slowly acquiring it all with a view to being ready to start come the spring. It took a fair amount of time, but eventually the list was ticked off, and my boat was down at the lake and all ready to go. After carp fishing for 30-odd years I thought I had most things, but to get kitted up for this I was miles off, and I really hoped it was worth it.

I’ve just had my first trip, and what an eye-opener it proved to be – 60-plus acres, three islands and a mass of carpy looking features and areas. Loading the boat at dawn and motoring out through the mist was enough to raise the feelings of excitement and anticipation to new levels, but there were certainly several new skills to be learnt in this boat fishing lark. Out on the lake in a fair wind presents some challenges in locating spots and bait placement, and I had a long way to go to master these. However, each day bought a new confidence, and with practice it should come. Anyway, the first trip was a success in more ways than one… I found a cracking area, fishing off one of the islands with a bank of snags alongside it. It screamed carp, and one drift out and around here showed a little bit of coloured water you’d have never seen from the bank. It helped too that it was in the lea of the wind, flat calm and the warm rays of sun were on it, in contrast to the rest of the lake, which was hit by a cool wind.

I put two rods out here, each with a handful of crushed up baits glugged in GLM liquid and rock salt, and I sat back to take in the sun and enjoy the peace of this adventure. There is nothing like fishing somewhere new, and all night my mind was churning with thoughts of areas I liked, how I was going to fish them, etc etc, and sleep was hard to come by, even with the early start that morning. I was probably in my deepest sleep when I was woken by an absolute screaming take, just a one-noter that seemed to be getting faster and faster, and I scrambled out from under the brolly barefoot and pulled into a weight that felt miles away. With the snags to my right and no real idea where it was, I piled on the pressure in an attempt to get some much-needed line back on the half empty spool. The next thing the line fell slack, and my stomach dropped with that awful feeling, until suddenly I was back in contact, as it had run a good 50 yards towards me. A few deep short bursts in the edge, and I had a big common rolling over the net cord and that special moment of a first fish from a new lake. It was a stunner too, in mint condition after the winter, and as I slipped it back I couldn’t wait to return, well up for the challenges ahead and hopefully with more highs than lows.

Rick Golder.

Carp Fishing ~ Beauty Outweighs Size ~ Ian Lewis

Once again I worked like a man on a mission to get the early finish, only this time to do the Thursday night through to Friday morning.
Upon arriving I did the ritual lap, had a brief catch up with a few mates then had a look around. Two sizeable groups of carp, on polar opposites of the lake, were on display, location derived by a warming sun and no angling pressure was my assumption.

So I’d found the fish but really wanted to explore new areas. I wanted a change of scenery and had some ideas I wanted to try, but decided you can’t look a ‘gift horse’ in the mouth and left the area I had in mind for another day.

As the day wore on the lake started to fill up, and I started having doubts about whether I should move as it went really quiet after the rain started. But between showers I started to see the odd one, and my mate and bailiff of the lake convinced me to stay put having seen a large dark mirror make his way back into the baited area.

I fished all 3 rods along the tree line in the bay. One cast with a multi-chod tied with 25lb Ultra Skin Silt to a size 4 super sharp Covert Dark Chod attached to a 15mm ABS custom mix fishmeal corkball pop up. This was cast onto the back of some new weed growth and fished over a spread of 15mm ABS custom mix fishmeals. The other two were placed onto spots with a double bottom bait rig incorporating the super sharp size 4 Covert Dark Chod, 25lb Stiff Ultra Skin, a 4oz Bolt Bomb, 3 feet of 45lb CamFlex Leadfree in silt and attached to the super reliable GT-HD in 0.39mm (18lb). These ensembles were fished over whole, chopped and crumbed boilie.

I waited patiently and during the middle of the night after a much needed dinner, consisting of hot sausage and chips with lashings of salt and vinegar with my mate Josh (nice one mate!), my right hand rod was finally away and after a seriously powerful fight under the rod tip a chunky mirror rolled over the cord.

Fortunately for me, my mate Errol was awake and kind enough to lend a hand with the photos after I weighed the mirror at 28lb 2oz. So following a few pics in light showery conditions I put her back to her watery home no worse for wear, feeling relieved and pleased.

First light arrived and I started receiving lots of liners after seeing a couple of shows over the baited area, then suddenly my left hand rod sounded a take, this time it was a game of patience, keeping the fish moving through the new weed growth and after a very spirited fight a stunning scaley mirror graced my net. Beauty outweighed size ten fold on this occasion.

Despite my efforts to get the rod back out quickly, no further action was forthcoming and it was soon time to pack up and leave the gate feeling fortuitous once again on relatively limited time.

Carp Fishing ~ Friday Night Fever ~ Ian Lewis

I got into work nice and early and worked right through specifically to secure an early escape Friday afternoon. No effort is too much to make the most of my one night a week session. Getting there early gave me time to look, and after some serious searching I found a big’un feeding in the edge in what could only be described as an obscure place. So I ran back and got the gear out the car, eager to have a go at the carp I’d spotted.

Upon my return to the ‘obscure place’, I surreptitiously set a trap in the edge as quiet as I could, hoping the lump would return. It was just a rod and net carried into the swim, whilst hiding the rest of my kit well out the way; it was all proper stealthy.

An hour had passed and the big mirror hadn’t returned but I had an idea where it may have had headed. With this in mind I moved up to the windswept snaggy end of the lake, once again keeping everything low key, and managing to place my trap effectively first time using a mixture of whole and crumbed 15mm fishmeal custom mix from ABS.

