Tag Archives: Carp Fishing

Spring-ing back into Action!

Now then! It’s been a long time, but I’m finally hitting the bank again.

After somewhat of an unforced exile from my angling, which entailed moving areas, two job changes and a whole host of other life in the way issues (long story), I’m ready to get the rods back out! Hallelujah!!!

So, what’s in store you may ask ?

Well the fact is, I’ve never been in a situation were I’ve had such an array of local waters to go at. Plans are flying around my head all the while but I think for now, I’ve settled on a plan for spring. So make a brew, sit down and  let me explain…………

So I’ll start by apologising as I’m going to be quite vague in my naming of we’re I am and the waters I have in mind. This isn’t to act “Carpy cool” but, as an act of respect, as I’m new in the area and don’t want to possibly upset anyone by bringing attention to waters people may be concentrating on. If you know we’re I am then cool, if not then please don’t ask.

Right with that out the way I’ll nip back in time a little to last summer. I had been coming to the area around six months to a girl I had started seeing and on occasion that she was in work of a weekend I would often head down for a stroll along the local river. Having never caught or indeed fished for river carp it was at the forefront of my intentions when getting back to my fishing. Over the three or four walks I had there I was lucky enough to spot the occasional group of fish and at the same time came across one or two lakes in the area, thanks in no small part to good old google earth. Unfortunately I never did get around to it that summer as life was hectic and things just never settled down enough for me to contemplate it. The fire though, it was definitely flickering away and I began slowly researching waters in the local area.

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The River Back in Summer

Fast forward to Christmas and plans were in place to finally settle with my girlfriend in the area. This pushed the angling opportunity’s to the forefront of my mind and with a new job in the area too, it was finally falling into place. After the final move in January I really got my arse in gear. New rods and reels were needed (that’s the long story) so bit by bit I put together enough to get me out for day sessions and really began to whittle down my choice, or choices of venue to begin with.

Now having not fished for over 12 months I didn’t want to start on a headbanger of a water and with the river due to close that too was out for now. From my research I had worked it down to two venues and contacted the controlling club to enquire about a ticket for the last few months of the season.

Now, the ticket renews on the first of June and these waters were subject to close from April to the start of the new ticket unless you had a close season waiver, obtainable by attending 8 hours of work party’s or paying for it. Seeing as I was going to have to renew in two months time anyway I opted to pop along to the first Work party I could. It would hopefully give me a chance to meet some fellow members and of course pick there brains on the venues I had settled on.

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Work Party was cold, but a rewarding one

So to the venues. One is a small lake of I guess two acres, abounding with reedbeds and getting quite weedy it suited me fine. A decent stock of carp to just under 30lb and more importantly real lookers. Add to this I had walked it once or twice back that first summer and had witnessed some of them for myself. It is only a simple 25 minute walk from home and as luck would have it not far from work either, meaning I could get down to bait or fish shorter evening sessions quite regular. It was looking like I had found my water to start on but i had one other choice I had yet to set eyes on…….

On the website the description of the stock was vague, “a few carp” and looking in the gallery there was no pictures of any, just tench and scenic pics of the lake looking fantastic in the summer sun, covered in lilies and Canadian pondweed. I was intrigued and dug further, eventually finding a couple of pictures of carp, from there original stocking in the early 60s!!

Now I was more than intrigued, I was wound right in, hook, line and sinker.

and thought it best to get over for a look there too.

It is set on a golf course and being respectful I didn’t want to risk a walk around without first obtaining my ticket. So Work party done, tickets bought it’s now the last week of March and I’m all set, It was time to go have a look……..

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The route was a scenic one

24th March 2018 and with my ticket having arrived the day before and the missus in work it was a no brainer to get up the lake and have a look about. Only problem I had, seeing as I don’t drive and still hadn’t got my bike I was going to have to walk it. Well the weather was in my favour and finally it felt a bit spring like in the air, so off I go. I had already looked at a route using google maps and it seemed quite simple really.

Well let me tell you, google maps is a liar!

The “road” I was meant to follow was no more than a gravel track that ended as a narrow path and as my signal wasn’t working out in the countryside I had no idea we’re I was or which way to head!

