A quick trip, nice to be out.

The best laid plans, or so they say. My day trip to a local stocked carp lake was curtailed some today, as I found it flooded, over the banks into the tree’s. So it was onto the Trent for the second option, and hopefully maybe a nice roach or two. However the river was also over the bank, fishable, but I’d not taken the right gear for heavy river fishing. So it was onto a very small lake close to home, again with stocked carp. This time I had the place to myself, totally on my lonesome, the wind was howling through the trees like a young hooligan.

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I set up a simple ultra-light Guru maggot feeder 12 grams and started casting close in, restricted by neglected overhanging trees, there branches not allowing any over-head casting. It was really very cold, and the hot flask of tea was wonderful. I’d guess the temperature did not get above 3 degrees all afternoon. By 3pm I’d packed with just a nice bronze bream of about 3lb taken on pellet. I was not expecting much, with the weather being so foul, so the little bream was well-come.

I thought about the fishing in my life and how much even such a short trip pleased me. I’ve not been very recently and I’d missed it big time, getting rather depressed in the process. I’m planning much more this season for the spring, the local lakes big bream are rarely caught, as are the tench. One chap showed me the way last year catching several nice tench over several weeks on match tactics with worm, caster and corn. He didn’t get into the bream however, and I think that was more to do with his location rather than his technique. So come the first sign of a little warmer weather, I’ll be on the banks long range bream fishing, I hope?

Back on home water.

A large roachrudd

So I’m back on the Tent for the foreseeable future, fishing for roach, and barbel. Now the heavy floods are receding I’m sure the better fish will be in their winter holts, and hungry. So the plan is to fish a new beat (to me) and also a local beat I know reasonable well. The approach will be feeder with hemp and caster, backed up with a bigger outfit if the barbel turn up. I’ll be putting a bit of meat out in the feeder now and again, plus I’d like to try 10 ml mini boilies for the better roach.

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While the water is not known for big roach (a pound fish being a clonker) I did see a few much better fish feeding during a big midge hatch a few years ago, they were well over a pound. I think the reason these fish don’t get caught often is lack of numbers, and their cageyness, sitting back in the swim, and feeding well after dark. I’m seeing more big roach being caught on large pellets and boilies in the news, it has to be worth a try. So that’s me and what I’m doing. My recovery from cancer is slower than expected, but I’m able to fish and thats all that matters right now. As usual I’ll let you know how I get on guys.

 

 

It’s that time?

For the past few weeks I’ve been stuck, wanting to fish the rivers, going to fish the rivers, but finding them too high due to heavy rain. It seems to me is if it’s rained every day since I ended the carp foray I enjoyed so much. So I’m going back to the carp on A1 pits and also to see if the big lake giants in my club water are feeding for winter?

So with hope I will wet a line soon and have something to talk to you about? As an aside, you can follow me on Facebook (look at me all new school ha!)  should you like. I’m also very interested in politics and trying to make sense of what PMs are saying. My views are my own, and I don’t support one party, even though I do lean to the right slightly, Corbyn terrifies me. On Facebook I will argue for the facts, so lacking these days.

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A picture to cheer us all up maybe?

 

Timing!

Simon Crow did a cracking article in this months Carpology Magazine about luck, or lack of it at times. He said how being on the right place at the right time didn’t often happen, but when it did, the stars aline, and worlds collide, and the fish Gods smile on us. Good things can happen when you get it all right, unlike my last two fishing trips.

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The rivers been up for a while due to the all the autumn rain we’ve been having lately. But getting the timing right to go fishing can be guesswork if you don’t live close by. I’m fortunate that the river is just minutes away, and I can drop by with or without a rod anytime. My last two trips found the river running simply too quick for effective ledgering, and the float would just bomb through. It was within the banks however, and not over-coloured. But it will be a weeks time before it’s perfect. I did have a few hours fishing the slacks, with a few dace and roach showing up, but the big chub and perch would take more finding when the river is settled. It was interesting how a 3oz quiver tip was too heavy and fish were missed.  I’m sure a 2oz tip would have been much better for the slacker swims, the little dace feel that heavier tip and drop the bait instantly. Going much lower like a 1oz tip, would be too light in some of the quicker glides. I’m still thinking carp, but just fancied a change for a week or two. I’ll be back soon.

