ISSUE 4 CONTENTS
Learning Zone Notes from the Bivvy
Editorial JUNE 2012 03. ELLIOTT GRAY’S Silt Strategies SILT STRATEGIES -
Worried about tackling silty lakes? Let Elliott Gray talk you through the way that he goes about catching from the black stuff...
09. In Session - NASH Tackle’s Mark Watson Talks Big Pits, Monster Squid And Mosquitos Nash Tackle consultant, Mark Watson, gives an insight in to his killer carping methods on big pits.
15. Under The Tip - The Art Of Stalking Carp & LEARNING ZONE From The Margins By Mark Mann
Mark Mann takes a look at the art of stalking carp. In this article, he gives a clear overview of tactics and the gear you’ll need for this skilful, enjoyable, mobile method of fishing.
23. Carp Biology - Lifting The Lid. Part 3 - Anatomy And Disease By Leon Fisher Leon Fisher, Sparsholt College warm water aquaculture lecturer, discusses the implications of diseases in carp and the important part anglers play in preventing them.
29. NEWS - off the shelf - NEW SALT PRODUCTS FROM NASH SPOTLIGHT NEW SALT PRODUCTS FROM NASH
It’s long been known that carp are attracted to salt, it seems to be something they need in their diet and it’s something they will actively search out. At certain times of the year such as early spring and summer, carp seem obsessed with salt.
31. Sharpy’s diary. nigel sharp part 1
A delve into the life and going’s on of carp catching legend Nigel Sharp. #MUSTSEE
39. Dave Magalhaes - Journeyman - park life part 2 The renowned margin king, Dave Magalhaes, continues his exclusive Carpaholixx carp-fishing journal.
49. SESSION OF A LIFE TIME AT MAR PECHE STEVE SHENFIELD
An epic account of Steve Shenfield’s trip to Kevin Maddocks’ French big-fish water, Mar-Pêche, a stunning 25-acre lake situated in the river Yonne valley, near the town of Montereau, where the Yonne joins the Seine.
61. Carp Fishing Video - Yateley Car Park Lake Venue/Swim Video Guide
June at last! No, I’m not wishing my life away; I’m just thinking this is when the water comes to life.
CARPAHOLIXX Magazine Editorial Office: 3D Angling Ltd, Unit 1E Littlehampton M arina, Littlehampt on, West Sussex BN17 5DS
The margins are teeming with insects and other invertebrates, providing a rich menu for the fish. The carp are marauding, showing their neighbours who are the masters of their watery environment. They push in slurping in and sipping down as much as they can get into their gargantuan mouths. It is so exciting seeing them feeding away, without a care in the world. It does mean you have to be careful when stalking the banks as the carp may be busy feeding, but their senses are tuning in to the least vibration, sound or movement. If you think it doesn’t matter about spooking them because you’re going be fishing deeper water, then you are wrong in many ways. And, there is a very good reason for this.
E: sean@3d-angl ing.com W: www.carpaho lixx.com Editor and publis her: Sean Tidy Designer: Sean T idy Illustrator: Mark Smith Carpaholixx.com – sean@3d-angli welcomes articles with photograp before submittinng.com – with a short synopsis hs. Please email the editor font, double line g it to us. Text to be supplied of your article or article idea preferred. Note: spacing. Photographs must be hias an electronic file – 10 pt writing that the it is a condition of acceptance th gh-resolution files – jpg files article or articles at are exclusive to Caauthors are able to state in rpaholixx. © 2013 Carpaholi xx.com ISSN: No part of this pu consent and writt blication may be reproduced in en permission of any form withou t the prior the publisher. Carpaholixx acce this publication. pts no liability for any action article. Subscribe Carpaholixx does not endorsearising from the contents of for products and rs are advised to check manufac opinions expressed in any services advertise tu d / promoted in rers and suppliers claims this publication.
Now is the time to forget about the deeper swims – yes, experiment with a rod out in the depths but don’t make it your focal point if you are out to catch fish. With the warmer water and more activity in the shallows, that is where you want to put your energy. The carp are actively piling on weight and they are getting the majority of their food in and around the margins.
It is a good time of year to be adventurous with your strategies too. Try different baits, shapes and flavours of baits, and try different groundbaiting tactics too. Having followed Dave Magalhaes’ articles over the last few months on margin fishing and all the other writers who advocate simple rigs; I’m even thinking of going back to the “very” basics. How’s freelining a bait in the margins for an idea? Cost-effective or what? No sitting down to build a complex rig with this and that, just match up the line to the water and tie on a good sharp hook. Using a piece of PVA string; attach a stone (in place of a lead) to the main line - simples! Make this your number one rod, because you are going to hunt down your quarry with it. Next, do your best to catch a monster then send us a photograph of your prize, with your details and how
you caught it and we’ll feature it in a future issue. We might start up a wall of fame. While I’ve got your attention, I’d ask you – in fact, encourage you – to get behind the campaign to save Yateley and other Cemex waters. Carpaholixx is in full support of Legacy Angling’s venture in this respect; see the announcement in the May issue. We need to keep these properties open and accessible to the carp fishing community, plus there are ecological issues to consider too as these waters and their bankside environments are important wildlife havens. Keep them fishing and keep them viable, rich environmental resources for all to enjoy and appreciate. Good Luck!
Editor: Sean Tidy
CX: Elliott, this is one of the more silty lakes that you could have joined, being an old estate lake. Are you a confident silt angler? EG: I’ve always had the attitude that if I want to catch a fish from somewhere then I’ll adapt to whatever challenges that venue throws up. A lot of lakes that I’ve fished in the past have been silty, but with gravel areas. People always tended to target the gravel areas, so by fishing in the silt, we used to catch quite well. CX: Immediately you’re setting yourself apart?
