Well spring is finally here and April has been a busy month for me with two tuition clients a magazine feature and a couple of trips out fishing for myself. My first trip of the month was with Philip Hutin who booked a 24 hour tutorial with me to improve on some of the basics such as casting and learning some simple rigs that will help him catch a few more fish. We met first thing in the morning and had a good look about before setting up in the central area of the lake after seeing a few tell tale signs that they were present. We took our time and covered everything Phil needed to learn, so didn’t get rods out until around mid-day. We had fish feeding after putting a few Spombs of slop and mixers out over the zigs and all was looking promising until….. The owner of the lake decided it was time to whiz around in a speedboat dropping obscene amounts of blue dye blocks off the back to help control the weed growth.

From that moment on we didn’t see a carp and tried everything possible to try and catch, but it seemed nothing was going to work. We managed to cover a lot of technical riggy bits and improved Phil’s casting no end before nightfall. We had baited heavily to try and draw them in and create some competition for food and the first bit came around midnight. Phil was latched in to what we suspected was a catfish and as it turned out it was a new ppb too weighing 22lb+. Phil managed a couple of smaller catfish and finally caught a lovely double figure mirror before we had to call it a day. Although we didn’t catch as many as we hoped Phil took a lot away from the session and has already made plans for another go.

The following weekend I had two nights planned for myself on my syndicate lake and was so excited in the days leading up to the trip. My excitement was soon smouldered when I pulled in to a full car park on the Thursday night and virtually every swim taken with just a few of the stalking gaps left which I really didn’t fancy. The trouble was I had a feature the following morning for Improve Your Coarse Fishing’s carp section of the magazine so I had to fish. I went to see my good friend and fellow GT angler Calum Kletta who had been in one of the main swims all for the past few days making the most of his holiday catching a few nice ones. After a bit of eyelash fluttering and the promise of a Keskins take-away he kindly allowed me to double up in his swim providing I found my own spots and didn’t interceptor him up! Nothing happened during the night and Mark from Improve arrived around 8am for the feature and unfortunately I had nothing to hold aloft for the cameras! We cracked on with the rest of the feature and right on que myself and Calum had a double take live for the camera, which resulted in an upper twenty mirror for him and a low twenty for me. Shortly after I managed another take and landed a low double mirror.

Later that afternoon I topped up my spots with a mixture of freshly scalded pellet, hemp and chopped and whole Carp Company Icelandic Red with Caviar & Cranberry before tying some fresh rigs for the night ahead. I have mainly been using hinge stiff rigs so far this spring as the lake has a healthy covering of silk weed even on what feels like a clean drop. I personally prefer Ultra Skin in 25lb for my boom sections with a loop at the stiff end to aid movement and a couple of small drops of putty to pin it down. 25lb Trip Wire coupled with a sticky sharp size 5 Covert Chod hook finishes the rig to which I attach a 16mm cork ball pop-up that matches my boilie. Again it was a quiet night but we were both confident of some more action through the morning and around 7am my middle rod was away and after a good scrap a lovely 23lb 6oz mirror rolled over the net cord. I had another take shortly after and suffered a hook pull just after lifting in to the fish.

Calum had a small common before the action dried up and it was time for a brew and some breakfast. Calum had to pop home for an hour and as he got to the car park he noticed a fair few carp nutting out just to the right of our swim and kindly called me to give me the heads up. I wound in one of my rods and cast it on a showing fish from the stalking gap to the right of the swim on a single fluro. There were plenty there so I decided to top up my pother spots with a couple of Spombs in the hope they might move back across in the afternoon. I only put four on each spot and about two minutes after leaning the spod rod against the tree the middle rod was away with a real pretty 19lb 2oz mirror. Calum walked back in the swim as it rolled into the net and as we were unhooking it we could hear some beeping and it took a few seconds to realise it was the rod in the stalking gap. I left Calum with the fish and ran the fifteen yards to the rod which was still melting away. The fish put up a real good account and it was a bit hairy under the rod tip when it was adamant on finding sanctuary in the snaggy margin to my right but all went well and a plump mirror rolled over the net. The fish went 29lb 4oz and had gained 5lb since last year when Calum had caught it. After all the mayhem I re-did the rods for the last hour and managed one more before I had to go a 24lb 6oz common.

The following weekend I had a 48 hour tuition with returning client David Bradbeer who has progressed extremely quickly since the first time we went out and was now looking to learn about accurate feature finding and Spombing. We were again faced with a busy lake and only two swims were free but fortunately there were a few fish showing in one of them, so Dave set up in there and went to the right. We had a lead around to find some sots and covered how to spod etc. in my swim so as not to spook Dave’s fish! We enjoyed a BBQ that night and Dave’s left hand rod close in was away at first light with a very good fish on the end. After a little help Dave managed to draw the fish over to the waiting net and the massive mirror was a new pb by 4lb for him at 34lb 14oz. We were both buzzing to say the least, but we didn’t have log to take it in as shortly after the recast rod was away and the 22lb 2oz mirror was an angry one to say the least, it beat Dave up both in and out of the water! That was the only action of the trip for us and we both left extremely happy to say the least and most importantly Dave now felt confident with locating spots and with a new p.b to boot. Since the tuition Dave has been on a mega roll on his local park lake banking several of the a-team to 34lb on the tactics he has learnt with me.

I only managed one more trip for myself on the final weekend of the month and as usual and what seemed to be the norm now the lake was very busy. I dropped in to a vacant swim in the middle area of the lake hoping with it being busy they would pass over me at some point over the weekend. It turned out to be a bit of a nightmare session after having a couple of tench and loosing a good fish due to a cut off on the first morning. I did manage one small mirror on the second morning and another tench but felt I should have caught more with what I had seen. I cant wait to get back out and May is one of my favourite months where the big ones will often slip up and I also have a week in France so I’ll let you know how it all goes.