As it is halfway through May and the summer is lurking just around the corner, I thought I’d sum up what has been going on in my own angling. Being a Gardner Tackle consultant means that I have been doing a few shows and open days in the shops around Belgium and also in Holland. I love doing these as it is part of being a consultant, but I am an angler and after a few open days at the shops the water was calling!

Unfortunately, the carp gods where not smiling on me at all, as session after session I failed to catch any carp! To make things sound better, I generally don’t target the easy places, and blanking is what I seem to do best on these kinds of waters. On the flip side, the euphoria of catching a carp from one of these tough waters is awesome and cannot be described!

After fishing 2 sessions on the big lake in February and March, I set my eye on a local canal that holds a few very nice carp, but again I was only catching bream, rudd and in the end a pocket size common (not even a double) but nevertheless I kept at it, as it’s fishing not catching!

You always think you will get lucky the next time, but the weather kept playing yoyo, with high pressure fronts and low temps coinciding with my trips. So after 6 sessions (weekend sessions as I need to work for a living) 11 nights and one very small carp under my belt it was time for my first trip abroad, and as some of you will know I love fishing in the UK.

My first trip was to The Quarry fishery again in Boreham, Essex. Unfortunately, the weather was against me with the wind turning north easterly and killing it for the rest of my week. I caught one common from the Quarry on the Monday (in the early morning) and did not get another pick up after that! I tried and tried but on Wednesday I’d had enough and chilled out as the day after we were going to move to another lake.

The last 2 nights were fished at another lake, but this was not going to be easy fishing either… this weather! On the Friday we (my mate and I) decided to try and stalk one and made our way around to an area of the lake they call ‘The Pipe’. This area is where fresh water comes into the lake via an inlet pipe. We tried a few different spots, both of us with one rod but with no success.

On the last hour of our stalking adventure I returned to the spot I started the day and placed my Chod rig only a rod length out. About 20 minutes later the Bug slammed against the rod and I was in! After a short but hectic scrap my mate netted a cool looking common of about 13 or 14lb but I was made up with this capture. After the common we made our way back to our swim at the back of the wind and blanked on our final night. So it was homewards with only 2 fish caught, but I’ll be going back in September on the New Moon week, to see if I can take some revenge on these UK carp.

As I have been trying very hard to catch carp, I did play around with the Ronnie Rig, a Chod rig and my favourite rig at the moment the Hybrid Rig. These incorporated two hook patterns, which give me the confidence I need to fish these very hard tricky waters, the Chod hook in a size 5 and my all-time favourite carp hook, the Continental Mugga in sizes 6 and 4. Hooklink wise it’s got to be the soft “Ultra Skin” and the new “Stiff Ultra Skin”. I love this stuff and would recommend it to all carp anglers out there without hesitation, its top stuff! Trip wire for all my stiff hook sections, and lately I have been using Slinky in 0.70mm for the boom section on my Ronnie Rigs, man this stuff is stiff as and very strong! I crimp it as tying it is almost impossible. There you go, try the stuff out, I have 100% confidence in all the GT gear I use and it never lets me down (even though I blank a lot LOL).

Just for the record blanking is part and parcel of angling, I still enjoy my fishing and I know that in the end it will all come good!

Next stop is a session in Holland with my good mate and GT team member Peter Van Der Star. It will be a new adventure, as I have never fished from a boat before, and after that its back to the mighty Albert Canal in Belgium for some more home-grown fishing therapy.

Tight lines Tommy