SILT STRATEGIES - ELLIOTT GRAY
Worried about tackling silty lakes? Let ELLIOTT GRAY talk you through the way that he goes about catching from the black stuff…
EG: Yeah definitely, we’d fish the same swims that others were targeting the gravel in and catch more. CX: In terms of feeding mechanics, what is different about silt fishing? EG: Well, I used to use particles in silt quite a lot and the feeding responses were wild. The fish tended to really dig around with their heads down in the silt. In that situation, I think that they become a lot less cautious about what they’re doing. Feeding over gravel they don’t get quite so carried away and they’re naturally more cautious. Combine that with the fact that most others are fishing on gravel, fishing next to the hard spots, in the silt, is more productive. CX: Do you look at silt in terms of areas or ndividual spots? EG: Generally areas. If I’m boilie fishing, I’ll generally be fishing areas with chod rigs or hinge rigs and a wide spread of baits. In fact, I’ll often fish areas around pressured spots that I know that fish visit. They know that there is going to be food on these gravel dinner tables, but I’ll fish off them. I’ll pick certain marks around a feature to intercept the fish as they move around it. The rigs are hopefully in cleaner silt. It might still plug in there, but it’ll glide back across it once you pop the lead out. I use the free bait to link up the spots if possible. CX: Would you fish the blacker, smellier silt? EG: I have fished them in the past and caught from those areas. However, bear in mind that a spot
doesn’t have to be gravel to be fed on a lot, so if you can find those cleaner areas of >>>> silt, then they’re like that for a reason. You might have a couple of inches of silt there, rather than a couple of feet. CX: I know that you’ve done a bit of fishing on the Car Park Lake, which is renowned for not doing silt bites – can you account for this phenomenon? EG: It may well partially be down to the fact that the fish knew when they were being fished for. Now, if I were a carp and I had the choice of feeding on a gravel spot which is raised off the lake bed, so I can pick your lines up easier and clock your rig easier, then I would. Although you would definitely catch them in the silt next to the spots, the weed is often up, right tight to the gravel areas, ruling out most other areas. If you took the weed out of the equation, you’d definitely be catching them out of the silt more than off the gravel. CX: Moving onto rigs and baits then. What are your thoughts on baits for silt? Do you accept that the silt taints your baits or use a stronger smelling bait? EG: I’ve been using Maple-8 recently, for two reasons. First, I’ve got lots of confidence in it because I’ve used it a lot in the past, and secondly, it absolutely stinks. Bear in mind that this lake is as silty as any that I’ve fished for some time and that the big ‘un in here also has a history of coming
A SPREAD OF BOILIES IS THE BEST WAY TO GO. ELLIOTT LINKS UP HIS BAITED AREAS TO DRAW FISH TO HIS HOOK BAITS
HE NOW USES POP-UPS OVER SILT ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY
CX: So is it possible to create a spot in the silt? EG: Yes, I think that it its. Sometimes, by the third day of my session I could hardly believe just how much the spot had grown. I would be wider, cleaner. You can certainly create a spot within an area, if you bait heavily enough with particles. CX: Is there any point? EG: Yeah, I think so. If you’ve got a focal point in a wide area of silt then you can fish any number of combinations of spots on and just off the area. This is the way to pick up hits of fish – you can sometimes get three runs at once because the feeding fish didn’t even know that they were near each other.
HIS CHOD RIG IS DIFFERENT TO MOST PEOPLES.
SILT STRATEGIES - ELLIOTT GRAY
out on the bait, it’s an easy choice. I used to use big hits of particles for my silt fishing. These worked really well because the fish would push the bait into the sediment and keep coming back and working the spot over – cleaning it up.
CX: Let’s talk rigs then… EG: Well, when I was younger, I really didn’t like pop-ups. This isn’t the best way to tackle silty spots though, because when I reeled in, I’d always have a bit of detritus on the hook point. I was using soluble foam and I knew that I was all right to get bites, but it worried me and it still does. Not knowing whether that hook point is sitting masked or not is a worry. I now fish pop-ups exclusively in silt. With the lack of time that I’ve got, I wouldn’t want to waste a minute with a compromised rig out there. CX: Specifically, which rigs would you choose now? EG: I’d use chods and stiff hinge rigs if the silt is thinner and not so dirty. I’m sure that still hinges offer better hook holds – deeper and more reliable. However, you can cast the chod anywhere and react to fish that I see. Everything I do in silt now is always with boilies and always with a chod or my version of the hinged stiff rig. CX: Tell us about your chod setup, because there are a couple of things that are a little different to most peoples… EG: I generally fish my chods quite long. A lot of the chods that you see these days are up to two inches, whereas I tend to fish mine between two and four inches.
SILT STRATEGIES - ELLIOTT GRAY
08 At the minute, I’m using them at just over two inches because it’s quite shallow and I’m baiting relatively tight, considering I’m using chod rigs. I’d normally use bottom baits on the type of spots that I’m fishing, but I just dare not chuck one out because of the amount of chod on the bottom here. I’ve started to use the Thinking Anglers double ring swivels, instead of a loop above the swivel. This means that I can tie a grinner knot straight onto the swivel, which is much stronger than a loop. Even though you have the combined weight of the TA swivel and the leadcore, I still like to mould a bit of putty around the knot, to overweight the setup. CX: How do you decide how much of a run to give the chod between the beads? EG: I generally use the same everywhere. I used to use it very tight, with perhaps a six-inch gap between the beads. Then I moved onto the Shelley-style sixfoot gap, which worked well but I’m not convinced that I need that much run, especially if you know what you’re fishing over. So, I’ve settled on about a foot and a half between the beads. CX: When would you use your stiff link then? EG: Well, say I’d been baiting the mark for a couple of weeks and it’d cleaned off a lot, then I’d look to cast a hinge out. CX: It’s worth covering your hinge rig… EG: I’m not too worried about blending stuff in, but I felt that I could do better than the original, shiny, black Amnesia boom section, favoured by many hinge users. So, I started to tie a combi link between the stiff stuff and coated braid. I haven’t looked back! I think that my version is much subtler and I don’t think that you lose any movement when compared to the swivel setups.
CX: Do you balance that rig? EG: Yeah, I balance a hinge rig and add weight to a choddy. Because the choddy is short and can move up the line, I want more weight to help pull the hook point in. With the hinge, you have an inch gap between the beads and the length of the hook link, so the fish hits the lead quite quickly. I balance the rig so that the bait can fly back into the fish’s mouth. CX: How do you choose your leads for silt fishing? EG: I tend to use as light a lead as possible. You can get away with a much smaller lead with the chod rig, but I tend to start with a 2oz pear for the hinge. CX: What would be your key pieces of advice for someone looking to tackle a silty lake? EG: Start using pop-ups and don’t worry about your presentation. Use light leads and pay plenty of attention to feeling your leads down to differentiate between different types of silt. The quicker you can familiarize yourself with it, the quicker that you’ll learn to deal with it. Stick to simple spreads of boilies.
