Baits and Bites.

When I’m fishing these days I tend to try and make things as simple as possible for myself. The fact what all the pro-anglers go on about all the time, even though they always have the most expensive gear on show, keeping things simple?

Regarding bait I always take pellets and corn, with worm on the odd occasion or when I have them. I no longer take groundbait, that may change in winter. But mostly pellets cover for almost 90% of my fishing on commercials now days. I’m sure they are feed (pellets) so often by anglers that the fish regard them as an almost natural bait. The two days fishing were a contrast, one day I had eleven fish the other just two. The eleven fish were all singles, the two fish on the other day we’re both doubles.

The last trip was the most interesting I believe. The eleven fish were caught on the pole eight meters out, then in the margins 3 to 8 on the day, a WORKMAN LIKE DAY FOR A GOOD RESULT. But the second day at 8 meters I simply could not buy a bite on the bottom. I should have fished up in the water on that morning until lunchtime, when I did eventually try it (to late) I lost two fish momentarily hooked. Its a method I must try more, and get better at.

The swim I’d chosen I really didn’t fancy much. Moat had a match, and Bridge was filling up quickly. Croft pool I just missed out on as two guys pipped me to a swim I had fished before, it also had a decent margin for evening fishing. Thinking to myself now I must not panic next time, as there are always places if you look around. This evenings margin swim was just not right, can’t explain it, but you know if you’re a commercial carp angler.

What I should have done?

I only had four bites in several hours fishing (slow) two hooked and landed, one spooked off, one foul hooked, I think? Maybe I will get around the foul hooked fish eventually by using paste, or corn hook in, not hair rigged. I also go a long time wasting time, waiting for the margin fish to come in. Some days it’s after lunch, others not until 3pm or later. So from 10 am until margin time, I must find where the fish are feeding. My plan next time will be bomb and pellet, feeding hard pellets until the fish come up in the water. Then shallow fishing just to see. If that works even a bit, it will be something.

Well, did it work? Kind of, but thats for next time.

Information and decisions.

Two decent days last week at my now local carp lakes, Hallcroft. But this week (Monday) I decided on a different plan, I’d fish the river lake until inch time, then move onto the bigger lake, Moat this time. I brought some maggots and caster at the local farm then set up on the little lake, disturbing a nice little carp in the margins doing so. I’m always really quite when setting up, its from the old days when my Uncle Alan would say; “Practice to be quiet son” every time I banged the wicker seat box down, or knock the flask over.

I feed a lot of bait in one spot over two hours and caught endless little Rudd and Roach, lost two small carp and decided I’d buggered up the new Drennan Aqua Silver fish elastic 4-6 by setting it too tight (bumping those carp) and cutting off any excess, I’ll learn? But soon it was time to move onto the big lake and set some traps.

As I was moving I stopped and had a quick chat with a guy fishing a few pegs down from me. He was a lot younger than me, maybe 40s but pleasant and offered some information willingly. Apparently he had been fishing about 7/8 meters out, feeding and fishing hard pellets. I moved maybe a dozen swims above him, and set up the Matrix pole at 7 meters then feed 3/4 pellets 6mm and 8mm over the top every few minutes. We’ll there must have been a carp down there waiting for me, as I had a nice fish about 9lb almost immediately. I really took my time landing this one, after losing a few fish last time out. I did not use the puller bung, but landed it nevertheless in minutes. The purple hydro doing a great job now its run in, so to speak?

The depth was about 5′ and with the strong wind blowing in the bank I thought about those fish I’d missed out on, on Bridge the other week. The time I should have moved and didn’t. The wind was blowing directly into the bank and fish were feeding in the tow some 8/10 meters out. Three more fish followed (one a double) until around 3.30pm when I started to bait the margin beside me. I feed with groundbait (mistake again) corn and pellets, and fished 8mm hard pellets on the hook.

Now here comes that learning bit, I feel if I don’t try to alter things that are going wrong, then I’m at fault, not the fish. Last time out I foul hooked several fish, and thats not good. I reasoned my hook link, or rather the length of line between the bottom bulk shot and hook were just too high, around 6”. So that when the carp moved over the bait they would catch the shot and spook, or get foul hooked. On Monday, three good fish came in the margins and spooked off, I could see them and the bow wave they left behind, what was wrong. We’ll it was that too long distance from shot to hook. So I re-plumbed up again and made sure the bulk shot 4 no 8 were just off bottom, 2” at most. The hook-link was 3” so in theory the bait was 1” on the bottom, perfect.

