June was set to be a busy month this year with a last minute competition in France to compete in a qualifier for the World Carp Classic kicking things off. The competition was held at The Resort De Der and was over a five day period between two fantastic lakes adjacent to each other with equal stocking levels. We had a late draw and unfortunately the fish were spawning as the starting hooter sounded but we started to hatch a plan. The weather was due to change in a couple of days’ time from the unbearable heat and sun to overcast, wet with low pressure and big winds blowing straight in our face. We decided to prepare a feast for when the weather changed and baited very heavily and topped up each day between both spots. Each spot was fished with two rods and then we had a third as a roving rod to cast at showing fish. I did manage a mirror of over 40lb the first night fishing a single just off the island at 170 yards. It was a mega chuck but with 12lb Pro main line, 30lb Sure Flow shock leaders and a 5oz Torpedo Distance Lead it was no problem whilst the weather was calm.
For the next couple of days we remained on only the one fish and thought we stood little chance but we stuck to our plan and kept the bait going in. At the business end we used Standard size Solid PVA Bags filled with goodies and of course our super sharp size 4 Covert Longshank Mugga! Using the 3oz Flat Pear Inline Leads with Drop Out Lead Inserts ensured the hook would be well set before the lead was released to aid landing the fish. Our luck was about to change as the sky darkened and the wind began to blow and all of a sudden we had renewed confidence and started to prepare for the battle of our lives to pull something back. The bites started to come as the fish moved off the island and forgot about spawning and we slowly added a few fish to the score sheet and our chances started to look better. Persistent hard work and a few chunks later and we were in the lead going into the final 10 hours of the match. We were nervous to say the least as the weather had started to turn warm and still again. The heavy baiting had paid off as fish were regularly visiting the spots and we were still picking off the odd fish and we managed to scrape through by one fish at the final hooter. We had won a place in this year’s World Carp Classic so will be travelling out to lake Bolsena in September. Find a full account of the qualifier here: https://gardnertackle.co.uk/2014/07/carp-fishing-dutch-world-carp-classic-qualifier-2014-tom-oliver/
After a week of catching up on some much needed rest we were back at it again only this time at the annual Carp-in-4-Cancer charity match being held on Blue Lagoon in Arlesey. Twenty four teams of two arrived for the draw and we only felt around four swims had a chance of catching and surprise, surprise they were all snapped up with the first four pulls from the hat. We were once again late out, so opted to fish near some friends we hadn’t fished with since the previous year. It was set to be another weekend of blistering heat and quite frankly we stood little chance of catching, so decided to enjoy it! The first day was filled with banter, beer and not forgetting a swim in the crystal clear waters of the lagoon. It seemed obvious to everyone that very little would be caught and it didn’t matter as it was a beautiful spot and we were all here for one reason; to make as much money as possible for charity and have plenty of laughs in the process!
We did very little fishing on that first day but made sure we stood half a chance for the night if any fish were to frequent our swim. The lake was ridiculously deep with depths of 20 feet a rod length from the bank, so we decided to leave two rods out on adjustable zigs for the entire match and fish one rod on a solid pva bag where the swim would normally be. Due to the excessive rain we had this winter the swims were flooded by around 2-3 feet, so we felt it as good an area to try as any. At around 3am on Saturday morning we were awoken with a succession of bleeps from the rod fished in the swim base. Before we realised what was going on a very small mirror was beached on the swim where we had forgotten how close the rods was! I quickly jumped in and scooped the fish into the net and we couldn’t believe we had actually caught one! The fish weighed a mighty 5lb 8oz and actually put us in the lead as it was the only fish banked so far.
The rest of the match continued as it had started and we cooked in the sun with no signs of carp in our swims, however a few pairs had managed to bank some stunning carp from the clear water depths of the lagoon. As the final hooter sounded on the Sunday we finished in fourth position with only six carp being caught around the lake, but the best was yet to come with the fundraising auction and raffle. All of the competitors gathered and by the end of the event a sterling £9000 was raised for charity and every single person had thoroughly enjoyed their weekend. I must thank Brad and Paul the organisers for all of their hard work, as they put so much in to make these events possible and it is all for a great cause and doesn’t go unnoticed.
I didn’t bother to fish the following week as I was pretty ‘fished –out’ from the previous few weeks, so instead I had a weekend at home with my girlfriend. It made a nice change but the following week, I had a renewed spring in my step and couldn’t wait to get to my syndicate lake after work on Thursday. I was away from work on time for a change and was looking good to miss the traffic when a van had an accident around ten vehicles in front of me. The van had wobbled going around a slippery bend and ended up rolling around five times off of the road and into a cow field. I couldn’t believe that every vehicle in front of me, bar one lady who was on the phone to the emergency services, drove off leaving the people inside to fend for themselves. I personally couldn’t just drive past, so I quickly pulled in and ran down to the van that currently had the passenger door facing the sky. Both men inside were trapped in their seatbelts, so I quickly set about freeing them and pulling them from the vehicle and they were incredibly lucky to suffer with nothing more than a few scrapes and a dislocated shoulder for the driver. After having to stay for all of the formalities with the emergency services I didn’t arrive at the lake until around 7pm.
I quickly set about my travels looking for signs of fish to give me a clue on where to set up for my two nights and settled in an area on the woods bank, where I had seen loads of fish cruising around in the upper layers. My fishing gear was in a right state from the previous few weeks, so I didn’t actually get rods out until around 10pm that night. I baited two areas lightly with a mix of hemp, chopped and whole Carp Company Icelandic Red boilies and Hinders Mixed Pellet Combo. The entire mix was doused in krill powder and coated with Fish Pro and chilli hemp oil to boost attraction further. I decided to fish with my favoured combi-rig as the spots were fairly clan and I was confident they would be presented well. I tied the rig using 25lb Trick-Link for the boom section and attached 20lb Trickster Heavy using an albright knot. My hook choice was a super sharp size 6 Covert Wide Gape Talon Tip to which I added a Covert rig ring opposite the barb, so the 14mm pop-up acted as a blow back rig and a curved shrink tube kicker to help the hook flip and turn. I use this rig for a lot of my fishing now and have 100% confidence in it with impressive hook holds on most occasions.
The third rod was a solid pva bag cast at a set of fizzing just before dark and it was that rod that ripped off at 3am. The fish was stripping line at an alarming rate and before I could turn it, it had managed to get through at least three different weed beds and all I could feel was a grating sensation coming up the line. I kept the fish coming slowly but I felt the rod spring back and reeled a big ball of weed in. I was a little gutted but set about tying a fresh rig and bag and put it back on the same spot I had had the take from. Nothing else happened that night or the following day for that matter and little was caught around the lake. I received a single bleep on my middle rod when I was sat 15 yards away in the swim next door having a take-away. I could see some ducks by my rod tips, so I thought nothing of it and resumed the mighty Keskins feast! I went back to my swim around an hour later and noticed the middle bobbin was wedged in the roller of the alarm on the solid bag rod and the line was out of the clip.
I picked up the rod and could feel a weeded fish on the end, so I slowly eased it my way with steady pressure. Eventually it popped out but within seconds had buried in another dense weed bed and the process was repeated. This happened no less than four times then as it was about to pop up for the net the hook pulled and flew over my shoulder! I was gutted and went home fishless and felt things could have gone better but that’s fishing! I have another busy month ahead in July and hopefully now that most fish have spawning off their mind they will be up for a decent feed too.