Friday 21 September 2012

Chase Lakes 'A Relaxed Session'

I took a trip down to Chase the other weekend for a relaxed session, no pressure, I love the size of the lake, there's lots of carp in the water and some great features to go at. I arrived at the water at about 11pm. I setup on the point where I have a channel to the right of me and an Island a fair few yards in front. I used a bottom bait on the island rod because the lake bed is clear clay, my middle rod was on a popped up Tutti Frutti because the margins near the reeds where my spot was has a lot of bottom debris. My left hand rod was fished in the channel on a popped up Honey Nectar, I was fishing under an overhanging tree and because of this there is a load of rotten leaves on the lake bed. I put a lot of bait in on all three spots because the fish respond well to this baiting approach.

View From The Swim

Second View

My island spot was tight under a tree, there is a fairly steep slope dropping off the island so I set my rod up with a gripper lead on it. My rig was fished on a blow back with a jelly wire hook link stripped back, a size 6 fang twister, I find this rig is simple but very effective.

Island Rig

I got all three rods out fairly quick, baited up and sat back to wait for some action, it was about an hour before I got my first take from my island spot, it was a screamer. I lent into the fish and it powered all over the place, it started to head towards me at a real fast pace. Just as it was getting close the hook came out. I proceeded to have two more runs off the same rod with both fish coming off. I checked my hook and my rig and there was nothing wrong with it. I just put it down to being a little unlucky.

Things went quiet for a while, I kept introducing a bit of bait every 45 minutes, I knew the fish would come on the feed and I wanted to make sure the swims were primed and ready to go when they did. I was sitting there thinking I might do a recast on my rod fishing under the overhanging tree at the mouth of the channel. Just as I was about to recast, it ripped off. I eased the fish my way, as it surfaced I caught a glimpse of a lovely looking mirror,  I slipped her over the net .. result !!

A Mint Chase Mirror

I slipped her back and got the rod straight back out, I baited the swim back up and sat back to wait for some more action. It didn't take long to come, my middle rod screamed off at pace, I lifted into the fish and started the onslaught of trying to get the carp under control, the island rod is a fair distance out, it was important for me to keep the pressure on because I didn't want to loose this one. The fish came in easily and as it topped I noticed it was a dumpy little common, I slipped her over the net, she was a new stockie and in pristine condition.

A Cheeky Chase Common

It may not have been the biggest fish in the world but it was a pleasure catching her, I mentioned many times before that it really isn't about the size for me, it's about the consistency. If you have steady results everywhere you go, the bigger fish will come. The rod went straight back out along with about another 80 baits.

It really wasn't very long before the same rod went off again, this felt like a bit of a better fish, she put up a real scrap, she came up to the surface a little way out, it was a lovely dark looking mirror. I teased her over the net, at first sight it was a lovely looking carp, when I turned her over I got a bit of a shock. On one side she had some really bad damage, it looked like she had been dropped because she had a deformed side near her swim bladder, it was really shocking to see. I got a photo taken quick and got her back straight away to minimise the stress.

A Dark Chase Mirror Having Been Through The Wars

Keeping Everything Tight And Simple Can Really Pay Off

I got the rod straight back, about 10 minutes passed before my left hand rod shot into life, I lent into the fish, she was coming in fast, I had a sense that I'd hooked into a cheeky chap, as the fish surfaced it couldn't have been anymore than 3IB but looked so clean. 

One Day She's Going To Be A Monster

I slipped her back to fight another day, it was great to hit in to a few smaller fish, it shows the lake is thriving and the new wave of young carp are coming along nicely. I added a little more bait to the spot and got the rig back out.  At this point the day was nearly coming to an end, I slowly started to get my gear together hoping 'last knockings' was going to give me one last run. Just as I was about to reel my rods in, my middle rod shot off. The fish was putting up a fair fight, I slipped another mint looking fish over my net.

Another Clean Chase Common

It was great to end the day with another fish, I really enjoyed the session, it's always fun to catch carp of lots of shapes and sizes. I had a good result considering I hadn't been on the lake that long, it's a shame I lost three fish. 