 

Quick change.

I’m hoping my readers will not mind my HEADER change. It’s something I’m going to do from time to time, just to jazz things up a bit. Maybe it will reflect my current fishing each change, right now, stalking!

My recent trip to the A1 pits on pit 5 resulted in rather a disappointing day, I simply couldn’t find any fish moving. I baited several spots and found all margins very deep, so next trip I will have to do  bit more looking without a rod, or maybe just some determined feature finding close in. I’d hope to find some bars or other features.

Also it rain all day big time, I’d taken an umbrella and thought maybe I’d just fish a swim for a few hours, but what one? It’s a big pit, over 15 acres I’d guess, so making fish finding all the more important, to me anyway? I could pick a swim and be 200 yards away from any fish. No, I’d stick to what I’m doing and keep looking, sadly just one of those days.

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Lets go stalking.

I’ve always done carp stalking one way or another most of my life. At times its been with a float, or just free-lining, bread or worms. Being able to watch big fish feed is so exciting especially when your hook-bait is close by.

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Spot the red topped float in the margins. I’ve always stalked carp in close.

When I arrive at the lakes its early morning, but the sun is up and on the water. There is no point stalking carp too early in the day, as you simply cannot see them until the suns up, and the fish are moving. In just a short time being around theses lakes, I know the movements on two of the lakes carp, and a little on the bigger one. Five and six are strangers to me as yet, but in the coming few weeks I’ll catch up on five, six will take a full season I’d guess.

I leave all the stuff in the car, change into my comfortable walking boots grab the sunglasses, wide brim hat, bait tub and set off walking. All I’m doing is looking for carp cruising, returning from their nights foraging. They mostly work the same margins they have done for years, the sunny side, where is just a little warmer. Sometimes they feed all way back, dropping down in margin hot-spots, or hopefully where my tit bits are positioned. On a new lake is just guesswork, but you do find areas even in the margins the carp like better than others. These become your banker swims, and ones you visit first each trip to trickle bait in, over again. If things are going well on the day with catching, I’ll feed these swims but not fish them, simply getting the carp’s confidence up in that spot to feed. But on hard days they can be the only places you have a chance of catching on? Often I’ll put the bait in a position that cannot be fished due to snags, or risk to the carp. It’s only when I know they are feeding hard, that I’ll put some more bait in a fishing position. This maybe only a yard away from the original spot, but it will give me a much better chance of landing a big fish.  (I will cover a Stalkers kit requirements in another post, maybe when the fishing is slow in the colder months?)

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26lb Italian mirror taken on a float under the rod tip, on a very wet day.

Once back at the car, I take out the rods and reel, then long cast the main stalking rod with a Gardner twist buster lead to reduce any line twist or curls in the line. During a day I doubt there is any more than 15 meters of line used at any time, it’s this that gets the wear. Also 20lb line is a bugger for twists and jumping off the spool when you don’t want it to, like when you hook a fish. Then its loaded back on the reel with care, and the leader checked for cuts of nicks. I’ve gotten into this routine now, so it’s second nature, but it’s so important to re-do all knots and just be sure all is 100%. Then I will load up with all I need for a few hours stalking. In summer its without a chair, substituted by a home made camo cushion. Everything I need is in my unhooking mat, including two mini stainless rod rests. One has a snag type head, the other a screw fitting for the camera. Another rod 6′ sawn off for floater fishing, in close, bait, hand towel. A very small ruck bag on my back has camera, and maybe a drink. Spare leads, hooks, and some small bits and pieces. Everything else is back at the car, including my tea making kit with teapot and real tea and china cup.

It goes like this, if I catch a fish, it’s back to the car for a celebration cuppa and a think.

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I fish for the bigger girls, but sometimes the teens jump in when your backs turned!

9.30 am. The first swim I visited was empty, but the second had fish tails up feeding, a sight you never get tired of seeing. The swim had no room for anything apart from my rod, so I sit well back with the rod placed on my open landing net that just hangs over the banks edge. This keeps all the line off the ground away from twigs, stones, leaves, general crap. The rod tip is over the waters edge by maybe 10”. A car drives up the lane past me, another angler looking for fish? In the car? It’s what they all say to me any-way! He doesn’t see me and carries on. I glance back (the whole sequence having taken just a few seconds) and the rod was off the net and in a fighting curve as the 17 pound common tries to get under the near tree branches. Fortunately the gear was too much for it, so when it turned my net was ready. I’d guess it took more time to sneak in position, than it did to catch the fish, but that’s stalking for you.

