Saturday 23 June 2012

Chase Lakes 'A Formidable Effort'

I saw chase lakes on a 'Carp TV DVD' and was really surprised I hadn't heard of the place considering it's about 30 minutes from my door step. I decided I'd go and check the place out before fishing there, I shot down one Sunday afternoon to have a nose around. It's in a country park, there's a back lake and a front lake, the front lake is the harder of the two, the fish are wise and from the looks of it it's very weedy. 

The back lake called out to me straight away, it's big but it has lots of great marginal spots and a few islands, it spat out a 42IB a few weeks back, that's yet to be confirmed. I spent along while watching the water, the wind was blowing down into the first half of the lake and there were carp jumping along the margins. I had a word with a few anglers who were fishing, there's a good head of doubles and twenties with a fair few 30's and upwards. Obviously hearing this my mind was racing with 'where I was going to fish' and 'what tactics I was going to use'. On the drive home all I could think about was going back with my kit and getting the rods out.

My first session didn't go according to plan, first mistake I made was going on a Sunday and the place was rammed, I had no other option than to fish a small bay on the back of the wind, I had one fish out which was probably the smallest one in the lake at a whopping 3IB, not quite the monster I was expecting. It was a frustrating session because options were limited. I put it all behind me, I guess it was good not to have a blank.

The next time I went back it was a different ball game, I fished a point that had two islands and a channel to the right of me. I am not the greatest distance caster I think my limit is about 75 yards and then it all goes out the window. The islands were a fair cast, I managed to get them pretty spot on after a few attempts.

My Swim
My right hand rod was fishing tight to a marginal line that led to a shallow channel. After a few casts I found that it was weedy in a few areas so I found a clear spot about a rods length off of a overhanging bush, it felt like soft clay which was perfect to present a rig on.

 Third Rod Position
Before I even got a chance to set my landing net up my left hand rod was off like a rocket, this was on my island spot. After a slight wrestling match I slipped a tired looking mirror over the net, scales sunk to 17IB, I was very surprised I got a run so fast, it was an odd looking fish that had obviously been through the wars, unfortunately she had bad mouth damage which is always upsetting to see. I got some antiseptic on the effected areas and gently slipped her back.

17IB Chase Mirror Carp

I whacked the rod straight back out and added some more bait, a few minutes later my right hand marginal rod flew into action, teasing the fish around the point of the reeds, I had a fair scrap before netting a lovely looking common, scales sunk to 12IB. This was great because I knew they were on the bait and my rigs were doing the job well, my confidence was now sky high.

12IB Chase Common Carp

I re-cast, baited up and sat back to catch my breath. One thing I'd like to mention about Chase and something you will no doubt experience if you go, are the swans, they really give you hassle, they literally attack you so you've got to keep your landing net handy at all times to keep them away.

Swan Alert

I have yet again been experimenting with combining baits, I've found a Starmer cocktail which I call 'Telescopium' that seems to be doing the job, I am going down to the lakes with my PVA bags already made, this saves so much time on the bank especially if you're wanting to get you rods back out quick. I have 100% confidence with the cocktail I have come up with, also the advantage is, combined with a PVA nugget masking the tip of the hook, the bags make the rig very 'anti-tangle' which is a massive weight off the mind. Before hooking them on I roll them around in my hand to grind the contents down, this also tightens the bag up so when it melts it explodes out on the bottom leaving your hook bait sitting nicely in an inviting pile of freebies.

The Telescopium Blend 'Little Bags Of Secrets

Shortly after re-casting my right hand rod, it was off again, this was a ferocious take stripping line like mad. I lent back into the fish and felt straight away that it was big, it was powerful and really steady. I managed to guide it round the mouth of the channel, she was peeling line, tightening up the clutch, it still just kept forcing line off the spool. A good 15 minutes had gone by without so much as a sighting of the fish, I just took it easy keeping the pressure steady waiting for her to tire. 