I soldiered on though and looked at it as one big adventure. Eventually I found myself strolling into the main golf course and got some directions towards the lake and the right route I should have taken.

Unfortunately for me I misread these instructions and missed the lake completely before stopping a jogger who pointed me in the right direction via a farmer’s field and a track through the woods, yeah a big adventure!!

Two and a bit hours after leaving home and I get my first view through the trees before collapsing into the first peg I came across. With sore feet and slightly out of breath I gazed on the water before me, wow! It was magnificent. Dead trees spouting from the water in various areas, lovely overhanging margins and clear water. The long trek was forgotten and I found a new burst of energy, time to explore.

I manoeuvred from peg to peg slowly taking in my surroundings and climbing any trees I could to get a better vantage point, with only 6-8 swims on the lake I was soon approaching the two that I really wanted to see. Boards lead the way across a narrow channel and out onto the island! With only two swims on here and one that fished towards a large set of snags on the far no fishing bank and the other covering the channel to a shallow and snaggy back bay, standing there a carp came from the shallow bay from right to left, heading for the far margin snags that the other peg fished too, I thought these two pegs offered good options as the weather improved.

I had brought some bait with me, just a mix of vitalin, maples and maize mixed with some tuna in brine, nothing to heavy for the time of year but hopefully enough to entice something to feed and began making my way back from swim to swim putting around a tennis ball size or two in likely looking marginal areas to keep an eye on. Eventually I made it around and sat looking up the lake for a few hours taking it in and looking for signs. I’ll say at this point there was nobody fishing at the time so I wasn’t intruding by baiting around and I was making plans in my head to get back with the rods early the next day.

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The Golf Lake

It was now around 4pm so I thought I would check the spots I had baited on one last walk before heading for home the right way!

None of the areas looked touched in the few hours I had left them, bar the odd one having been picked at by the coots. It was now that I bumped into someone fishing and it turned out it was a guy I had attended the Work party with. I said hello and we chatted a minute before I carried on for home.

It had been an eventful day but I made it home with no trouble and knew my way back in the morning.

I couldn’t wait……

It sounds silly but I couldn’t sleep that night and when my alarm went off at 4am I sprung out of bed and was sorted and making my way by half past. I was keen! So keen I forgot the clocks had gone back and I had only been in bed 3 hours!!

Despite this I was decidedly full of beans and made my way through the deserted high street heading for the country lanes. Now thinking on I had packed my head torch so I could see we’re I was going in the dark and just in case of any wannabe Colin McRaes who might come racing along. What I didn’t anticipate was how dark it actually was and my senses heightened, my pulse quickened and I won’t mind admitting I actually paused and turned around more than once on hearing the surrounding bushes rattling. I was half expecting a pack of rabid wolves or a crazy mass murderer to jump out on me haha. This sensation only lasted for a couple of hundred yards and before long I was marching along with only the lake and its inhabitants on my mind.

Now I knew were I was heading I thought I could make good time and forty minutes and a few fields later I was approaching the VERY affluent area of housing that is near the golf course. Here I had funny images of a housewife looking out and seeing me as a burglar, with my woolly hat, jumper and loaded down with what could have been my loot walking through after being busy before dawn. I was giggling to myself at the prospect of suddenly being surrounded by blue flashing lights of police!

Thankfully it never happened and fifteen minutes later I was walking alongside a frosty fairway in the half-light of dawn just minutes from the lake.

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I arrived before dawn; rods out, kettle on

Having baited a few areas the day before I had options to start with but had decided which swim I was going to start before I left home.

Now I would never normally do so but seeing as it was my first trip, I had decided to pitch up at the far end of the lake with a view up towards the island in the hope that as dawn broke, if the fish were to show I could see them and make my move accordingly.

As night turned to-day and the sun rose above the tree line behind me the main swim on the island glowed in the warmth of the rays, as I sat quite cold hidden amongst the bushes. There was nothing for it, I was on the move. I was craving the sun and hoped the carp would feel the same.