PITS, MONSTER WQUID & MOSQUITOS - MARK WATSON
ash Tackle consultant, Mark Watson, gives an insight in to his killer carping methods. Rather than just talk tactics and the usual technical aspects of carp fishing, this time I tell you about a recent session on a large midlands pit that Iâ€™ve been fishing since the spring. The pit is around 180 acres in size and has a good stock of carp. There are a small number of old original fish and around eight hundred stockies introduced by Cemex. That may seem like a lot of carp but in such a large area of water it is less than five carp per acre. Of course, there will always be vast areas of water devoid of fish and others where the carp will be stacked up. Watercraft plays a huge part in fishing this lake, because getting the location wrong will result in a blank or catching the odd stray carp at best. Get it right and a good multiple catch is on the cards.
GETTING IN TUNE
I arrived at the lake at around midday on Monday, with two nights to fish. I began by sitting in the car looking out on the windward end of the lake. A good friend had caught three fish over the weekend from the other end of the lake but rather than just set up there, first I went for a wander, as I wanted to rule out the obvious first. After a while and not having seen a sign of fish, I went further around the pit. Luckily, we can drive around most of the lake, which makes things a lot easier than it would be with a barrow. By now, the
wind had dropped, turned southerly and gathered pace, conditions that looked good to me. The area where several fish have been caught was now opposite me and I had a fresh wind blowing in my face. This made swim selection easy, as I reckoned all I had to do was set up on the end of the wind and wait for the fish to turn up.
THE RIGHT CHOICE
I chose a swim in a wooded area that gave me access to a prominent bar at only 50m range. Beyond the bar were depths down to 16 feet, with the bar rising right up to 8 feet. Even more encouraging was the fact that the bar had some good weed growth on it, loaded with naturals. Slightly to the left of the swim was a nice clear area on the bar onto which I cast two rods. One of these was on a balanced Monster Squid hookbait and the other was on a White Amber Strawberry pop-up. Amber Strawberry pop up perfect for that first bite. The lake had been fishing quite slowly, compared with its usual standards, which was probably due to the fish not having spawned and being bloated. The spot was baited lightly with only 10 spods of boilies (whole and chopped) and some Monster Carp Pellets. The third rod was placed down the margin to the right on the corner of a bay and was baited lightly. The plan was to add more bait if a lot of fish moved in or to cast the Amber Strawberry pop-up at any fish that showed within range. From the swim I could watch a lot of water including the area that produced at the weekend, I was
confident but night passed and nothing occurred, not a single liner nor a fish showed. I had recently changed to my summer shelter, which is the lightweight Nash Brolly Dome and being in the woods, I was grateful for the mozzy mesh as come dusk, the little blighters were everywhere.
ON THE MOVE
I had to decide whether to stay put for another day and night and wait for the fish to turn up or go looking for them. The wind turned westerly and got up strong so after seeing nothing in the area I was fishing, I moved down the other end of the lake. A large flock of sea gulls were flying around and feeding on a hatch on the surface so I needed no more persuading. I knew from experience that carp were likely to be not too far behind so I set up once again. Two rods were placed on previously located small spots in the swim and lightly baited and the third went out on a zig-rigged piece of black foam, right in the thick of the sea gull activity. Once again, the night turned into day with no sign of carp. I’d not seen anything nut out or had a single bleep on the rods. It was head scratching time. Usually I’d have put money on having a result in those conditions but for whatever reason the carp weren’t playing ball. A CHANGE OF TACTICS... Usually at that point on a Wednesday morning, I’d be packing up and returning to the real world, but my wife was away all day so I didn’t have to be home until the evening. I packed all the gear into the car and went off in search of carp, which turned out to be fruitless! I was tempted to go home but I had a pack of bacon to devour, so I decided to cast the rods out in a likely looking area for a few hours and wait to see if anything happened. I’d blanked for two nights by following the wind and fishing to features so I chose a shallow bay where the fish sometimes go in sunny weather. The day’s forecast was sunshine and showers and being right on the back of the wind, the bay would be benefiting from the sun. Two rods were baited with balanced Monster Squid hookbaits and small bags of crumb and the other was baited with a single Amber Strawberry pop-up. The
rods were fanned out across the shallow water (3 to 8 feet) and placed high on the buzzers to keep the line away from a nearby weed bed. Small bags and minimal baiting levels was the way to go. My hunch about the bay proved right, because before I’d even turned the sirens on, I heard the crack of the bobbin hitting carbon and the middle rod was bent over. I pulled into an angry carp, which wouldn’t come quietly. It fought every inch of the way in and was obvious from the start that it wasn’t one of the stockies. To my relief I slipped the net under a long lean linear of 22lb 8oz, which had saved the blank. At last, the hard work and effort is paying off!
WHEN IT ALL COMES GOOD
I prepared the camera and tripod for a few selftakes, which has become easy since I started using the Nash Carp Cradle. Not only is it the ultimate in carp protection on the bank but it makes lining the camera up for self takes a doddle. I just line the camera up with the top of the cradle and I know the shot will be perfectly framed. If you are serious about carp safety and welfare, the Nash Carp Cradle is as good as it gets.The cradle makes setting up for a self portrait a doddle to! The fish my friend had caught over the weekend had been lightly hooked and so was this one but there was no way the size 8 Twister was coming out. I highly rate the Twister; it’s a strong reliable super sticky hook that rarely lets go. No sooner had I got the rod back out, I had a visitor. While we sat chatting, I noticed the right hand rod was slowly pulling tight. I bent into another carp and a nice plump stocky common was soon safe, secure in the cradle, and ready for a picture. I’d still not seen a single carp show but I was happy with my two fish given the tricky nature of the session. The Twister. perfect for bottom baits Being a Nash Consultant there’s lots of new exciting products to test and play around with at the moment, and while I was on the phone to Keith Jones discussing a few of these ideas, I was away again with another tubby stocky of about 17lb. I dealt with the fish, finished my phone call with Keith and finally got down to the important business of a bacon sandwich or two! One more clean looking stocky mirror was added to the album before I stopped for the day and got ready to go home, pleased with my four fish from a difficult session.