Did it work, we’ll yes it did. I took another 3 margin fish 2 doubles and a single all on hard pellet. I’m convinced that if the carp feel that bulk shot, they will also spook at that. So having a very short hook-link of 3” maximum on the margin float rig one, stops it getting caught up in fins and tails as it hangs below them, and two, with the float shotted so its one inch off the bottom the float is taking the weight as it should, the carp suck everything in its mouth and its took late. The weight cannot be ejected fast enough to stop self hooking, if it does try and eject it, the weight causes the hook to catch the carps bottom lip, and sets itself. Now I’m just surmising and maybe thats not the reason it works, but that night it did and I had no foul-hookers, and landed all fish hooked.

I’m back tomorrow and this time will just feed the margins like I did the open water with hard pellets, fishing for one fish at a time. It does seem the fish don’t mind pellets being dropped over their heads, maybe they have their heads so down, they simply not notice them. Or maybe they are creating so much silt and stuff, they think they are doing it. Whatever, it seems to work ok. I’ll feedback later in the week.

Perfect, no mouth damage, no scales missing, fat as pudding!

Wednesday. Much the same as above, but I found a good margin swim, very good. The carp really wanted to come in a feed, only 2′ deep and flat. Just pellets 6mm and 8mm not groundbait, or corn. Only one bream and ten carp during the day and evening. Two fo the carp fought so hard I did think they were foul hooked. But the good old Purple Hydro did the job. Eight more doubles with two beast of 14lb and 15lb.

One of three big units that graced the landing net. Net 55cm by 50cm.

Weather and summer carp!

So I’ve had a few trips since I last posted, but they were somewhat of an anticlimax. I put it down to very changeable weather, that being cooler, and much less sunshine than the previous weeks.

A small commercial close to my home.

The last week found me on Moat twice, both times with the wind in my face and both times it was raining steady all day. I thought the carp would be mostly in the bottom layers, or even feeding on bottom baits. But I noticed they were also on top many times. This fooled me and I wasted a bit of time on the bomb, when maybe I should have been fishing a waggler. Evenings found me in the margins, but the carp failed to appear in any numbers.

I’m very unsure what I should do down the edge in truth. Baiting up makes sense, but if only one or two fish show they can feed without you knowing much about it? Then they can bugger off, you need a lot of fish in the margins to get them less cautious, so they feed with confidence. I’ve tried several approaches and have come to no firm conclusions. I think you’re best to feed something maybe groundbait, with a few large items. Then top up if the fish show, that way you have the attraction without overfeeding. But truly I think it’s all down to the right conditions for the fish to come in the edge, hot day, sultry evenings are best. Rain and they seem to be all over the place?

So I had a few fish, but no big catches. I’ve also lost a few fish, I’ve concluded they are foul hooked fish, why you may ask do I think that? Well, it only occurs in the margins when you’re in relatively shallow water. The float and line pings back after a time, I’ve witnessed this with other anglers and it seems quite common when fishing shallow. One chap opposite me last night lost two like this, and another guy I spoke to last week also suffered such pull outs. So it seems margin fishing can be fraught with problems, some you can mitigate by careful feeding.

I’m hoping for some hot weather for next week. I’d like to try some open water shallow fishing with the pole, and get the pellet hybrid feeder going on days its not obvious what the carp want. It seems it works well for many that simply cast out any place and catch carp, all sizes. Strangely I’ve caught a lot of bream in the margins when the carp haven’t shown. As many as eight fish, all bronze bream but small, maybe 3lb max. Anyone that fishes for bream know the margin is not a place you expect to catch bream?

Proper carping, ha,! ha!.

Understanding commercials.

I know a good number of carp anglers read my blog, and not just those that fish commercials, I’m eternally grateful to you all. I’d like to explain to those folk why I changed from what many call “proper carp fishing” to fishing holes in the ground full of ugly looking carp?

And that’s just half of the lake you can see?

