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Tuesday, 26 March 2013

ATTx v2 Modular System 'A Decade Of Bite Indication'

When I turn the pages way back through my fishing history I remember starting off without any bite alarm, I simply clipped an orange bobbin on my line, total cost was about 50p. There I was contently fishing for roach and rudd, eyes firmly fixed on my float until, WHACK!!!, the bobbin of my carp rod would smack up shortly followed by the rod tip firing round, I knew I was away. This was exhilarating to say the least and it was this feeling of excitement and sheer euphoria that got me hooked on carp fishing alone.

After a good few years of slumming it I eventually got around to buying my first Optonic, I loved it and thought it was the best bite alarm on the earth. Years passed and different indicators were slowly cropping up on the shelves in all my local tackle shops. Even back then Delkims were the cream of the crop but I found myself drawn towards the Fox micron, I loved the design and shape and still do.

After many weeks of saving my cash I bought a set of Fox ST's, they had volume and tone and were real fancy compared to my now old Optonic. A few years on I moved up to the SX series because of the sensitivity option. Finally I arrived at the DXR's, I absolutely adore these alarms and still use them to this very day. The wireless handset and vibration settings really added a new dimension and even compared to todays standard of alarm, they're up there with the best of them.

After years of solid use I found that the handset started to tire, in the end it barely worked a meter away from the alarms. This got me looking into possible replacements, I was to fond of the old school micron design to give them up. This is when the ATTx V2 system came into play and I'm so glad it did.

It allows me to use the old with the new which is perfect. I really rate the ATT technology and I was so impressed with their receiver, I went and purchased a pair of their silent alarms for my two rod setup. I picked these specific alarms because they are simple and built rock solid. The standard two mag roller wheels are great because they allow for a reasonable amount of line movement before going off. This is perfect when you are fishing slack lines with a fair amount of undertow, it erases any false indications but is still sensitive enough to register a subtle take. 

I know there are mixed views and opinions about alarms with roller wheels freezing, seizing up etc, I don't take a great deal of notice of this. I have used roller wheels for all my fishing, sometimes in the harshest of conditions and I have never had any problems. To keep the sensitivity when fishing slack lines I will use a slightly heavier bobbin. There's always little adjustments you can do to make your chosen alarm work the best for you. 

ATT Silent Alarms And Receiver

The handset itself is an exceptional design, it comes with 10 different tones, an increased 'LED Light Up', meaning they will remain on for 30 seconds after the last buzzer signal is received, 'Last LED Activation Recall', this gives you the option to be able to review the last LED/alarm that lit up, plus an awesome vibration mode. This enables you to have the receiver on silent and vibrating ferociously when you get a run. This is perfect for me, I have never been one to have my buzzers up loud.

Simple And Effective

The beauty of this bit of kit is the fact you can use it with most other bite alarms that are on the market, as long as they have a 2.5v jack input in them. The ATT dongles simply plug into the jack socket and it instantly turns your desired alarms to wireless allowing you to use all the features of the receiver.

Receiver And Dongles

My DXR's And ATT Dongles 

The receiver mimics exactly what is coming out of your alarm apart from the changes in tone, the reception from receiver to alarm is huge, way further than you'll ever need to be away from your rods. My favourite preference is having the receiver on silent and in my pocket, this way I am totally connected to whats going on at the end of my lines.

All in all it really is a great bit of kit and modernises most older alarms, if you have a set of bite indicators that are close to heart which you don't want to part with, give-em a great boost with The ATTx V2 Modular system, you won't be disappointed.

Below is a video containing a basic demonstration

 Modular System Demo


Side Note

I don't earn any commission for selling any of these items. This review is to help anyone out who is interested in the above products.

Friday, 15 March 2013

The Stock Pond 'Cold Water Carping'

As I sit here writing this blog there's one hell of a snow flurry outside my window, I was going to celebrate the fact that I'd battled the banks and made it through the winter but I think it maybe a little premature, I suffered some hard blanks but also managed to land a few. 

There's something quite liberating knowing you've braved the waters all year round, the other week we had a taste of spring and I for one can't wait for it to arrive, the banks give birth to beauty once more and the carp will be coming on the feed. All the approaches and tactics that have been refined during the colder months will be put into practice.