Slowly but surely she started to give in, the fish topped, it was big, a real lump of Chase mirror. I gently teased the fish over the net, as I went to lift her out it struck me that I'd caught one of the big girls, luckily there was someone around to take a picture. I put her in the sling to weigh, there was part of me that thought I'd done my new PB. Scales sunk to 30IB. I was over the moon even though slightly shell shocked.

30IB Big Girl

Side On

This really was a great result and will be the reason that I join Chase lakes, my UK PB is 32IB and I feel this lake is the one that I stand a good chance of beating it on. She really was a beauty.

Slightly off topic - I have been refining all elements of my fishing in recent months and one change that I feel is helping me is my hook-link material. I got myself some 'Jelly Wire' which hasn't been out on the market for that long. In the past I've swapped between Silkworm braid, Merlin, Amnesia and Fox Illusion, there is an amazing fluorocarbon called 'Seaguar' which goes totally invisible in the water, I've caught countless fish with it. The thing I like about Jelly Wire is that you can strip it. In the past I would make my own combi-rigs using the albright knot but it's very time consuming, I've never been a fan of strippable braids but Jelly Wire seems to be a little different.

My Hook-Link
I heat shrink a tiny bit of tubing on the bend of the hook and bend it off the eye, 'top of the shank', this makes the rig spin into the bottom lip, every fish I hook it connects in the bottom lip with a very solid hold. Very rarely do I loose a fish once hooked. I got my right hand rod back out on the spot and topped the swim up, it had only been in about 15 minutes when it shot off again. 

This felt little a real big fish, I couldn't do a great deal with it, it started to make its way down the channel, this was a tricky situation because due to the angle of my line it started pulling against a section of reeds that were down to the right of me, I couldn't get the angle to apply the pressure properly. I held the rod out and up to give some side strain but unfortunately the angle was so tight the fish came off. I was gutted because this was another big fish for sure.  

The Reeds
After that everything went quiet for a few hours, I recast a few times and continued to put bait out. Because I had now moved all three rods along the margin leading into the channel, I thought I'd move my left hand rod back out onto the island. Because I had baited up there in the morning I thought there might be some carp sniffing about. I hammered the rod out to get maximum distance and managed to get it right underneath an over hanging bush. 

A few hours went by before out of the blue my island rod burst into life, I lent back into the fish and it was instantly taking line, putting up a really scrap. I was starting to get the fish closer in underneath the rod tip when my middle marginal rod started screaming. There was no one around to take it for me so I just had to let it run. I was trying to rush the fish I was playing but it wasn't having none of it. 

Eventually I got her in the net, legged it over to my other rod and lent into it, it had gone into the reeds but I managed to tease it out. I got her in towards me pretty quickly and ended up slipping her into the net, I'd bagged two carp. The rigs were tangled and it was all a real mess.

Double Take 
The bigger of the two weighed in at 18IB, I didn't bother weighing the smaller one, they were both beautiful looking fish.

18IB Chase Lakes Common
After slipping both fish back, my rigs were a total birds nest, I cut the lines, this signaled the end of my day, and what a day it had been. The back lake at Chase is by no means an 'easy' lake. It's very big, has a few weedy areas and a load of places that carp could be hiding. With a little bit of observation and careful baiting, results can come in abundance, I will be heading back there soon to see if I can bag another big girl. 

Wednesday 20 June 2012

Bovington Lake 2 Short Session 'The New Awakening'

My Colchester Angling Membership has been staring me in the face for a few days now. After much mental debating I decided to go and fish Bovington lakes. It's about a two hour round trip from home but totally worth it for the fact you're fishing a water with carp knocking 40IB's, lots of 30's and loads of 20's and doubles. There's also reported to be plenty of double figured tench.

As I opened the combination lock to the front gate I also opened a new chapter in my carp fishing journey, the next thing I had to unlock was the lake, it's by no means an easy feat. As I walked to the lake side I was instantly hit with a feeling of a water steeped in history and it seemed to melt perfectly into the landscape. I walked around to see if I could spot any carp. There are plenty of reed lines and over hanging trees, lily pads and marginal areas that appeared very 'carpy'.

