Jack Of All Trades

 

Trade Show

Alan Blair and Kevin Nash

Back again, albeit a lot quicker this time than the previous blogs I have been sending in – I really am desperate to try and get this all up to date so that I’m not telling you about March in August!! Not ideal and I can only apologise.

Anyway, I managed to miss off the Five lakes Show that we attend each year in my last blog so I thought I would quickly touch on it this time. The Carpin' On Show at Five Lakes is my favourite carp show of the year, exceptionally well organised, great crowd that come along, the talks are always well worth listening too and the banter of an evening really cannot be beaten. This year saw Mr Nash return to the show to do the main talk on the Saturday – you would probably think that a man of his stature in carp fishing would think very little about getting up and chatting to an attentive crowd about all things carpy, but believe me, this was not the case. It doesn’t matter how many times you get on a stage to begin talking, there is always that element of fear or doubt that nobody will listen or like what you have to say and generally the whole thing is going to be a disaster. Kev felt exactly like this before the big speech and although I did feel for him at the time, I knew he would do a great job and everyone would enjoy it. Anyway, the main man Winston came along and filmed it all, so I’ve decided to in bed the video into this piece as you may well find it interesting and informative – I certainly did.

As well as Kev’s talk, the pair of us also collected numerous awards for all our hard work with regards to product we had developed in the last 12 months – it’s always a great honour to receive things like this, so a BIG thank you to all the Carp Talk readers who voted for our products – “thanks to you all”.

Whilst I was at the show, |I also popped over to see Mark at the Rod Box stand. I first met Mark back in the autumn of 2011, where I was honoured to be asked to fish in his World Carp Classic team at the lake Bolsena event in September 2012. My partner in crime is to be Ronny De Groote – bit of a legend in Europe and an all-round top guy. I won’t go into too my much detail now, but by the time you read this I will probably be somewhere close to Rome in central Italy, ideally with a good draw under our belts and fish boshing all over the place (you can only hope).

BaitsAs the days wore on, my roach fishing continued and over the remainder of the week I managed plenty of short sessions just as the days were drawing to a close, catching numerous good 2lb fish and loads of back up’s between 8oz and 2lb.  The fishing was just so enjoyable, a maximum of a couple of hours on the bank and only one rod in my armoury, it was simply a case of watching where the fish were topping and then spraying maggots over the area before casting a waggler and double maggot hook bait over the top.

On the evenings that I wouldn’t actually fish, I would still go to the water and pre-bait certain areas – this usually consisted of mixed particles that I had flavoured up with Sweetcorn Extract and sweeteners as well as groundbait that I had laced with Squid powder – strange combinations, I know (very sweet and very fishy), but I was still undecided if these particular fish preferred the sweeter baits or if in fact due to it being primarily a carp fishery they actually preferred the squid due to the high volume of boilies and pellets that the roach had been naturally brought up on – only time and more experimentation would tell.

Roach Baits

Roach fishing
Success with the roach!

Carp FishingAs well as my regular roach fishing exploits, I was also still getting in an overnighter each week with Kev on our local syndicate water. We had really hit it off through the autumn and early winter. However, like all winter campaigns, once the carp went into that dormancy period of shutdown, they had become increasingly harder to catch. Now with quite a few blanks under our belts, it was a case of keeping our spirits high and continuing to keep the bait tickling in as we both knew spring was only round the corner. The whole winter campaign really had been the basis for so many different things – we had continued to trial a new bait that had been exceptionally productive over the summer months as well as testing new developments in the sleeping bag and bedchair department. On top of this, Kev had also converted me to a new (or should I say old and rekindled) method that really was making us both think a lot more about how the fish are feeding and, more importantly, dealing with our set-ups if they found themselves ‘rigged up’. We spent countless hours with rods on the bank exploring sensitivity in set-ups and although at this particular point we were not catching a lot, it was time well spent understanding what we were trying to achieve and then problem-solving as a result of uncovered faults and issues. To be frank, it was probably far more beneficial to my angling than catching itself! We actually filmed the whole exploit from early November right through 'til late Spring and it’s looking likely that all of this will be exploited on Nash TV in the autumn of this year; keep an eye out for it, guys, I am sure you will not only learn a few bits along the way like we did, but also be amused by the banter (or should I say minor arguments) as we disagree on various subjects and I seem to manage to wipe Kev’s rods out on most occasions. As Kev says, “I play fish like a girl!!”