I’ve found if bites don’t come within ten minutes on feeding fish, something is wrong. So I’m in a habit now of using very small leads, recasting after 15 minutes, or moving on. It could be the first cast you get a hard landing, but the short hook-link is hidden, or sticking up. I’ve had times when a second cast brings a fish within seconds, so now every cast has a small bag attached, just to stop situations like this, but they do still occur on the odd occasion? Some folk don’t believe you can go fishing for 8/10 hours, but only wet the line for an hour or so. It’s true, it is all about finding fish,  knowing you’re not wasting any time. Many times during the day, the carp are simply not feeding, it’s those times when they are browsing, a little tit bit might tempt a big old girl. When not feeding a large bed of bait is pointless, but a single tiger, or two grains of corn can work.

I like to carry the little sawn off loaded with 12lb floater line. It’s a just in case situation, like what happened a few trips ago. It was hot and all the fish were under the trees and bushes, out of the sun. I was between two large trees overhanging the water, when a nice carp swam into view on my left. He sat there just mouthing the air (under the tree) as they do when it very warm. No way could you get a bottom bait in the spot, but a little piece of bread, or floater? Understand the fish was about eight feet away, so the sawn off was ideal. I put two floater baits directly on the size 8 wide gape x hook, then simply lowered it in slowly onto the carp’s nose. Without any fear, it took, I struck, but oh!!, too soon. The hook caught in a branch, the carp bolted, I cursed. That chance would not have come without the 6′ swan off. It’s a 3.5lb so ideal for the job of knocking fish off balance and straight into the net, before they can get going. Also I can free-line bread, crusts, floating pellet. I cannot remember how small it goes, but it gets lost in the unhooking mat.

Fish two came from a deep nearside bank that had no snags as such, but rushes and lilies   the carp would shake as they feed. Only the odd underwater flash and rocking reeds gave their presence away. I cast to my right and almost hit my own bank, but it was still 6/8′ deep. Then the rod was placed in the rest and as I sat back the line dropped right back, then picked up and traveled to my left, the little lead doing its job. This 13 ponder was again landed quickly, but I gave myself the luxury of allowing the fish to take a bit of line, once the danger as over. Both fish today were commons, back for another cuppa at the car and maybe a bite to eat? What will the afternoon have for us?

In the past I’ve had my blanks, not just at the A1 pits but most places. It’s a method that takes time to adjust too, and you have to learn about the carp, and the lake itself. Contours, deep margins, shallow close in bars, solid tree lined banks that are un-fishable, but the fish hide in safely. Popular swims that have always bait in them, unfashionable swims that you cannot get a umbrella in, all you take in and learn.  You walk a long way, some days not seeing hardly any fish at all. However you do get to know the fish, where they are at specific times of the day, what the big one does in the morning he/she will be doing next day, and the next and most importantly when they feed best.

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An earlier time when this 14 pounder found free-lined lobworms irresistible.

It’s not something you can do with two rods, alarms, a big umbrella, television, or barbecue. Those that have spent thousands of £s on three rods, a spod rod, marker rods will have to put them in the attic and forget about them, you just don’t need all that stuff for this game. I must tell you a little tale of something that happened to me last week.

I’d been baiting one of the lakes for a few weeks, in a weedy but accessible spot. The swim was unpopular and had no real features you could see, but I’d seen carp they’re most trips. I was just getting the gear out of the car when a chap pulls up and said he fancied fishing in just that spot. I told him I had feeding carp on a spot, but he seemed determined to fish there. Apparently he had just done two nights and blanked, so wanted a move and a fish. So I took him down to the spot, showed him exactly where I had baited (minus the carp) and said fine, the fish are right in the margins. He thanked me and I moved to another swim, just around the corner.. About half an hour later, I saw fish moving across the lake from his direction, past me and onward. So I walked back around to see what was going on? He had moved his car to the waters edge, put up his brolly, 5 rods (honest), kettle and everything just ten feet from the FEEDING spot? I simply walked away and thought what a waste of a prime spot. I genuinely thought he was going to just drop a bait in the edge and sit back for a few hours, this was after all morning, he had all day and night to set up camp? Maybe stalking is not for everyone, I hope he caught as he seems a nice chap, but totally clueless about water craft.

