Category Archives: Carp Fishing

Fishing fun with the kids

Given that you have a lot of patience, fishing can be great fun and also rewarding when you take the kids.  Add to that, night fishing, then it becomes that little more testing, especially when one little boy is 5yrs old and has not done this before.

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So we needed a safe venue not to far from home which wasn’t just about the fishing, we wanted it to feel like an adventure for the kids so were better than Lloyds Meadow, only problem there is no night fishing allowed.  A little conversation with Danny  and he said we was welcome just name the date.

The kids were buzzing with excitement and armed themselves with head torch’s, wildlife apps and walkie talkies for searching out the abundance of different wildlife that can be found  at Lloyds Meadows and surrounding areas during the day and especially at night-time.

An early start seen Stu and I load up the cars to the max and go and set up base camp on Heron lake which consisted of bivys,cooking stove and every bit of fishing gear we could manage.

With the kids not getting dropped off until around dinner time it was only manners that we had a few hours fishing ourselves!

A few early morning munters caught on the Monster Lobster paste feeding pellets.

Kieran was the first to arrive full of smiles and a little nervous about staying out for the night, but he soon was in the thick of the action sat on his Grandad Stu’s box catching carp, this was priceless watching such a young child taking in everything that was getting said to him.

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Our next visitor was an unexpected but welcome one.  Friend of ours Dave turned up with his daughter Frankie who given the chance would have loved to have stayed the night with us, while she was there she helped us out with a net fish.

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Soon after Lucas turned up and this ramped up the children’s conversation no end; what they were going to see in the night-time and how late they were staying up and the serious matter of catching more fish than me and Stu!

The instant bonding these two show made me think these are going to be fishing buddies for many a year.

Not wanting to stop for tea the lads fished away doing most things between them  always asking questions and showing willing and patience to get better every time they put in.

The pictures below showed the great effort and team work they showed ( which was difficult at times with the fish fighting hard and using my fishing set up ).

The fishing was frantic whether it was a small roach or a hard fighting carp each was welcome like a gold medal at the Olympics!

As the day time was coming to an end it was time to make all the tackle safe from the foxes and badgers that come out at night and the pesky ducks all looking for a bite to eat, it was also time for us to have some hots dogs which the kids helped to warm up on the stove.

Now came the exciting bit head torches on it was time for us to go for a walk round the lakes just before total darkness set in, such a beautiful setting as the fish were crashing around and the buzzards were still out trying to get some supper but what we wanted to see was the friendly fox so not making too much noise we headed off to badger lake and there he was not spooked by us he just got on with his business then went back into the bushes.

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Time now for the lads to settle down very reluctantly in the bivys but they carried on chatting with their walkie talkies.

A quick brew and we couldn’t resist the chance of some fishing in the dark,this brought back so many memories fishing on the canal under the stars with starlight on your float.

Myself and Stu caught and lost a few for a couple of hours in the dark fishing pellets in the margins.

By now the lads were fast asleep but the amount of noise coming from all different kinds of wildlife creatures, birds and monsters ( so I was told ) was amazing, as the ducks carried on their own party on the lake it was time to turn in ready for fishing in the morning.

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A fresh start to the morning kicked off with plenty of fish for me while everyone else was sleeping.

Kieran being so popular as he is had to go home after breakfast for other commitments but this didn’t put Lucas off as he carried on where he left off from yesterday.

Every few hours emptying our nets.

Jumping from box to box Lucas even had time to pinch a few from Stu’s swim.

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We caught a lot of quality fish but it was a team effort from the four of us.

The kids will not forget their time spent at Lloyds Meadows for a lot of reasons but for me and Stu what stood out was there eagerness to watch and learn asking questions and really enjoying themselves.

I know we visit Lloyds regular throughout the year but this place came alive like I have never seen it before and for that we couldn’t thank Danny enough for letting us spend the night at such a wonderful place.

Unit next time, it’s been a pleasure!

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A Trip to Le Queroy, with Ant Tolley

Well after 18 months of planning and watching endless YouTube videos, our lad’s trip to France had finally arrived.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m no expert when it comes to fishing in France having only ventured over the channel once before, but I think I’ve learned enough from the boys at Beechwood to hopefully catch that fish of a life time. The venue chosen was Le Queroy in south-west France, some 7 hours from Calais and home to some very big carp, the smallest being 28lb and going to 69lb with an average weight of 45lb; I think it was fair to say whatever we hooked was going to be big!

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It was soon Friday afternoon and with the minibus loaded we made the trip down to the channel tunnel, negotiating the m25 with some relative ease we hit Folkestone 6 hours early.  Now I like to be early but this was silly even for me, so after several coffees and reading the latest edition of Carp Talk front to back god knows how many times it was our time to board the train, 25 minutes later we had arrived in France and made the long journey down to the lake.  After several wrong turns and a few pit stops we rocked up at Le Queroy around lunch time very tired, and were met by Dan the owner.  He told us the lake had been fishing hard the week before with only 1 fish coming out, so straight away I knew this wasn’t going to be easy.

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Itching to see the lake we made the short walk from the cottage down the path towards the lake making our way through the trees to be greeted by the most carpy looking lake I’ve ever seen, over hanging trees on every bank 2 bays made for stalking, it had everything.  Now the draw had been made in advance over a few pints and guess what, yes I had come out last, so I was walking round keeping my cards very close to my chest so not to give the other lads any ideas.  After much deliberating the swims were chosen and off we went in search of the prize.

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I set up on the far bank next to one of the bays to my left and open water in front of me, the rods were baited with single Trigonella and plastic corn toppers and sent out about 40 yards.  After a few hours of no activity I decided to have a lead around and find something for the night and introduce some bait.  The night passed without even a beep all round the lake but I had heard in the bay to my left what could only be described as a pig falling of a boat not once but on several occasions.  Once breakfast and a catch up with the lads had finished I had decided to move and get a better look at the bay to my left.

