Tag Archives: carp fishing bait

Still at school but loving the lessons.


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!


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.


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.







Bank Holiday Mixed Bag

 A quick return to Lloyds Meadow Badger lake taking the chance to fish it as usualy its booked up for matches on the Sunday or I’m in work and as it happens we had a special on the Trigonella range for the bank holiday so with a little tweaking I took full advantage of it!

trig special

A warm day with a left to right wind and a clear sky  and not much ripple on the water greeted us as well as plenty of varied wild life loving the immaculate looking lake pruned to perfection giving each peg features close in and across to the island.

My idea today was a relaxed session involving plenty of chat with Stu and Danny and to get a few fish in the net.

Feeding the trigonella micros soon got the small carp in the swim and as previous visits I had noticed how quick these little terrors were putting on weight and giving a great fight on light elastic and taking double maggot!

smll carp net

slopping up the pellets and feeding heavy brought some realy good Bream and quality roach.

A couple of pegs down Stu was bagging up but using the waggler to get some good ide and carp fishing shalla on the waggler as well as getting led a merry dance on his pole line from some hard fighting carp.


As the day drew on I took a break from the pole and got the feeder rod out chucking it across to the island were I had been firing in 8mm trigonella pellets, using trigonella 8mm wafters with micros in the feeder this method was a hit catching me a good stamp of carp!

For the next couple of hours the wind picked up and we had a little rain but the bigger carp came on the feed and the trigonella wafters were doing the business for me.

few from today:

Another top day fishing at my favorite venue comfy pegs , plenty of choice of features on all the pegs , lots of parking and clean toilets all this adds up to relaxing quality fishing in a super safe environment

my advice for Badger is walk around see if the fish are moving if they are get on them pegs, at the moment the fish are not holding up in any particular place.

Pellets and maggots seem to be the go to bait at the moment and  knowing how much to feed.

As usual great hospitality from Danny and Sarah always good to catch up and hear the latest goings on at the fishery.

look at for more great offers from Beechwoodbaits.com

unit next its been a pleasure

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

feedx rig

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




Larford Lakes Match Lake

Rain greeted us on our return to Larford lakes for our Beechwood Baits social and after a walk round the match lake my mind was made up it was peg 43 for me giving me 2 margin swims, Lilly pads and an Island to cast to.

Three swims for my pole line included some tricky looking Lilly pads to my left and two margin swims at 5m and  8m to my right up against the bank, my feeder line composed of 34g guru method feeder and a selection of hooks with bands and spikes at various lengths.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

8mm pellets and wafters soaked in trigonella glug and corn were my main hook baits constantly firing a few pellets in every cast of the feeder.

Once I found my range with the feeder it was best to come off the island by about 3ft to avoid branches and leaves the fish started to come steady.  Bream and carp liking what was on offer.

Plenty of fish movement around the lake which for a while I had to myself until the rest of the lads on the match side of the Beechwood Baits social joined me, as the fish seemed to be spawning on the specimen lake and they were soon into the fish.

Plenty of bites still on the feeder but choosing to leave it for a while as it seemed the smaller fish had moved in on the groundbait, this decision now became a pattern for my fishing giving it 30 minutes a time swapping from pole to feeder during the course of the day.

Lots more fish came as the day went on constantly feeding now introducing dead red maggots to my feed and liquidised corn this holding and attracting fish to my chosen swims.

Sitting off and having a chat with the lads it seemed like we was all having a decent days fishing even though we were disappointed not being able to fish the specimen lake, but nature was doing its thing and there will always be another day.


Time was moving on and the fish had moved into the margins so casting the feeder  into my 8m swim and using the pole at about 6m got me some fish but loosing quite a lot with the fish snatching at the bait and shooting into the open water at a rate of knots.

A great days fishing on a day that started at 3-30am to travel down to Larford lakes seen me catch a lot of Carp and just as many if not more Skimmers and Bream, the fish were definitely in my swim(s) but I think the skill was keeping them there and then getting them in the net on balanced set ups and well presented bait.

A sneaky hour on the specimen lake Saturday morning brought me this 12lb mirror carp on double red maggots this took me over 25 minutes to get in the net as I was only using Daiwa white hydro elastic.

Thanks for reading its been a pleasure Brian

Midweek at Lloyds Meadow …. Stewart Russling 

So after a few weeks laid up  I decided to get the car loaded up and pop up to Lloyds Meadow after chat with Danny I chose to fish Badger which has been recently stocked with some lovely new mirror carp

Peg chosen not too far from the car park and I set up three lines 16m dobbing about a foot of the island about 12″ in depth, Second was a margin set up to my right hand side 2ft depth ,Third line was top two + two roughly six ft of water this turned out to be my main line used chanti style float strung out shot to a size 18 b9ll bait was two red maggots after the first few newly stocked carp I kept a steady trickle of feed going in a small cad pot of dead reds soaked in Hemp oil and Beechwood baits excelsor micros

After a while gave my saw knee a bit of a stretch put a couple of larger pots of feed and had a walk up to Kingfisher and Heron and to my surprise the one and only MR ooossshh himself ANDY MAY was doing an article on Heron on silver fish had a coffee and chat with him and Danny ( I didn’t give him too many tips )