The Stock Pond closes at the end of the month so I decided to focus my efforts on this water alone, it's the only lake on my club that has a closed season, to be honest I think the closed season should be brought back, mainly to allow the fish to adjust and get back into the swing of things. Also with a few months with the pressure off, it might generally keep the waters in better shape.

The Stillness Of Winter
The Stock Pond is pretty shallow touching about 5 1/2 feet in the deepest parts, I was working on the basis that due to it being one of the shallower waters, it would warm up quicker and the fish might just start having a nose around. In this blog I have compiled a few short day sessions, I knew it was going to be a challenge but yet again I had a gut feeling I could get a few bites if I approached it correctly.

Firstly I knew location was paramount but with the fish rarely giving themselves away it can be tricky to find them. Secondly I was going to scale the bait right down opting for single pop ups with a few bits of ground up boilie literally ground down to dust. I wanted maximum attraction with minimal solid food items.

The rigs I used were very straight forward, I was fishing a semi fixed 'Weed Inline' from 'Carpy Chris' and a simple pop up. These leads are great because you can glug them, the material used to make the imitation weed holds the flavor very well. I was using Rig Marole Hydro-link Micro as my hook-link and coloured to match the lake bed.

A Simple Setup

I had a good walk around a few times when I arrived for my first session. Through the summer the open water had been producing for me, I wanted to try a few different spots because it stopped producing when the weather got colder.

First of all I setup along the back margin fishing one rod tight along the edge to the left of me with the other straight out in front where the lake starts to narrow. I moved from this swim after about a hour when I noticed a few carp banging through the small set of reeds situated down the bottom corner of the lake. 

A Quick Change Of Swim
Before casting both rods out I thought I'd see if I could get a quick bite with a single bait, I gently flicked my rig a few inches off the reeds and laid my rod on the ground. Within about 30 seconds the tip swung round and I was into what felt like a pretty sizable fish. I was using my big river rods so the fight was crazy being a slightly lighter rod than my standard 3 1/4 test curves. The fish was powering around and I couldn't do a great deal with it, I kept the pressure on and steadily guided her towards me, this went on for a good 15 minutes. 

Just as I thought she was starting to give up the ghost she made a last chance dash for an underwater bush down to the left of me. I hate these situations because you have to put a fair amount of pressure on to prevent them from reaching the snag, I gave her side strain but she was steaming towards the bush at speed, I applied a little more pressure and as I did ... ping!!! the hook pulled. I was very frustrated to say the least because it felt like a real good fish, the angle was so tight and I gave her a fair amount of welly, I feel these two factors contributed to the hook pull.

I got my head back together and got both my baits just off the reed bed, both on pop ups with a few 'mini spombs' of ground up boilie over each. I was fishing Starmers Honey Nectar, both hook-baits had been gluggled. The ground up boilies were a mix of Honey Nectar and Strawberry Mivvi bottom baits.

Bright And Fruity

Screaming Attraction

My rods had only been out for a short while before I got another ripper, this time I lifted into the fish and kept steady pressure to make sure she couldn't rush for the same snag. After a good scrap I slide a fat looking mirror over my net, she looked like she'd been through the wars, scales sunk to 17IB.

A Stock Pond 17IB
I slipped her back and got the rod out again, what followed was very frustrating. It was obvious that the carp were milling in and around the reeds because I could see them. I went on to loose two runs due to annoying circumstances. 

The first was real bad luck, I had coots diving on my baits so the bobbins were being pulled up and down like crazy. Dusk came and I was still getting major grief, there was one coot that was continually going down on my spot, the bobbin was going crazy, the coot surfaced and my bobbin stayed pulled up, it took me a good few seconds to realise a carp had taken whilst the coot was diving, these few seconds gave it just enough time to get into the reeds. 

By this time the light had gone, I went to reel in my other rod and there was actually a fish on it, it had picked the bait up and just sat on it. Due to me fishing so close to the reed line it had managed to snag me without any indication. I got my rig back on both occasions but it was so frustrating considering this time of the year takes are few and far between.

Due to these shit circumstances I was itching to get back down so I decided I'd come back the following day to seal the deal. The plan was to put a little bait in and come back to fish the same spots the following morning.

The Wait

The following day when I arrived at the lake the whole water was deserted apart from two other anglers..... and, you've guessed it, they were setup in the swim I was planning to fish. And to top it all they'd had a 27IB shortly after casting out.