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The move was made and almost instantly it felt right, I was looking down the lake from the point in the middle of the lake and the bay was on my right with plenty of places to put a rod.  Not much happened for the next few days apart from several big fish showing me their stomach in the bay over the bits of bait I kept trickling in, trying to give the fish a bit of confidence in feeding without being fished for.  On the Tuesday after days of unforgivable heat we had a mighty thunder-storm, this perked us all up hoping it would cool the lake and the fish would get their heads down.  Wednesday morning brought the first fish of the trip in the form of a very nice 34lb grass carp for one of the lads, and this bit of action had me itching to get a rod on the baited areas in the bay.  I was soon tying up a new rig baiting up with Trig and casting it towards an overhanging tree on the far side of the bay where big fish had been showing.  20170628_144704.jpg

2 hours had passed and with no sign of fish I was becoming frustrated and worried I had spooked any fish in the bay, then a few beeps followed by a twitch of the bobbin grabbed my attention and just like that the bobbin hit the rod and I was in.  A battle followed which felt like hours but I was assured only lasted 20 minutes, and a carp was sitting in my landing net.  “That’s a good 30” one of the lads said looking into the net which I was more than happy with, it was a fish and that’s all that mattered.  Placed into a sling I tried to lift my catch and soon realized it was no 30, and placed on the matt I drew back the net to gasps at the size of the mirror, it was obvious I had caught a beast of a fish.

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My capture was placed in the weigh sling and with a little help from my friends hoisted up to reveal I had captured my first 50, 51lb 2oz to be precise and just like that my legs turned to jelly and were shaking like a sh***ing dog.  The usual photos were taken; the bucket of water on the head and of course the all important water shots.  But it wasn’t till I sat down and looked through my pics and videos that the size of the fish I had just caught hit me.

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A few cat-fish that week followed and all the lads caught a carp so everyone was happy but no one was happier than me, a 50 and the biggest fish of the week, all down to a bit of patience and the mighty Trigonella!

Tight lines, Ant.

 

Still at school but loving the lessons.

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Wow its been a while since I last blogged about my journey into specimen carp fishing, January to be precise. So many things have happened since January so sit back and relax and I will tell you all about it.

Firstly I have moved into the position of “promotions manager” for Beechwood Baits which is an  awesome appointment for me and I am really pleased.  Beechwood Baits attended the NAS held in events city Manchester in April which was simply brilliant , and my fishing journey has really began to gather momentum with trips to Monarch lakes and Larford Lakes on two social events, to me that meant i had a load of carp anglers around me and I am not shy asking questions:)

My plan was always to get a “starter kit” and really begin to understand the kit ,challenge myself and above all take my time and let the journey unfold as organically as I can. So choosing Blakemere as my very first carp venue was that clever? I tell you now i would not change a thing, not a single thing because every single trip i have been on I have come away with so much more understanding and a little bit of practice and experience, and there is no rush right!

This blog is all about what changes I have made based on my fishing experiences, conversations with team mates, pegging next to experienced anglers ,making mistakes, recognizing the mistakes and lastly catching fish! None less important than the other.

The pictures above are at Monarch Lakes in Lincolnshire and a good place to start. The team was invited to fish Monarch Lakes by the owners and for the first time in my fishing history I was with a bunch of carp anglers and no course buddy to keep me company, just my carp”starter kit” and a load of Trigonella. I felt a little bit alone , and that’s not in any way referring to the lads I was fishing with , or how I was treated by them , on the contrary , this team are an awesome bunch of people who could not do enough for me. What i mean is I was feeling a little out of my depth and not felt like this  in a very long time. Add to that the place was not fishing well and although we all had indications , the fish were not playing ball. It was at this venue that I actually did something that Andy Grover discussed with me at Blakmere , we were sat there at Blakemere  discussing siting a fish and what to do should you sight fish …….. put a bait on it ! Sounds simple right! So this is how it went down……The first day I continually saw a fish crashing in the other lake to where the team were fishing , but did not do anything. Second day this fish kept crashing in the same spot so I had enough of sitting on my hands (Sorry Denis I know you tell me i have to learn to sit on my hands ) and put a rod in the other lake over the crashing fish .10 Minutes later Boooom! and fish on .It was a good fish and unfortunately I didn’t get this fish in.What i did do was stir up the team and create a little excitement and by this time Gav and Andy had come over and sat on the grass while I upped the rig strength and put out another bait right on the same spot. Now call me stupid or risky but I turned to Andy Grover and said “if this rod goes within the next 10 minutes you can play the fish”. Thats right , your spot on ….. it only screamed off and true to my word Andy played the fish in , Gav landed it and Beechwood Baits had a fish on the bank at last!

I was so proud of that fish because I used the knowledge that was passed to me and it actually worked. So on this trip I learned that its ok to feel vulnerable because it keeps you on your toes and makes you work hard. I also learned that I am a “make something happen” angler and if the fishing is hard then I will up the ante and go looking for them. Extremely proud to have had the guts to get off my backside and do something different and it paid off! After all ,I may be changing , but the carp remain the same! A few other things worth a mention is the patience and team support I got from Denis Ryan who took the time to show me the best way to get my bivvy up quick, thanks Denis something so simple like 5 minutes to show me through many years of experience really helped.

Larford was the next social and armed with my “starter kit” I made my way to the venue feeling less vulnerable and a little more confident . I was meeting Denis early and knew before I even got there I was going to peg next to him simply to bombard him with questions , poke my face into his rig box and basically get some 1 on 1 tuition .I mentioned rig box because on this trip my desire to understand my rigs VS. the other lads rigs could only help me to improve and in turn catch more fish. I was feeling confident with the rods and the set up , it was the end tackle I wanted to improve.

Larford was significant for me with my carp fishing for a few reasons:

  1. I made a glaring error but learned a valuable lesson.
  2. I added value to a team members trip with coaching of my own.
  3. I got loads of good tips from Denis on rigs.
  4. I needed to focus more on looking after myslf fo
  5. I really got to look at Anthony Tolleys approach and nicked a load of brilliant things he does and gadgets he uses to make the most from his fishing.