Actually it came about a few years ago, when my own carp fishing was going through a very difficult time. I was fishing for some very big carp in a local lake that were not playing ball. I’d gone most of the season not catching, and it was having a negative effect on my mind. So I simply had a try at a local commercial and caught a load of carp, 44 fish in a session to about 8lb on a little light Avon style rod. It was just fun really simple fun, it made me feel good after so long not catching. I still continued my other carp fishing, but called into the little commercial near home from them to time. All the commercials I fish have two things in common. They are attractive, in beautiful places, and full of fish, I don’t fish those featureless holes in the ground. One place I fish is very large, several acres in fact and has lots of swims on non match days.

Whats not to like about this place then?

Is the fishing easy, yes, but not in a way you may think, honest. You can go and catch fish most days, but getting the best out of them demands a different set of skills, just like those needed on A1 pits, another place I’ve often fished. Some-one like me may catch five-ten fish in a session, but a real good experienced match angler would catch twice that amount, why, it demands a skill set.

One thing I have found critical is, finding where the fish are feeding on a given time of day. You will not catch fishing on the bottom if the fish are mid-water and vice-vesa. That applies to all carp fishing, but on commercials it seems more critical to me. You may catch a few fish near the bottom, but many more if you get the depth exact, a bit like zig fishing really. Feeding is also critical, get that right and you can double the catch. And those that think the often caught carp are not cute, trust me they can be very cute. Because the fish get caught so often, they know a hook and rig and can be very fussy and finicky when feeding.

Lastly I’m getting old now, and simply cannot waste my life not catching fish. I’ve not got Terry Hearn’s skills or time to spare waiting for maybe twenty bites a season. So I hope all those guys that decry my type of carp fishing, understand a bit better and accept even commercial carp deserve more respect.

No two days are the same!

On the Monday I fished Bridge again. There is no doubt this lake has some very big fish resining in it, 20lb+ at least with many back up doubles. The swim I picked was at the far end of Bridge, but parking behind the peg. It was busy as Moat and Croft had matches on them. But i did think the swim was decent one, as I found some hard gravel 6 meters out and in the margins too. I now carry a 4oz sea lead with grippers to run over the margins, taking out anything that may snag on the fish. It takes a second, does no damage, but helps keep the bottom clear and the carp safe I feel?

Margin swims are not all the same it seems.

It was about 20 degrees cooler than last week (30 deg) and you needed a jacket, just. Once set up I couldn’t help notice some 20 pegs down to my left fish rolling in the strong wind some 8 to 10 meters off the bank. In hindsight I should have moved, but in my defence I also has the wind on me so thought the swim was a goer. Sadly I was wrong, and while fish after fish leaped, I sat fish-less?

Sat at home after just 3 carp for my full days effort, I got to thinking that those carp were feeding in a tow caused by the wind hitting the bank and pushing back any food items some way into the lake. Because the wind was not as direct on my end, the tow did not occur. But as mentioned in my last post, I’m learning all the time, and Wednesday came around.

Nice coloured ghost koi type carp.

Today one of the guys in the shop told me about a match the day before, and how a lot of fish had formed at the bottom end of Moat. I did not need another lesson as the wind was in my face, I set up a bomb rod to fish short. The 11” Tri-cast was loaded with 8lb line with a 6lb hook link. I feed 10 x 8 ml pellets, followed by about 15 x 4/6 mms. I had to wait about 10 minutes before the line bites started. Then the rod almost pulled off the rest with a nice double common being landed. I continued in the vain until mid-day when the bites suddenly stopped. I’d taken eleven carp, most around 6lb 8lb but with two doubles.

Mirror image.

Now its that hindsight again, but this was the time for the pellet waggler, as the fish had clearly come up in the water, despite my irregular feeding patten. But the waggler rod was at home (@£$!&%*) So I sat fish-less until around 4pm when I took two more fish from the margins. It’s clear too, some margin swims are better than others, I’ll have to work on understanding why. Possibly I feed the margins too early, as I caught four bream out of the peg. Maybe the feed is gone before the carp come in, or maybe they spread the food too far over the area?

But thirteen fish in a day at Hallcroft, is still my best effort. It’s getting clearer what and how to do things, but the enjoyment is the drug. Just to see we can all do stupid things, on Monday I broke the tip off my new pole top kit? Another one is £40 so not worth having it repaired really?

The leaning curve.

I’ve fallen in love with margin fishing for big carp, its just gotten its hooks in me and I’m enjoying my fishing more than ever. On a good day, overcast and light rain the fish will visit the margins all day. On bright days it’s more towards the late afternoon or early evening, 3 pm and later?

