Probably one of the most hotly anticipated reels in a long time, the Shimano XTD's are so sleek it's ridiculous. Infact, in a word, they're simply gorgeous. I finally decided it was time to retire the trusty Crosscasts and invest..... I simply could not resist!
If you shop around you can pick them up for as little as £120 per reel and in my opinion there isn't another reel that comes close in terms of aesthetics, even it's big brother the infamous Black Mag.
Boasting loads of features, such as:
They are extremely smooth and the line lay is exceptional and if you wish to have a perfectly flat line lay, simply remove the spool and insert one thick and one thin washer that come supplied.
For the best deal i'd recommend giving erics angling a call on 01430 440 034.
I'd mentioned in my last blog that I had planned a fair bit of bank time in October. My thought process pointed towards the hope that the old Club Lake Carp would be having it, taking on their reserves for the coming winter and just maybe the elusive individuals that had evaded me so far might just trip up!
As the time drew nearer, the anticipation rose and the prep began, stocking up on bits and bobs needed for a couple of 72hr+ stints on the bank. I'd decided they were getting the bait, with plenty of particle purchased and the freezer stocked up with Boilies.
The 5 days up to the off, i was rubbing my hands with intent, as a big southwesterly system was flying through, with low pressure - conditions couldn't have been any better! Only if it had stayed that is!! As if by some sheer coincidence, as the Thursday came, the weather had done a mega 'u-turn', with the super Carpy conditions being replaced by what was to be frank, utter garbage..... High Pressure and North-North Easterlies.
Still, i soldiered on regardless, hoping the fish wouldn't be put off too much by the change in weather and i arrived at the lake on the Thursday afternoon. I'd turned up with a right arsenal to be fair, armed with over 15kg of particle and the best part of 10kg's in boilies. Getting it all there was a bit of a slog though and set about getting comfy whilst deciding on my methods of attack.
For the first night, i decided to go relatively softly, going boilie only on one area and just a few spods with a bit more boilie over the other. I'd decided once again to mix the KSC & VNF Food Source Baits from Xcel, as with the latter being more suited to the cooler months, now was the time to start introducing it in a slightly higher quantity.
Despite a ridiculous amount of activity in my swim during the following morning, i hadn't managed a fish, which left me bemused, considering the amount of liners i'd had! Although as i later discovered, after losing patience, a wind in revealed my rig had become festooned in weed, however it had definitely not been picked up by a fish. The bead which would have pulled tight in the event of a pick up had remained unmoved, so i could only have put it down to me not being presented!!
By Friday afternoon i'd got plenty of fish milling around infront of me, but still nothing to show for it, despite bubbling on the spots. I stuck to my guns though and applied a little more bait ahead of the second night.
I woke to a moody dawn the following morning, after brief spells of sleep punctuated by more liners signalling fish visiting the baited areas, but it was clear by now something wasn't right.
Had i put too much particle in? Were they not really taking the Fishmeal baits in Gusto? (I was using these as hookbaits). I guess i could have speculated all day, but as morning gave way to afternoon, i rung the changes, going more blatant in my approach. I decided to deploy the VNF Food Source bait, with 14mm pop ups on Hinged Stiff Rigs. This was a complete u-turn bait wise from what the KSC offers, in that the VNF is a milk protein bait and with its lighter colour is without doubt easier for the fish to pick out sight wise.
Well, what happened next could have been an enormous fluke, but around 20 minutes after, the right hand rod tore off, with a powerful Carp on the end, which actually flat rodded me on a tight clutch as i played hardball keeping it out of the weed. When i caught a glimpse i knew which fish it was. A magnificent old Yorkshire warrior that i had already caught earlier in the season... But with it being one of the biggest fish in the lake, i concentrated fully on getting her safely in the folds of the landing net! Following a bit of cat and mouse with my other line doing the over and under routine, the fish suddenly stopped dead and gave up as it had a small ball of weed covering its head.... and it was game over!!
To catch this fish once in a season was more than enough for me, but to bag it again left me well and truly elated and at this point i must thank Steve Chapman for coming down to help me out with a few pictures, which turned out top quality. Definitely wouldn't have got them on my own! For the record the old Mirror was 8ozs down on my previous encounter, but the number didn't really matter as the 24lb 10ozs revealed on the scales was largely irrelevant.