My error was a simple small attention to detail when tying a rig which resulted in a lost fish ….. Denis noticed the mistake and when I rectified the mistake I didn’t lose another fish.

As for coaching ….. I coached Liam Watts on pellet waggler and he literally took to it like a duck to water, and had a ball , bagging on the waggler!

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Anthony Tolley shared how he gets self take pictures using a gadget he found on eBay which I have since ordered and have to say its a great bit of kit to have. If you want to know more about this gadget ask me or Ant.

And what can I say about the enigma that is Denis Ryan, what a team-mate he really is. I learn so much from Denis but its his willingness and enthusiasm to share years of experience that really is the measure of him. So thanks Denis, its greatly appreciated.

Upgrades

From the outset with my carp starter kit, apart from the obvious thicker rods, bigger reels, the single biggest difference from my course tackle to carp tackle was the reels. with my course gear I use Diawa Matchwinner reels so i have been used to quality reels that do a great job.My carp reels were making it difficult so i decided on upgrades but it was not only the reels that made me consider upgrades to be fair.I looked back on my last two years and realized that 99% of my fishing was with rod and reel and I had been busting my guts carting really heavy course gear  to every venue to basically sit on and catch carp, along with a pole I hardly used ,so time for a change. The change i am making will take time but its work in progress. For now the upgrades I have chosen will take away heavy gear, focus on making my carp angling a little more updated but still give me the option to fish pellet waggler and bomb so I get the best of both worlds. So I upgraded with new reels that felt closer to what I was used to, new alarms that had enough about them to give me options in any peg I may find myself on and a receiver because apparently I slept through a run at Larford and Ant Tolley couldn’t wake me , and the all important ridgemonkey pan that is simply a brilliant piece of kit and so versatile.

 

I am still after the water shot but something about this goal has changed and it’s not my desire to achieve it , I am simply not in a rush to get it. I would rather keep learning and gaining experience and when it happens it happens. What I am craving next is two-fold:

  1. 48 hr on a proper carp water hopefully “The Quarry”
  2. 24 hours on my own and savor every moment.

Until next time , tight lines to you all and may the carp gods shine down on you when you need it the most.

Barry

 

 

 

 

Overcoming Snags on the way to Success!

Arrived at the lake, Etang Cache, late Tuesday afternoon as my flight had been delayed.  I was feeling ready to unwind and get the rods out.  I didn’t think I was going to be able to fish the snags as there were some lads on them before me, but they chose to move as they had done two nights and had no fish.  I set up and got talking to one of the owners and was told that there hasn’t been a fish out of the swim for 3 days but over 75kg of bait had been put in that week.  So, I opted to fish little bags of crushed Musselberry and just flick a few boilies over the top of each rod, just a hand full on each.

The night went by with no bites and I woke to rain and wind.  Great!  So, I thought I would leave my rods in as I knew they were on the spots, and the bailiff came and had a chat with me before breakfast.  The lads also come over from their peg to have a chat.  I am now getting to know them pretty well, and as we are all talking, the middle rod lets out a few beeps…..

I’m fishing locked up fishing tight to the snags, I run down heart in my mouth, hit the rod and try to turn the fish.  I managed to turn the fish and 5/10 minutes of a mental fight ensued with the fish going in and out of the snags.  It was intense!  I eventually managed to wrestle it away from the snags and land the fish.  A few minutes after thinking to myself that was an epic battle.  Little did I know that every battle after that was to get more, and more insane.  The fish went 28lbs so I was made up as it was bigger than my UK PB and was off the mark.

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A few hours after the first fish I decide to go around to the stalking swim.  I fished the same rig and bait but instead of casting out then bait up I choose to put 10 boilies out about 5 minutes before I cast out so I could spook the fish with food not a rig.  I get the rig sorted and drop it on the spot first time, only a 20yrd cast but tricky so I was happy.  Within 5 minutes I see a fish roll over the spot.  I turn my camera on and start to record the rod.  A few more minutes go by with no signs or shows.  I roll myself a cigarette and just about to light it and the siren lets out beep beep!  I look and the rod is wrapped round to the left, I hit and again an epic battle unfolds.  I could see the fish in shallow water scraping along the bottom, turning it up.  Shaking its head trying to get the hook out.  I’m using barbless so I’m thinking it’s going to throw the hook but luckily, I manage to get it over and into the net.  I Lifted the net up and saw a chunk in the bottom of the net and see that it is a fish known as ‘Little Lumpy’ (Lump’s little brother) I’m buzzing.  I have the cigarette to calm me down.  I am sure it will go over thirty so I wait for the owner to come around and help with the weighing and the photos.  The fish went 36lbs and was a well know fish that hasn’t been out all year so I’m proper buzzing now.  I give it a few more hours with nothing so decide to go back to my main swim and sort my rigs out for the night.

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I get the rods out just before dinner casting from the bank, not opting for the boat.  Same approach few boilies and a little stick but this time with a little special hook bait which I tried for the first time.  Dinner was a mean chilli cooked by the owner Dave.  After having a mint tea and a great time catching up with the owners, I get settled down for the night.  Just is I’m nodding off the left rod screams. “It’s taking line, I’m locked up, really!?” I thought to myself as I hit it.  It’s like hitting a bloody train.  I don’t think I’m was going to be able to stop it before it hits the snags.  I wound down and gave it some proper stick and just managed to turn it as I start to feel the line rubbing on the roots of the snags.  After a dogged battle for 20 odd minutes it goes into the net.  I look down at the net and it’s another chunk, but this time a common.  Gav did say these hookbaits would pick the commons out!  Its late just after 1am, so no one is up to help with photos. I get the camera on the tripod and get my selfie face on.  Then I get the fish into the sling, then out of the water and on to the mat.  When I weighed it, the fish goes 36lb, epic!  Get the shots down and let the beast go back home.  I went on to catch another two that night with every rod going, only high twenties but I was not complaining.

