Wednesday 4 September 2013

The Stock Pond 'Breaking Through''

This blog is a record of two sessions totalling 6 hours fishing

Over the past few weeks I have started to think about the waters I fish in a different way. For me, each lake is a system and has a series of systems within it, as anglers it is our goal to unlocked and gain access to the workings of our chosen water. The beauty of the sport is that we all find our own ways of doing this. It takes me a long time to figure out, sometimes a period of blanking can start to make you think about what you're doing in a more constructive way.

In previous blogs I have mentioned my fishing modes, these are kind of like 'ruts', you can really get stuck in them. I am always aware of when I'm in a mode. The best example I can give is when you turn up to the water, put your boilie on, cast out, throw some bait around it and then sit there and wait. 

When I was learning to play my drums, 'an art I have sacrificed my whole life for', I was taught that practice is only beneficial when you focus on the things you can't do, practising the easy techniques over and over again might make you feel as though you are getting somewhere but in theory you're not. 

I adopt this school of thought within my fishing. When I find an approach and a spot that works for me, I am eager to find another, some of the best sessions I have had is when my 'favourite' swim has been taken and I have been forced to fish elsewhere. More times than not I've never felt very confident in these situations but countless times this has produced some great results. I think what I am trying to say is 'you don't know until you try'. This is a mantra I keep firmly in the front of my mind regarding carp fishing. 

Always think bigger than just one swim, one bait and one approach. It doesn't have to be complicated, one of the best fishing seasons I had was when I fished crust on the surface, I didn't get my bottom baits out until the winter, it's amazing what you can make happen with an 8IB line, a crap rod, reel and a hook.

All the above points are very relevant when it comes to the stock pond, this is a water that I have sat by through every season, hot, freezing, snowing ... the lot. It's not a particularly big water and it's pretty shallow but it isn't as easy as you first might think. I have really been around the houses with this lake, lots of baiting ideas, lots of spots, presentations, everything, and it became clear to me that I had to strip everything away and go back to the bones. A simple single pop up.

All the fish I have had out have been on singles popped up a fraction off the bottom with very little bait around it. Because the water is very clear I paid close attention to my rig components, making sure they blend and mould into the colouration of the bottom perfectly. I have opted for striking coloured bait finding that yellow and orange seem to do the business.

Subtly Popped Up

The weed in the water seems to come and go, it has presented a few problems in the past but I have now learnt to embrace the stuff rather than run a mile from it. I use PVA nuggets and mesh to manipulate the rigs actions, I am always confident that the bait is presented well once cast out.

Side View

The hook link I seem to sway towards when fishing a pop up with an inline lead is Rig Marole 'Hydro Link'. This material has fluorocarbon running through it. You can create great combi link effects without the use of tying to materials together.

A Supple Hinge 
For my pop up presentation I cut a tiny piece of rig tubing to replace the ring, the Carp Craze rig tubing is perfect for this. It slides onto the hook trapping the braid perfectly, I make sure my bait is touching the hook, I don't leave a gap. I want the fish to be hooked the second it mouths the bait. To enhance this effect I use a nice heavy bit of tungsten putty. I use a lot of putty on all my hook links, after doing a lot of tests in my rig tank, I favor using a fair amount because it really pins the hook link down and I also feel it aids in turning and setting the hook.

My first session on the stockie was the morning, I wanted to try to get my baits in the water before the sun started beating down. My plan was to fish whilst it was cool and leave when the heat came. Over the past weeks a lot of surface weed had developed, I decided I was going to use this to my advantage and fish directly under it, I thought if I could get a bait safely through it then I stand a good chance of a bite. 

There is no cover on the water at all apart from a few reeds. I sensed the fish might be holding under the weed because it makes them feel safe, also taking into account a lot of natural food would be falling through the water from the weed itself.

View From The Swim
Before casting out I took a walk around to look in the reeds and there were loads of carp making there way through the back of them right under the bank. They seemed to come through every twenty minutes or so. I wanted to get my bait out but I refused to do it until I knew the carp had moved on. I knew they would be back, I wanted to make sure my bait was sitting proud before they returned.

To make sure my rig landed soundly I put a PVA nugget masking the hook and made a small "PVA Funnel Web Sock" which I slipped over the baited hook and tied at the top with PVA tape. This would ensure nothing attached itself to the hook as it pelted through the surface weed.

