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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I’m sure we all have those stand out moments in our angling journeys, the ones where things either take a real step forward, or due to circumstance we’re forced to change our ‘tack’, along of course with those ‘red letter’ days we all remember. Here is a short account of two such memories I hold dear in my angling journey thus far; a change of venue, and a surprise foreign adventure!
I left a well know northwest club water, slightly disillusioned with the way it was being run, and some of the of anglers it was attracting. This isn’t a slight on the club or its members at all, I fully understand clubs have to run in such a way as to please the majority, it was just that as my angling progressed I found myself more and more in the minority, seeking a different sort of challenge.
This was my first venture into syndicate water fishing, about 18 years ago now. There wasn’t a big head of carp in the water I finally settled on; high doubles, some good twenties and two know thirty plus carp and amongst them some really lovely originals. First of all I started visiting the lake with a marker rod and some feed, just looking for a few spots. A lot of my angling at the time was during midweek with my job consuming my time at the weekends, which suited me just fine.
I met a few anglers who were really helpful giving me some advice to get me going, and I fell in love with the place straight away. Not only was the fishing good, but it was a lake you could go to just to unwind and relax. After fishing the lake for about eight months I started to get to grips with the water, and having some good success. I had one of the know thirty’s, and an unknown, original 34lb pound mirror. The two rigs I mostly used were a helicopter set up, mainly because of the soft lake bed, and a balanced tiger nut rig, which was the one that accounted for the big mirror.
This change of venue ‘type’, really forced me to change my approach, and dig deeper than ever into the mind of the carp I was chasing. Its something I remember as a real change of pace in my angling, slower speed, but at the same time much deeper in thought. The rewards were amazing, and I loved it!
Oh my Cod……
The last time I visited Australia with the wife to see the family, I was told we had a family trip booked for a week, imagine to my surprise when I was a told that week we were going to spend sailing on the mighty Murray river, the first thing came to mind was fishing!! I started to do my home work, the iconic fish to go after was the Murray cod….
Sadly I never caught a one from the river, but what we did catch was carp and lots of them! They are frowned upon by the ‘Aussies’, and considered a pest; you can actually get fined for returning them back to the water, but then I’m not an Aussie that’s all I will say . I even got the family involved; nephews and, even the wife.
After our week away up the river, we returned back to the inlaws house, where there is a small lake about 3min walk away I’d been fishing, catching small carp, snapping turtle, perch, and to my surprise and everyone else’s a murray cod!! Which no one knew were in there, I was one happy and surprised angler! It just goes to show, if you make the most of every opportunity you can acheive your targets, even if they end up being a little unauthodox.
Off to Australia again soon for my nephews wedding, think I might be sneaking a bit of fishing tackle in once the wife’s done her packing, watch this space……..
Till then, tight lines everyone and keep banking those angling memories! – Stew
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.
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.
Well the day had arrived the one that we had all been eagerly awaiting are week-long road trip to Westwood lakes ,we were like a bunch of kids at Christmas .Myself and fellow Beechwood baits team member Brian Coakley ,decided to set of around 7-00 am we were meeting fellow Sunday crew angler Ian Adams at hawks head services ,stopped for a coffee and a chat then back on the road .we arrived at Westwood lakes around 10-30 had a walk around ,Brian went to sort the lodge out and was told we could not get in till 3pm .The temperature had now risen to around 30 degrees, we agreed to do a spot of speed fishing on osprey lake, fishing was fast and furious.
After fishing none stop for a couple of hours in red-hot weather, Ian Adams reappeared. With bottles of Kopparberg and magnum ice creams; what a man! Time for an afternoon siesta.
Myself and Brian even did some extreme margin fishing, Ian kept catching fish steady, apologies for some of the selfies.
It was just a half a day on the pole, it was just two rigs for me, a short slapping rig and a deck rig, bait was 6/8mm pellets glugged in Beechwood baits Trigonella feed was matching Trigonella micros and 3mm pellets.
DAY TWO ON KESTREL LAKE
Me, Brian and Ian where up at 4-00 looking forward to fishing Kestrel, we picked are pegs for the day, my peg was looking along the large island, my four set ups for the day was pellet wag, tip rod, deck rig and margin swim on the pole.