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The next day I go stalking and manage to get a small low 20lbs with a little damage to it, as all carp I catch I treat it with a little carp care and sent it back on its way.  Nothing happened after that just like the day before, so I went back to the main swim and started getting set up for the night.  I get all the rods out really quickly 1st time on every rod, a little scatter of bait over the top and I was fishing for the night.  Sitting tying new rigs for the next day and out of nowhere the middle rod is away, and its going.  I run and pick up the rod.  There was no stopping this fish, it just took line and ended up going into the snags.  I was gutted.  I had that sinking feeling in my gut, and just knew I wasn’t getting that fish back.  I wanted to make sure the fish wasn’t snarled, so I jumped in the boat and made my way over to where the line was exiting the water.  I get right next to where the fish is snagged and can see that the fish and managed to go around one branch and then into the snags, and throw the hook.  I manage to get all of my tackle back and then made my way back to my swim.  Sulking!

On getting back to the peg I was met with the owner who was watching my other rods while I was in the boat.  “Never mind” he said, plenty more.  I laughed.  He was right there were more.  Got my head straight and concentrated on getting the rod back out on the spot.  New rig on the rod went out first time.  I’m getting good at this casting thing.  I set the rod on the rest, clip the bobbin on, and sit back watching the rods.  I’m sitting there enjoying the sun for the short time it was out.  I then go back into my bivvy because of a passing storm.

As I’m waiting for the storm to pass, the middle rod screams.  I go to hit the rod.  But as I’m running out of my bivvy the screamer just stopped, like just stopped, I look up at my spot and see a fish crashing.  I lift in to the rod knowing there is going to be nothing on the end.  Again, the sinking feeling.  That’s two fish out of two I’ve lost now.  What is going on?  I reel in and inspect the rig.  All seem to be fine.  Hook still sharp.  Putty hasn’t moved.  Everything was fine.  I had just been done.  I was not happy, I take this time to reel in get my myself sorted mentally.  I head over to the lads for a chat.

We are trying to organise a trip when we are all back in England.  As we we’re talking one of their rods was away.  One of the lads runs and hits the rod.  Rod hoops over and we all look at each other and say this has to be a chunk and a long hard battle commences.  I have the pleasure of netting the fish and manage to get the fish on the first attempt.  The owners are here at this point and as we lift the net to see the prize there was 5 of us, all round this one net.  As we are looking we can see that is a really good fish and it came in at a whopping 44lb.  I am over the moon for the lad as it is his new PB. I get some shots for him and a few with him and the owners.  It felt so good to be a part of that event.  To me that is one of the best things about fishing, all coming together having a laugh and catching carp.  I stay there celebrating with beer, wine and good food.  At this point I’m feeling good and have completely forgotten about the two fish that I had lost only a few hours before.

I head back over the swim feeling really good for a bite or two that night.  I end up taking a long time getting the rods out, I think that beer had a big part in that.  I eventually get them where I want them and sit back and relax watching the sun set, enjoying the last of the wine.  I roll myself a smoke, and enjoy the whole atmosphere of this place, it’s completely different to what I am used to.  I can’t put it in to words.  After watching the sunset, I retreat into the bivvy and just as I’m going to sort my bag out the left rod is sprung into life.  As I hit the rod I can just see that the fish has made it to the snags and I can feel the fish grating against the snags.  I was only in contact for 5 to 6 seconds and it snapped me.  I throw the rod on the floor and walk away holding my head in my hands.  Why can’t I catch a damn fish?  3 fish out of 3 lost.  At this point I don’t even want to be there I want to go home.

I pick myself up after a few cups of tea.  I questioned the owners if I was doing anything wrong or was it just me.  They reassured me that I wasn’t doing anything wrong and that all this is a part of fishing.  At this point it is dark and I decide to pub chuck the rod, I know it’s only say a 40-50 yard cast to the edge of the snags so clipped myself up at just over 40yards.  It went out like a dream, hit the clip, landed nice and soft on the silt lovely!  After all this I get woken up at an hour I didn’t know existed by the sound of a screaming siren.  Boom I’m in.  I run out of the bivvy still in the sleeping bag and hit the rod.  It’s a beast.  It frights hard for nearly 10 minutes right on the edge of the snag.  I wasn’t losing this fish.  I pulled hard and the fish pulled harder turning me.  My god this is a strong ass fish.  I end up playing it for 40 minutes all in all and I would say 90 percent of time was next to the snags.  In all honesty, I didn’t think I was getting it in.  I eventually netted the hardest fighting carp I have ever had.  I was right, this is a chunk and by far my PB.  But as its 3.30am no one is awake.  So it is up to me again to get my best selfie face on and get the camera set.  I get the fish on the bank and recognise it as the fish that my cousin had the pleasure of naming.

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The fish was ‘Golden Two Tone’ and was an absolute beast.  A stunning common, long and deep, a proper fighting machine.  One of the most impressive fish I have ever caught.  It went 43 and a half and was a new PB by 4 pounds.  I have no words for how I felt.  Only the pictures can show how I was feeling.  An epic fight, an epic carp, from an epic venue.  I am so made up after losing those three fish.  I got the fish back safely, it went away strong drenching me in the process.  I went on to have another three fish that night to 37lbs and it was the most productive night yet.

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I was woken up in the morning with a sausage and egg bap being shoved in my face along with a nice cup of tea.  It was the owner, I told him about the night before and he was made up for me.  I said I think I might have had two-tone.  At this point I still wasn’t too sure but I know by the size of it has to be.  I show him the fish and he confirms it as Golden Two Tone for me, and congratulates me.  He asks what rig I’m fishing so I show him.  It’s a size 4 curve hook with a swivel on the shank no hair, down to a little kicker tied with supple braid as I was fishing on soft silt.  He looks at the rig then looks at me and nods.  It’s just a nod but I knew the liked it just be the way he was looking at it.  I have a drink with him, then head off stalking.  I manage to catch a low 30, 32 I think.  It was a lovely fish, perfect in fact not a mark on her.  She was full of eggs as they were close to spawning so a quick pic and off she went.