PITS, MONSTER WQUID & MOSQUITOS - MARK WATSON
PITS, MONSTER WQUID & MOSQUITOS - MARK WATSON
All the fish apart from the linear were carrying spawn and they didn’t fight hard. I’m sure the reason for the slow nature of the fishing was the bloated condition of the carp and their unwillingness to move with new winds. It just goes to show that there are so many factors and influences that effect carp, you can never be sure that they will behave how we expect them to. I’m sure it shall be a different story next time when they will be behaving more naturally again. I’m not really a super competitive person and I usually just set my own targets and goals and then enjoy achieving them. However, I do tend to judge my results by what else comes out while I’m on the lake. I don’t mind the odd blank providing I’m fishing well and as long as others are struggling too, but I don’t like getting it wrong and missing out while others are catching. While the lake was fishing badly, four fish is a good result after a bit of hard work and sensible angling. I’ve no doubt that if I’d used anything other than small bags, Chain Reaction, or singles in the last swim I’d have lessened my chances. Moving and fishing like that is always worth a go on your last morning and has given me bonus fish on quite a few occasions. Even if only for a couple of hours, it’s worth doing it if the swim hasn’t produced through the night and is not looking likely to - there’s nothing to lose and everything to gain. RESULT! - Catch you next time... Mark Watson
under the tip, a stalkers delight - mark mann
Mark Mann looks at the art of stalking carp. In this article, he gives a clear overview of tactics and the gear you’ll need for this skilful, enjoyable, mobile method of fishing. I have to say that getting up close and personal watching the carp and then lowering your bait right under their nose is by far the greatest buzz you can get. Nothing really comes close picking out the one you want and then looking down in the net as the plan comes together. The great thing with stalking is you really don’t need that much gear. One rod, a landing net, baiting spoon, a stalking bucket, Kaptive Retainer Sling and a mat is just about all you need. My camera gear, extra bait, etc, will remain in the car or - if safe to do so and not at risk of being stolen - in a nearby swim. If I have a result I can then secure the carp in the retainer sling, shoot back and grab the camera gear. Stalking carp for me is all about planning. Before a line is even cast I’ll bait several likely looking spots whether that’s near snags, lilies or places where I already know the carp frequently visit. I’ll only trickle enough bait in each swim to get their attention and enough so I can visually see whether one of the spots has been cleared on my return. Once the chosen areas have been selected and baited it’s then just a matter of getting your walking boots on and make the effort to visit the areas regularly until you ether fall upon the carp or notice that the bait has gone or been disturbed. From there I can make a few decisions trickle some more bait in and build there confidence, wait it out until they return or if they’re having it with total disregard wait for the best moment possible and lower the rig into place right under their nose. The greatest advantage of fishing this way is you can visually select the carp you want. Should a little tinker come in and look to put you in danger of blowing the whole swim you can - if quick and careful - just lift the rig out of the water before it has the chance to hang itself.
If you take your time, tread carefully keeping noise to an absolute minimum concealing yourself whenever possible and you will be surprised how many carp you fall upon. This gives you many options, for example, you can decide to go straight in for the kill, or trickle a little bait in to push them off the spot then lower the rig and wait it out until they drift back over. The chances are that if you have found them, they will likely return soon after - providing you stay quiet, low to the horizon and being as stealthy as possible.
Be stealthy It’s all too easy to stomp around while baiting here and there while thinking and planning where you think the carp may turn up. Carp are so in tune with their environment that any change can put them on edge. The lateral line along the carp’s body can detect the slightest of movement and add this to the carp’s eyesight and inbuilt instinct to avoid danger means you will need to make as little disturbance as possible.
One item when stalking that is essential is a good pair of polarised glasses. Every angler should own a set; some even carry two for different light conditions. However, I have found that a pair of amber lens polarised glasses work well for all situations. Without a pair, it’s >>>> almost impossible to peer through the depths, which you need to be able to do for efficient stalking.
Seeing is believing
My essential stalking gear
in my tackle box has become all but redundant!
The Nash Bucket Hod is a good stalking bucket. (In fact I use it for all my angling situations, but when stalking it comes into its own.) The hod lets you put a bucket of up to 10 litres straight into the main compartment and it has a side pocket for a mediumsize Box Logic and a mesh pocket for storing wet rigs and leads, etc. The hod also comes with an elasticated loop to hold your catapult too!
On this setup, I like to use an inline drop off (diagrams at the end of the article), with a heavy 4-5oz inline pear. I like the idea that when the carp picks up the bait and hits the lead, its weight nails the hook home. Soon after, the lead discharges, giving you full control of the fight in hand and that’s what you need when your tucked under a tree with a few snags ether side! >>>> If I’m lucky enough to find a few areas that the carp are willing to feed on that offer less risk of snagging, I love to get the barbel rod out. The 1.75lb test gives you the craziest fight of your life. I like to fish this setup with a porcupine quill straight to a Weed Quick Release system clip. I loop over a little 2lb line, where the lead clips on, and rather than a lead, I bite on a few SSG shot onto the 2lb mono, which is just enough to get the cast or to hold bottom. The rig itself will be the same as that when using the heaver set up, although if not fishing such snaggy swims I may change over to the Fang X.