Brian had opted for pretty much the same set up, so are day began, my peg was screaming out for the pellet wag, bait was FEED+X soaked in monster crab, after second cast fish on, Brian was also into fish in his peg, we both kept feeding are margin swim little and often .Ian decided on the peg with the aerator going full blast as the temp was already 29 degrees Brian had a carp to 15lb, tench to 5lb and bream to 4lb I had carp into double figures the average barbel was 3to 4lb tench, ide, roach, we finished the day with nets over 140lb .Ian’s best fish was a 7lb barbel.
DAY THREE HAWK LAKE
This is the quirky lake where you walk onto the island and fish out, another early start for me and Brian 4-30, this is for a few reasons; one we get to choose or pegs and the heat through the day plus we couldn’t get enough! We had left Ian in bed snoring.
My set up and bait for the day was feeder rod, pole for the margin and 13m pole to the far side, bait margin sweet corn over micros glugged in Trigonella, on the feeder Musselberry 10mm bandums, as in the other lakes the aerator is left on for the welfare of the fish. It soon became obvious the margins where the place to fish. We were joined around 10-30 by Ian after his snooze, at the end of the day we all would have had nets over the 100lb once again. Brian got his margin swims fishing well, left hand side seemed to produce barbel and silvers while his right hand produced carp. After a hard days fishing we left Ian to carry on he was hitting a rich vein of form.
DAY FOUR SKYLARK LAKE
This was the lake directly outside are lodge not a long walk, I set up left side of the bridge Brian on the right, and Ian was further down my left hand side. I started off by doing a bit of gardening on my island margin swim, what started off as a nice day.
Later it turned into a monsoon with thunder and lighting, we all decide to have a break as no fish is worth risking your life for. This turned out to be one Brian’s best day’s with a huge amount of fish caught fishing a paste he has been developing with the boss Gav down the edge, myself and Ian both did well fished mostly 8mm pellet glugged in Trigonella.
DAY FIVE THE RETURN TO KESTREL LAKE
It was are first time to all fish together, Brian, me and Dave fished one side and Ian, Michael and Callum was smashing the ide on the opposite side, all in ear shot of each other just so the banter can start.
I started on the pellet wag as did Callum, bait was the new Beechwood baits FEED+SSP we have been testing and proved what it is designed for, feeder rod micros and 10mm bandums all glugged in Trigonella to match, probably one of the best methods of the day was slapping with 8mm pellets glugged which accounted for multiple hook up for me Brian and Dave all at once, I even managed to catch two barbel.
With the aerators on it was like fishing a small river, so I decided to put a deck rig on bulked the shot down the line, fished at 8 meters and trotted the float through which caught me plenty of barbel, it had to be one of my best days with an estimated weight of 140lb+, Michael and Ian where having a great day too. As always fish care is up most in our minds especially in this heat, even when Brian is in the middle of the action he still has time to help a fellow angler!
DAY SIX KINGFISHER LAKE
Brian and I had a bit of a lie in 9-00 start, the other lads went to fish Falcon. Kingfisher Lake is the original lake on the complex, with some cracking stock of fish which include barbel 10lb+, carp 20lb+, tench 5lb+ bream 6lb+ roach 2lb and some big ghost carp. Methods for the day was feeder again my trusted micros and 10mm Trigonella bandums, shalla slapping with 8mm pellet and the constantly fed margin swims. That would be our target for the afternoon!
Last day for us all this would be a day of two halves, first we tried swallow lake, this is supposed to hold some of the larger stock, we did think about this being a rod day, but we had a chat the night before to a regular who told us not to forget the margins.
Tactics for the day was pellet wag, method rod and the pole set up for the margin. I started catching from the of on the method 10mm Musselberry doing the business, the rest of the lads where all catching, Michael was catching plenty in his swim the aerator giving plenty of movement in his swim, Dave had a nice tench around the 4lb mark.
Brian and Callum where catching steady. I had noticed my margin swim getting stirred up, so I set up the margin rig, fishing in about 18inch of water bait was 10mm Trigonella wafters, after putting a bed of mixed pellets, I ended up catching some nice carp.