Great place for margin fishing, all those lilies, and big carp.

I’ve gone through a series of lost fish recently, but have decided its not me but the way I’ve been feeding the fish in the margins. Several have been foul hooked and knocked my confidence so much I changed the elastic to another. The Guy in my local shop convinced me that the Matrix Slik I’m using, has too much stretch in it. We did a little test and he was right, spot on really. An experienced angler would probably get on better with it, but I’m a novice don’t forget? So I’ve made a change to Daiwa Hydro a well know, older brand but with a bit less stretch in it, its hollow to, we will see?

Feeding the margins

If you go back just a few years ground-bait was all the rage to use.

Margin fishing 2013.

But today many of the top anglers would just feed a heavy particle bait to stop the fish blowing the bait all over the swim. They also bait away from the margins by maybe two feet, and fish behind it. Feed now is 6mm 8mm pellet and corn, with maybe hemp to see keep the fish grubbing about. But now groundbait unless the fish don’t respond to the particle approach. Fishing a float behind the feed stops a lot of foul hooking, something none of us want.

Margin fishing is demanding and rewarding. It possible to catch a dozen fish in a sitting, if you get the feeding just right. Ideally you want just one or two carp in the swim and feeding kept to a minimum, but we all go overboard when things slow down, we put too much bait in, then the problems can start. Fish all over the swim, but you cannot catch them, or you foul hook them. You have to think one fish at a time, the old Steve Ringer video is old school. Now it’s a little and often, one fish at a time.

The learning curve of pole fishing for bug carp.

Red Letter Day on Hallcroft.

It’s worth remembering I’m a novice pole angler, and very much new to commercial fishing. I’m very well aware the likes of Hughes, Wootton, Kerry catch big weights of fish all the time, but they are professional, it’s their job. So when I have a great day its modest compared to those guys, but still?

I arrived at Hallcroft around 10am and sat fish-less (apart from a foul hooked torpedo) until 2pm. I’d been baiting the margin swims both sides of me since I arrived, so expected some interest later in the day, as is Hallcrofts form. When big carp arrive in three feet of water, its difficult not to notice the tail pattens and vortex big fish provide. In such dirty water however they really don’t see you, so the game is to be patience and get the float behind them if possible.

I watched a great You-Tube clip from a well known angler that suggested baiting about a foot fro the bank, rather than shorter. The idea being you can get the float up against the bank, and save foul hooking fish, something that happens a lot when margin fishing.

Anyway, I took a nice fish of about 8lb a common, as brown as those in my local reservoir that sunbath in the crystal clear waters. Then a stunning white ghost carp of 15lb+ then a fish around 12lb then another around 12/13lb then a stunning black common of 19lb dead, and finally a mirror or about 14lb. I weighted the Ghost and biggest Common so i had some idea of the other size. All fish gave everything on the 18-20 elastic, I’m sure the strong wind provides extra oxygen on hot days, hence the long fights. But five doubles and a single I was really made up.

I’m getting to understand a bit about the fishing when its good, and times when its not as good. On Monday the lake was not busy, with maybe just twenty anglers on. The fish need food every day to keep their size, so they find yours very quickly on non busy days. On other days when its packed out, bites can be at a premium, and while you catch the numbers are down. Those days they have a abundance of grub and can be picky. Wind also plays a part in summer, not like on some vast waters, but scum does build up on the windward side, and that mean food stuck in the surface film for the carp to eat.

There was a lot of insects on the water yesterday, from your normal buzzers, to a small numbers of lake olives. I bet when the damsels get on later in the year, the fish will be on them in numbers. Just to say not every trip is like this. I was back the next day, and the lake was full as Moat and croft had matches. I only had one nice carp, and a small tench. Looking about it seemed now one was doing that well, odd fish only. What was that I said about busy lakes and lack of fish? BACK NEXT WEEK.

Summer carp.

So today I ended up back at Hallcroft lake’s fishing Bridge pool. Matches on Moat and another made the place rather busy, but I did find a nice spot not too close to another angler. I had to put up with one guy and his pal talking bollocks about Brexit, the Conservative party, and the C/Virus. Why do people have to shout while fishing to their pal in the next swim, don’t they know sound carries?