In my new plot it was so so much more comfortable and having put the rods out on single PNBA pop ups across to the far snags I sat against the bough of a tree, got Comfy and popped the kettle on. I kept a look out but it was dinner time before I seen my first show, it was down in a channel to my left, a tricky cast due to the overhang so socks and shoes off and out up to my knees in water I could reach the area with a sideways cast and luckily got it first try. Not long after there was another show, this time amongst the knotted old branches of the far margin snags I still had a rod fishing too so my confidence was on the rise but I was far from expectant.

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I craves the sun!

A few hours later and it was quiet, my feet were getting itchy but with a wind ruffled surface, spotting fish would be hard so I thought I would spend the next hour or so leading around in a few swims I fancied before heading for the long walk home. I found a couple of interesting spots and I looked upon the day as an interesting and eye-opening one. I was made up to be back angling properly after so long away.

It’s good to be back at it and I hope I haven’t rattled on to long, as you can tell I’m quite excited about the prospect and the lake has definitely cast a spell on me, I’ll keep you posted as to my progress. Bye for now and thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it.

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Dad and lad fishing

6 weeks off school always seemed a great time as a kid to put away the football and go fishing.  My youngest Lucas who is 8, is gradually being eased into fishing with a ‘no pressure’ approach, with the help of a lot of good Beechwood team mates, friends from the #SundayCrew and fisheries owners, he is spending more time on the bank and learning lots of new fishing skills.

The usual early start normally results in a few hours sleep at the side of the lake, he tells me its to stock up his energy to catch more fish!

lucas asleep

When he finally does wake up the usual shout  is “come on Dad you have had your head start now it’s my turn”.

I try to mix it up with Lucas using the rod and pole.

Fish handling is important, but with a decent mat some soft ground and keeping  the fish low to the ground, Lucas seems to be getting the hang of things.

A few small carp and a barbel, not a bad start to the day.

Where possible I try to let Lucas do as much as he can with some coaching from me in the back ground, my advice to anyone introducing their kids to fishing, is as long as it’s not too much of a struggle let them find their own way, which they are comfortable with.

Sometimes you do catch those carp that just won’t keep still, and have to step in to help!

Catapults and mixing bait seem to be some of Lucas’s favourite things when fishing.

Nothing better than a bit of team work with his friends; listening to Lucas while this (below) was happening was priceless, he sounded like a fisherman of 40 years experience telling Kieran what to do)

Each venue offering different challenges which included fish size, depth of water, pegging and weather.

Where possible I just stand back and let things happen, only stepping in when needed.

Such a shame that summer seems a long time away, but looking back at these memories makes me proud that Lucas has enjoyed his summer time on the bank with myself and the lads, who I can’t thank enough for their time and patience which has made it so much easier for me and Lucas to enjoy ourselves!

 

until next time its been a pleasure

 

 

 

Below the surface By Jonathan Wells

What happens below the surface is pretty much part of the magic of Angling so the tackle we put below can be critical to success . This blog  will share with you my “go to ” rig which has always caught me fish , and no surprise my PB In June this year, as well as my favorite bait from our portfolio.

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I am Jonathan Wells a Beechwood Baits angler and passionate husband and father, If you want to know more about me or the details of this blog you will find me on the Beechwood Baits Facebook pages so hit me up for a chat.

So my go to presentation that gives me confidence and catches me fish is the “Helicopter” rig with a heavy lead.With the top bead either running free or set  to drop off if there is a breakage, this ensures the fish will never be tethered.  In my opinion it is the most versatile set up around and one of the safest for the fish.My chosen rig for the helicopter is a simple D rig with a critically balanced hook bait .My preference being Musselberry red with one of our adjusta plugs.

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My usual go to was a PNBA plug but with my last quest bagging me my new PB at a new very hard weedy water of 25 acres I though about mixing things up a bit.

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With the venue in June  fishing hard it gave me the chance to try all of  the plugs in our portfolio to which my success came from one of our Tangz plugs so I can definitely recommend trying this and can see that being my new go to Adjusta plug .With the helicopter setup I either have a small mesh nugget slid down the rig or a solid bag with the helicopter lead inside of it. My mix includes musselberry stick mix and mixed Trigonella and musselberry chopped boilies. That is personal preference as I am still undecided what is my favorite but i can recommend both to try if you’re considering trying this rig.