After slipping the old beast back, i wasn't too fussed if nothing else came along, but settled in for the night with the attitude that any more would be a bonus. Well, the same rig and spot produced again in the early hours with a nice upper double Common, but that was to be my lot before a morning pack up and re-fuel in anticipation of my second session to come.
Before i left the lake, i baited several spots with both particle and boilie and when i arrived back at the lake 24hrs later, the fact it hadn't been eaten filled me with dread to be honest, plus there were barely any fish visible at all! The lake seemed completely dead. So i held off with the bait, freshening up the spots i was actually fishing with light scatterings, but i fished for two days with hardly a bleep, long story short. Maybe i'd got it completely wrong with the big bait tactic, but you live and learn i guess!!
I sat scratching my head to a degree, but got in to the thought that they would have to feed at some point, so put a little particle on the spots and a bit more boilie to try and finally draw them down. I wasn't convinced they weren't eating it beforehand though, despite the evidence to suggest they simply weren't feeding on the baited areas that i could see. Maybe blatant was the answer? So i opted to do the night with KSC Fluoro's on both rigs to see what transpired and at around 9pm they started showing in numbers and then things paid off as the left hand rod out in deeper water registered a take in the early hours, with Yellow doing the damage.
This old Warrior was one i had been pursuing all year and had not yet caught, so i was well pleased to be rewarded with this one. Furthermore, i recieved another take before dawn, same rod too, only for it come off due to my chod filament failing at the hook!! Put it down to bad luck though as the product in question, Fox Trans-Khaki Rigidity in 25lb had served me well all year.
In to the final night i kept a little bait going in but decided to hold off with most of what i had left for when i went home, so they were left with free grub to feed on. Again the fish showed once more that evening and i was confident of another, this time pink fluoro's were on the rigs and thankfully the same rod went yet again, with a cracking fish known as the Torpedo Lin on the other end.... Very Welcome despite it being a recapture!
So, i left the lake satisfied to a degree, with four fish under my belt altogether during my 'holiday' and i left the spots well primed. Three were re-captures, but i suppose it will be a common scene until the ones i want trip up. I didn't anticipate getting back for a while, but as luck would have it, work was on my side and i had 48hrs off the following Wednesday, so i eyed that for a return.
As it came around, i toned down the bait considerably, taking 4-5kg of particle and just a couple of boilie, again with the intention to bait with at least 50% of it when i came away from the lake again. On arrival, all of last weeks bait had gone.... a welcome sight as i now knew they'd got their heads down properly in my absence and i was confident of another fish. As it had produced, i stuck with the Fluoro approach and it yielded again the following morning, with a lovely mid-double Linear, which although not the biggest fish, was one i had not yet caught and did actually want to catch.
I stuck it out for a few more hours after, but that's a wrap for October and from here on in it's not going to get any easier.... But, with these milder conditions still lingering on, maybe there's time for one or two more just yet, before Autumn gives way to winter. Just a couple off 40 fish for the season, but we'll have to see..... Would be nice to get over that milestone for me personally.
In the meantime though, thanks for reading and Tight lines,
It's been the best part of a month since my last blog entry and what an eventful period its been. Fish have been coming out left right and center for the Xcel lads and some right chunks too. So much so i've only just got around to putting fingers to keyboard for my own blog. Autumn is upon us once again and I, like many, am rubbing my hands in anticipation of one last assault over the next couple of months, as despite a very successful season that i am over the moon with - there's still fish on my agenda.
Since my last piece, i've had a few sessions, with mixed results, including a few blanks, but persistence has paid off in keeping a few nice Carp coming to the net. The first one to share is this one, a recapture of 'the minter' as i call it, this time at 20lbs 2ozs, spawned out. She fell to a light scattering of Xcel KSC, with a matching Hinged Stiff Rigged pop up nailing her for the second time.
Another head banging session followed, where despite conditions looking bang on, the fish managed to evade my rigs. It fell to a bit of stalking to save me from a blank, but the creature i bagged was well worth all the effort. I'd noticed it visiting a small margin spot regularly, and in its absence i placed a single Hinged Stiff Rigged pop up, which upon its return it duly took and it was game over!
Following this one, i fished a 48hr session, with a bit of a twist in tactics, as i decided to begin introducing the VNF Food Source bait, along with the KSC, to start getting the fish on to it for once Winter rolls in. Using the baits mixed, glugged in KSC bait soak and dusted in VNF stick & bag mix, i introduced them to a couple of spots. One i decided to fish on VNF pop ups, on the trusty HSR's and the other i fished multi rig variations with prototype hardhooker hookbaits.