Another great buy that complements the hod is the bucket cushion together they give you all that you need whilst stalking enough room to hold all your rig and bait essentials and a nice seating platform to stop your bum getting wet or numb! The setup If the baited areas are reasonably snaggy or are all tucked away, I like to use a short 10-foot stalking rod with a heavy test of 3.5lb. This gives me good control and if used carefully it has enough give to play a carp under the rod tip. The shorter length allows me to play a carp in confined swims where 12-foot would give me all sorts of problems. The rig set up I like to start with is approx twelve inch’s of 15lb missing link, usually in silt colour, as most margins have a reasonable amount of skud on the bottom. I remove the outer skin to just have the inner braid straight through tied KD style on a size 8 or 10 Fang Twister. With critically balanced bait, you will be able to drop the lead down and then see the rig slowly follow after, which gives you a chance to inch the rig straight on the drop. If there are no carp present I may even slide on a few chain reaction to help avoid tangles and to boost the pulling power. The last component of the rig is a few blobs of Cling-On tungsten putty, just to help it hug the bottom. Behind the rig, I’ll have a 5-foot (1.5 meter) length of the Diffusion Camo leader. This is quite possibly the greatest edge I have had over the last year for concealing what is behind the rig - no matter what you are fishing over - as the carp just can’t see them! They blend into any lakebed perfectly and with a few blobs of putty to help sit on the bottom, the lead core
Which bait, when and why? Which bait and when you use it can make or break a stalking session. There are times in the year where the carp will happy except a boilie with total disregard to anything else. However, at other times this can be the kiss of death. There are many factors that can affect the outcome, but ultimately it will be down to you to make the right decisions on your chosen venue. Early on in the year, nearing spring, I think a “more natural” bait will always work better. A bait that has “life” in it such as maggots or a fat lob worm could be a great option. The factors to consider is what other species are present in your water. If there were a large head of silver fish then I’d really have to consider whether to use maggots because they are likely to be smashed to bits before the carp even get a look whereas a big fat lob will have a greater chance of nailing the big girls. If using maggots a small but steady trickle over the desired spots will keep the activity going with little to no disturbance. With a good bunch of maggots tied onto the hook and a small PVA bag, you can place the bait as you wish and you will be able to pick out your hook bait amongst the free offerings due to its larger size. A good way to present lobworms is straight onto the
under the tip, a stalkers delight - mark mann a quill and a few shot will improve your visual indication
hook followed by a small float stop or rubber bead this will help >>>> to stop them working their way off the hook - and trust me they are good at doing a Houdini on you. I would normally bait over the top with some fresh chopped worms – a little and often, once again to keep the attraction and activity to a maximum. A few ml of Monster Squid Food dip into the maggots or lobs the night before gives you a good sneaky edge. You will be surprised how well they take on the flavour in fact digesting it into their bodies, if you pop one, you will be able to see and smell the liquid inside! Later on in the year, when the carp have seen a bit of bait (boilies) and are used to the idea that’s it’s a ready food source, I would not think twice about having a boilie as a hook bait. The chances are carp will have seen bait all over the pond and are possibly looking for it. How many times do you just throw out the odd left over boilie into the margin? Many a time I bet and I bet many a time a carp will come past and snarl it right under your nose. So, it’s no surprise that when a carp comes across a few boilies in the margin, they take them freely. In the warmer months, I’ll bait a few swims with a handful boilies until I find what I’m looking for. If they are feeding, I’ll wait for the right opportunity
under the tip, a stalkers delight - mark mann
food glorious food - maggots take on flavour really well.
or if there really up for it, I’ll lower the rig amongst them. However, if you can wait it out and bait up with a few Soluballs, all the attraction is there when they return. But, this time the direct food sauce is your hookbait begging to be eaten. Tailing off to the later part of the year when the carp have seen a lot of pressure, I like to downsize the bait to 10mm and depending on the swim if I can get away with it I’ll use a smaller hook. Fining things down will help you keep the edge, especially if you start to introduce 10mms when you bait up in normal angling situations. Once again, the carp will get used to the 10mms as free offerings, giving you a greater chance to hooking one. It really is a great way to catch your quarry and in a very short space of time, you can nail many carp. It is a method that’s not only good if you’re limited for time it also provides one of the biggest highs you will get fishing. Why wait behind motionless buzzers when you can go out and make it happen. Check out my in-line drop off system on the following pages... MARK MANN
step 1 The components that you will need: Nash Diffusion leader, Tail Rubber, heavy in-line lead and a swivel with a large ring.
STEP 2 First thread the swivel onto the leader and then back through the end of the leader loop.
step 3 Pull tight to secure.
STEP 4 Thread on the tail rubber (largest bore first) using a baiting needle.
UNDER THE TIP - IN-LINE LEAD DROP-OFF SYSTEM
step 5 Moisten the swivel and slot into the front of the lead.
STEP 6 Pull the leader down the lead and slide on the tail rubber to complete the set up.
step 7 Clip the rig on with a quick change link, cover with a tail rubber and youâ€™re away!
STEP 8 When you have a take the leader pulls tight separating the swivel and tail rubber dumping the lead.
carp biology lifting the lid part 3 - anatomy & disease leon fisher
whatâ€™s inside... 23
carp biology - leon fisher
a. brain b. ears. c. weberian occicles d. gills e. swim bladder f. heart g. kidney h. gall bladder i. stomach & intestine l. liver. k. spleen l. gonads ( reproduction )
Leon Fisher, Sparsholt College warm water aquaculture greatly between species as some fish like perch have lecturer, discusses the implications of diseases in carp three pyloric caeca and other species such as mackerel and the important part anglers play in preventing have 200! them. The intestines are relatively long, especially when you I begin this article with a general overview of the carp’s compare them to carnivorous species such as trout. anatomy, looking at the function of each of the organs, Plant matter is harder to break down and extract and follow up with some of the more prevalent diseases protein than meat and therefore requires a longer that can affect Mr. Carp. Importantly, I describe how digestive process, which needs a longer intestine. you can help to prevent disease. The liver is next, and this is the main site of glycogen Let’s just imagine for a minute that we have found storage so it acts as a secondary but readily available a dead carp in our fishery, we need to understand energy store. The liver is also responsible for if possible what caused its demise. We can start this producing a number of enzymes that aid digestion process by having a look at its internal organs, so we and manufactures a number of important hormones. gently cut a window from operculum (the hard plate covering the gills) down to the vent. Running along the spine of our fish is the kidney; this organ performs an extremely important role Making sure you don’t cut too deep and further by helping to keep the osmotic balance of the fish. damage some of the organs, you can remove the Osmoregulation is the process of balancing the fish to operculum to expose the gills for easier examination. its environment, now fish are obviously surrounded Now we have the organs exposed they can be gently by water but a large proportion of their body mass is teased apart and any problems identified. also made up of water. The gills are very delicate structures that enable the carp to extract oxygen from the water through a process known as counter current blood flow, whereby water flows over the gills one way and the blood in the lamellae (the fine strands of the gills) flows the other way, allowing oxygen exchange to take place. Then we come to the heart, which sits just behind the gills. The heart of a carp is a simple structure that has two main chambers - the atrium, which has a relatively thin wall, and the ventricle, which is much more muscular. The blood will move through the atrium to the ventricle where it is pumped into the conus and then to the gills through the aorta. Once the blood has been enriched with oxygen, it is pumped around the body before returning to the heart through the atrium. Now we come to the stomach. This muscular bag contains acid for helping with the digestive process. The stomach leads onto the intestine through an organ known as the pyloric caeca; the full function of this organ is not currently understood. One theory is that it helps to keep the alkaline environment of the intestine separate from the acidic contents of the fish’s stomach. However, this role is thought to differ
There is greater concentration of salt inside the carp than in the outside environment and the process of osmosis cause the fish to lose salt and absorb water, a process that left alone would cause the fish to die. To combat this, the kidney of the fish produces water very quickly while holding onto the salt, which is excreted in urine. This combined with cells in the gills, which take salt from the water, allow the fish to survive. The role of the swim bladder was outlined in last month’s article, so I won’t repeat myself and I will move onto the gall bladder. This organ stores the bile that is produced by the liver and secretes it into the intestine to aide digestion; the organ is often found hidden in between the liver. Now let’s look at some of the diseases we see in our target fish. Koi Herpes Virus (KHV) The origins of Koi Herpes Virus (KHV) are not conclusively known. >>>> It was brought to prominence in the spring of 1998, when a large number of fish farms in Israel began to experience huge mortalities of their stock. It was clear that this disease was specific to common carp, and was very contagious, spreading from infected fish to healthy ones that were living in the same water body.
carp biology - leon fisher
koi carp with operculum cut away to reveal necrosis of the gills, this is dead tissue.
