I am sat down my local syndicate, it’s a very windy and mild day for December but perfect for my final session of 2015. This is my last ever visit to this lake and I’ve had an amazing time here. A lot of hard work and effort has been put in, but it was worth my while as I was rewarded with a new PB Mirror of 30lb 8oz.
Next year I’ll be spending my time on a gravel pit complex, which has 3 lakes in excess of 180 acres. It holds some beautiful originals. I will be spending most of my time on the boating lake, which has a small stock of carp to 35lb. Excited is an understatement, preparations have already begun by downsizing of the gear and servicing of the barrow!
Given the size of the new water next year, it means I need to be a more mobile angler. It’s all about location and this is going to be such an important part in my fishing. Obviously location has always been a key factor but there’s a big difference locating fish in 12 acres of water compared to 180 acres
As illustrated above I’ll have so much ground and water to cover, therefore maximum effort needs to be placed on locating the fish.
I always start to think about the location when I’m sat at home planning my next session. I’m constantly keeping my eye on the weather and looking at which way the wind is blowing, the speed of the wind and the pressure. Upon arriving at any lake the first thing I do is have a good walk round, I cannot emphasise how important this is. I read so many articles which advise on this but how many anglers are actually doing it? Ask yourself the question, had you already decided on your swim choice before arriving at the lake? I commonly hear all the excuses… ‘It’s a comfortable swim’, ‘I can park the van here’ and ‘I want to be on the social bank’. Walking the lake and locating the fish doesn’t take that much effort, and certainly gets results.
My advice when walking round the lake is to take a good pair of polarised lenses with you. I have recently picked up a pair of HoboOptics which are super! Speak to other anglers, most are friendly and there’s nothing wrong with asking if they have seen any activity. Look at the key features such as bays, islands, margins, snags, scum on the water….get yourself up a tree and LISTEN, LOOK and WATCH until you see signs of fish. They will give themselves away at some point, so be patient. If you don’t see anything on your first lap repeat the process until you do. Fishing is all about confidence and there’s no better feeling knowing you are on the fish!
When I joined my first syndicate believe it or not I didn’t cast a rod out for the first 3 weeks. Most of the members thought I was mad, but that PB mirror I mentioned earlier was actually my first fish from the water. This was because I decided instead to visit the lake each night after work and just walk, observe and locate the fish. Patterns started to emerge and it was amazing how predictable the carp’s movement became. At the end of the day we go fishing to catch, so give yourself the best possible chance, find the fish and maximise your catch rates.
Moving on to rigs, a subject that can become so baffling and mind boggling, but only if you let it! In my opinion anglers are not helped with today’s marketing madness. It’s all about the latest ‘carpy’ looking end tackle! I’m sure a lot of you have been there, as I have, and found yourself changing from one product to the next. I’m not saying to stop buying or trying new products as it’s all about personal preference. Fishing should be enjoyable and fun, so if your pleasure is gained from being a ‘tackle tart’ then don’t stop! My rig box only contains four go to rigs.
My first rig is a standard stiff combi which in the main I use for bottom baits. One of the great things about this rig is you get to choose your materials and these can vary depending on the situation. For example, if you are fishing a nice clean bottom then I would use a 15lb supple braid and a 12lb – 15lb fluorocarbon. If you are fishing up against weed or close to snags you can step up the strength of these materials.
My second choice for pop up fishing is the multi rig. You only have to look at the rigs captures to know it nails big carp. Great presentation and you have the ability to change the hook enabling you to recast quickly. The rig allows you to present over chod and silty areas effectively.
The next rig I use is a Chod, in my opinion to ONLY be used when presentation is a real issue. The benefits of this rig is it provides me with confidence that I will be fishing 90% of the time. It also enables you to access areas on the lake previously unfishable and allows you to cast at showing fish making minimal disturbance.
Finally, for all my PVA bag fishing I use a simple short rig, supple braid and a wide gape hook. I find this particular set up gives protection to the hook and gives excellent presentation on the lake bed.
These rigs have always worked for me and I’m very confident in them. They all provide me with different options with regards to presentation and allow me to fish over various types of lake beds. The only thing I would say about rigs is just make sure that hook is super sharp. Always test it before casting out and if you are not happy sharpen or redo the rig, don’t settle for second best. The other benefits of using these rigs are that they are simple and effective. I like the camouflage properties of the fluorocarbon and how when using braid you can match to the lake bed.
I’ve recently joined Sharp Tackle and as a sponsor they are fantastic, great products and service, fast delivery and items very competitively priced. Below are some of the products I have been using.
When it comes to bait, like most I have tried different types of boilies over the years and have had success on all your well-known brands. I mainly fish on boilies and I like to use a bait I am confident in. In my opinion you must be clever on bait selection, depending on the water you’re fishing. There is no point turning up to a lake with your confidence bait only to find that he fish aren’t interested.
A great example of this occurred this year. My fishing buddy and I were fortunate to have a 48 hour session on the intimate Blackberry Pool, ran by Gary Spencer of Premium Carp. I spoke to Gary beforehand and he said the fish loved the CoCo Fruit, set in my stubborn ways I decided to start off on an alternative bait. However, 24 hours later my fishing buddy, who had been using the CoCo Fruit, had landed 5 mirrors to 28lb! This clearly demonstrated to me that I needed to be open to the idea of change.
This year I found myself using a lot of particle. My standard mix is Hemp, Pellet, Sweetcorn, crushed and crumb boilie. The main reason for using a lot of particle was to keep the spots relatively clear, as during the summer months the water became thick with Canadian weed. The use of particle helped with presenting a rig.
When it comes to choosing a bait, my advice would be go for something that’s proven and has been around a long time, results speak for themselves. Living by the Trent, in Nottinghamshire I am a huge fan of local bait company Dynamite and their bait The Source. I would advise to look at the ingredients, a decent bait will contain your big fish attractors such as Fish Meal, GLM, Krill, betaine and robin red.
Next year is going to be very interesting as I’ll be field testing some new baits and will start my first video blog, so I will keep you posted on results! I will leave you with a couple of captures this year.
Happy Christmas and tight lines for 2016!