Before midnight i received a vicious take which unfortunately weeded me up and after a bit of cat and mouse proceeded to cut me off - can't win them all i guess!
But, thankfully i got some consolation not long after, on the other rod as this nice little Linear tripped up on the prototype.
,With that one back in to fight another day, i had to wait until around 8:30am before the same rod rattled off again, with the prototypes working their magic. Soon i was beaming ear to ear, as before the culprit even went in the net, i knew it was another of my targets. A fish called 'baby slice'. Under 20, spawned out, but i wasn't particularly bothered.
I was quite content after that, but re-baited, in the hope i might be lucky enough to bag another. As the day drew on, it got quite warm and i had to go investigate with a VNF pop up, to see if i could nick one off the top. Despite coming close it wasn't to be, so i got the rods back out for the evening - which didn't last long! Amazingly i went and nailed the same fish that cut me off!
The fish was sent on its way none the worse for wear, after i'd removed the rigs from its chops! It was clearly hungry this one. Stranger things have happened indeed!
No sooner had that one provided some excitement, it was the VNF pop up rod that was away before dark, with a re-capture of a friendly Common being the result. Fish number 4 of the session and it had all come together quite nicely.
Things looked good for another one through the night and i began to think that was going to be my lot, however at first light the same rod produced another nice Common, which was a particularly pleasing fish as it beat my 'pb amount of fish in a session' from the club lake.
That one was the final fish of the session and up to press is the last fish i caught, following another couple of blanks. But, you've got to take the rough with the smooth i guess and with some extensive sessions planned in October, i'm hoping to have myself a big hit or two - we shall see.
In the meantime,
Well, it has been a little quiet for me of late on the fishing front and as i haven't made an entry for a while, i thought a catch up was over due. Since the last blog i've managed a few sessions, starting with a 48hr session again with my pal, Jack. It was a bit of a repeat of proceedings detailed in my last blog, as credit where credit is due... i was royally outfished... again.
But with the hemp and KSC tactics deployed one again i managed to winkle one out from a spot tight to a feature, using a 16mm pop up on the Hinged Stiff rig. As it turned out the culprit was a bit of a kipper - a real looker!
I was quite content with that one, despite it being my only fish of the session. We got another 48 in the following week as everything fell in to place with another surprise two days off work, so i couldn't pass the opportunity. I'd decided to go boilie only this time to try and actively target a bigger fish. There were a couple that had not been out yet and both myself and Jack felt it was only a matter of time before one turned up.
Just after dark on the first night i received an absolute one toner on the left hand rod, again on the Hinged Stiff with a 16mm KSC pop up, with plenty of matching bait over the top. When i picked the rod up it felt decent and after a bit of bombing about i got glimpses of what looked like quite a long fish in the twilight and upon netting, a look in to the folds confirmed our suspicions. It was one of the larger fish. One comically known as Darth Vader, but that aside, it was one i really wanted to catch and to have bagged it was a great feeling. Among the chaos of trying to sort her out, my other rod screamed off, but the Tench on the other end wasn't my priority, so went straight back and we got some shots of my main prize. Bit of an angry kid on the mat, soaking me through, but it's all good fun.
There wasn't really anywhere to go from there i suppose and as it turned out that was my quota for the session, whilst once again playing Camera man/Bream un-hooker for Jack as he bagged a handful of fish again.
48hrs was on the cards again, but i got a quick overnighter in beforehand, nipping down after work. Usual tactics, with KSC boilie, were deployed, however with a slight tweak in hookbait. I'd decided to start trying a few different combinations to see if i could outwit some of the apparently very clever residents that are still on the 'to do' list. So over the top of it i opted to try a VNF pop up on one rod. It turned out to be a good decision as the rod ripped off not long after dark, but with a re-capture. This said it was interesting that it had worked and i felt it might do so again through the course of the session. Indeed it did, but only for a Tinca.
The time for the next 48hr session came around and unfortunately there's not a lot i can write here.... because i blanked!! A swift reality check of why our sport is called fishing, not catching, i guess!!
Not to worry though, we can never win them all and i'm sure there will be more to come. Hopefully i'll be getting out for a 24hr session or two over the coming 10 days or so.
In the meantime, tight lines and thanks for reading,
I've been a quiet on the blog front recently, so i thought it was time to have a bit of an update on the last month or so. Things have slowed a little on the club lake, due to the fish spawning therefore a bit of enforced break was in order.