After around 11-30 we decided on a move back to Kingfisher, Michael wanted to stay on Swallow as he was catching, when we arrived at Kingfisher it looked quite busy, but luckily for us a group of anglers where just leaving. We all jumped on a peg, and was soon all fishing again, there were some awesome fish coming out, lovely barbel. I left the lads to fishing as I headed back to the lodge early to make our dinner, the lads stayed on till late as they were smashing it!!
Beechwood baits smashed Westwood lakes, till we’re on the bank again, Stewart!
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:
I made a glaring error but learned a valuable lesson.
I added value to a team members trip with coaching of my own.
I got loads of good tips from Denis on rigs.
I needed to focus more on looking after myslf fo
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:
48 hr on a proper carp water hopefully “The Quarry”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
This trip out to Rufford Meadows Fisheries had been a must go to in the fishing diary for a while and after great reviews from a few of the lads from Fishing in the North West it was the Sunday crew’s time to give it a go, bit short on bodies this week so it was down to myself, Dave H, Mike and Callum to do our best on a new venue for us all.
Under new ownership the venue has been tidied up with new footpaths,trees cut back, toilet facilities and Neil has said this is just a start with plenty more improvements to follow.
Not the biggest of venues but one of the deepest I’ve fished which involved some preparation work at home making pole rigs up then cutting them back to suit using 0.8 and 1g floats and getting the shot bulked up to get the bait down to the bottom quick,also I prepped 3 guru elasticated feeder with various hook patterns.
Once I found my spot I clipped up and put in 10 feeders full of pellets to boost my swim ,and the bites started to come,each bite or take ripping my tip round not always resulting in a fish, The first part of the day brought me fish from 2.5lb to 5lb but these fish fought like fish twice their weight
2 pegs down from me Dave was off to flyer fishing into the deep water on his pole about 8m out getting into Carp,tench and decent silvers,later on his margin swim brought him some really good carp and plenty of crucians
Michael and Callum were further down on a narrower part of the lake which seemed sheltered from the wind but still with enough ripple to give the fish confidence to feed shalla,fishing feeder and pole the lads were also having a great day using Aurora pop ups to the far side between the rushes and sweetcorn close in the margins both using micros soaked in trigonella as feed
A harsh change in the weather brought strong winds and a threat of rain but one thing that stayed the same was the fish were still hungry, my second net of the day seen the stamp of fish stay the same with few bonus bigger ones
Nets drying off and it was time to get in the margins,white hydro wasn’t enough to stop some of these carp bolting off,feeding plenty of micros and dead reds using pellets and hook bait made for a frantic last couple of hours for us all with the bigger fish moving in for an afternoon feed
I went with a plan to fish the pole but ended up using the feeder most of the day. Dave next to me fished the pole most of the day and Callum and Mike chopped and changed all day but the one thing we all had in common was we all caught over 100lb of carp each backed up with some great silver fish which tells me this is going to be a venue that will fish well all year round,it doesn’t strike me that this is an easy venue to fish as other people round the lake were catching but not as prolific,this venue looks like every peg will produce fish if fished correctly and the right quality bait used
I will be returning pretty soon and beefing up my tackle for a crack at some of the bigger fish we seen cruising round and take it from me they looked around the 20lb mark if not bigger
big thanks to Neil for his very kind hospitality and sharing his knowledge on the venue
until next time as always its been a pleasure, Brian
Its 5:05am on a cold February morning and I’m already running a little late, I’d arranged with Adam Bowen (Team Beechwood Member and Owner of Fishing in the North West) to be with him at 5am, and I was still ten minutes away trundling along the M56. Still, Adam’s a nice chap, and I dropped him a quick message to let him know I wasnt far off, and as expected he was cool as ever with the news I was a little behind time.
Today Adam was going to treat me to something a little different, something that links in nicely with one of our ‘Team Twister’ challenges and something we’d talked about for a while, a full on barbel trip! As you know our Team Twister is a series of challenges and ‘twists’ that Team Beechwood are all having a go with throughout 2017, one is simply called ‘Hunter’, and sets target weights of loads of fish to achieve. The Barbel target is 8lb, and although I’d be happy with any sized fish on this trip, I couldn’t help but have that 8lb target rattling around in my mind.