Chase will be my main winter water this year, I have a gut feeling I can beat my PB if I put some serious time in. Sessions like this are what it's all about for me. You can ruin it for yourself if you put to much pressure on to catch 20's and 30's etc, every carp is a beautiful carp, that's what keeps me tied to the bank, the adventure, the variation and the fact that anything could happen at any time. A monster may not of come today but the real positives are that my rigs are working and my bait and approach is producing, can't wait to get back down there.

Wednesday 19 September 2012

Carpy Chris Leads And Tackle ' Four Months On '

I've always had a natural tendency to shy away from the mainstream, I am like this with my music taste as well as my carp fishing. All that glitters ain't gold, if you want to find gold you've got to look in the most unlikely of places. I have never used real mainstream baits, I fished with Mistral and Poachers before fishing under Starmer. 

Rig bits and end tackle has always been a frustrating part of my carping because I felt so limited with what was on offer, I am not a tackle tart but I guess I definitely am a rig tart, its got to be right, not necessarily complicated but each element has to work correctly in conjunction with all the components. It has taken years of tweaking to eventually have a small arsenal of rigs I can use for all my fishing situations. Making everything as undetectable and as natural as possible is of the up most importance.

I have been fishing with Chris Knowlers leads for the past four months now and I have to say that I am so impressed with the quality of what he produces. Not only have we both developed a couple of new lead ideas, there is so much variety that you can't help but find something that will suit the waters that you fish, be it distance your looking for or a real camo presentation, there's something for everyone. In this blog post the majority of leads I use are inlines but there are a huge collection of swivel leads as well. 

The Leaf Coated Inline

I use the above lead for all the waters I fish, it's especially good when fishing over dark bottoms, it's great on the cast and when feathered down it enters the water with a tidy plop. It's great with a semi fixed set up, every take I've had the swivel is free running, meaning it slips out the lead on every run ensuring it's really carp safe and effective. The inline pear is one of my favourite lead shapes for sure, it makes the finished rig clean and compact looking. With a brown rig pen I will colour my braid the same colour as the lead, along with matching tubing you've got a real unassuming business end.

The Classic Flat Pear Inline

The above lead is your classic inline pear, it's pretty much my default lead that I use in a lot of my fishing, the shape is slightly different to the leaf inline. Because of the contours of the lead it is very dynamic in the air and I have found I can really hit the spot with minimal casting effort, it comes in a load of different finishes so it sits perfectly in with the lake make up.

The Inline Gripper

The above lead is the inline Gripper, Chris sent me some prototypes of these before they went on sale, when I got my hands on them I knew they were pretty special. I use these to fish over clay and off of islands and drop offs where you might be fishing on a slope. The small raised bits in the lead give it a great gripping quality, it casts very well, I get screamers when I am using this lead. The extra grip really enhances the bolt effect.

The Inline Ballast

In my opinion the above lead is a miniature work of art, it was made for gravel pits and waters where there are more small rocks and stones than usual. The finish is very coarse so it's great coating to rub a little bit of clay on just for some added camouflage. If I'm fishing on gravel spots this is the first lead I belt out.


The lead above is one that Chris came up with for me, we call it The UFO, for obvious reasons. The finish was based on a pile of clay I grabbed from the lake bottom, took a picture and sent it over to Chris. The disc like quality makes it so smooth on the cast, it really does fly, looking like an unidentified flying object, I have caught a lot of fish on this. You can set it up running or make it semi fixed with a quick modification of a tail rubber that slips over the swivel. If feathered down it enters the water with a tiny clip making hardly any disturbance. This Lead Is Pure Quality, You Saw It Here First.

The Hexi Distance Inline

If you're looking for a distance lead then look no further, the Hexi Distance Inline has some serious pace on the cast. I fish over at Chase Lakes where the island is a fair throw, not only do I hit my spot easily, due to the shape it fairs up against cross winds, even if you're fishing into the wind. I personally think this is one of the best leads on the market, it comes in an array of finishes and keeps the business end nice and streamline. This is my new favourite lead for sure.