Before they decided to get amorous, i had managed a few sessions, but things had proved a little tricky. I'd managed a 24hr session, where the night and typical 'bite times' just didn't produce, so in the end i had to chase them. Just when i thought i was on for a blank, this little chap turned up. Only a low double, but was welcome all the same and fell to an Xcel Baits Prototype hookbait over KSC Freezer bait on a margin spot.
So, as the fish spawned i hoped after they had packed in, i might be on for a good session, so decided to get another 24hrs in just after they had finished, but long story short, it was a bit of a repeat of what had happened previously, with an apparent lack of action leaving me a bit flummoxed.
Once again i had to go after them and after locating fish basking out of the wind in areas of weed, i set about trying to stalk one from the holes and thankfully it took literally 5 seconds to hook one on the first drop in! After a tense, explosive and fairly quick battle where i could take no prisoners due to the weed, i was made up to have got myself out of jail again with this 18lb 4oz Common.
Looking forward i'd managed to get myself a weekend free from work and as the fish had the best part of a week to rest up and get back on the feed properly post-spawning, i was raring to go on a 48hr social with a pal. I decided i was going to hit it with a good amount of bait and prep started a day before, with 5kgs of hemp prepared over which i planned to introduce the same in Xcel Baits KSC Freezer baits.
As i got my stall set out for the first night, things were a little quiet and as we'd had a Westerly wind on the lake, i guess that was why, however as the night drew on things changed and the fish started to show over our areas. Unfortunately as it turned out, i think i got done on the right hand rod, leaving the rig fishing ineffectively and the liners i was getting ceased, to be replaced by even more on the left. Just on dawn, the left roared in to life and i was in to the first one of the session. A lovely little 14lb 8oz Common.
I was now confident of more, maybe not while the following night, but i knew they'd be back. As it turned out, the day passed without event and as the second evening began to come in, it was clear the Carp were bang on the feed, with fish crashing everywhere and fizzing hard over the baited areas. I was quick to get some more bait in, with around 25 spods of hemp and another Kilo of boilies on each spot.
Before night fell, the fish were well on it, with liners every 10-15 minutes on the right hand rod fished in deeper water. But i had to sit back and wait, while in the meantime my mate showed the way bagging three fish to 17lb+ in a few hours before midnight - The liners continued on my rods though, including a savage on whilst photographing one of his fish!!
Then, just as the first trickles of light filtered through a dank morning sky, the right hander absolutely evaporated off. Not so much as a minute pause as an angry Carp sailed off at a rate of knots after taking a liking to a prototype fished on a multi rig. The fish put up a good account for itself but after a few lunges under the rod tip, was soon in the net. I recognised it straight away as a fish i caught last autumn at 20lb 15ozs, so i hoped it would do 20 again.
A real old, endearing warrior this one, that has definitely seen a bit of life, with a slightly kinked back and long frame. As it happened it went exactly 20lbs, which i was well pleased with and this was to be the last of the action for us both.
Again it looks like it may well be a couple of weeks before i get out for any longer sessions, but as things stand now i'm on 22 captures for this season, with 19 of them different fish. I set myself a target of 25 for the year so i am absolutely over the moon with how things have gone!
Hopefully it will continue!
Last week i was lucky enough to get out to a new fishery with good friend Tony Delaney, to a complex known as 'Wetlands'. The site is actually an Animal park, but is also home to two cracking looking lakes and it was The Specimen Lake we had our eye on. We met up with Bailiff, Dave Wilson on the Tuesday afternoon to have a good chat about the lake. Dave was very approachable and friendly, so we got to know a little bit about the place, before choosing our swims and getting sorted.
Recently re-developed, the Specimen lake has had a mountain of work done on it, to open it up to Carp anglers, with massive swim developments and also lots of snag removals, to create what i can only describe as a veritable Carp Anglers Paradise. Looking around you can imagine what the lake would have looked like beforehand, so the place is a real credit to the Owner, Richard and the other lads who have grafted to make it in to what it is now.
If we weren't already impressed enough by the set up and Richards infectious enthusiasm for his project, when we were invited around for a social and a BBQ with a few of the other lads that were on that evening, courtesy of the man himself, we were totally sold! Outstanding hospitality and we had a good laugh too.