PVA Trickery 

Step 1 

Step 2


The process above can be pretty time consuming so for me it's important to get the cast right first time. Before getting the rig in, I walked back around to behind the reeds just to check there weren't any carp in the area, it looked quiet so i shot back to my rod and flicked the bait out, I got the cast spot on. Because the bottom is pretty uniform I opted for a heavy back lead, I wanted to be alerted the second a fish was on.

Sure enough about thirty minutes later the rod shot of, I was on it like lightening, luckily the fish bolted forwards away from the reeds so it was a real easy and pleasurable fight. I netted a lovely long looking mirror, scales sank to 19IB, I was very pleased. The heat was really starting to kick in now so I knew I'd nicked one just in time.

19IB Mirror On A Single Popped Up Honey Nectar

I got a couple of nice shots and got her straight back, I decided to pack away, the stock pond is so open, it's a sun trap, wind trap, very uncomfortable at the best of times, and I didn't feel like burning up all day on the off chance of another bite. It would be four days before I return.

Session two, Sunday afternoon

I don't usually head out to the water at weekends mainly because of the crowds, luckily I am blessed enough to be self employed so I get the chance to fish week days. This particular Sunday just felt different. It was lovely and overcast and I really felt like fishing. I find a lot of the Saturday night anglers seem to shoot off around midday, most probably to tuck into a good old roast and take a shower. 

I arrived on the bank for 2:30pm and was pleasantly surprised to find it practically empty, apart from a couple of guys camped up on the far bank. This was perfect because I could fish the same spots as my last session. It was looking great for a bite, loads more weed had gathered along the reed line and a hell of a lot of carp were showing at short range in front of me. My plan and approach was the same as before, single pop ups fished directly under the surface weed.  

I went through the same process as before, making sure the hook was nicely masked so I could cast my bait through the surface weed. I managed to get it in position on my first cast. It was slightly behind the reed line, which was a bit of a worry but I decided to leave it, I just had to make sure I was on the rod as fast as possible if it tore off.

Topping Carp

My Spots
Carp were continuing to show themselves just out in front of me, and after the cast it was good to see I hadn't spooked any of them. The rods stayed static for a good hour or so, until out of the blue the left had alarm screamed into life, I rushed for it and applied the pressure. In the time it took me to get to the rod, the fish had tore right round the back of the reeds, by the sound of all the thrashing, it appeared to be a big fish. 

I kept the pressure on but it was solid, I took a few seconds to logically think about what I was going to do. I decided I would walk around the back of the reeds and slowly reel in my slack line. Once at the reeds I managed to lift my snagged line over the top of the stems. After doing this I was once again in contact with the carp, but it managed to wrap the line around some of the front reeds again. I walked back to my swim and decided the only way I was going to stand a chance of landing this fish was to try and cut through some of the stems I was tangled in.

I cupped the spool and walked backwards very slowly, increasing the pressure with every step. It was getting tighter and tighter, because I use a five turn grinner as my knot I felt confident that I wasn't going to snap off. Sure enough after applying the steady pressure, the line sheared through the reed stems and the fish came kiting towards me, I was so relieved, it was a tough gamble which could of gone either way but I came out on top.

The fish still continued to race around, kiting all over the place, I got a glimpse of her, at first I thought I might have hooked into the grey lady again because she looked very similar. It was only when I got her in the net I realised I'd hooked one of the big girls, it was a very big fish. I got her in the sling, scales sunk to 29IB, I couldn't believe it and I was in a state of delirium for a few seconds, to think I was practically pulling for a break on a 29IB carp, I felt very very lucky that it all went according to plan.

A Well Deserved 29IB Mirror
I got a few shots and then slipped her back, I had a mix of emotions, when I think of how much time I'd put in down the stock pond, I really felt I deserved one of the big girls, but in the same breath, carp angling isn't about what you deserve or what you feel you are owed. It will be a very memorable capture, that's for sure and when I think of the journey and how many great fish I have had out of the lake on the way, it's been brilliant. I will continue to fish the stock pond with the same level of enthusiasm as I always have, you never know, there may well be a few more surprises swimming around in its murky depths.

I would like to finish this blog entry with a poem I wrote on one of my more quieter sessions. Blanking can inspire more than rethinking your approach.