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So a short and sweet Blog sharing my favourite rig which worked for me in a hard weedy venue and could work for you too! Tight lines and enjoy your fishing.

Jonathan

Speed fishing

Day one at Westwood Lakes while waiting for our lodge to be ready saw us have a 4 hour stint on Osprey, which is a newish match lake where all pegs are identical looking and ideal for a bit of speed fishing on light tackle.  I set out using Drennan Aqua F1 elastic and Daiwa white hydro in my top kits, shalla rigs with size 16 and 18 guru qm1 hooks with my bands tight up against the hook.

“Osprey lake is a 25 peg strip lake ideal for club matches. It is 13 meters across and 250 meters long. There is a shallow 2ft deep shelf either side and down the track is 3.5 – 5ft”

Bait was an easy choice glugged in Trigonella 6 and 8 mm pellets and feeding micros, this soon changed to just feeding 6mm pellets every put in.

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The fishing was frantic, once the feed started to go in, getting bites every put in but also

lots of line bites and loosing fish.

After about an hour I wasn’t putting in as much feed, just loose feeding 6mm pellets.

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Fishing up against the reeds on the far side brought some barbel and carp upto 3lb

( taking care to give every fish especially the barbel time to recover in the heat )

The fish were of a small standard with being a new lake but was great fun on light tackle.

Ian and Stu were enjoying the fun aswell.

a well-earned break with temperatures upto 30 degrees and Ian supplied some welcome refreshments.

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Back to it and it was pretty much the same but by now we were fishing right in up against the bank getting a slightly better stamp of carp and barbel, as you can see in the picture it was quite ” Extreme margin fishing” )

extreme margin fishing

Not a water I would want to fish all day but a match situation or a few hours of fun then yeah great, in a few years when these fish have matured there will be some great weights coming out for all anglers!

Osprey on my you tube

Tight lines and keep an eye out for the rest of my blogs from my brilliant week at Westwoodlakes

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Summer magic at Lloyds Meadows

 

A brief account of my time spent with a few friends at Lloyds Meadows throughout the summer months and the great  success  I have had trying out Monster Lobster paste feeding micro pellets and plenty of them.

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It started off on a sweltering Sunday afternoon with fellow blogger Danny Bellfield and a short walk up to Heron, plenty of silvers in the morning then an afternoon of carp on the new Monster Lobster paste I’m testing.

My next trip out to Lloyds Meadows was with fellow match team angler Dave Williams from Warrington Angling Centre and we decided to fish Kingfisher a short session but some quality fish.

With the school holidays in full flow myself and Stu had a special treat for Lucas and Kieran…..a spot of night fishing was on the menu and WOW did we catch lots of fish spread over the two days added into the fun and none stop smiles from the kids we couldn’t have asked for anything better!

Kingfisher today presented another chance for me to get back on the paste and try to get some of the big carp hiding away but for most of the day they were basking around up in the water and not feeding, lucky enough for us we was feasting on breakfast barms off Sarah and a brilliant birthday cake for me off Stu!

We still managed to get a few fish on a day were the conditions just didn’t suit fishing.

Myself and Lucas decided to fish Kingfisher again but this time we didn’t arrive until 3pm the sun was still up but the fishing into the cooler evening was great fun and none stop action, and with Danny and his daughter fishing next to us there was a bit of banter as well, the paste and pellets approach was devastating.

Not one to miss a opportunity we decided to fish Badger lake on the bank holiday Monday  which the previous day had produced good close match weights.

Trolley loaded up and we headed off to the far side of the lake which I had not fished before, such a great day fishing again on pellets and paste feeding micros and 4mm pellets, what stood out for me today was a superb match lake which made you work for your fish swapping swims around and tinkering with float patterns keeping you busy if you wanted the rewards.