The journey down for us took around about an hour and a half, but it genuinely felt like ten minutes, such was the constant flow of fishing chatter filling the car. I’m a relative barbel novice, Adam however knows his onions, so whilst I had him as a captive audience we talked about barbel fishing all the way down.
When we arrived, in what is Adams favourite swim on the river, it looked truly epic. The sun was just coming up over the horizon, lighting up the strong and meaningful flow on the water, and the river looked in great condition! I’d been buzzing about this trip for weeks, and as always we anglers dream of what might be; could today be one of those days the dreams come true?
Adam set about rigging the rods up, and I setup camp, all in all it took us about 20 minutes and we had three rods in the water and were sat with a (posh) Douwe Egberts coffee each.
Tactics for the day would be:
Tackle – 12lb main line through to 10lb hooklengths, 4oz gripper style leads, each rod with 2xfloat stops 20″ from the lead, size 12 Drennan Specialist Microbarb hooks. All setup running rig style.
Bait – 6mm Halibut pellets, Excelsor paste, Meat and some of the soon to be released bait, the FEED+X. Being carp baits, we did add some blue cheese and garlic to the paste and hookbaits to really make a stink the barbel could home in on in the flowing water.
We fished the three rods along the crease, at different points from far left, central and right of our swim. The tackle was brilliantly balanced, held bottom on the crease perfectly, and the float stops 20″ from the lead is a really neat trick. We weren’t really troubled on the day by weed and stuff being brought down stream, but what did flow through and catch on the line gathered behind the stops, ensuring our presentations weren’t effected. I seriously recommend you try it on your setup if you like fishing flowing water, and never find your self tearing your hair out over being wiped out by weed again!
We fished meat to our left, and Adam commented this was the rod he thought would go first, being down stream, centrally we fished the boiled bait, and to our right pellet. All leads we’re wrapped in Excelsor paste, and the boilie and pellet hookbaits also got wrapped in a big dollop too. The paste worked perfectly in the powerful flow, sticky and grippy enough to stay put, slowly releasing oodles of attraction over the hour or so between re-casts, with just traces left by the time we reeled in.
Over the course of the day we had lots of attention on the FEED+X hookbait fished centrally of the three rods, but very little indication on the other two rods, and no barbel off any. It was early February after all, and winter fishing can often be a challenge in itself! We focused on the middle rod, adjusting hair length, changing hooks, casting at spots around the central crease to try and turn the indications we were getting into solid takes. We stuck to the plan throughout, re-casting to firm spots every hour to hour and a half, each time with paste around the lead and hook baits, this way throughout the day we would slowly build the swim without risking overfeeding it in the cold wintry conditions.
The day rolled on, lunch was a cracking bacon and cheese baguette and chips from a local pub, whilst we fished on, watching the river relentlessly flow past us, and our rod tips sat defiantly upright, and still……….
It wasnt until we entered the last hour of our trip that one of the rods finally ripped off. Adam said just one word, ‘BARBEL!’. I zipped over to the rod and lifted into it, sure enough we were into a powerful fish, somewhere out there in the inky blackness! Adam took the left hand rod out-of-the-way so I could play the fish towards the left of the swim where the water was deep close in and snag free. The unseen creature tore down stream on a powerful run, using all its strength and the rivers flow. I teased it back slowly, we’d waited all day and now into a fish I really, really didn’t want to lose it! Closer in it came, then tore off again, seemingly still as full of beans as when it was first hooked. I wasn’t sure it’d make it over the 8lb mark, but as Adam slid the net under the fish, I had second thoughts, it looked long and solid. The scales would tell us……
On the scales the fish crept around to 9lb 8oz, so not only had we got what we came for, but I’d also got a new PB fish, and mission accomplished on the Team Twister! Bingo bango banjo, or words to that effect!!