The virus exists between temperatures of 17 to 27oC, but is most prevalent between 22 and 24oC, although there is evidence that the virus can exist at slightly lower temperatures. Carp that contract the virus have sunken eyes, a loss of co-ordination when swimming, pale patches on the skin, a marked increase in the production of mucus, as well as severe necrosis of the gills. Mortality is often be swift and within eight to 12 days of contracting the virus. Perhaps one of the most worrying aspects of the virus is its ability to stay latent within fish. Recent investigations show that common carp can remain infected with KHV for several months after being exposed to the virus, and they remain capable of passing the virus on to non-infected fish during this time. It is believed that the disease is transmitted from infected fish by augmented particles of the virus leaving the fish via faeces or from excess mucus sloughing off. Once KHV is in the water body it is thought to enter fish through the gills, which induces the disease. As with many viruses there is currently no cure for KHV and even fish that recover from the disease may still carry the virus and therefore act as a possible future source of re-infection. As of 6th April 2007, the Disease of Fish Order 2007 took effect, which
meant that KHV was included in the list of notifiable diseases, meaning that fish farmers and fishery owners have an obligation under law to report any suspected outbreaks of the disease. If the virus is found to be present at the site concerned the fish health inspectorate, which is part of CEFAS (Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science) itself part of DEFRA (Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs), will conduct a risk assessment of the site in terms of the possibility of the disease spreading. Controls that can be imposed include compulsory slaughter of all stock, the restriction of movement of any fish into and from the site with the issuing of a Designated Area Order (DAO) and complete and total disinfection of the site. These controls can obviously have a devastating effect on the commercial worth of any fishery, in addition the name of any fishery that is confirmed to have contracted KHV will have its name and the details published. A Dramatic demonstration of deadly potential of KHV occurred in 2004 in Lake Biwa, Japanâ€™s largest inland water body. KHV was contracted by the wild population of the lake resulting in the death of what was estimated to be between sixty to
eighty percent of the entire lakes population of wild carp that was well over 100,000 fish. Spring Viremia of Carp (SVC) Unlike KHV, SVC can be contracted by other coarse species such as tench, roach, rudd as well as pike. The clinical signs displayed by fish that have contracted SVC include darkening of the skin, swollen eyes, trailing faecel casts and a swelling of the abdomen, an inspection of the internal organs of an infected fish may show a thickening of the swim bladder. While it affects fish of all ages, it is particularly prone to attack year one and two fish, and is far more likely to occur under intensive stocking situations. Like KHV, SVC is most likely to occur during rising water temperatures, with fish that are in a poor condition following winter likely to be the most susceptible. SVC is also a category one notifiable disease and is therefore subject to the same measures as KHV. Bacterial Disease Causes of bacterial diseases tend to center around poor water quality, over stocking and careless handling of the fish by anglers. This can result in sores or haemorrhages appearing on the skin of the fish, as well as additional haemorrhaging of the internal organs and the gills. As with viral diseases, prevention is better than cure, because once bacterial infection has occurred in a fishery it is considered impractical to treat the entire stock. Although many of the bacteria that infect fish are ever present in the environment and are only able to affect fish when their immune systems are compromised. The message to fisheries managers and owners is, therefore, keep your fish happy and keep water quality high and they will thrive. Despite huge levels of research by organisations such as CEFAS (Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science), the exact mode of transition for many diseases is not known, however there is a short list of good practice that anglers can use to help prevent the spread of this dreadful disease. Dry your nets - not a new message, but one that needs to be driven home. A net that dried in the sun will not harbour diseases. This is far more effective than the use
of disinfectant net dips. To destroy all pathogens on a net completely, it will need immersing in disinfectant for around 30 minutes. By dipping your net in and then removing it, it is possible for these pathogens to exist. The disinfectant also needs to be changed on a regular basis, as it will eventually become inert and ineffective, something that fails to happen on a number of fisheries. Well thatâ€™s it for this month; next month we will look at how we spawn fish for farming purposes. I hope you are all enjoying the warmer weather; Iâ€™m off to free line a piece of crust for some unsuspecting lumps...
27 mirror carp infected with svc.
carp biology - leon fisher
NEWS - off the shelf
NEWS - OFF THE SHELF
NEW SALT PRODUCTS FROM NASH It’s long been known that carp are attracted to salt, it seems to be something they need in their diet and it’s something they will actively search out. At certain times of the year such as early spring and summer, carp seem obsessed with salt. As is often the case in carp fishing ‘those in the know’ have tried to keep it a secret, over the last few years there has been all kinds or rumours circulating about captures on salt and waters that have been literally taken apart by an angler using salt. As an instant attractor and carp catcher, it’s hard to beat and spots baited with salt seem to stay permanently attractive even when there’s no bait on them. The problem is, salt is not the most user
friendly substance to fish with, its also highly water soluble, so how do you fish with it at range or ensure it actually makes it to the lakebed without dissolving and dispersing ? Some salt products also contain nasty chemicals so how do you know it’s safe? The new range of Nash Salt Crystals, Soluballs and Chain Reaction provides the answers to all those problems. These are pure high quality natural products, completely safe and extremely easy to use. The Soluballs can be simply catapulted to your spots, fast dissolving Chain Reaction pellets are designed to be threaded onto your hook link and the crystals are ideal for adding to spod and ground bait mixtures, the options are limitless for the clever thinking angler.