I suppose those of you who are regular visitors to Lloyds Meadows can all understand its takes a few visits because these fish dont just jump on your hook but when you get it right there is not many places that can rival it for quality fishing………im realy looking forward to the winter fishing here and hopefully get some great bags of Ide, Chub, Roach and Bream aswell as the massive Perch that are in Heron lake.

as always its been a pleasure Brian

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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.

kids

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.

stu

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.

frankie

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.

fox

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.

lucas and stu

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!

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.

 

Rosemary Wood ….Carp in the dark

Well here we go , a new challenge for me

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Tonight was my chance to do something I have not done in my 35 years of fishing and that was get my self a carp in the dark and this was all down to Barry who shown me through the rigs and which was the best way to approach the swim

After watching Barry land a few in the day time ( he made it look so easy ) but to me the transition to bigger and heavier set ups wasn’t as easy as it looked

Fishing 14 wraps out over a pellet/boilie spod mix casting into the dark aiming at the tree markers in the sky line using a musselberry red 14mm hard hooker and the trap was set

We waited,the wind was picking up and the line bites were getting us excited each time I was thinking this could be the one

Then it happened the alarm went off and to be honest I just sat there forgetting this was mine , it wasn’t instinctive for me to go and strike,but the shouts from Barry soon made me go and give it ago,after a bit of a battle mainly down to me and not the size of the carp I netted it,taking it over to the cradle I couldn’t hide my delight bagging my first carp in the dark

Not the biggest of carp but to me it was a beauty and one I will remember

thanks for reading and until next time its been a pleasure

 

Sticking to a plan

A return to Cheshire fisheries on Sunday but this time a new pool for me and I went with a plan and was determined to stick with it even though as the week progressed the weather forecast was giving heavy rain and strong blustery winds which wasn’t ideal to my plan

The plan was fish paste and meat 8 meters out as the shelf drops and try and get some of the better stamp of carp but with these conditions presentation was going to be hard

A quick walk round the pools and I was soon thinking I should of brought my rods but that but that would of been the easy option.So setting up and cupping in plenty of trigonella micros and fishing a decent lump of paste on a size 12 hook and the bites were slow in coming,feeding a pole pot of micros every put in and the bites started to come after half a hour missing most of them which got me thinking it was small fish. After about a hour I got my first lump of the day wow did it fight,for the next hour or so it was a even battle with me catching as many as I lost,this is were I probably need to fine tune my paste fishing as its not a method I use often.

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Soon the weather started to get the better of me ,unable to present my pole rigs due to the strong driving winds and a little worried about pole damage this was sweeping across the fishery and never in the same direction for to long so I went onto a shallow rig targeting the silvers at 4meters out which was good sport on the light gear feeding maggots as well as on the hook

After a bit of dinner and a brew it was time to give it a couple of hours back out at 8m were I had kept feeding the pellets,the carp had certainly moved in on the feed with instant bites which started to bring hard fighting carp on the paste and a new bait for me glugged mussleberry meat always putting in feed after every missed bite of fish caught

A few for the camera

Not as many fish as I thought I would of caught but I lost a lot some that felt big  and would not stop running when hooked,paste size was a issue for me aswell too small or too big there was always something nibbling on it and not always the carp I was after,the weather certainly played its part a few pegs down from me Dave had double the amount of carp I had using the feeder rod which let him have a better bait presentation in the high winds

A decent sort of day were I stuck to my plan and got more hours on the bank using paste which on its day is a killer method

its been a pleasure Brian

Trigonella available from our online shop Beechwoodbaits.com

Pellet Waggler, a First Go…….

Some of the guys on Team Beechwood are dab hands with the popular technique of pellet waggler fishing, and none more so than Barry Smith.  So when I decided to take on one of the ‘Team Twister Challenges’, namely the ‘Pellet Waggler Novice’ challenge, I asked Barry if he’d kindly show me the ropes.  Being the guy he is, he agreed without hesitation to help me out, even offering to let me use his pellet waggler setup.  In fact, the only tackle of my own I used was a disgorger, old spoon landing net, and my very old but very trusty Shakespeare seat box!  Its years since I last parked my behind on this big green lump of plastic, but as soon as I did all those magical memories from childhood came flooding back.