Rough Gravel Inline 

The Rough Gravel Inline is another lead that I favor fishing over light coloured bottoms or on gravel beds. It can also be fished over any lake bottom because of its finish, I like it because it seems to sit very well in any environment, even real riggy carp will find this hard to detect. Like all the leads of this shape, it casts very well and if feathered on the cast, enters the water like a beauty.

The Flat Inline Pear

As mentioned in previous blogs, the above lead is an idea I sent through to Chris, years ago I use to hammer my old school pear inlines down. I did this because they cast better and entered the water with a 'clipping' sound creating a lead that causes little to no real disturbance. It can be fished running or semi fixed like The UFO. So many tackle companies talk about pinning everything down as much as possible and then proceed to sell you clumpy looking leads, I've never understood this. I have put this lead through rigorous testing I believe its shape takes 'pinning down' to a whole new level. You've Also Seen This Here First.

The Riser Lead

I don't use a great deal of swivel leads, I am not a fan of the line clip system, I just don't get on with it, it's to do with the way it can end up sit on the bottom. I only use swivel leads when fishing really silty or weedy waters, combined with a helicopter rig. I will use the lightest lead I can get away with. The riser lead is the perfect tool for this angling situation. Due to the shape I can get great distance, it's quiet on the entry and quick on the retrieve. If you use the lead clip system then you'll get a real far chuck with the larger risers.

Black Inline Weed

The black weed inline is one of the newer leads, it hasn't been out very long. I fish a few waters where I need to be fishing in between small weed beds. I use my weed rake to reel in a clump of weed to see what colour it is. I like using this lead in combination with a fluro hook link. This new addition is great for disguising your end tackle. It's not as smooth on the cast but doesn't take long to get use to.

Green Weed Swivel

The Green Weed Swivel lead is another great tool for fishing weedy waters, it can be used in all fishing situations, I have the lightest version for all the reasons I stated in my 'Riser' review. I like to use this lead for stalking on a float ledger setup. Because it's a classic pear design it casts really well, I am a big fan of camo leads.

Green Inline Weed 

The Green Inline is another variation of the black weed lead, these were the first leads I ordered and I use them loads. I was looking for a green weed inline for ages and only found a few by Solar on the market, they had swivels on so I wasn't overly enthusiastic. I have caught loads of fish on these and will continue to use them. I especially like to rig them up if I am margin fishing close to scum lines, reeds or weed beds.

The New Brown Weed Inline 

The brown weed inline is fresh out the mould and the latest addition to Chris's camo lead selection. It's a real tidy lead that once again can be used in any fishing situation. When it comes in contact with water it goes darker, casts well and is great to dip into glugs, due to the nature of the the weed material it holds the flavour very well.

All in all the above lead selection is doing me well, these are only a small example of what's available. There are loads of lead designs and coating to choose from. If you're a fan of swivel leads then you won't be disappointed there's an absolutely huge selection.

If you're looking for leads that are personal, embedded with a fair amount of blood, sweat and a few tears then give 'Carpy Chris' a go, I can guarantee you will get on well with them. Along with the leads, there is also lots of rig bits and end tackle available. I am sure that the lead development will continue with lots of new interesting designs being made up. I am looking forward to seeing what the future holds.

Tuesday 18 September 2012

Carp Craze PVA 'The Future'

It's become pretty clear over the past months that I am bordering on becoming a bit of a PVA junkie, I use it in a lot of different ways. Not only is it great in masking the hook, it's brilliant for stopping tangles. With the use of PVA nuggets in a funnel web or solid bag, you can change your rig mechanics and presentation.

I have tried most PVA products on the market with varied results, I have encountered a fair few issues. The main few being residue left on the hook, nuggets either coming off on the cast or not dissolving and funnel web tearing when knotting down tight. The 'mainstream' PVA is really very expensive taking into account it doesn't exactly last that long if you're using it on every cast.