32 SHARPY’S DIARY PART 1... Due to popular demand we have decided to republish Nigel Sharp’s diaries which now include some previously unpublished images. Hello and welcome to my bi-monthly column for Carpaholixx magazine. Before I begin to tell you what I’m going to write about, I would like to thank Sean Tidy (the brains behind this website) and Paul Bidmead (aka Bidders), my long-time friend and fishing pal, for asking me to be part of their new venture. They have spent a lot of time and effort trying to create a website for anglers in a similar situation to themselves that don’t have time to go out and buy the latest monthly magazine or pop down the local tackle shop to pick up a few odds and ends. With the Internet being such a big part of so many people’s lives these days, and with the growing use of other mobile technology such as Apple iPhones and the various Android phones, I believe they might have just picked the right time to do such a thing. I’m pleased that they believe I can help them out. Well, at the end of the day if you can’t help a mate out, who can you help, eh? Last year, my fishing had to take a back seat because I decided to write a book about my carp fishing life called “Living the Dream”. Little did I know how much time and effort such a project was going to take; and, before I knew it, days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months! By the time the book was completed, it was mid September and the summer had passed me by, leaving
my unused rods covered in a thick layer of dust. With the book finally at the printers, it wasn’t just a case of simply grabbing my rods and picking up where I had left off as I had got involved in a video project with a couple of good friends of mine, Terry Hearn and Jamie Smith. This latest project was yet another very time-consuming labour of love, but (after sifting through and editing hours of footage) we finally produced a DVD called “In pursuit of the largest”. The DVD was completed in late November, and not only had the summer gone, the autumn feeds were ending too. Sadly, my carp fishing for the year had amounted to 20 nights angling (in the spring) and resulting with only a handful of carp to my name. Three of those fish came during late March from the Cemex Sandhurst venue, where Bidders is Head Bailiff. The other two came from a club water near Reading. It may sound like I’m not that happy about my results for the last year, but considering that my head wasn’t really on my fishing, I think I did well to catch the fish that I did.
GERM WARFARE Anyway, that’s enough of my sob story. So, what has the winter brought for me since the Carp society show at Sandown, where my book was well received by all of those who had waited patiently for it? Right after the show, I copped for a dose of proper man flu. I suffer from this post show problem on a regular basis. Over the weeks that followed, I was laid up in bed coughing my hoop up and in no fit state to go angling.
33 By the time I regained my health, winter had come early and the lakes were frozen solid. Not being one to let this beat me - and with the need to go angling urging me on - it was time to hit the rivers for a bit of maggot drowning. My first port of call during the big freeze was the section of the River Blackwater that runs through the Yateley complex on the Surrey Hampshire borders. After arriving at my chosen spot, with all the new bits and bobs that one of my sponsors (Mr Drennan) had given me, I started trickling in some germs while tackling up my new float rod and pin. Once ready, I decided to hold back for a bit and poured a much needed cup of coffee from my flask, during which time I kept the feed going in on a regular basis. When the cup was empty, it was time for my first trot through the swim. Unbelievably, the float never even dipped! After retrieving that first run, I dropped in again and the same thing happened, not so much a pluck from a wary roach or a greedy chublet. This process went on for a while and it became apparent that my first choice of swim, a known hot spot, was devoid of fish. So, I decided to move to another known holding area and made my way through the “match lake” car park. Just before I got to my chosen destination, I saw another angler trying his luck and asked him whether he had caught anything. He had also struggled to catch and he told me, that when he had arrived earlier in the day, there were several cormorants working the stretch. This wasn’t good news and I decided to try some of the snaggier areas further up stream. After bidding the angler good luck, I headed off. I persevered for the remainder of the day, trotting my
float though every little nook and cranny I could get a rod through. This was all in vain. By dusk, when it was time to go home, I concluded that due to the lake being frozen, those blasted cormorants had turned their attention elsewhere and decimated the stocks of the River Blackwater. I suppose this is what nature is all about; and, in an effort to survive, the cormorants had tapped in to the next available food source.
A FRESH APPROACH After the previous bite-less session I decided to speak to Terry, who suggested that I should join him for a day’s fishing on the River Bourne (which runs alongside the Chertsey venue). He had already been dabbling on that stretch, and had been catching a variety of species ranging from bream to chub, with the odd gudgeon and a half decent roach chucked in for good measure. I’ve never needed to be asked twice, so I arranged to meet up with him just before dawn the following morning. After a quick cup of flask tea in the car park, we made our way along the path between the frozen lake and the river, which is more like a stream on some stretches. While walking, Terry pointed out a couple of good swims that were worth trying. As Terry had done all the groundwork on the venue, it was fair to let him have first choice of swim and I settled for a swim just upstream of him. Unlike conventional stillwater carping - when the rods are out - there’s no time for socialising, as there are floats or rod tips to watch as you use your time getting to grips with the swim. After a couple of hours of struggling to hit very timid bites, and with only
NIGE SHARP DIARY - PART 1
a couple of gudgeon to my name, I wound in and wandered down the bank to see how Tel was getting on. As usual, Terry had been having a great time and had a good mixed bag in his keep net. I sat and watched him to discover why he was having more success than I was. Over the minutes that followed, it was clear that Terry hadn’t given me a bum steer as he was using the same methods as I was. So, I just put it down to being a little rusty after such a long layoff from fishing. With that realisation, I returned to my swim and fished on for another hour or so until Terry appeared and suggested, that due to lack of fish activity, that we should walk the stretch and look for some other swims to try out. As it just wasn’t happening in my swim, and I was getting cold too, I decided to join Terry for a walk and a warm up. After a walk along the stretch, we found a couple of likely looking areas and settled for a swim on an s-bend, with some snags on the far margins. This turned out to be a good choice as over the next few hours it was a bite a chuck! Not every bite resulted in a capture though, which led me on to believe that there were some wily old roach in the swim, so I felt that it was worth persisting in that swim until the light began to fade. Luckily, for me, that was the best decision I made all day as, just after the light faded, I hooked into a much bigger fish. Following a short tussle, a large (by my standards) roach appeared on the surface. After a bit of a problem with an overhanging branch, caused by my desperation to get it in the net and out of the swim, I finally landed a 1lb 7oz roach. Without camera to hand and Tel not on the spot to take some pictures, I took a couple of shots of it with my iPhone. I popped the fish into my keep net and recast, using a light lead, back to the same spot. True to form, at last light, the next bite, although my last, was another good sized roach. The following day, I returned to the same swim but it didn’t produce as many fish as the previous day. Perhaps I had clumped the small pod of fish that had been residing on the s-bend; who knows? On the way home, I had a bit of bad luck. As I was negotiating a roundabout, another driver decided that the rules of the Highway Code had changed and crashed his car into mine! Obviously, this put me back again and I
NigelSHARP NIGE Sharps DIARY memorable - PART 1 capture had to sort out loads of paperwork with my insurance company and arrange for a courtesy car to use while mine was being repaired.