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Old faithful, big green Shakespear seat box, rammed full of memories!

This box has done some miles I can tell you, and most of them were done strapped across my back whilst I pedaled furiously, traveling by bike to the next fishing adventure.  Despite the years apart, it didn’t feel at all unusual to be sat on top of it again, wonderful thing it is!

The venue for the session, a few hours on a wet afternoon in early June, was Rosemary Wood.  A venue stuffed full of fish, lots of them carp, and lots of them really good-looking carp too; if you’ve seen Barry’s fully scaled mirror from earlier this year you know what I mean, if you havent seen it, you have now:

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Stunning fish taken by Barry on Pellet Waggler tactics with FEED+SSP hook bait.
So venue sorted, setup in order and a coach to guide me, I was full of anticipation to see how I’d get on.  Handling the waggler rod, lighter match reel and line, wasn’t a concern, fishing with this type of tackle was how it all started for me way back at the beginning of my angling life.  What I knew I would have to work hard at mastering, was the feeding style, and reading, or more importantly interpreting what the fish activity was telling me.  A new type of water craft to learn if you will, and I paid very close attention to Barry’s every word from the off.

Barry had rigged me up an 8g float to get me started.  We werent fishing miles out, but there were a few anglers on the lake so pressure was there, so a moderate distance was where I’d start.  The weight of the float was more to do with enabling me to control it more easily, rather than for pinging it out at range.  Main line was 8lb Guru Pulse down to 7lb Guru Drag, to a 14QM1 hook with a band hair rigged on.  Bait couldn’t be simpler, 12mm Trigonella Pellets, further enhanced by being soaked in Trigonella Glug, and FEED+SSP for hook baits.

The 12mm soaked pellets are ideal for firing out with the catapult, achieving the desired range, accuracy and importantly creating a good noise when they hit the water.  Being Trigonella, and further glugged in Trigonella, they’re highly attractive too.  The glugging not only boosts attraction, but also makes the pellets heavier, so they can be fired out further, more accurately and again they make more noise, that all important ‘plop’, a key element in this method.

The FEED+SSP hook baits are something Barry and I have been developing for some time now, and they are specifically designed to be used as hook baits when fishing pellet waggler.  Indeed, the ‘SSP’ stands for, ‘Slow Sinking Pellet’.  They’re based on the FEED+X HNV bait, with some added attractors, an adjusted density so they sink at the desired rate, and capped off with the excellent Shellfish Sense Appeal label.  They are absolutely bang on for fishing Pellet Waggler, and Barry’s input in its design has been highly valuable.  From the start he knew exactly what the bait needed to do, and through various incarnations the finished product is exactly what we wanted it to be.

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FEED+SSP is absolutely perfect for fishing pellet waggler
With the float set at about 2 foot deep, with a gap of about 4″ between the float stops, to create a bolt effect on the take, I cast out.  I loaded the catapult with three pellets, and fired them at the float.  As soon as the pellets landed in the water I was already loading the next three in the catapult.  This method I was to learn is all about how you control the flow of the feed falling through the water.  ‘dumping in’ a big pouch full of pellets isn’t the one, it’ll draw the fish down in the water, too few or too infrequently and the fish will drift off and you wont generate the competitive feeding response you need.  Another three pellets are pinged out at the float.  I reel in, fire out some more pellets and re-cast.

This pattern I endeavour to keep going for the next 20-30 minutes, at which point I start to notice the odd swirl as the pellets hit the water.  Brilliant, I’ve got them in the swim and competing for the pellets!  Still with the constant flow of pellets and casting, three pellets, three times and re-cast was my chosen pattern.  Just as I’m getting into a nice rhythm the rods almost ripped from my hands and my first fish is on, and then off again….

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I suffered a couple of lost fish when the bites frist started coming
Despite the lost fish, I was happy to get a bite and felt like I was now connected to the fish; by that I mean I had worked out the best timing between pinging pellets out to keep the fish really competing, and literally lining up waiting for the pellets to land.