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It goes dead after that, just like the days previous so I enjoy the sun with just one rod in the water whilst listening to a bit for music, I just chilled as I was knackered from being up all night with fish, and I ended up falling asleep.  I woke to an alarm but not mine one of the other lads.  It was 6 o’clock.  I was asleep for 5 hours, luckily in the shade.  I decide to pack up and go around and see the fish.  As I get to the back of the lad’s swim one of them is still playing the fish so again I get to do the netting and while other lad is getting the photos.  The fish goes in the net, it’s a low 30lb common, an immaculate fish.  We get the photos and I head back to my swim.

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Tonight, I was going to change tactics a little; I would be keeping the rig the same but I was going to place them with the boat and fish particle over the top.  Just standard pigeon mix with added maze, a few boilies and jobs a gud’un.  I get all three rods out with the help of Dave the owner, I get back to the swim and unload the bait from the boat set the rods up and wait for the bite.  Within around 30 minutes there was bubbles starting to appear over the middle rod, I focused in on them as they started to get more and more aggressive until my whole spot was pretty much fizzing.  I start getting liners, I’m bricking it.  I’m crouched over the rod waiting for it to go, liner arrr liner arrrr liner ARRRR.  I can’t take this.  The rod never goes.  The fizzing stops and I know my chance has gone.  That night all I had was liners.  No fish just liners.  I woke the next day like a zombie, slept through breakfast it was like 11am.  I was trying to come to terms with why I didn’t get a fish.  I put it down to that they were just interested in the particle not the boilie.  As I was fishing boilies on the hair and pop ups they didn’t even give them a second look.  The day went by with no fish, I slept mostly and thought of a new attack for the last two nights.  So the new attack was just fish the pellet that they feed the fish on and boilie.  NO PARTICLE.  The pellet breaks down fast and creates like a fluff on the bottom.  So when the fish come in hungry looking for food they start to eat the pellet, find the boilies as an easier, more satisfying meal and start looking for the boilies.  This worked a treat and had the best two nights of the trip.  Another hand full of fish, and a new PB at 44lb!

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Also another known fish, known as Steve at 39lb.  Right at the last-minute as I’m packing up I caught the last fish of the trip, a beautiful mirror at 34lb that just topped the trip off for me.

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All in all, catching 17 in total I was made up.  This trip was the best trip I had been on and will definitely gong back next year.

Till next time.

Harry

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Arena Lake at Larford…..SSP

Probably the least fished of the 3 lakes at Larford but wow I think we would all love to have this at the bottom of our garden!  No fixed pegs with a high bank on one side and a bank that enters the water on the other side letting you stay protected from the wind if you choose so.

Today was the day I tried out Feed+SSP.  My SSP had been glugged in Trigonella for near two weeks now and smelt delicious!

on the waggler and bomb rods feeding 8mm trigonella pellets

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Not using this bait before it was a bit of a learning curve for me so I started off on 15″ hook lengths on both waggler and bomb and a size 16 hook with a bait band on, the shape of the SSP suits the band perfect, firing in 2/3 pellets every 30 seconds soon got the carp turning on them but it took about 30 minutes to get my first fish.

A few more were netted whilst we still had cloud cover keeping the feed going in which was keeping the fish very competitive in my swim

Swapping over to the bomb casting in over the feed from the waggler kept the fish coming still feeding 2/3 pellets and casting regular

This session was going great I was firmly into my groove my feeding pattern was steady and the cloud cover was dictating my method of fishing

The fish were of a really good size not going below 4lb but fighting like fish twice their weight.

The highlight of the day was a stunning Common carp just over 16lb caught on the pole using the SSP this took me over 20 mins to get in from a swim I had been feeding with several large balls of ground bait and glugged small pieces of meat.

Finding a flavor that suited the venue I was  fishing and then adding it to SSP really worked a treat for me today and as I mentioned before they were all good size carp plenty of them knocking on around 10lb, this product excites me because it seems to have possibly filtered out the smaller carp and the bream and has so many variants whether it be bomb, waggler or even the pole.  Still a bit more tinkering to get the finished product but until then its been a pleasure!

me and ian

 

 

 

A Year to Remember – By Liam Watts

I shall start this blog off where I ended the last one, the 8th of May 2016, the night I’ll never forget (you can see my previous blog here). We were back on our way to Reedy Pit because the hold it had on me was too much to ignore. The night started the same as all the others, an intense, exciting mission through the undergrowth to get to the water’s edge. I was on my own in my preferred spot and as soon as I looked out onto the water I could tell there were fish on the baited area, big shapes moving about in the darkness, fish feeding and crashing on the spot, unaware of my intentions to catch one. I managed to get both rods set up in the pitch black, barely making a sound. I put on two bags of crushed Trigonella that had already been tied up at home. If I’m honest I really enjoyed the preparation for this type of fishing, doing everything possible to make sure you can just set up on arrival with no lights and get two rods out with very little disturbance is crucial.

Both rods went out perfectly before I sat back in the bushes with excitement, after what seemed liked two seconds I was getting liners! I knew it wouldn’t be long before one of the rods ripped off, as I got up to have a look at the water bang went the rod and the line was ripped from the reel, I hit into the fish and knew instantly it wasn’t a big fish. I managed to drag the fish away from the spot whilst trying my best not to disturb the chunks that may have been feeding on the spot. It was then I netted the small common, no bigger than 10lb.

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As I slipped it back to its watery home the other rod was away, again I hit into the fish and knew it wasn’t a big one. I did exactly the same with this fish, I dragged it as far away from the spot as possible and netted it. This fish being a bit bigger, mid double size. The fish went straight back out the net, clearly wanting to make as little disturbance as possible. I had two rods on the bank and had managed to land two fish. I then realized that one rod would suffice as there were more than enough fish feeding. So with the one rod and a bag of crushed Trigonella I sent it back out. I then sat back and thought I may have put the fish off by catching the two small commons off the spot. Then a huge line bite occurred and the bobbin smashed against the blank of the rod and then settled back down. I knew it wasn’t going to be long before I was going to be into a fish again, catching the two small commons hadn’t put them off at all.