We were just in the process of preparing to return my fish, when the same rod hooped over and the alarm screamed in delight! Adam had quickly, and sensibly, re-baited and re-cast the rod whilst I got my waders on to return my fish, which was recovering in the margin. The fish had clearly switched on, and we were right in the middle of a feeding spell. Now the way we’ve fed the swim really pays off for us, because we’ve used largely Excelsor paste with a few pellets pushed into it all day, there isn’t a lot to eat in the swim, but there is masses of attraction. Had we lumped loads of bait in, the same feeding spell would have taken place, but our hookbait would have had a much reduced chance of being picked up.
Adam plays his fish in perfectly, and as he draws it to the net it looks a very similar size to mine. However, as it rolls over the net cord, its depth and width are really impressive, it’s now clearly a bigger fish, and Adam quietly passes comment that it might be a PB for him, might be.
We hoisted the fish up on the scales and both hold our breath, it registered 14lb 20z, we deducted the sling, and the fish entered angling memory at 12lb 10oz, and yes, a new PB for Adam!! I was made up with my fish, and of course my new PB, however I was over the moon for Adam. He targets the barbel and as such his PB is much harder to improve on, and I felt really privileged to have witnessed him bank it. Two PB’s, two Team Twister challenges ticked off and two very, very happy anglers!!
With my fish now safely returned, we took some pics of Adams fish, once he’d expertly removed some old netting from its dorsal fin. Fortunately Adam’s not only a well seasoned and conscientious angler, but he’s also a nurse, so his forceps and surgical scissors are of the very best quality, along with his skills in using them, and he removed the netting expertly. It is worth noting though, that landing and keep nets are not something anyone should skimp on, poor quality nets can cause you and the fish all sorts of problems, and none of us want to see fish with any damage.
With that we released Adams fish safe and sound, and begrudgingly reeled the rods in and started to pack away our gear. We were both grinning from ear to ear, it’d been a long time coming good, but we kept the faith and stuck to the plan. Anyway, is there any better way to spend a day other than sat by a really stunning piece of river, in great company, watching the world slowly drift by?
Something new here for you all, it’s the Beechwood Baits Team Twister!
We’ve set-up a whole year stuffed with twists for you, which are basically challenges we’ve set ourselves. Some are big, some are smaller, some will take us far and wide and some will be on our doorstep, what they will all be is varied, interesting and exciting twists on our fishing.
The whole idea for this Twist was to see which method is quicker at catching a few fish on a short session; the rod and line, or the pole. Rules for this one were pretty straight forward, anglers set a peg apart, fishing with maggots on the hook and of course one using running line and the other on pole tackle.
Conditions when we arrived were less than favourable; Rosemary Wood fishes better with a ripple on the water, but at 7am on the 14th of Jan 2017, it was blowing a real wintry gale and the wind was carrying horizontal rain with it across the fisheries exposed banks.
We deliberated a move of venue, and a change of date, it was that harsh, but decided to crack on regardless!
Barry setup on peg 42, today armed with the option of fishing a rod only, whilst Brian set up just to his right, given the option of fishing the pole only.
Both decided to start fishing close in, tight up to the reeds, or what was left of their winter ravaged stems.
Over to Brian to talk us through his opening tactics:
‘My overnight prep consisted of castors and dead red maggots soaked in hemp oil and 8 rigs made up, two of each float pattern with 0.16 main line and 0.129 hook lengths with size 20 and 18 hooks. Four top kits all with different elastic’s unsure of the stamp of fish I was going to be catching and all rigs made to top 2 length, ensuring plenty of scope to change my depth round knowing that the fish will feed up in the water or just off the bottom if you find them. Also the spare line from dacron to float gave me slack helping my presentation, with the strong wind blowing my pole all over the place but not lifting my float out the water.’
So Brian was set with an array of pole rigs, and different pole elastic strengths, so he had as many bases covered as possible on the day with plenty of options open.