So, on to the fishing itself. The lake is around 9.5 acres and has loads of nooks and crannies, with literally dozens and dozens of features to fish to. The water level was actually down a bit while we were there, but the lake is quite shallow anyway, with average depths around 3ft, although there are bars and deeper areas too. The swims themselves were quite literally some of the best i've ever seen to be honest, with acres of space, all spotless and each having its own Car Park close by.
This shot was taken from 'Peg 5', whilst being built, looking back across to 4 & 4a. We fished in the pegs you can see opposite.
Peg 1 right at the other end of the lake, showcasing how immaculate the swims are.
Pegs 3, 3a & 3b, command a large area of water.
Among the Geese and ducks, you do get some rather regal visitors to your swim too!
After the BBQ/Social, it was actually dropping dark in to the first night, but we had already found or spots earlier, so it was just a matter of casting back out and baiting up. Left hand rod was in a channel a couple of rod lengths off one island, fishing an Xcel Baits Prototype hook bait and the right hand rod was on a Hinged Stiff Rig, presenting a 16mm KSC Pop up, out to a separate island. I then spread a mixture of KSC and VNF Food Sourced bait, that i'd glugged in KSC Bait Soak, over both areas. I did have some action pretty quickly, with one aborted take and another that came off, but i'm not sure if it was a Carp!
As Dawn broke, we were greeted by a beautiful, misty, atmospheric scene that gave way to bright sunshine and we knew at this point it might be difficult to get a bite until the following evening. Once the main heat of the day had passed, i found a few fish basking in the corner near where i was fishing and the only way i could really fish for them was on a zig, as they weren't interested in anything on the deck. So i hatched a plan and decided to free line a zig, fished just under the surface, so i could see what was happening. The weight of the tubing and lead clip was enough to sink the hook bait to fish effectively. Plopping a lead on them would have spooked them, so i ran with it to see what happened.
Unfortunately we couldn't surface fish as it's prohibited to safeguard the water fowl. Unbelievably after a short while a fish came and sucked in my trimmed White Xcel Baits KSC Fluoro and i was in! The fish fought well and gave me a bit of a beating out of the water too! Only 13lb 8ozs, but it was a start and my first ever Carp on a zig too!
After this i got the rods sorted for the second night, we got sat down for a social and all of a sudden the Hinged Stiff Rod went nuts and i was in again. Turned out to be a scraper double of 10lb 6ozs, but it gave a good account of itself and was welcome all the same! I anticipated a take might be on the cards as the fish had started to move a little more.
Shortly after this, Tony was in also, but unfortunately the fish came off. Bit of a gutter, but you win some and you lose some. The second night was fairly quiet and long story short my rods remained silent until pack up, but in the meantime Tony was rewarded with a nice Mirror of around 14lbs, taken on Xcel Baits VNF.
So the session had been a success for both of us, in tricky conditions, which we were pleased with for a first session at a new fishery. The lake holds fish to over 30lbs with a good number of 20's, but these were probably lapping up the sun somewhere beyond our reach. A 29lb Mirror did come out while we were there, but at the other end of the lake.
Tony and I can't wait to get back to have another go. As mentioned, the lake is an absolute credit to Rich, the owner and the lads who've worked hard to develop in to what is definitely a Fishery to watch. There are plans to stock the lake with a few bigger fish in the not too distant future and there have been fish sighted which have not yet been caught, which could prove very interesting indeed! (If you know what i mean)
For more information please visit www.wetlandscarpfishing.com and you can also follow the Fishery on Facebook.
When you are on a bit of a roll, you can only hope that the success continues and your target lake continues to be kind. Last weekend i got out again for a couple of days on the club lake and hoped this would be the case. Sometimes i can be a bit one-dimensional in my fishing, sticking to the same spots and so on, but i suppose if they're are producing, why change? However this time i was forced in to a change of tact, owing to the area being occupied - This happened to me once before elsewhere and one of my targets showed up, so i approached the situation with optimism and decided to fish a marginal area that i know can produce and then try a little experiment on an area that was clear, but wasn't really known for producing fish.
I chose to drop in with slightly different tactics, opting to fish a blowback rig on the margin spot, with an Xcel baits Prototype hookbait, tipped off with half a glugged KSC Food Source Wafter (This tactic had produced for me earlier in the year). The other rod, i decided to stick with the Hinged Stiff Rig. Over both went a liberal scattering of KSC and VNF and the rest was up to the Carp.
