Tag Archives: carping in the north west

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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Thirst for Knowledge, at Blakemere

I talk to a lot of anglers and it fascinates me to hear so many variations and approaches to carp fishing.  I genuinely get a lot from just chatting ad hoc and I typically see the passion ooze out of people when we talk fishing.  I guess it’s what anglers all have in common, but with my thirst for knowledge ever greater, a few conversations have stood out recently and I have really stepped back and taken on-board some inspiring comments.

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Danny Stone, a friend, a carp angler and fishery owner really validated for me that my fishing approach and my mind-set is absolutely how I need it to be, I face things sideways on , and never to change that.  Danny always says it how it is and I respect that.  A great chat around the KD Rig and he explained all aspects of it to me.  I always enjoy chats with Danny and I plan to do more of it.

Andy Grover, a team member encourages me to keep my match style head on when it comes to feeding, something I now consider since this chat  with him.  Simple words but Andy absolutely believes a match style approach can be as effective and piling in bait on the right venue.  A great thinking angler is Andy and generous to a fault …. Thanks for the leads Andy.  For the record when I saw Andy’s bait boat at Larford the theme tune to the love boat always came into my head!  #ruined

Gav Astley, owner of Beechwood Baits simply tells me I can.  And he genuinely tells me it will happen “your water shot is inevitable, but enjoy the journey, if I can help, shout me”.  Gav simplifies things for me.  Can’t beat that can you.  Gav is time poor, with work, family life and constantly making bait, but he is friends rich, and always has time for his fishing buddies.  Enough said!

Denis Ryan, a team member has a knack of using comparisons  in match fishing to make his point in carp fishing, so I understand.  Really simple but very effective and it hits home.  Denis will always demonstrate as well as coach me which is excellent.  And for the record, he doesn’t fish in Ireland 🙂  see my video here if I’ve lost you on this one!

Neil Thomas, is a ball of energy and simply inspires me.  It’s plain to see he gets a lot out of coaching and passing on knowledge and he has gone that extra mile to help me and Brian Coakley on our last outing to Blakemere.  It speaks volumes about him and no wonder he is the team captain…..Apparently he’s not  a bad angler either 🙂

So if you whack all of them guys together you have one seriously super carp angler !!!

How lucky am I !!!!

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So after all of the above the question is :do I feel closer to the water shot?

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Absolutely yes I do ………..and here is why .

Since my last blog on “The water shot” I have learned so much, and loved every minute of this next step in my journey.  I have learned and practiced at Blakemere :

  • Multi rigs/KD rigs /standard hair rigs/chod rigs/maggor rigs
  • Bait floss
  • Pva tape
  • Captive Back leading
  • Measuring sticks
  • Casting technique
  • Bite alarm set up
  • Rod pod set up
  • Leads and their uses
  • Bivvy essentials

I didn’t catch at Blakemere but my spirits could not be higher, I am a better angler for the experience and loved every second of being with the team on the bank putting things into practice.

So what sticks out …. What are my hurdles?

Rigs ……. Its 4 letters, a little word…………. but in carp fishing it is one of the most essential part of catching besides sighting fish.

I am a novice at rigs but I know this …….. in order for me to fool the craftiest of fish my bait has to act natural, and this is all down to rig and hook choice so I need to practice, change, be different, see how it sits in the water, invent my own, do things different, research, experiment, keep thinking and not sit there and wait.

Rig with a 16mm Mussleberry Red and PNBA Adjusta plug

 

I cannot wait for my next trip out, and hopefully will be on the bank in Feb with Denis and Andy who I know will gladly share all their vast knowledge with me………… I am gonna glean so much.

Now I have my head well and truly stuck into end tackle and the part it plays, I know how important this is and I need to get it right.

I know Neil will keep pushing me and telling me “cast again” hit the spot and keep at it until you hit the spot every time.

I know Gav will be there to help me with anything I need.

Two other people I have not mentioned but need no introductions are  Brian Coakley and Stewart Rusling who are my brothers in this team.

Brian is on the journey with me and a great support because we talk and help each other along the way (and he snores like a right one), and Stew has so much to offer with carp angling.

This blog chapter has really demonstrated how we roll at Beechwood Baits and it has occurred to me that every step forward I make has been at the hands of good friends and closer to that elusive “water Shot”.

Roll on my next trip out.

Barry