I think some folk have a blockage, they see carp fishing as 5 rods, a big umbrella, and overnight stays. For me thats camping with the fishing thrown in, anything that stops you catching is a hindrance. They have so much gear, and bait goes in so quickly, they see it as an investment they cannot give up. I’ve told many people over the years when I’ve seen moving fish at a reasonable range, cast-able range. They also tell me things, so why not be generous, but I can count on one hand the number that have moved on that advice. I even had some fish on-top just 50 yards from one guys swim that were taking my floaters, would he move, no he was on “bottom baits” today? “Well you can only take the horse to water?”

Stalking, getting it just right!

I’m really excited writing this, as I have such a lot to tell you about my recent trips and the fish I’ve managed to catch. So let’s get started. I had a full two days this week, Monday and Tuesday, these seem to me to be the least busy days as regarding fishing pressure. However its still very busy, even on quiet days, fortunately most people get set in a swim and don’t move once settled.

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This week I choose pits 1 and 2 both have nice fish in to around twenty pound or so. The weather on day one was difficult, cloudy, rain, and a cooler east wind pushed across all the lakes. When the sun did poke its head out, fish could be seen, and would feed in the margins. I have been using a few crushed tiger nuts, maybe six along with a single one and my hook bait, the smallest I can find in the tin. Along with a pinch of hemp and maybe an odd 2/mm pellet. Thats it, the amount would just cover the palm of my hand, or half fill the mini pocket rocket (yellow) from Gardner.

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Most anglers use far too much bait when fishing for carp, I plan just to catch one fish out of the edge at a time, that’s a simple mouthful. The fish then continue to look around the  swim for more food, then move on, returning over time. If I managed to get my one fish I can repeat the feeding all over again. With such tiny baits the carp are not frighten, do not see it as a dangerous situation, and take the bit will great confidence. It means you don’t have to use complicated rigs, in fact I don’t balance the tiger nut anymore. I prefer the bait to remain heavy so the fish has to really suck at the bait. If I want a balanced bait, I’ll use plastic corn to sit just on top of my free offerings, at times a bag is more suitable.

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I like a supple braid hook link if possible, four inches long. A tiny bag the size of a golf ball (not a tennis ball) really that small, full of the items mentioned attached to the hook, saves me thinking about tangles after casting. I cannot over stress the need for neatness and small amount of bait, think one fish at a time. I use a small hook, size 8s x strong. Attached to this is a 40lb Nash supple leader 6′ long that sinks quickly, and is abrasion resistant,  a 20lb main line, with my 3.5lb 9′ Century CQ rod. It allows me to fish in places others find difficult, like near snags. Every swim gets a review for fish safety, if you’re quiet and bait as I suggested, fish will move out of the snags to feed. Too much bait and you’re buggered, I really don’t know just how little amount of bait you could feed, but they know form yards away it’s there.

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Anyway, day one and I found some fish moving along the margins. I dropped some bait in to intercept them and before too long fish were on the bait, looking for more. Crushed tigers are such a puller for big carp, just a few nuts crushed and two whole will work really well. I don’t use a rod rest set up as many do, the rod just lays across the grass or most often, my landing net. Takes are aways savage, with the rod being pulled towards the fish in a fighting curve, the clutch begrudgingly giving line. The first fish a nice common of 15lb did mange to get under the trees, but the CQ rod was too much for it, and it was landed and released after having its picture taken. The second fish came after I’d been baiting and waiting some time, I thought the carp had gone when all of a sudden, the tip was under the water and the clutch giving line. After pulling it from the rushes, the second time a nice 17lb common was landed and returned. The second day was like a re-run of the first but the fish just a little smaller 11lb 13lb, but from another one of the smaller pits.

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I cannot tell you reader just how much fun and productive carp stalking can be, you have to get into it and do it right, and it takes a few trips to work it all out. But once it all comes together, you don’t look back. I really don’t know how long this will keep going as it gets colder and the fish slow down, but they still have to have their autumn feed yet?