Through the first night, i had liners, however nothing materialised. At first light, i received a take on the right hand rod, fished on the margin but it was a bit finicky and then half way in decided to drop off! It felt like a small Carp, but it was back to the drawing board, so to speak! I got that rod back in and pondered over the 'experimental' rod, that had remained quiet.
The disappointment of losing a fish was short lived though, as the same rod screamed in to life again a couple of hours later and this time the fish was nailed and never coming off - Go figure? The culprit was an old 15lb 8oz Common, to get the session rolling.
I decided to re-position the 'experimental' rod, in to slightly deeper water, in an area i had seen a bit of bubbling, in the hope i could trick another, but despite my best efforts and a bit of wandering about stalking that afternoon, i couldn't bag myself another - although i did get done in the edge, but we won't talk about that! On the plus side a pal had a nice 20lb+ Common out, so they were up for it in the right places.
With the sun dipping down in to the second evening, i decided to get my act together back in the main swim and got the rods out again, but long story short, despite liners through the night, nothing else came my way. The following morning, I knew an Easterly wind was forecast, later that day and anticipated the fish would get on it, so i packed up pretty early with the intention of being mobile and got on the end of it. However my best laid plans were quashed really as the 'wind' never really got on the water and the fish weren't there as i'd expected them to be, so it was back up the other end. Sure enough, the fish were there and looked catchable off the top.
I observed and they were regularly cruising in a particular area and after a while, it was apparent this would be where i'd have a chance. So I settled in, only to have a fish reject my surface fished VNF pop up almost instantly! Undeterred i continued flicking my free lined bait to fish and eventually after about an hour a nice Mirror put the anchors on, tilted up and sucked it in and i was in. As the fish battled to do me in the pads i had to get a little bit serious to keep her out and thankfully won the battle, getting her in the net relatively quickly. Once on the mat, it became apparent it was a bit of special one!
At 18lb 12ozs, it wasn't a monster, but the old scaley beast that lay before me didn't really warrant a number as it was another one that i couldn't really come up with any superlatives for!
I was very pleased with that one and with what looked like a little bit of inclement weather imminent, i decided to get the house back up and do the last night on the favoured spots, hoping i could trip one more up. Sure enough, just after i'd got the rods back in, the rain came. It was apparent after my fish, that they had moved out of the area, with next to no activity at all for a good few hours. As the sun began to set though, as if someone had flicked a switch, they seemed to turn up again, with a couple of fish crashing and the pads knocking. Through the night as is often the case on these particular spots, i had liners galore and at dawn the right had rod ripped off, then stopped. Unsure if the fish was still on or not i picked the rod up and thankfully it was. It turned out to be one of the lakes 'friendly' residents, a fish well known to one or two of the lads. Only a low double, but welcome all the same.
After slipping this one back, the fish were still present to my surprise. The question was whether they were Carp and if so could i nick another? Well, about an hour and a half later, a PB equaling 5lb Tench answered my question and another shortly after definitely confirmed it! A wander around revealed the Carp were elsewhere and despite a quick couple of hours on them, that was to be my lot.
Following this session, myself and a friend spent 48hrs at Wetlands Carp Fishery, located at Wetlands Animal Park and we had a tricky, but successful trip - So look out for my blog on that one - It's an absolutely cracking place!
After the result a fortnight ago which saw me break my PB again, with what is probably the biggest fish in the place, i had to take a little bit of time away from the Club lake, simply owing to being skint! But needs must and all that.
So i was raring to go for a 48hr session, that i'd had planned for a while earlier this week and wasted no time in getting down after work and getting the rods out.
Because the forecast showed a steady wind to be pushing up towards the end i had been concentrating my recent efforts, i decided there was no real point in fishing any other spots, so the approach was pretty much the same as it had been beforehand.
The only difference this time, was bait - they were going to get it. It was clear now they were well on the feed and as is often the case, the more you give them the better it can be. I'd upped the quantity of particle to nearly 10kgs and had also upped the amount of Xcel KSC they'd be getting with it, with the intention to introduce up to 5kgs on top of the particle if i felt it needed it. With the particle, it was nothing special, just Hemp, Corn and Pellet, with a few boilies mixed in here and there.
I'd already seen fish in the area, so just to start with decided not to drop the spod on them for the first couple of hours, to see if i could nick a quick bite, instead opting to just bait with a few handfuls of mixed 14,18 and 20mm KSC. As had been the case with my previous sessions, on the left hand rod i was fishing a Prototype test bait on a multi rig and on the right, a Hinged Stiff Rigged KSC Pop up. This did actually pay dividends, as i got a quick take, not long after getting the brolly up and all the kit sorted. On lifting the rod though, there was nothing there! Unbelievably, the same thing happened again, literally 5-10 minutes later! So i was left scratching my head a little - both came to the right hand rod.