Barry’s approach was more targeted:
Fish close in and catch roach with a 1g loaded crystal insert waggler, 12” hooklength and a size 18 hook, strike and lift in one movement for speed and create a weight of fish, feeding dead red maggots with a coating of Beechwood Baits hemp oil little and often. As well as this feed the long line every 5 mins, dripping in the maggots for when I drop in on that line hoping the fish will be there waiting. Fish at 20 turns clipped up with a 3g loaded crystal waggler, no shot on the line at all, 12” hooklength and an 18 hook, searching the water columns for where the fish are, but hoping to catch on the drop. Live maggots soaked in Beechwood Baits hemp oil.
From the word go Barry was focusing on catching lots of fish at speed, evident by his setup geared to fish to hand and nab roach at pace. Watching Barry fish his ‘fish in one move’ technique is impressive, and if you check out his blogs you’ll see what I mean in his videos. It’s a very smooth, and accurate approach, and its easy to see how it can bank a lot of fish, very quickly.
The day didn’t get off to the start either angler expected, quite the opposite in fact! Brian did say he thought the afternoon would be more productive, but he struggled to get any bites at all during the morning session from a close in spot he’d had a fish a bung from on previous trips to the venue. Barry was finding it equally tough going, and he’d also struggled to get a bite on his close in spot. However, having the rod in his hand meant Barry could fish a larger expanse of water, and from the off he’d been feeding a spot at 20 turns out.
Brian sums up the morning session;
So later than expected we gave it the all in shout and I started feeding 3 swims top 2 and 2 with castors and maggots and left that one but every now again just a bit more feed, my two close in swims top 2 and 1 were against the reeds then about 2ft off trickling feed into them regular after an initial two pots of mixed bait into both. Two rigs set slightly over depth to keep the bait on the deck and two for mid-water. The weather was causing me all kinds of problems, a really strong side wind was making presentation awful to achieve close in and further out. Surely this wasnt helping me with no fish and no bites. After the first hour I started to change things with shotting patterns but still no fish no bites heading into the third hour, this now got me thinking this isn’t to be my day, Barry by now picking off a few fish with the waggler. Time creeping up to the break and first weigh my head was all over the place still no fish no bites. Then the wind dropped a little and the sun came out and I started to see the hemp oil rising to the top which was telling me there is fish there and they are feeding so back out onto my top 2 and 2, five missed bites later I netted my fish, then three more, a deflated me headed off to make us all a brew and have a chat……..
Barry had enjoyed more opening success after finding some fish further out, but regularly connecting with them and getting confident takes was a challenge, so he got his thinking cap on;
Ok so the roach were not in front of me, and after an hour of feeding and fishing on a throw line and feeding the 20 turns line for later, I had 1 fish, so out came the 3g waggler and I started on the long line…..After 20 mins no fish shallow and by this time the weather was not great, gusting wind, overcast, spots of rain, dull, and quite frankly not great. I decided to change my long line approach totally, and opted for a less loaded float and nailed the bait to the lake bed ……… float dipped and fish on. I started to get a run of fish but they were small. My bulk shot nailing the bait to the floor was not working as effectively on the strike so I changed shotting and made the last 2ft of line sink slower and went at least 6” overdepth. Again a few fish came to the bank but small ….. then we had a break.
It was of course by now pretty obvious that the fishing wasnt going to be easy today, not by a long stretch, but then it is the middle of January and although a ‘balmy’ 4°C on the day, previously we’d had some hard frosts and biting winds.
The wind was causing both anglers issues to deal with, Barry changed his float numerous times until he got the presentation he was after, and Brian changed rigs, elastic’s and float to pole length often, again to get his presentation just right. In these conditions and with bites at a premium, the guys knew despite cold hands they needed to remain focused and fish hard to get any results at all!
By the break both anglers were fishing further out, after the close in lines had proven fruitless. Both had the foresight to feed lines further out, and this proved invaluable as this is where the bites had started to come from just before the break. Both starting mid-water, and gradually moving down deeper, both had found that the fish wanted a bait presented hard on the bottom at this point, and the bites started to come.
Brew and catch up done, Brian’s a little more chipper now he’s had some action;
I was looking forward to getting back on my box just to see if the fish had stayed in my swim because the break was the last thing I needed. What happened then and for the next 2 hours or so was rewarding and put a smile on my face, fish and bites came plenty on all my rigs and in two of my swims, I stuck to a pattern of throwing in 4/5 castors in every 30 seconds keeping the fish fighting for my hook bait sometimes taking it on the drop, now this is what I came for decent hybrids, roach, perch and some small skimmers meant I was now quickly putting a weight together.