Fishing a new lake for the first time is an exciting but very daunting prospect, I decided I'd follow the wind which was pushing down into a back bay partially filled with a big lily bed. I got my gear into the swim and thought I'd do some quick marker work. The bottom was silty with thin weed in places, the depth was about 5ft. I decided I was going to fish helicopter rigs with long hook-links and a pop up, hooks protected with a PVA nugget. As I was reeling my marker in a carp topped exactly where it landed so that was promising. I baited up at the point of the lilies and a spot where the lilies met the reeds. Carp where jumping in the center of the pads, some of them looked like mid-twenties, I was buzzing. I had my face to the wind so casting was tricky even though I was fishing at short range, I wanted to be 100% accurate.

The Business End

Lately I have been experimenting with all sorts of baiting ideas which I will go on to explain in future blogs. On this session I decided I would make my hook bait a different color to the freebies that I was throwing out. I have tried this in the past with great success, the idea came to me when I was looking at boilies on the bank.
Where Does Your Eye Go When Looking Below ?

Mine goes straight to the orange Tutti Futti, visually I believe this creates something a little different. I have been trying to target 'bigger fish' recently and I know that the 'big girls' may linger around large beds of bait whilst letting the 'care free' carp to get on with the munching. My idea is to fish over large beds of bait but fish the different colored boilie on the edge of the main baited spot. This can go two ways, it's either picked up out of curiosity, or spooked off from looking different.
Bait Positions
I got both my rigs on my spots first cast, put the back-leads straight under my rod tips and sat back to take it all in. The wind was blowing in my face so I tucked myself behind my umbrella to get some relief. There were a few fish jumping in the center of the lake, as the hours ticked by they seemed to be getting closer to my end.

When you start on a new water it always appears to be a huge expanse of unanswered questions, when you crack the code the water seems to shrink. Instead of looking at the lake as a 'mass' you start to beable to divide what you see into sections, through time you tie them together and then you develop a full understanding of what's in front of you.

No action came in the first part of the day, I re-cast a few times and added a little bit of bait every few hours. When I was reeling my rigs in the weed hadn't attached itself in anyway so I knew my presentation was right.

Tranquilly In The Swim

Later in the afternoon I had my eyes firmly on the water when out of the blue my left hand rod went ripping off. I ran to the rod leaning into the fish. It was kiting everywhere furiously darting all over the place, it didn't feel like a carp, it had all the characteristics of a tench. As the fish surfaced I saw the green flank and orange eye staring at me, I slipped her over the net, she was pristine looking, the scales slipped to 5IBs. It may not have been my target species but I was very happy because it showed my rig presentation was correct.

A 5IB Beauty
I got my rod back out on the spot, carp where continuing to show themselves very near my right hand bait. I topped both spots up with about 15 boilies and then sat back semi expecting my right hand rod to shoot off. After about 30 minutes the left hand rod was off again. It had a similar feel to the previous take. After a little bit of a scrap I pulled another Tench over the net, it was also bang on 5IB.

The rest of the day into the evening came and went without anymore action, I thought it was a pretty successful session. I might not of banked any carp but I learnt a great deal. Firstly my presentation was correct, I've started to clock a few areas where the carp seemed to be showing and my baiting application worked. Next time I go back I'm going to sit for a while just watching the water, I'm not going to return with any preconceived ideas. I think we've all fallen into the trap of deciding what swim we are going to fish before turning up to a lake. A couple of hours in the right swim can reap rewards. Next time I'm hoping to hook my first Bovington Carp.

Tuesday 12 June 2012

Carpy Chris Leads And Tackle

Like all anglers I am always looking for something new to incorporate into my fishing. The one element of my rigs that I put great thought in to are the leads that I use, there's so many on the market all different shapes and sizes. When I was younger I remember making my own ones out of small rocks by drilling a hole and glueing the swivel in place, I caught a fair few fish with them, I still have them in my lead bag today and they continue to help nail me fish. 

I recently read an article stating that plain leads are the ones that are the hardest to see on the lake bed, I found this rather odd and have to say that I don't agree. I have always worked on the basis that the more 'natural' you can make things look, the better. I want something that blends into the lake bed and its environment.