The hook wasn't blunted or anything, so i put it down to bad luck more than anything else, as we can speculate all day long as to why these things happen! As the evening drew on, not a lot else happened apart from the occasional liner, so i gave them around 15 spods of bait over each rod to feel my way in to the first night. I felt pretty confident after things had settled down, as before the sun dropped they were fizzing over the left hand rod. Sure enough at around 11:30pm, the left melted off and i soon had the first of the session in the net.
Got myself sorted out and got the fish weighed. 18lb 6oz, so a good start and the night was still young!
Although after putting the rod back out, topping up with another half dozen spods and more boilies, it just didn't happen, with just a Tench to report the following morning at about 9am. But i couldn't complain and knew i was still in with a shout of more as the Carp were definitely about.
At around 4pm i got another rip roaring take on the HSR pop up, only to be met with thin air again picking the rod up! Although long story short, there was a tonic, as an hour later it did it again and i slipped the net under a fully, which i knew straight away was a recapture - i wasn't too fussed though. Didn't weigh it, just got the pics done and got her slipped back (Was 19lb 2ozs last time).
At this point i was really pleased as i was getting takes in daylight, so i knew if i had a productive second night, i was on track for a really good session and so it proved, after an early Bream the left hand rod went again on the prototype bait and after a bit of a stalemate in the pads, the fish came free and was soon in the net and on the mat, held aloft for its picture taking.
This one went 20lb 6ozs, so it was nice to get a twenty and i was hopeful of maybe one more fish before i had to leave the following afternoon/evening. As dawn came and went, i kept freshening up the spots with a few spods and the liners kept coming, but later that morning, i decided to rest the swim and go for a wander around - the thinking was that they might gain a little confidence without any lines in the swim. Didn't see too much to make me want to change anything and after a quick hours surface stalking i got the rods back in for the afternoon, put the remainder of my bait in and sat back, fingers crossed that i might get one more.
At around 4:30pm, the right hand rod screamed off again and i was in to what felt a decent fish as it powered out in to the middle of the lake. The hinge stiff held fast as i inched the culprit through the pads and what soon lay in the net blew me in to the middle of next week.... a simply awesome Common Carp. Fin perfect, hued with deep golds through to a pearly underside.
What made it more special, was getting to share the moment with a passer by and his 6 year old Son, who were both anglers. I remember vividly the first time i saw a 20lb Carp on the bank like it was yesterday and i hoped it would inspire the young lad, as it did me (Albeit i was a bit older at the time). Thankfully, we managed to get a nice shot of it, after the Reubens had revealed a weight of 22lb 2ozs.
I am absolutely over the moon with this fish and despite the couple of bigger Mirrors i have been lucky enough to extract so far this year, this one is pretty special, probably my favourite.
It was a nice way to end the session, which had been my most successful to date on the Club lake and i hope there's a few more to come yet.
I really can't complain at the start of my season on the Club Lake, having banked a few lovely old Carp to mid twenties and indeed more than i actually caught in a couple of years, before i began to get my head around Carp Angling.
Last Thursday i made my way down for another day session, in pursuit of my 8th fish of the year. I decided i was going to fish off the barrow and go looking for them - They didn't take long to find though.
I positioned a bait in the edge, on a spot i had previously been successful on (Albeit the damn thing cut me off). Simple tactics really. A little PVA mesh bag of Xcel's KSC Chops just nicked on to a Hinged Stiff Rig, presenting a glugged 16mm KSC pop up.
Decided to flick about with a VNF pop up on the other rod, to see if i could get one off the top, so i had all bases covered. Long story short though, i had two aborted takes off the top, the rod on the alarm hadn't produced and it was becoming apparent fish were elsewhere as there seemed to be less of them in the area. A quick scout round confirmed my suspicions and the kit was on the barrow for a bit of a re-location.
I found a couple of clear spots and got the rigs in, both on 16mm pop ups, but this time the surface rod was sorted to fish on the bottom with a multi rig. There were fish in the area so i gave them some KSC to dine on and awaited proceedings.