I had a quick scout about looking in the marginal growth to see if I could see any signs of fish. It all looked pretty dead, I decided that I would fish the first swim really tight to the reeds to the left of me, fish do get right up in them so I thought it was worth a go.

 Second Swim Choice
The approach was very much the same but I decided just to fish single pop ups without any loose feed. I glugged both baits and got them out on my chosen spots. The water I was fishing couldn't have been much more than 2ft so I had a feeling that if I was going to get a fish it would be around dusk because due to the depth of the water and the fact it's cleared right up, I didn't think the carp would feel comfortable coming in that close in the daylight.

Time ticked by, I arrived at the water about midday, the hours were passing pretty fast and before I knew it the temperature was dropping and the sun was fading. It really felt like bite time and I had a real sense that something was going to happen. Sure enough dusk hit and with it my left rod tore off. I hit into the fish and it felt like a good one, baring in mind I was using my barbel rods, mini bait-runners and 10IB line, all the fish I hook into feel powerful, it really is a joy to play carp on light tackle.

The fight went on for about twenty minutes, the fish was kiting around, left to right and doing it's best to bury itself in the remaining weed, after what felt like a decade I teased a big grey mirror and a ton of weed over my landing net..... RESULT !!!.

There are a few name fish in the stock pond and I'd gone and caught 'The Grey Lady' at 22IB 4oz. In the height of the season she can go up to just under 24IB, she really is one hell of a fish and doesn't half bloody fight.

The Grey Lady 

Spotless 
After a few photos I got her back and proceeded to pack my gear away. I was working the next day but I was thinking I'd be able to manage a few hours late afternoon for sure.

Rigs

Just to touch on a few points regarding my rigs, the stock pond can be a little tricky in regards to presentation, there is sporadic weed even this time of the year. When you get your bait out, there's a pretty high chance that you could find yourself on some kind of minor debris. To overcome this I fish my pop ups as low as possible, I don't like to have them to high because if you find yourself fishing on a clear bottom and baiting up with bottom baits, I think a pop up stands out like a sore thumb. I position my putty directly below the hook eye, this gives me confidence knowing the bait will settle proud on anything it lands on and it's low enough not to look suspicious.

Top View 

Side View 
 
The following day it was very cold, I arrived at the lake around 1:30pm. The wind was freezing, I knew I'd have to really be on the money to get a pick up. I walked around to the reeds and couldn't see any signs of fish, the wind was pushing down into the bottom corner. From the day before I remembered seeing a few bubbles coming up in the open water towards the corner so I thought I would position a bait near the area. They seemed to appear mid-afternoon so my timing was perfect, once again I flicked a single glugged pop up out, the other bait went smack bang by the reeds.

The rods had been out about an hour before my open water one shot off at speed. I lifted into the fish and had a real good scrap, before long I was sliding a real clean looking mirror over my net. Scales sunk to 18IB, very pleased. I got her back and recast, the hours passed with no more action but nabbing one in the short window I had was great.

An 18IB Beauty
It was a good few days before I could make it down again, by this time we'd had solid rain for a while. I thought I'd venture out, arriving soaked at my swim I got my rods straight out, once again, one on the reeds and one just off. I was wet through and the ground was getting waterlogged underneath me. It was one of those days where it just didn't stop.

I arrived at the water for midday and had a sense that if I was going to get a run it would be around 3:30-4:30. I sat tight sitting on my hands and just watching the water, time passed slowly but I decided I was going to just leave my baits without a recast. 

Sure enough at about 3:15pm my right hand rod rattled off, by this point the rain was crazy and I got so drenched getting the fish in. Another lovely looking mirror graced my net, scales sunk to 17IB, I was cold, wet, and stank real bad but it was worth it.

It Was Worth It
No more action came that day, I was happy to get home and have a nice warm shower. All in all I was happy with my sessions on the stock pond, it has been really cold but it does prove that if you can find the fish, even in extreme conditions they are catch-able. The stock pond closes at the end of March and I do plan to get some more time in. When it reopens a few months down the line it will be packed, it always is for the first few weeks before people lose interest. 

I really feel the single hook-bait approach played a big part in helping me bank the fish, as we know the carp don't munch that much in the winter months, it goes to show with the right location and a bait you have confidence in, they will slip themselves up once in awhile. Bring on the spring!!