After a minute or two the rod that was out came to life, the line was been pulled from the reel and the rod tip was bouncing around in the moonlight. I hit into this fish and instantly knew it was a much bigger fish as the fight was on another level. I was grateful that I didn’t have another rod in the water to worry about, this fish absolutely pulled like a train and wasn’t giving up easily. I grabbed the net and waded out into the water after it, every now and again seeing its scales in the moonlight. I knew it was a common and I knew it was the biggest fish I had ever hooked into, the feeling was indescribable. I was excited, nervous and scared all at the same time, my legs were shaking. As it came up after a long fight, I managed to scoop the net underneath it. I had done it, trying my best not to let out a yelp. I slowly waded back to the bank and got everything ready to see how big she was, as she sat in the sling I was an over excited mess, giggling to myself and buzzing at what I’d just achieved. Whilst at the same time trying to be as quiet as possible so I didn’t alert the rangers of my presence. After the photos were taken and I slipped her back, I just sat there, no rods in the water and in a state of shock. The sense of achievement was unreal, I would say I was the happiest I had been in a long while and that was all down the fishing. The drive home that night was one I shall never forget, I had achieved a goal in my angling and that was to catch a PB carp.

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After that session on Reedy it became a tad on-top to say the least. We managed to get a few more sessions in and caught a few more lovely fish but the police presence and nearly been caught by the rangers a few times had put us off.

We then decided to move onto to the river and a few new waters on a ticket we had just obtained, they did not disappoint in the slightest. Going on to catch some amazing Carp and some very impressive Barbel. The biggest I managed was 10lb 10oz after many nights blanking the night the Barbel went in the net was one to remember. The fight was like nothing I’d felt before and is definitely addictive. The power of the river, the challenges that come with it all make for some real exciting fishing and I’ll definitely be doing a lot more fishing for them amazing powerful fish.

 

The one other part of the year that was near the top of the list was when we took on the mission of the 210 acre res. For sure the biggest water I have ever cast a line into. We managed to catch a common each on the first night and I lost another two fish that morning, due to been cut off by mussels. A tad disappointing to say the least.

 

More nights were spent on the res but no more fish for me. The year continued and many more missions were undertaken, most of them being with a very good friend of mine that I met threw fishing, Fred Reeve. An all round top guy and brilliant fisherman, big up Fred! I’d also like to give another two lads I’ve met along the way a shout out and that is Phil and Jody, both really good anglers and all round nice guys.

I had many sessions with all three of them throughout 2016, all of which were memorable missions, that’s for sure. I could go on forever about all the adventures I underwent last year and the amazing times we all had, but I’m sure you’re all already bored to death and if you managed to get this far you have done well.

Remember people you need to get out there and try to achieve your goals, tight lines and wet nets. Go out there and achieve the unachievable.

#TeamBeechwood #CarpyWatts #ItsOKNotToPay

 

Rigs, By Lee Colford

During the the late 90’s, when I first started to cross over from my match and general angling into carp angling, the rig world had already come on quite a way from the original hair rig.

With forward thinking anglers searching out the all singing all dancing, carp catching machine.

As a result I have to confess that, whilst reading all the various magazines articles of the time to try to expand my knowledge, I too became sucked into searching out the holy grail in rig mechanics.

In the following years I tried almost every permutation I came across, as well as attempting to develop my own concoctions. Obviously some were more successful than others.

On the other side of the coin my friend who I fished with used nothing but the simplest of set ups. No leader or tubing, 2oz running lead and 6 inches of soft braid knotless knotted onto a size 6 wide gape and a short hair. Compare that to my set up of a metre of lead-core fished helicopter style, 2oz lead and the latest “super rig” and the rig obsessed amongst us would think I had an edge, yes ?

Well, despite our contrasting styles our results were always very similar. He caught his fair share and I mine.

Now after thinking about this for a while I stopped my search for the ultimate rig and in the following years have instead settled for a handful of tried and tested set ups that I could adapt to various situations.

In most situations my preferred set up is a pop up rig. I’ve tried them all over the years but in recent times I’ve settled on a couple that I use pretty much exclusively.

Counter balance in various positions

The first is the multi rig. Quick and Simple to tie, this rig ticks all the boxes for me. In recent times I’ve seen it set up in various different ways. Pattern of hook, length of the pop up section and position of the counter balance. Like most things in carp angling everyone has there own opinion and theory on how and why there way is best. They all work, but my preference is to use a chod style hook, a short pop up section (just a big enough loop to pass over the hook) and my counter balance behind the break in the coating of my hooklink. I’ve seen people with the counter balance on the tag created from the loop and also on the knot created from the loop but I feel by having it behind the coating it offers the hook section more movement.

The length I use is generally determined on what I’m fishing over but as a general length I go for around 7 inches from the swivel to the counter balance.

My go to popup rig, the multi rig

 

The other pop up rig I use is the chod rig, yes, yes, I know. It has been done to death and I won’t bore you with another explanation on it’s use as it’s very well documented. I don’t use it much nowadays, in fact, I can’t remember the last time I did use it but it still has a place in my armoury. The ability to present a bait in most places with just one cast cannot be dismissed in some situations.

 

The chod still has a place in my fishing

 

Moving swiftly on I’ll come to my bottom bait presentation. Again it’s nothing complicated, in fact it’s even more uncomplicated than the multi rig, and that’s the reason I use it.

I’ve always been a fan of curved shank hooks, I feel they reduce the need for shrink tubing in most cases and as I rarely take my cooker and kettle fishing, that suits me down to the ground. I used to set my bottom bait rig up blow back style with tubing as opposed to a rig ring, and I used a long hair. Over the years though i started playing around with balanced hookbaits and wasn’t quite happy with the blowback style in conjunction with them.

So by removing the blow back tubing and shortening the hair a little I felt the hook would have more free movement inside the carps mouth to allow it to find hold, instead of being blown back out bend first.

My thoughts on this were a bottom bait being heavier than a balanced bait it would trigger the blowback tubing when blown out were as the balanced bait being lighter may not. Whether I’m right or wrong is open to debate but that was my thinking at the time.