I stumbled across 'Carpy Chris' on the web and was instantly drawn to how unique his leads were. I have been looking for inline weed leads for ages and he has such an amazing selection. I ordered eight of them and on my first trip out caught some good fish, I love the way the rig looks and sits on the bottom. The weed leads blended in with the debris really well. They're so realistic I put one down whilst re-rigging and couldn't find it again.

Lots To Choose From

All Different Colours 

All Different Shapes & Sizes

I Love The Camo Leads

The Formidable Weed Collection

Two Tone Pears

Quality Inlines 

Take a look for yourself, leads are something that can be easily overlooked. I don't tend to complicate things with my rigs but I do take time to make sure everything is tight to the bottom and remains as undetectable as possible. I believe with this view, more fish will be visiting the bank.

Give-em a go for yourself and see how you get on.
Carpy Chris Website

Tuesday 5 June 2012

Burrows 'Afternoon Session'

I arrived at the lake with the intention of fishing the same area as the previous day. I started getting both spots going by firing in a fair bit of bait. I was just about to set my rods up when a guy appeared from the bushes saying that his rigs are on the spots I was baiting up. I found this rather odd, the fact he was fishing about five swims down from me. For arguments sake I got my gear together and headed up the lake. I wish he had told me before I started caking my bait in. 

Due to other anglers fishing, I was forced to fish in the centre. The downside to this, I was now having to fish the back margin, an area that I call the 'red zone'. It was a long line of reeds that is very pressured, I'm not keen on fishing pressured areas or obvious features. The reason for this is simple, I believe the better fish have a tendency to avoid them. 

This is where the thinking happens
My Usual Swim Setup
I sat for a while looking at the water in front of me, I knew there was a three foot shelf directly under the rod tips which steadily drops down to nine foot. I baited a small area out in front just to the left, I knew I was fishing on the drop off which is about four and a half foot. I baited up the reeds and cast both baits out.

My Swim View
Even though I was fishing near my red zone I thought I'd give it ago for a while until I saw signs of fish near my third baited spot. One thing I have learnt with my time on Burrows is that if you see a fish show, more times than not if you cast to it you can get a quick take.

Left Hand Rod Rig

As expected no action came off the reeds, I left my rods out for about 4 hours. Within this time I was quietly sitting watching the water and I started to notice a few fish just under the surface cruising in front of me, surprisingly close in. Once they'd passed I reeled my left rod in and cast it out on my third baited spot.

Within ten minutes it had shot off like a cannon, the fish was taking line at a smoking rate, I really couldn't do a great deal with it, just when you thought it was done, it went powering off again. I had a quick glimpse of it and it looked like a pretty decent size common. Twenty minutes later I was still grappling with it, it just wasn't having none of what I was giving.

After about half an hour the fish started to give in and I proceeded to slip a big common over my net, it looked like another 20Iber, I couldn't believe I'd done two 20's in two days. It was still pretty lively on the bank, I had to take real care. As I put it in the weighing sling, the scales dropped bang on 22IB. I was over the moon.

22IB An Amazing Creature
It was a blessing in disguise that I couldn't fish my first choice of swim, which actually is quite a valuable lesson. I'd done two twenties in two days on the new bait.

After this I left my rods out of the water for awhile and just sat looking at the lake. Just for the hell of it I decided to bait the back reeds up again and I'd only cast out if I saw signs of fish. An hour went by and I saw one swirl over the baited spot. I went for the gamble and cast a single banana cream boilie onto it. Ten minutes after, the rod went screaming off, it resulted in an 11IB mirror. Unfortunately I do not have a picture of this fish because my camera battery had gone dead. The gamble paid off, I am still not confident about that spot though, I think it gets hammered way to often.

I decided to pack up early because I'd felt like my job had been done, no one else seemed to be having much luck on the rest of the lake. Another day closed with some good results, I'm back off to the farm next, I need to bag one of the secret monsters that are lurking in the muddy water.