Fishing camera sessionAs well as filming our winter fishing campaign, I have also managed to get out and film another ‘Urban Banx’ piece with Winston and Oli. It was the day before the river season ended and I decided to head down to a tidal section of the River Crouch, where in the past I had been lucky enough to catch carp from the most unlikely of places (in fact, I had only ever blanked once before).

With limited time on all of our hands, we only had 6-ish hours to get the whole piece filmed and for me to catch live for the cameras. The filming went exceptionally well – I nailed what I needed to say and Winston and Oli are unbelievable at what they do – so all that was left was for me to catch a carp....easier said than done and, even though we left it 'til last knockings with the river now in full flow and the tide rushing back out, I blanked!!! Bit of a gutter really, as the other 95% of the piece went really well. I ended the piece explaining that I would have to get back when the season opened again, so keep an eye out for the next Urban Banx where, hopefully, I will have caught a couple for the cameras and proved that the tactics and methods I showed will put fish on the bank (the photo here is from a different session).

Carp

Carp Fishing

On this note, it’s interesting how many people I speak to that ask me do I ever blank? What an unbelievable question and I often laugh because I for sure have my fair share of blanks and sometimes these can be session after session. Nobody is that good that they go fishing and always catch, it’s just a shame that through the various media outlets that’s its often perceived that a sponsored anglers goes fishing and always catches. How far from the truth this could be?!! Yes, blanking doesn’t make a great video or a good article, however I do feel that there is too much emphasis on always seeing fish on the bank and not enough on the fact that we are all normal human beings and not ‘super anglers’ and that everyone blanks and it’s all part of angling. I’ve seen too many people read the latest article about a tactic and method, only to go and try for themselves and blank – the reality is that blanking is part of fishing and it is certainly one of the fundamental parts of what makes me try harder and harder and drives me to get out there and give it another go.

Alan BlairThe carp fishing sessions continued through March and towards the end of the month I finally managed to bank a low 20 mirror from the same water that I had been concentrating my roach fishing on. That particular session saw the water really warming up and the fish finally starting to move around. This meant one thing – getting on the zigs but, more importantly, higher in the water column than the odd one that I had fished throughout the colder period. Bit of a strange carp this one, because at the time I caught it on an orange attractor Zig Bug that I had soaked in Strawberry Oil Palatant. I have since caught this fish a further two times and, ironically, on all three occasions it was on the same type/colour of Bug and always soaked in the same flavour!! It really is worth noting this, that if you are after a particular fish in a venue and it has form with regards to an area, rig or bait, then it may well be worth compiling this information to achieve your target. I’m certainly not saying it will always work and for sure areas, rigs and baits will eventually blow as the fish become too educated, but it is worth bearing in mind.

On the same session I also managed another good two pound roach with this fish weighing 2lb 9oz – a new PB and a good session all round!

Carp

Zig Bug that I had soaked in Strawberry Oil


I’m going to end this blog with a quick note about the final of my club match of the season. I’ve been fishing for Rayleigh Angling Club for the last couple of years now – I say that in the loosest of terms because, sadly, I just cannot devote enough time to actually fish for the club as much as I would like, but over the course of a year I usually get out to 5 or 6 matches. This match was actually the final where we fished against a number of other clubs from the area – the competition was spilt up into three sections and although my draw wasn’t brilliant, I still managed to finish a respectable 3rd or 4th in my section (never really found out which). I’m a lot better when I have a load of carp in front of me and I can fish the pellet waggler or flat bed feeder, but this particular draw saw me fishing for bits down the edge and the odd larger skimmer and roach on a waggler line at about 20 yards out. Sadly, as a club, we didn’t finish too well but, if I’m honest, it’s not really what it’s about for us. Most of the team are ‘old boys’ (I will apologise now if I have offended anyone) and they are the nicest bunch of guys you will meet on the bank, true gentleman who just enjoy fishing and although we never actually do all that well, I do like being part of the team as they are all such a good laugh. The Match was held at A12 Cutton lakes and just before packing away I asked the owner if he could take a quick snap for inclusion in this blog. Unbeknown to me at the time, the chap in the next peg to me had just lost his umbrella (see below!) – the weather really was appalling and I was glad to get home and have a warm shower.

See you soon, guys – were finally in April for the next blog and I’m really going to try and rattle through the next few months to quickly bring us up to the present time so at least what I am writing about will bear some kind of resemblance to the time of year!

Alan

Fishing match