So the general make up of the rig became 7 inches of coated braid knotless knotted to a size 6 curve hook, the hair length had the balanced bait level with the bottom of the hook and a break above the hook around an inch long for the added movement. Pretty standard.

In the last couple of years I’ve started tying it up KD style and adding a good blob of putty at the break in the coating and always with some degree of buoyancy in the hookbait. Not massive changes but enough to make it more efficient I feel.

 

A simple KD with a balanced hookbait is my preferred bottom bait rig

The other thing is (besides the chod) the rigs outlined above can be used with any lead set up. I’ve always preferred a helicopter set up due to the silty nature of the canals I’ve grown up fishing, but have been known to use an in-line or lead clip set up on occasions.

 

So that’s that really, nothing ground breaking I know but I came to the conclusion a few years ago that chopping and changing just confused me more than the carp, I do use one or two other rigs but there more for a specific purpose than my general angling, things like solid PVA bag rigs etc… but I shall save you the time as Its rare I use them.

when I feel I’m getting sucked back in (pun intended) by the next “super rig” I just remember the simplicity of my good mates set up and concentrate on making sure I tie my preferred rigs with care and always make sure that my hook is SHARP.

Good luck for the year ahead, may your nets be wet and your smiles large.

Lee

Day Ticket Carping – By Mark Mulchrone

Being a carp angler is a challenge in itself, and one could say we are a unique breed.

Having never been attached to clubs and syndicate waters, day ticket venues have always been my targets. Now as any venue, whether its a club, syndicate, or day ticket water, they will all have different challenges, and none will ever be the same as others or you will be hard pushed to find two alike as in any kind of venues.

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Targeting a day ticket water will always have its challenges, whether its a busy venue, or a water that holds a good head of big fish, either way the challenge will be there as in any water, but day ticket especially will be constantly pressured as there’s no limit to anglers, day in day out, and as we all know, pressure on waters is never a good thing.

Targeting a day ticket water, especially a new water I’m on, I would never go with a plan as you never no whether its a good or bad one, yes do your homework before hand, but every angler has his own way of doing things, but get a decent idea of what’s what then make up your own mind as time goes on keep an open mind.

I would never decide to hit that water one week then another the next, it just doesn’t make sense to me. Choose your proffered water and target it, learn it every opportunity, get the marker out, sometimes this is not possible as there’s usually plenty of anglers on but when there’s not use that time to get it out there and find spot’s, hole’s’ plateaus’ anything you can find will help. Map out the bottom in your head or even jot it down draw a diagram if possible, figure out the feeding times, mark up the times so you know the best time to feed up’ bait application, or simply rest the swims as there’s no point having lines in the water creating more pressure when there’s simply no need to.

you can schedule your trips on such info, if you have little time to fish, but you know the time you may have will be the right time to turn up.

Obviously again the weather as a factor in all this as it does any venue, but some day ticket waters thrive in conditions where others don’t.

these are all considered facts in your water-craft, water-craft is key on any venue that’s a fact, and the sooner you learn your water the better the chances you will have of mastering it and reaping the rewards.

Most waters are moody, some more than others, that’s fishing and they can switch on and off like a switch, but the more you know of your targeted water will give you the edge over your opponents.

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Most day ticket waters don’t hold big carp, yea there’s a few dotted around in the north off England but usually there crammed with smaller fish aimed at the day ticket angler and mostly money orientated to the fishery owner, and are mainly classed as runs waters, but there’s a few waters that are dotted around that hold bigger fish this is where your water-craft, homework and targeting comes into its own as the rewards are far greater on your catch.

 

Obviously the further down the country you go the better chances you have at catching bigger fish on day ticket venues as there’s far more waters to go at and most likely less pressured as there an abundance of day ticket venues plus warmer climates to the north where fish don’t grow at the rate to the southern carp, but like all of us, travel, time and targeting is very precious so this limits us from doing this, but even if we did have them factors where we could do such thing, sticking to one venue and targeting it, sussing out the water-craft, will only help you in your quest of catching.

Only when I’m happy that I have completed my quest on my target water and satisfied I have fulfilled my target, would I consider moving to the next one to put all these key features into action once again and try and outwit our quarry.

 

Fishing is fishing, one day there on it, the next there not, that’s just the way it goes. But if you know when it’s the right time or not, and you’ve done your homework and honed your water-craft, it will stand you in good stead.

So the analysis is, stick with it, learn it, spend as much time as possible on it, and you will reap the rewards and feel a sense of satisfaction that you fulfilled your quest.

 

Mark Mulchrone

Canal Carping – By Lee Colford

Over the last few years, it seems that there has been a rise in popularity of carp anglers turning there attention to the country’s canal systems.  For me, my local canal was, and still is, the main carping venue in my area. Naturally after working my way up the angling ladder from perch to Rudd to roach and bream, finally I was bitten by the carp bug and thankfully my local canal held the carp I so desired to catch.

What follows is a few tips I’ve picked up from fishing my local canal and a few of the others in my surrounding areas.

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With miles and miles making up any one canal, the first thing I have to stress is the ability to be mobile. Work done in preparation can help to save wasted sessions on beats devoid of carp. Get the bike out, some Polaroids and bait and take a few days just searching. A lot of the time the obvious features will be my first port of call. Overhangs, reeds, bridges and moorings can all hold carp. Take your time and find out the ones carp prefer to use. As a note, never discount the margins, despite them not looking “Carpy” there an obvious patrol route on all venues and canals are no different, but be careful as there may be a trolley or some other random snag lying down there.

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Once you’ve located your target areas the next thing is thinking about how to outwit them. Some canals can have a high stock of carp and generally don’t require to much in the way of thinking. Keeping it simple and fishing for a bite at a time and staying mobile is going to be the best plan for these highly nomadic carp. I would generally shy away from smaller particle type baits during the warmer months. This is due to the nuisance species that will make it difficult to keep a rod in the water for any amount of time. Nuts on the other hand can be deadly, tigers and peanuts being my favourite, as always make sure there prepared properly. Then the obvious one is boilies, Carp love them and they will slow down the bream to an extent. Especially in larger sizes or fished as snowman or double Hookbaits.
On the lower stocked canals pre baiting can be a massive help in getting the carp localised enough to get a bite or two. Baiting every other day for a week with 50-100 baits is all that is required, no need to go over the top.