I came across Carp Craze on the Internet, their products looked great for really reasonable prices, I thought I'd order some treats and give them a go. When I received my order not only did it arrive super quick, the amount I got for the money was inspiring. At first inspection I noticed the PVA funnel web material was very soft, I tested it in my sink, tying in a few boilies and dropping them in the water, the melt down time was a few seconds, when I double bagged the break down time increased, a useful approach if fishing in slightly deeper water. The bags dissolve perfectly leaving no residue over the boilies or in the water. 

 PVA Trio Kit

There are various PVA micro mesh kits available that will cover almost any presentation you're looking for. I originally ordered one of the 'PVA MICRO MESH TRIO SYSTEMS' which consists of 7 meters of 22mm and 35mm funnel web and plunger, this system is perfect for boilies and stik mixes. The kit comes presented real tidy looking and fits well into any compartment of your tackle bag. It goes without saying since using it I have caught a lot of fish, I find I am not so sparing because it's real value for money. There are various different systems on sale, refills are sold separately which come in a smart little container that allows you to thread the PVA refill on to the loading tube with ease.

PVA Cord

PVA Solid Tape

I have always been a big fan of PVA cord and tape, it's great for stringers and also tying the tops of solid bags nice and tight. If I'm fishing with long hairs or rig rings I can either use the cord or the tape to tie the hair to the hook shank to prevent it tangling around the hook on the entry. This is a very simple and effective method that guarantees your bait will be sitting perfect on the lake bed. Again, both the tape and the cord melts clean and leaves no residue on the hook.

Bullet Bags

Solid Bags

For fans of solid bags you won't be disappointed, there's a wide selection to choose from including the new 'first of its kind' bullet bag that seals with a draw string. The aerodynamic shape makes it easy on a long chuck, I am yet to use these items but if they're as effective as the rest of the stuff, they're going to be great. The solid bags come in all different sizes.

PVA Nuggets

As I mentioned before, I am a massive fan of PVA nuggets, actually I don't know how I got on without them. I slip one on to the hook every cast, doing this gives me the confidence in knowing my hook point is clear of any debris once sitting on the deck. Also if you're fishing over silt, chod, leaves, broken down reed stems etc, the PVA nugget suspends the hook bait above the lake bed, it prevents the bait being pulled down into the debris. As the nugget breaks down the bait gently falls gently onto whatever you're fishing over. This is most effective when fishing pop ups over a troublesome bottom.

Translucent Weedy Tubing

 Rig Tubing 

Along with quality PVA products Carp Craze also do a lot of rig bits and end tackle. One item I am very impressed with is their tubing. I have been using Korda dark matter but have recently changed to Carp Craze translucent weed tubing. It goes very clear in the water, easy to thread the line through and responds very well to friction. Before using the tube if run your fingers along it creating a bit of friction, the heat straightens it out perfectly to ensure when you cast it out it isn't buckled in any way and sits nice and tight to the bottom.

Needles For Every Job And Shrink Tubing

Another product I am really impressed with are the baiting needles, there's a needle for every job. They're built well, slip through your hair loop perfectly without catching your hook link material. The little handles are hi viz so you won't be losing them in the grass and they're built very well so they're hard wearing. They come in packs of three or you can order them separately. There's so many to choose from, products in this range include, stik needles, needles with latches on, a mint looking stainless steel set and bait drill, the list goes on. 

The trio needle set includes a 'Maggot Ultra Fine Baiting Needle', 'Braid And Hard Bait Baiting Needle' and a 'Heavy Lip Close Bait Needle'. All quality products for such a great price. Their heat shrink tubing is also something I rate highly, I've had problems in the past with shrink tubing not shrinking down to the correct size or holding its shape. Carp Craze shrink tube is very understated, shrinks very well and holds its shape perfectly.

It goes without saying that I will be using Carp Craze PVA products from now on, I have given you a brief overview of some of the items they supply. If I was to write and review everything they do, it would be the longest blog post in history. Along with the few products I have mentioned they also supply ready made rigs, hooks, swivels, loads of different clips, Kryston braids and Klin-ic, lines, lead core, fishing tackle, bite alarms, imitation baits. The list really does go on, go and take a look for yourself you won't be disappointed, let me know how you get on. 

Carp Craze Quality