Returned to my peg carried on as before on my main line did have a dabble at dobbing at 16m which only resulted in half a dozen carp at the end of the day had 119 carp

Just goes to show you how much fun you can have if you lighten up your tackle and get into the smaller fish

A small selection of the pristine carp that have been stocked and to close I would to thank Danny and Sarah for the coffee and sandwich and their hospitality this has to be one of the best fisheries in the North West

Looking forward to getting on the bank soon Stewart Russling

Meet the Beechwood team

The Very Versatile, Adjusta Plugs – By Gav Astley

As is often the way, our Adjusta Plugs started out as a fairly simple idea.  What we initially wanted to do, was to develop something more accomplished than the humble cork stick, to balance hook baits.  Cork works a treat at balancing baits, no doubt, but we knew we could do better, we knew we could develop something that would give the often talked about ‘edge’.  We knew we could create a super buoyant little plug to insert into baits, jam-packed with attractors and feed triggers, and even add a splash of visual stimulation into the bargain.  Yes you can soak cork in flavours, but there is so much more to attracting carp than simple, and often ineffective flavours.  The Adjusta Plugs were born.

With these highly attractive plugs, we soon learned we could keep fishing our normal hook baits that were catching well, but tweak the attractor profiles ‘on the fly’, keeping wary fish on their toes, or fins as the case maybe!

This is where the name came from, Adjusta Plugs, because these little plugs can not only adjust the buoyancy of your hook bait, but they also adjust its attractor profile, and with their being four options of plug, there is plenty of adjustments to be made, should you wish.

The four options in the range are:

  • Tangz – A really tangy and fruity plug, with a solid pH shift and a nice zing to it.
  • PNBA – The classic Pineapple & n-Butyric Acid combo, again with a strong pH signal
  • Cranpepper – Cranberry & fresh ground black pepper, and black pepper essential oils
  • Stink Fish – A really whiffy fish aroma, with shrimp and pre-digested fishmeals
From left to right – Tangz, Cranpeppers, PNBA’s and Stink Fish

What we didn’t realise all that time ago, was just how many options and adjustments to hook baits these little edges would open up for anglers.

The standard presentation:

The classic Adjusta Plug setup

As anyone who’s read a couple of my blogs will know, my all time favourite hook bait option is a Musselberry Red with a PNBA adjusta plug.  The combo just works so well, and the two profiles combine to make a really very effective bait.  One that’s lighter than the carp is expecting, sits perfectly well on weed or silt yet is still nice and durable.  With the buoyancy being central to the bait, it’s also very adept at ‘wafting’ gently from side to side, as physics struggle to contain the unusual mix and dispersion of density through the bait.  Whats more, drilling a hole through an already awesome bait breaks its seal, and it enables even quicker than normal release of its signals.  Check out this little video showing how to create this presentation.

The ‘Top Hat’ presentation:

The ‘top hat’ presentation

Slight variation on the classic theme here, the ‘top hat’ presentation (named such by Barry the first time he saw it) gives a slightly different angle.  This presentation gives the bait a more pronounced visual ‘sight bobbin’, allows quicker leakage of the plugs attractors and also adjusts the way the presentation sits due to the shift in density distribution.  Essentially, the vast majority of the baits density is at the hook, and the majority of its buoyancy is at the ‘top hat’ section.  This leaves the hook very flat on the deck, and a bait that has a nice visual element to it.

The ‘Flat Snowman’ presentation:

The ‘flat snowman’, again, something very different

This presentation, due to the plugs slight curvature, sees the plug sit very neatly against a hard hook bait or bottom bait, creating what we call a ‘flat snow man’.  This gives maximum water flow around the plug, and maximum potential for visual stimulation, whist creating a bait with a very unusual shape for the carp to deal with once in its mouth.

Stacked presentation:

Stacked like corn, how does a carp deal with this?

Not only are the plugs great when paired up with hook baits, but they are also proving to be very effective as baits on their own, and why wouldn’t they!  This is a presentation I’ve used over in France before, not with pink and white, but with the yellow PNBA’s.  I did this on a really short pop-up section, to create what visually looks like a small stack of buoyant maize, only with a lot more attraction going on!

Zig rigs:

Ideal for Zigs

The one presentation that the plugs were always going to be destined for, is on zigs.  Sure enough if you talk to the guys in Team Beechwood, you’ll hear most of them say they use the plugs on their zig rigs, and they do very well on them.  The shape and high buoyancy makes them ideal for zigs, straight from the pot!

Finally, a presentation that really took my eye recently was Matty’s maggot rig.  Now, before anyone starts flipping out, especially Matty, I think someone should really think of a different name for this.  Honestly, I promise you there is nothing to worry about here on the video link, but to get the full benefit of Matty’s rig, you need to see it wiggle…….

Matty’s inventive maggot rig presentation, trust me, click here to see it wriggle!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

So, Adjusta Plugs, clever little additions to anyones bait box; offering loads of options on adjusting buoyancy, density distribution, bait attractor profiles, hooking properties and all on four very different options.

I keep saying it, but Musselberry Reds combined with a PNBA are awesome hookbaits.  Have a look at my Brie and Quarry blogs, to see for yourself how they’ve proven their worth just as single hookbaits time and again.

Adjusta Plugs, what else can give you so many presentation possibilities?  I never go anywhere without them!