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Saturday, 25 August 2012

Holyfields Fishery ' First And Last Session'

I'd been wanting to fish a new day ticket lake for a while now, after taking a look on the internet I found a water called Holyfields, based in Essex. It was reported to contain a fair amount of big carp, after delving a little deeper I found that there was suppose to be lot of big fish in both of the waters they have. 

There were mixed opinions about the place, one of the main points being that the mouths of the carp were suppose to be real bad. I wasn't really feeling it, like I've said before, I'd rather catch a clean looking 10IB fish than catch a battered 30IBer. Despite my gut feeling I thought I'd give it a go, it's always nice to fish a new water every now and then.

I arrived at the lake just gone 8:00am, there were a lot of anglers on the top end of the lake, the first peg was free, it had a quiet corner and a real nice looking margin to go at, I also had a fair amount of open water in front of me. To start off with I decided I was going to have one rod on the far bank opposite, one down to the left of me tucked tight in the corner and then one just off of an overhanging tree along the main margin about 25 yards out.

In regards to my baiting approach, I was fishing my new 'Savory' rig on one rod, Starmers Coconut fish on the other and my third rod had a popped up Honey Nectar on it, all three rods will be fished with a small stick mix and a light bed of free offerings spread in a couple of meters radius of the hook bait. It's always tricky fishing a new water because you're not really sure what works and what doesn't in regards to baits and spots.

 Mixing It Up

 The Finished Mix

I mixed my ground bait up the night before so it had time to really soak all the flavors up. My mix consisted of Starmers 'Hot Chilli Hemp' method mix, 'Green Lipped Mussel' pellets, Tuna, Sweetcorn, Luncheon Meat, Sardines and some chopped 'Chilli Peperami'. I really wanted something that had high attraction and high leakage qualities. I didn't add any water, I used all the juices from everything that I added, I keep water to a minimum when making a mix up because I feel it breaks down a lot better, I like the end result to be quite dry, this helps when putting it in any kind of pva bag.

View From My Swim
After a few hours of my rods being out I noticed that a fair few anglers set up at the other end of the lake were hitting into the fish. After talking to a few regulars it seems that the majority of the carp gather in the top end of the lake for most of the day and then head down to my end later on. I had a gut feeling that I was fishing some good spots, I also had a sense that the bigger carp may be lurking away from the main shoal, if I kept quiet and sat on my hands I knew I could stand a real good chance of picking one off.

The first part of the day ticked by without any action, I noticed a few carp cruising just under the surface of the water. They seemed to be making a beeline for the corner down to the left of me. They were gathering really tight under the overhanging tree where my bait was sitting. They weren't taking it though, this got me thinking that maybe I can intercept them on the way to the corner. 

Later on in the day an angler turned up to fish in the bottom corner just opposite me so this forced me to move my two baits and make a few changes. I decided I would flick one rod out about 3 meters in front of me and the second one down the margin to my right. My thought process for this was simple. If the carp are visiting the corner I wanted to get them on route. All my three rods were now pretty close to each other and I was sure I was approaching the swim in the right way.

Second Rod positions

Fish still seemed to be coming out up the top end of the lake so it was pretty clear where the majority of the carp were. I still felt that I was going to pick a few off, I was convinced that some fish will steer away from the pressure. 

Savory Rig

The day continued with no action, a few carp were starting to show in my swim, I knew it was just a matter of time. Mid afternoon came and out the blue my middle rod tore into life, my gut feeling was right, I lent back into the fish, it felt like a lump. I guided her my way, she really wasn't putting up much of a fight, after an unexpectedly short fight I slid a fat looking common over my net. Scales sunk to 22IB 5oz.

22IB 5oz Fell To My Savory Rig
She had pretty bad mouth damage so I added my two klinics to the wounds, I use an antiseptic liquid that sterilises and a second gel that creates a protected film round the treated area. I slipped her back and got my rod back out on the same spot. 

A few hours went by and the same rod went ripping off again, this fish had more of a fight in it. Eventually I slipped another common over the net, scales slipped to 16IB. Again the mouth was really battered, it's pretty upsetting to see really, I just don't get it. The hooks I use are none aggressive and leave little to no tears in the mouths of the fish I catch, I feel this is because I really don't bully the fish, I just let them do their thing keeping firm control of the situation.

16IB Common, Again Fell To The Savory Rig
By this point it was starting to get late, I was in two minds if to cast out or not, I was fishing with my mate Alex who said he had spotted a fair amount of bubbling on my earlier spot underneath the overhanging tree along the margin. 

Alex seems to have twenty twenty vision when it comes to spotting fizzing and bubbling from a mile off. I thought I'd try my luck whilst I was packing the rest of my gear down. I had put a fair amount of bait out so it only made sense that some carp may have moved in on it. I was packing my other two rods up and getting my kit together when all of a sudden my middle rod ripped off at speed, it had been out about 10 minutes. By this time it was getting dark and I still had loads to pack away, we were told we had until 8:45pm and it wasn't far off that so I was worried we weren't going to get packed up in time. 

Whilst I was playing the fish it struck me that I had a big girl on because I just couldn't do a great deal with it. I was giving it some real pressure but it just wasn't having none of it, thundering up and down the margin tight to the right of me. It was now dark so I couldn't even see the line anymore, I just kept the pressure on. A good 25 minutes had gone by and the fish still wasn't ready to give up the ghost.

After about 35 minutes the fish started to show signs of tiring, eventually I slipped her over the net, it was only when I shone a head-torch down into the net that I realised I'd got a real big girl. Me and Alex were flapping around in the pitch black trying to get my weighing station set back up. finding my scales, finding my sling, it was crazy and while this was going on I was thinking 'shit, we're going to get locked in, I didn't want the owner thinking I was taking the piss'.  

We eventually got everything sorted, as we hung the sling onto the scales I knew I had an upper twenty, the fish was wide and deep. Scales sunk to 29IB, I was over the moon but stressing that we had to get out of there, after a few pictures we got the rest of our gear together and made our way to the car park.

29IB Common, Another Beauty To Fall To My Savory Rig
When we got to the front gates, both of them were locked, there was an emergency number which I called, at first we couldn't get through. I tried a second time and the owner picked the phone up, he wasn't happy. He came out to let us out, saying we were taking the piss, 'if it took me that long to land a carp, then I obviously don't know what I'm doing etc' and said that 'we won't be fishing the place again'. 

I wouldn't usually bring things like this up on my blog but I have to say I felt pretty pissed, many who know me know that I take my fishing very seriously. Firstly it's pretty clear that I do know how to play carp, I have been doing it long enough and I take great care over everything I catch. To be told I'm a piss taker that doesn't know what he's doing was just wrong. It goes without saying that I won't be going back, even if I wasn't banned, I wouldn't go back, the state of the carp is a disgrace and the water should be closed down. In the future I am going to pick my day ticket venues carefully.

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