After about an hour a big mirror reappeared to my left, coming right up on to the shallow clean gravel, belly touching the bottom and it’s back almost breaking the surface. It was happily sunning itself, unaware of my presence; then after 5 minutes or so just disappeared back into the murky depths. About 30 minutes later the alarm sounded a take and the rod hooped round on a locked up clutch, and after a typical big fish scrap she went and rolled over the cord first time of asking!

At this point there were 3 of us gazing down into the net, and all 3 of us agreed the fish might top the magical 40lb mark. After readying the mat, wetting and zeroing the sling to the scales, we carefully carried her out and placed her ancient wrinkly grey body onto the mat. We treated her with the upmost respect; she looked as though she’d lived a life and seen plenty of action – a real old ‘character’.

So, after carefully removing the size 4 Covert Dark Chod, we weighed her and although I was enormously happy I was a bit dumbfounded at a weight of 35lb 2oz. She looked absolutely enormous on the bank too, well plumped. Never mind, she was a chunk all the same, and after a little treatment with some Intensive Care Carp Spray I returned her back to her home.

My plan was to move into the main lake for the night, but by 3PM anglers had arrived in their droves and my planned move just wasn’t to be. So I stayed on in the same swim which by this point was surrounded by other anglers. Just after dark I managed another bite, this time a repeat capture of a chunky low 20 mirror. After that the night past with no more action forthcoming and I was off by late morning, leaving the gate this week much happier than last week.

I used the amazing 0.39/18lb GTHD combined with 3ft of Silt Camflex Leadcore, and mounted the rig helicopter style. A 4oz Bolt Bomb attached to a Drop-Out Chod Safety Clip. The successful rig was tied with 6 inches of the new Stiff Ultra Skin with a size 4 Covert Dark chod, using a bottom bait presentation.

I’m pleased with the way things are going in my angling at the moment, staying mobile and making the most of any opportunity that presents itself to me. Confidence in my bait, rig and approach will hopefully keep the bites coming and put me a step closer to my goals for this year…

Carp Fishing ~ Shoestring Success ~ TJ Elliot

After being let down with work numerous times, I decided to use the time I had off to my advantage. Unfortunately it meant having a very tight budget on what I was to spend my money on. I decided I’d go with the logical approach of only fishing if I had found fish (which sure enough paid off in the end). I’m not too keen on all the long distance fishing, as many of my friends know, I’d rather be tucked away in a little bay or somewhere that I can see the fish in close, instead of blasting choddies and hinge stiff rigs 180 yards towards fish that 90% of the time you won’t catch.

I started by walking laps of the lake daily, until I found fish that I thought I could angle for. The first relatively hot day we had this year saw a huge amount of carp enter one of the bays, and although I was on it quickly, Sam, a friend of mine happened to find them just before me and with a quality bit of angling ended up landing two.

Over the next few days, I continued to walk round, until on the Monday I finally found a group of around ten fish sat off the end of some snags in one of the bays. I attempted to fish for them for around three hours, but with no luck I decided to throw in a mixture of 16mm Krill boilies, some tiger nuts and a few Brazil’s. Hoping that the bait I threw in would keep the fish there until I returned the next day.

Tuesday morning came, and all I could think about was getting back to the lake. However, fortunately for the bank account but unfortunately for my fishing, I had been offered a bit of bar work helping out a friend at her pub for a couple of weeks, so I could only pop down the lake in the morning and try to pop back down after work for a quick over-nighter.

I popped into the lake whilst I was on my way to work, and I was gutted when I noticed that the bay had completely changed colour and there seemed to be a large amount of fish present. Burnt wasn’t the word!

Luckily, I managed to get away from work slightly earlier than I had expected and I soon found myself on my way back to the lake! Result!
Shortly after I arrived back in the bay, only to be greeted by a friend of mine, Jayde, sat in the swim where I had put bait. He informed me that he had seen the colour of the water and knew he had to give it a few hours (extremely good angling in my eyes).

After a brief chat, I figured I could fish the same spots from a swim opposite but I agreed to not put my rods out until he had reeled in as I wouldn’t want to ruin his chance of a bite.

Soon enough, Jayde had reeled in and I found myself putting my rods out. The first rod that went out was a PVA bag, containing crushed Krill boilies with ground pellet and a tiger nut mounted to a size 11 Covert Dark Mugga. The second rod had a shaved Brazil nut topped with a white piece of fake maize, this time mounted on a helicopter rig made up of a size 6 Covert Dark Mugga and 25lb Ultra Skin. The third rod was then placed in the margin with a simple hair rig, again tied using 25lb Ultra Skin and a size 6 Covert Dark Mugga. This time a 16mm Krill Wafter was my choice of hookbait.

Each rod went out with a firm ‘thud’ that filled me with nothing but confidence.

I had just begun setting the brolly up when the middle rod burst into life. I lifted into what felt like a big fish, followed by an extremely large yellow shape coming straight up to the surface. I tightened the clutch up and began to heave, attempting to get the fish away from the snaggy tree line, but unfortunately I couldn’t do anything else and the fish ended up ‘doing’ me in the snags.

I was livid. All of the hard work I had put in and I lost the only bite I had. I went to bed that night extremely gutted, but would you believe it, at 3 o’clock I was away again!

I hit into what I thought was the correct rod, but it’s turned out it was the margin rod that was away. Slightly embarrassed with myself, l finally lifted into the correct rod, and I felt myself connected with a powerful carp, this time swimming away from the snags.

After a short but violent battle, I had Rusty do the honours and lift the net under a lovely low thirty mirror. He went 33lb and 12oz on the scales and was a typical angry spring male.

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