Catching fish I found, really threw me off my rhythm in regards to feeding.  Battling with a hard fighting carp meant a good 5 mins would pass without any pellet going in.  Barry confirmed that when you ‘get good’ at it, you need to be able to fire pellets out whilst landing a fish.  Something I didn’t try this time around, being my first go, but I most certainly will next time.  What I intend to do is try firing pellets out with the rod in my hand to get the feel for it without a fish on first, and see how it goes.  Anyway, my eldest daughter at 5years old, Livvy, my other helper on the day saw my predicament and proceeded to help me by firing pellets while I played fish in.  Which was lovely of her, and would have been ideal had I been fishing 3 foot out, and six-foot to my left…….

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absolutely love fishing with Livvy, and she even helped me keep constant feed going in!
A couple of hours in and I’d lost a few, and banked a few.  No lumps yet, but steady away and I was really enjoying it.  Rain was constant and at times pretty heavy, and as soaked through as we were we really didn’t care one bit!

To refine the tactic and try to convert the dropped fish into banked fish, we change the float for a 10g one, and shortened the length from float to hook slightly, only by a couple of inches.  The extra weight in the float increased my accuracy in the head wind, made more noise as it hit the water and enabled me to keep a tight line from float to rod tip.  This really helped with hooking the fish, because as I feathered the line, kept the tip low (something that was alien to me at first, but Barry guided me though the technique, I’m more sued to having the tip up on the cast, ready for the clip ‘bump’) with the heavier float this kept all the line in the water nice and tight.  This meant the instant the float hit the water, if a fish took the bait straight away I was in instant contact, and the fish was on.

You know what, it worked a charm!  I hit a sweet spot when it all came together; feeding pattern, casting, float control, twitching the float and hitting the fish.  I hit a run of fish, after fish after fish, and in that moment I fully understood what makes this technique so special, and so appealing.  It was mayhem, I was catching plump carp at a frightening rate!

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Livvy was really enjoying it too!  It’s a great method for the youngsters, very active, and if you get it right lots of action!

Inevitably the larger fish then started to move in, and some very large swirls started appearing in amongst the normal patterns.  Ping, cast, ping, ping, cast, thwackkkkk, rod has ripped around the instant the FEED+SSP hit the water, and this is definitely a better fish on!  It leads me a merry dance left, then right, then left again, taking a lot of line on a couple of powerful runs.  Could it be one of the real lumps in here I start to wonder?

The rod is certainly giving me all its got, arched around in full battle curve mode, the line is giving me that gorgeous chorus as it sings under the strain!  Check this picture out, you can’t hear the line, but the rod angle says it all:

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How utterly gorgeous is that sight!
As great as the fight was, it didn’t end well for me, and after several minutes of battling, it was one quick turn too many and the hook pulled.  Gutted, you bet I was, and after that prolonged ‘drought’ of feed going in I didn’t really get them fully going again after that.

Still, I learned a lot about what is a really cool, and exciting method!  We estimated I’d had about 45lb of carp in just a few hours, so I was pleased with that.  We have another Twister Challenge called the ‘Ton Up challenge’, 100lb of fish from any method, so I’m going to dedicate a full day to pellet waggler soon and give that one a bash, look out for that one.

With the session drawing to a close, I decided to get Livvy on the old Shakespear box for a go.  It was lovely to see her sat there, and the next fish we hooked she played in.  Shes caught small roach and skimmers before, but to her these fish were enormous!  She kept her cool, even though we sent it live on Facebook, and she netted her first ever carp.  Absolute golden memories are made on the bank, friends, family and fishing, it simply does not get any better.

By the way, check out Barry’s awesome adventure into specimen carp fishing, in his blog series ‘The Water Shot‘, he’s on an amazing adventure, part of which unfolded in the swim next to me on this session.  Yeah, you don’t think he’s going to a lake stuffed with carp and not take his new rods do you?  Not a chance, and he bagged a couple of beauties too!

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Till next time guys, look out for my ‘Ton Up’ challenge coming soon, and big thanks to Barry and Livvy on this one, couldn’t have done it without you guys!

Tight lines

Gav

Fishing adventures, hints, tips and of course loads of fish from Team Beechwood and friends

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