Time moved on though and i was beginning to become resigned to a blank - then the left had rod screamed off at 8:20pm, literally as i was about to wind in! A spirited fight ensued, with an angry Carp, but she soon hit the net and this was my first ever Carp on the Hinged Stiff Rig.
Gave her a quick weigh and was quite pleased with what was a really pretty little Carp, going 16lb 9ozs.
Had to call time afterwards, but was looking forward to the next session, which i'd planned for the following Tuesday.
I got back down to the lake for about 7am and could see there was already a good chop on, with a brisk westerly and i knew the fish would be on the end of it at some point. So i decided to drop in where i had the above result from. I had a quick couple of drops in with the leads to make sure the spots were clean and decided to fish the Left hand rod on a Prototype hook bait and the other was on what i expected to be the going spot on a 16mm KSC pop up. Over both i baited with around half a Kg of mixed 14, 18 and 20mm KSC Food Source Freezer bait that i had glugged in the matching bait soak.
I sat back under the brolly as the heavens opened and sure enough, the show began as a Carp launched clear of the surface film.... followed by more and more. Then the liners started and the rain subsided. At around 10:15am, the left hand Delkim let out a few bleeps and the bobbin pulled tight. I got up and the rod tip was bent round a little. Picked it up thinking it was going to be a Tench or Bream, but i knew straight away it was Carp and a proper one.
It felt really heavy, slow and i just had the gut feeling it could only be one fish. It stayed deep but i eventually got a glimpse and then knew instantly..... I was already nervous but that was multiplied when knew what i was attached to. Thankfully i managed to get her head up out of the pads and she went in the net first time!
I glanced down and knew it could be my first 30, so after securing her in the edge i had to compose myself. Got my head in gear and got sorted, knowing the self takes were going to be difficult. Zeroed the scales and got the old girl in to the sling in the edge and hoisted her out. The Reubens revealed 29lb 9ozs, which although not the magical number, she was a new PB nontheless!
At over 40 years old, this one will stay in my memory for a long time! Absolutely ecstatic. Will be having a bit of an enforced break now for a couple of weeks, but with a 48hr session planned towards the end of the month, who knows what could happen next!
I had planned a 48hr session this week and was looking forward to it, having seen signs that the fish down at the club lake were finally beginning to respond to bait on the bottom, but as the title suggests, the session didn't go entirely to plan.
The weather was a bit inclement to start with and i just managed to get the brolly up and take cover before the heavens opened and delayed me a bit. Wasn't game for a soaking though, so thankfully half an hour later the rain relented and gave me chance to take stock, get sorted and get the rods in.
I'd found a couple of spots, at close range and put out simple blow bag rigs, on Sz.6 Weed Camo Pin Points, baited with Xcel Baits Prototype hook baits, that are currently on test. One tipped with corn and one on its own. Both with little bags of crushed KSC Food Source bait and i flicked half a dozen spods of hemp, corn, pellet and chopped whole boilies over the top of each. Just to feel my way in to the session.
As evening drew in, the lake went flat calm and fish began to show in the area, so knew i was in with a chance. Got the rods re-done, topped the spots up and had a one toner on the left hand rod, resulting in a nice Tench. Not the target, but now i knew the spot was good.
Got the rod back out and things went quiet, although fish were still showing in the area. Liners started on the close in spot in the early hours and then at around 6:30am, it rattled off, but 30 seconds in to the fight came off. Shame as it was a Carp.
As i knew they were visiting the spots, i stayed put and in the meantime another Tench was all i had to show for my efforts and for the second night, i topped up again, but with much more bait this time, to hopefully draw them in properly.
At around 1am, the right hand rod went in to meltdown and on lifting the rod i smiled, as i knew it was a Carp this time. Felt a decent fish and fought well. I had tweaked the hook bait slightly and it had taken a liking to the Prototype, tipped with half a glugged KSC wafter. Going 20lb 13ozs this cracker had made it all worthwhile.
It was a bit of a cold one on the second night, with temperatures hitting below freezing, so i got the rod back out and got back in the bag, with nothing else happening through until pack up time. Before leaving though i had a quick look around to see if i could find any fish and it proved worthwhile as there were a few fish down at the weedy end.
Gave it a few hours to see if i could nick one, but it all went wrong really as in my first spot i managed a take and it cut me off instantly before i even lifted the rod and the second came off! Suspect the latter was possibly foul hooked though as i had a group of fish all over me.
Glad to have bagged another though and looking forward to the next session as they seem to be responding to bait a bit more now, so i'm sure another wont be too far away.