Sometimes it's difficult for me to write regularly when I'm not catching much, but I'm glad to say that the boot is now on the other foot and I'm having to write regularly just to keep up with the fish I'm catching! I'm in a real purple patch at the moment - definitely the best fishing I've ever experienced. I'm even having to stop myself going to this pit as I don't want the carp to become wary of the area: Remember, I've only got access to one swim! So I'm baiting up with sweetcorn almost every evening and fishing on average only one or two evening sessions a week. In total I have fished there 12 times including that magical first visit when I had the 37 lb 12 oz beauty. Since then I've caught a lot of fish, but none as big as her! To get the statistics over with I've included dates and weights of all the fish I've caught. I've also included when I lost fish to show you how since I've altered my rigs and playing style I've stopped losing fish. As a further bit of fun I've put in the weather conditions and I think they say quite a bit!
July 22: 37 lb 12 oz mirror, lost 2 fish, overcast and wind pushing into my bank.
July 23: Lost 1 fish, weather as above.
July 24: 21 lb 3 oz mirror, lost 1 fish, weather clearing up.
July 25: No runs, clear sky with high pressure.
August 1: Lost 1 fish, clear sky.
August 4: 28 lb 8 oz mirror, weather becoming stormy.
August 5: 23 lb common and 6 lb male tench, stormy.
August 6: 19 lb 8 oz mirror and 14 lb 5 oz common, overcast.
August 7: 29 lb 4 oz mirror and 7 lb tench, overcast.
( Gave it a rest in case the fish became wary! )
August 15: No runs, high pressure.
August 17 to 19: Crabtree Syndicate. Lost 1 fish. Stormy.
August 29: 25 lb 6 oz mirror, commons of 23 lb 6 oz and 19 lb, very stormy,wind pushing in hard.
August 31: 24lb 4 oz mirror, still very stormy.
As you can see, I definitely catch more when the weather is windy and rainy, so am subsequently timing my sessions to coincide with these conditions.
Something I'm very pleased about is that I'm not losing fish anymore.
This is due to a few changes in the rig and playing departments! I've always been confident in very short hooklengths ( 4 to 6 inches ) and small hooks ( sizes 7 or 8 ) but as I was losing so many fish this had to change. I've lengthened my hooklength upto 7 or 8 inches to try and allow the hook to flick further back in the carp's mouth.
I've also changed upto a size 4 hook to get a better hook hold. I've also changed hook pattern to an ESP Stiff Rigger as I thought a straighter, less curvy hook may stay in better. I haven't had a hook-pull since! I'm checking the hooks every cast and if they're blunted or the point scuffed then of course I'm chucking them away.
When playing the fish I've found side-strain, keeping the rod under the water, really puts them off balance and you can sometimes bundle them into the net quite quickly.
Some other changes I've made are basic ones like 25 lb Snakebite instead of 15 lb and I've gone upto 18 lb Suffix Synergy mainline. My Dad says I may as well use shark gear!
I'm using a grain of ultra high buoyancy foam to pop-up the sweetcorn hookbait, and it only needs one no.6 shot to keep it on the deck. When a carp sucks at the bait because it is popped-up it will fly back into the fishes mouth, the hooklength is already straight to the lead ( thus Snakebite! ) so Bingo - storming run. The shape of the bait and having the last inch ( the pop-up bit ) of the Snakebite peeled back also make it very difficult for a fish to eject the bait without hooking itself. Lead wise, an ounce is enough for self-hooking, and doesn't make too much of a splash. I'm not bothering with back-leads or lead core as when the fish move through the swim they are usually in quite a feeding frenzy, and don't seem to notice my 18 lb rope cutting through the water! I suppose I'm fishing under my tips anyway so it's not as important.
Other points worth noting are concerning bait. To help the carp home in on my hookbait in particular, I've started using flavoured corn on the hair. I've opted for a mix of Richworth's Condensed Milk and Hutchy's Mega Sense Appeal! Quite an odd combination, but worth giving a go - it really does the trick. Also,I don't bait up heavily on arrival as I'm only fishing 5 to 6 hour sessions, so I want my hookbait to be eaten. I bait heavily when I leave so they have something to come back for.
That's it - every last detail, and it's a setup I'm 100% confident in. How often do you see me write about being confident! They call me Mr. Paranoia at the other syndicate I fish! Talking of the Crabtree Syndicate and this being a diary piece, I should tell you about a recent visit I made there…
I went over for a weekend to give the other venue a rest and ended up being sat under my shelter for three days as it rained almost non-stop! I found a spot I fancied in the margins in about 2 feet of water, but very clean gravel so I gave it a go. When my rig was in place I could actually see my bait from the bank! Needless to say I had my bedchair very far back from the water's edge. I used a 14mm Hi-Betaine hookbait over 3mm Hi-Betaine and Slicker 45 freebies. This seemed to work well and at 4 am on the second day I had a run. Unfortunately I suffered a hook-pull, which I really don't understand, and that was it for the weekend. I should've moved swims as I'm sure the fish earmark areas as dangerous when a fish is lost or a lot of noise is made.
After that, as you can see from the timeline, I went back on the other lake and took a few more good fish including my first brace of twenties! I'll be over again soon I'm sure! I'm also going to Yateley for the Stoney and Friends / Anglersnet fish-in, when I'll be on the Summer Pit after crucians. Apparently it has been a bit hard of late, but I'll give it a go, and we'll all raise a lot of money for Macmillan Cancer Relief in the process.
I've got to say sorry to any non-carpers for the very carpy contents of my diary lately, but
it's been going really well and I can't get enough. Don't worry I haven't bought any bivvy slippers yet, and I'll be back on the rivers come winter!
Hopefully by the time this is up on the site I'll have added a few more fish to the list!
Tight lines as always,
Fred - 2001