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Moving on to rigs, if you have read my previous piece you would have seen I like to keep it simple. As long as your hook is sharp and it’s well presented it’s good to go. If you haven’t read my piece on rigs then take a look. One more point here before I move on, I like to use leadcore on the canal for the simple fact of abrasion resistance. You never quite know what could be down there waiting to cut you off and rest assured the carp will know, and will try to use it to there advantage! Much in the same way they would use tree roots or weed beds on a lake.

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Also during the warmer months the surface fishing can come into it’s own and due to the narrow nature of our canals free lining is generally all that is required. A great way to catch them in my opinion.

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So there you have it, I think I’ve covered enough to get you started but if your still doubtful about taking the plunge and fishing your local “cut” then I think your really missing out!

There a lot, lot quieter In terms of angler pressure, allowing you to do your own thing and the carp are all characters in there own right and you just never know, there may be an uncaught chunk dodging the rusting trolleys, bikes and traffic cones in your local canal.
Give it a shot and let me know how you get on.

Lee

Chateau Moulin, 3rd November – By Andrew Grover

Most of my carp fishing these days centers around the World Carp Masters in some way shape or form.  My last two trips out have been no different; and whilst it was nice to chill with the lads on the team social at Larford, and fish Chateau Moulin without the weigh scales looking over my shoulder, both trips involved a couple of little twists to my angling I’m refining ahead of next years competition.

I’m currently going against the grain, and going for a very revealing set-up, throwing concealment pretty much out of the window!  My theory is, that concealed tackle, and main line in particular can spook fish more so than tackle that’s not concealed.  If you think about it, if the main line is blatantly obvious, the fish can choose what it does about it, it can choose to bump into it or draw its fins across it, or it can choose to swim around it.  What this avoids is completely startling the fish and spooking it out of the area entirely, possibly along with its mates!

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Concealed line?  Errrrr, nope!

So, ensue much amazement and questioning about my bright yellow mainline on the Larford social, and colourful baits!  To go with my highly visual main line, I asked Gav to customise a couple of baits for me (We run a full custom bait service at Beechwood, just give Gav a shout he’ll sort you out with whatever ideas you might want to bring to life!).  So I’ve got my favoured bait the Trigonella in blue, and the Aurora in its normal deep red, though I did ask for a tweak to the flavour profile.  Can’t say too much about this just yet, it’s looking like it may become an option on the Aurora bait range it’s worked out so good.  We’re currently putting it through a bit more testing at the moment, but watch this space!

The highly visual approach really worked for me at Larford, and I was consistently banking the better stamp of fish, so far so good, now to test the theory on a much more challenging water, and onto Chateau Moulin we go…..

Chateau Moulin is a 42-acre lake surrounded by oak and pine forests, located near Limoges in the Limousin region of France.  Established in the 11th century by monks, Chateau Moulin is now a well-established, fully mature lake containing large beds of lilies which help to support a whole host of insect life and naturals that the carp have grown to considerable proportions gorging themselves on.

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It’s by no means a push over, and the water needs a bit of cunning to get a result, so a great place to put my non-concealment theory through its paces!

I pitched up in a swim called ‘Pomme De Pin‘, a corner spot which also commands a large area of water, with an inlet stream and lots of pads.  I found a couple of spots, one in particular I really fancied where I hoped to ambush fish moving between two channels in the weed and lilies in light silt.  I rigged up with 12″ lengths of Amnesia Black, with size 4 Mozzie Curves on the sharp end, and my bright yellow main line on ALL three rods.  If your going to do it, do it properly!!

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Sunday Dinner at Chateau Moulin!

Not a lot happened on the whole lake for the first two nights, dropping temps and cold rain seemed to have knocked the fish off a little.  Then on the third night I lost one on the blue Trigonella, the first action for anyone on the water, so a real good sign for my bold approach.  Some whackers had started to crash over on my line to the lilies too, encouraging signs indeed.

By Tuesday, things were stating to take a less positive turn; driving cold rain for 16 hours solid and temps dropping to -1°C, the signs of fish became less frequent, a lot less frequent.  Some were showing right over at the inlet, however to fish to them I would have to cast over a massive lilie bed, and very close to some major snags, so I didn’t want to risk it and stuck to my baited spots.

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Long hook links, big strong hooks, snowman bait presentation – in this case Trigonella with a PNBA popup

Scoot forward to Friday morning, and I’ve lost two fish to the lilies on the blue Trigonella!  The weather had continued to nail us all week, but had now started to break a little and the sun was doing its very best to sneak through.  Its last chance saloon time now, the lake has done hardly any bites all week, and although I have had three, its fish in the net I really want of course.  Seems my tactics are bringing me the bites, I just need a little luck now and I’ll have my picture with one of these French beauties.

Last night and I’m crossing everything for a fish.  I have seen a couple crashing over my spots, especially over a spot on the ‘ambush point’ where I baited with a kilo of Aurora paste a little earlier in the afternoon.  That may sound like a lot to some, but as you may have gathered, I don’t do things by halves.

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And it paid off!  during the last night I drew the net under a really long fish at 39lb 8oz.  It was so long it pretty much filled my 42″ landing net spread, and at first glance I did think it would be much heavier than it turned out to be.  Still, at a nudge under 40lb I wasnt complaining one bit!  It came to my tweaked Aurora on the spot I’d kept topped up with Aurora all week, and capped off with the big hit of Aurora paste on the last night.

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So all in all, a very tough weeks fishing, but I’m pleased with my results from this bold tactic try out.  I’d had more action than most of the rest of the lake had even seen, so that’s a positive result in itself.

I’ll continue to refine the tactic over the coming months, maybe it’ll get even bolder!

I’ll keep you posted……….

Tight Lines

Andy