The swim I chose was really too deep for what I had in mind, a nice bit of margin fishing. I would have liked under three feet, but this one was about four. It meant I could not see fish coming and going, so feeding was difficult, and in hindsight I possibly over-feed from the start. But I’m new to this type of fishing so I will learn. I had two poles with me, once a short 4.5 meter with 14-16 elastic, and another 8.5 meters with 16-18, I caught on both today.

I only had three carp and two silver bream, but the carp were a nice size. One just under 12lb another 10lb and a stunning almost fully scaled one about 6/7lb. All were caught very close in, on worm and pellet 8mm. I feed soaked pellet, that was 2mm left to go to mush, with some Almond Goo added to the mix.

I had the sun on me all day, and next time I will find a swim with some shade, as it makes you very tired just sitting still. Bridge has a lot of carp in it, they were swimming around all the time I was there. Dozens of big carp 5/6lb to doubles. I’m told match-man Lee Kerry has had a genuine 20lb fish from Bridge? The Yellow elastic (the lighter of the two) seemed perfect for the size of fish I was catching? I’m still unsure when to use the puller bung, but tried it a few times and nothing broke! So must have done something right on the day.

I had the car brakes done this week, discs and shoes £300, nothing cheap these days is there? Now the water pump has packed up on the window washer and that’s another £90+. The part is under £30, so it shows the cost of a man’s time in a garage now days?

I’m looking forward to a trip to my local commercial now I have the poles sorted, should be fun. I’m also learning not to start too soon in summer, as the fish feed best from 2pm onward to dusk. Then its in the margins you will find them. Passing another birthday this month, I’m finding a lay in in the morning suits me fine. Mrs B is always up by 7am, making tea and coming back to bed with the lazy old bitch Day May. She too is getting on and also enjoys her mornings lie in with Dad and Mum, after her breakfast. Once I’m back on the river I will give her some trips with me, as she loves a day out on the Trent.

Catch up soon guys.

Big carp fishing made easy!

I want to tell you about a trip I had last week to a big carp commercial lake, where the fish run to almost 20lb. I did manage a few modest fish to maybe 6lb, but opposite me were two young lads (well young to me 30s maybe) and they were hauling big carp out, like they were roach fishing. They must have had a dozen big carp (all doubles) each in maybe 4/5 hours fishing.  When I packed up I walked around (keeping my social distance) and asked them exactly how they were catching so many big fish. They so very kindly stopped fishing and explained in detail just what they were doing.

Both were using 8 meter poles, with strong elastic, fishing right in the margins with pellets, 4 mm and 8 mm on the hook. By right in the margins, I mean, I could see the fishes tales as they moved around the edge looking for food. They even offered me a try, but what with the conditions we have right now, I declined. I was so grateful for the advice. What a difference between Match carp men, and so called specimen carp men that hide in green tents and snarl at you when you pass or say hello?

Anyway, its made me look at poles in more detail, just for this specialist type of carp margin fishing on commercials. At first I thought of buying a really short pole, maybe 4.5 5 meters. But after spending full day on the net looking, I decided on a 8.5 meter, not too long (28 feet) but big enough to sneak down a margin far enough away to give the carp a feeling of security.

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Now I know nothing about poles, I’ve never been at all interested to be honest however, I see there merits after watching those match lads doing the do! I could use a long rod maybe my 15′ Daiwa barbel rod, but the pole offers more options. Plus I’ve just sold a few rods off and had the spare money, The pole I brought was under £200, so not one of those thousands of pound jobs you do see about.

Then I had to find out about the elastics you use for such fishing? There are hollows, solids, hybrids, duel core, boy the mind boggles. I watched a few You-Tube clips and choose a Matrix Hybrid slick in 16-18 and 18-20, the former suggested by a known angler on the Tube saying the later could be a bit too much for a novice, I’m grateful for that help. These match scene guys do seem more welcoming than the background I’m from, thank heavens for that?

You-Tube offers so much advice on Pole fishing, you would have to buy a hundred books to get such information. Plus watching allows you to stop and rewind when required. Right from setting up, to how to get the most from a swim. Feeding, pole cups, elastics, pellets, playing fish, floats, I could go on. You can learn so, so much in a few hours, then save them and watch again.

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Once the pole and bits arrive Ill feedback on any fishing trips with the pole. I’ve had a few trips and have taken a few nice bags 20lb of silvers from Eye Kettleby Lakes. I’m also still making the odd float in my spare time. All being well I’ll have a trip today to a little place I know, keep well all.