Much of the time carp angling is focused on so called target fish in the lakes and rivers we fish. They consume all thoughts of the chasing angler in his or her quest to bank usually the largest carp in the venue! Of course when fishing for a particular carp it would naturally consume all thoughts, however sometimes it’s nice to just go fishing with an empty mind and fish for numbers, whatever pulls your string! Watching the indicators bounce up and down, the spools churn and the buzzers sound with regularity is great fun. Couple that with a regular healthy bend in the rod and I’m a happy man indeed!
My latest session saw me on the type of water where this is possible if you get the location and tactics right. I had 24 hours at my disposal, which was cut down by travelling time as the lake is 2 hours drive from home. This may seem an excessive drive to fish for 24 hours but I think it’s worth it.
The lake itself is called Upper Tamar on the Southwest Lakes Trust ticket. The venue is a reservoir of 85 acres in size, which is split right down the middle by the Cornwall/Devon border. It is one of the best stocked venues in the area holding approximately 900 carp, mostly immaculate commons with the largest going 45lb plus. So, there is a target fish but trying to single it out with 899 others in 85 acres is going to be challenging to say the least.
When I arrived at the lake there was a strong North West wind howling down towards the dam end, which looked great for some action straight away. I loaded the barrow and went off for a look. I didn’t have to go far because I saw a fish show at about 70 yards off a swim called The Boat House, which is 5 minute’s walk from the van. I would have set up there however as the name of the swim suggests it is full of wind surfing kit and a few gigs. These are used regularly and to be honest I wanted more peace and quiet. I am usually very sociable but on this occasion I didn’t want any ‘banter’ with the watersports community!
I settled for a swim close to the Boat House and as I was setting up I saw another fish show at about 110 yards. I quickly whacked a single hook bait with PVA stick out to it and within 10 minutes I had a one toner and my first fish was soon on the bank, which resulted in a nice double figure hard fighting common carp.
I hadn’t fished the lake for a few months and I had yet to fish in the area I was in, so I made a few casts with a marker float and settled on an area of softer ground 80 yards out and 23 feet deep. Incidentally, 23 feet sounds quite deep and I know anglers worry about fishing in deeper water but in reality it’s about two rod lengths and the fish don’t worry about depth, it’s their home. Therefore I don’t worry about it either.
With my area sorted I set the Gardner Wrappers up and wrapped out 21 rod lengths on each rod to allow for the drop on a tight line. I put out around 20 large Spombs of mostly maize with some tigers and a few kilos of Mainline boilies. I had dosed this bait up with half a bottle of Mainline Condensed Coconut Milk Syrup and a good squirt of the Cell Liquid Match Additive. The syrups and liquid match additives are brilliant for enhancing all particles. There are lots of large roach and bream in the lake, so in order to keep them occupied and give the carp a chance to get in on the area a decent amount of bait is needed. I still like to catch the bream in amongst the carp, so I have an idea of how much bait is out there at any time.
Over the next hour or two I had another 7 or 8 carp and a couple of bream. The action slowed up into the evening, so I baited up for the night with 8-10 kilos but they were soon back on the feed around midnight and by 3am I decided to wind in and get some sleep. I got the rods back out at 7am and baited with another 5 kilos. It was all go again with consistent action until lunchtime when I packed up a tired but happy angler. In total I had 21 carp and 5 bream in about 18 hours fishing and I used around 22 kilos of bait. The split between mirrors and commons was 20 to 1! As you can see the lake is dominated by immaculate commons, but there are some stunning old mirrors in there and different strains of carp.
Tactics wise, my hook baits were Mainline Essential IB 15mm wafters, which had been soaked in the hook bait enhancer. I also played about with a maize hook bait and caught a few carp on this however it was the IB wafters that caught all but 3 or 4 of the fish. My rigs were very simple, Gardner Pro XM mainline, 3 foot Camflex Leadfree leaders and Covert lead clips. Hook links for the boilie set up were tied using Ultra Skin simply stripped back and knotless knotted around the ever faithful Covert Mugga hook. The maize hook link was a combi-link tied using Trick-Link for extra stiffness and Trickster Heavy braid again knotless knotted to a Covert Incizor hook and some shrink tube added, set up line aligner style for added speed and aggression when turning.
I also added a PVA stick to the hook baits which I knocked up 3 days earlier. The stick mix consisted of Mainline Cloud9, hemp, tiger Nuts and Cell stick mix powders all mixed 50/50. Added to the stick mix powder was Cell bait dip, Coconut Syrup, Multistim and Hemp Oil and some of the Cell liquid match additive. I made the mix fairly damp and then left it in the tub for the 3 days. On the third day the powder had soaked in all the liquids and dried to a lovely fluffy consistency which is perfect for a stick mix. When the stick breaks down on the bottom it hides the hook and leaves an awesome attraction around the hook bait which sends droplets of attraction up to the surface and also sends out attraction across the bottom.
In summary I had a great short session in lovely surroundings and landed everything I hooked. Apparently it is the biggest haul of carp by a single angler on the lake which is testament to the end tackle Gardner produce and the bait from Mainline.