Barry’s tactics now totally adjusted and refined, the second half sees him enjoying some pretty frantic action;
After the break I caught steady, but again the stamp was very small. It was satisfying to eventually figure out the peg on a particularly poor day. The temperature dip from the day before was not great and this had an effect on the roach fishing. Although I caught more fish than Brian, my stamp was not anywhere near what Brain was hooking into, with him hitting some big hybrids and me with all small roach.
The second half of the session was incredible to watch from a neutral point of view. Battered by not only the testing conditions, a restriction on methods available and the fishing being really testing, both Brian and Barry dug really deep, constantly changing and adapting to the conditions. In the second half Barry was now catching fish steadily, and his focused turned from getting bites, to hooking fish more often, to getting quicker bites, and back round the cycle again in a seemingly relentless pursuit to maximise his catch rate.
Brian in the second half had got his longer line and his close in reed line both rocking, and his focus and grit really shone through. He didn’t back off, he just dug deeper, and stuck to his plan, and slowly but surely it was paying off.
Interestingly both anglers had worked thorough the day to find what the fish wanted, and had found initially going further out, with baits hard on the bottom, and less frequent but slightly heavier baiting was the order of the day. Neither really knew what the other was doing, but both had unlocked the code, come to the same conclusion and we’re catching at pace. Both had also found that dead reds soaked in hemp oil seemed to be the one on the day for the hook.
The only real difference was in feeding strategies, Barry was feeding maggots, dead and live, whist Brian was feeding caster, maggot again dead and live, and a few micros. Would this prove to have a bearing on the results I wondered?
At the close of play, I was amazed at how many fish the guys had both caught. On a day when the conditions would have put some off, indeed even we questioned our sanity for a moment, and looking round the lake action elsewhere seemed thin on the ground. That’s no reflection of the venue at all, these were really rough conditions make no mistake, it’s simply a measure of how the hard work the guys put in paid off.
Brian Sums his day up;
I finished up with a net weight of 11lb 4oz not bad for 2 hours of catching after all that mother nature threw at us all week and then on the day of fishing. Not able to see what Barry was catching every time I bumped a fish or missed a bite had me thinking how important it was just to stay calm and not to rush things and just keep to the feeding pattern going and get them fish in the net. 3-30pm and we was out a brief chat like two poker players not giving much away what was in our nets, my net out first and I was pleasantly pleased even before I got it onto the scales but 11lb 4oz oh I was so made up considering less than three hours ago I hadn’t a bite, Barry although catching over 40 fish weighed in at 5lb 2oz. So hands were shaken on a hard day were I would say we just got the better of the weather with the fish we ended up with and for me a lesson in don’t give up and dont be scared to make not just a change but several changes. Is the pole quicker than rod? I’m still in favour of the pole, on a different day it so easily could go the other way, I am a believer the weather conditions will always have a big say on any future duels.
I took a lot from this challenge and here are my thoughts: Brian impressed me for showing mental strength, he didn’t have a fish for 4 hours and was very dejected, but he stuck at it and made changes, showed his personality and he did very well, this told me a lot about the man and what he is made of.
Rod faster than pole? I have learned that you can’t judge a method over another because every dog has its day and given a different set of circumstances, the results will always be different. What I do know is no matter how hard a place fishes, if you stick at it, work it out, and never give in, then every fish you catch that day is worth its weight in gold.
So there you have it, on the day the pole came out on top, but as both guys pointed out, on a different day it could have been a different story. Both anglers agreed that given the conditions they would probably have fished a small feeder setup, given the chance. However, under the Team Twister challenge restrictions, the guys we’re forced to dig deep and work hard on methods not ideally suited to the situation, scaling new heights of angling mental stamina and resolve.
A huge well done to both Brian and Barry, not only did I find the day really enjoyable in their company, but it was magic to see two anglers so dedicated to the mission at hand.