CRAPPY NEW YEAR I managed a few more days roaching on the Bourne with Tel before the big thaw came. Now it was now time to get back to my carp fishing. The first place I had in mind was Sandhurst Lake. Sandy is shallow and weed free, which makes it ideal for a good bit of winter fishing. Surprisingly (after such a long freeze over), once it had thawed, the carp were showing themselves and those anglers (including myself), who were keen to give it a go, were soon casting maggot bags and tutties at the showing fish. At first, the novelty of carp fishing again took the pain out of hours of blanking (or for just a few liners). After several blank sessions, this all started to get a bit frustrating! At one point, I had three baits out - all on different shows - and the fish were still showing above my baits. After telling a couple of people about what
had been going on, one of them, Jamie Smith, told me that he had mentioned it to Roo Newby. Jamie had learned from Roo that this behaviour was probably due to methane (from the rotting leaf matter under the ice) irritating the gills of the fish. The carp were simply reacting to the irritation by crashing out in an effort to clear the gas from their gills.
CANAL CARPING Whatever it was, it seemed to me that Roo was right, and, after such a long freeze, the lakes’ fish weren’t up for feeding. After a few weeks of this behaviour, it was clear that catching fish just wasn’t going to happen and I so dearly wanted to catch a carp again. Around about the end of January, another old winter haunt of mine - the Basingstoke canal - sprung to mind. When all else was failing, this was always a good choice. After a quick phone call to Tel, we arranged to have an afternoon’s fishing. Having done a bit on the canal before, it was a case of visiting a couple of known winter holding areas to check the snags to see if the carp were
37 about. Although I was keen to have a go, when I turned up in the car park at the arranged time to meet Tel, his car was already parked and he was nowhere to be seen. A little while later, he appeared back in the car park and filled me in on what he had and hadn’t seen in the two holding areas. This cut the legwork down for me anyway and it wasn’t long before we were both heading to where he had found all the fish. Shortly after arriving at the spot, we could see tail patterns and bubbles pinging to the surface where he had previously sprinkled some pellets. Knowing that I hadn’t caught a carp for so long, Tel told me to have a go at those fish and he would fish just up the bank. It wasn’t long before a yellow pop up on a simple canal rig was being flicked the short distance to the bubbler’s and I sat back in anticipation waiting for a bite. True to form, it wasn’t going to be that simple for me, but Tel on the other hand made short work of the old canal carp. In quick succession, he caught four commons up to and just over 13lbs each, while I was left scratching my head as to what I’d done wrong. Eventually my luck was to change. The Neville bite alarm let out a short succession of bleeps and I was finally in to a carp. After bundling it in to the net, I saw that it was not anywhere near the biggest common that I had ever caught, but, after not catching a carp for so long, I was well chuffed with my 13 pounder. As always, when I have a good days fishing with Tel and we get a result, we baited up on leaving ready for a follow up session a few days later. When we arrived back at the local hotspot things weren’t quite as they had been on our last visit. There was a lot of bread all over the surface and there was a
distinct lack of carp showing. The few fish we did see in the area seemed a little bit twitchy and there was no doubt that someone else had been cashing in on the action. Although it wasn’t quite as action packed as our last session, I managed to catch one fish that weighed in at around 10lbs to save drawing a blank. After that session, it was time for me to get back over to Sandy to see if the fish were more willing to feed. On my return, things seemed to have changed and a few carp had been caught. This naturally boosted my confidence and I didn’t think it was going to take me to long to get among the fish. Well with all the best-laid plans of men and mice, things didn’t go as well as I thought. No matter what I did, the fish simply didn’t want to be caught by me; instead, they kept falling to the rods of other anglers. To say this got a bit frustrating would be an understatement! Just to rub salt in the wound, young Chris Boyda turned up at 8pm and caught a mid 20lb and Pin-Head at 36lb 6oz before leaving at 7am the next morning. Chris’s result had me moving swim after he had left. After a few hours I finally got it right by doing the same thing as I had been doing all along by casting a tuttie and a stick bag at a showing fish. The result of that cast was a low 20lb mirror, which took the pressure off. My next session, which was going to be my last before heading off to my target water for the spring, was a repeat of the last and I spent most of the week on the wrong side of a camera with my mate Matty being on the right side of the lens. In the finish, I did get among the bites, but that was a case of third time lucky following the loss of two fish on the bounce before a low 20 common rolled in to my net just before packing up. Now you are fully up to date with my activities; so, until next time, be lucky. Nigel Sharp
TALES OF A JOURNEYMAN - DAVE MAGALHAES It’s hard to believe it but autumn is only around the corner. Normally I’d be rubbing my hands together at the prospect of an autumn whacker, but having experienced one of my best carp fishing summers to date, I honestly don’t want it to end! You may recall that I finished my previous article after bagging a monster carp from the surface of the open, windswept lake in Wraysbury...
better one’s from there the previous season, The Mole was the king of the pond and had so far eluded me.
Early on the 16th of June we sat in the car at the main gates of the park waiting for them to open. While anglers walked in around us through the side gates, I urged young Callum to walk on ahead and save me a swim.
Wasting no time, I tied up a three-bait stringer and carefully lowered the rig to one side of them. I put the rod on the floor and flicked on the baitrunner before walking up the bank to see Callum. He pointed to where he’d cast, and as we both looked, there was a huge eruption and his buzzer “one toned”.
Finally, the gates opened and we shook hands before wishing each other the best of luck. As I got into the car, I shouted over to Steve that I’d be around once I’d had The Mole. Eventually, after parking the car and walking around to Callum, I found myself in a small corner at the far end of the lake. Great! Slowly, putting Not long after landing the Pet, I found myself renewing the rods together and cursing my luck, I noticed the my tickets for both Bushy and Richmond Parks. I top lobe of a carp’s tail poking out the water. Carefully intended to do the start over on Richmond, but my creeping up to the edge, I could see a couple of good girlfriend’s brother hounded me to take him to Bushy. fish feeding in about two feet of water.
While I waited in the car, Steve Mogford pulled up behind me in his vehicle. We got out of our vehicles and chatted enthusiastically about the start. He came down to the park to try to catch Mick from the Diana. Having reached a high of 39lb towards the end of the
The fight was eventful, and after a few hairy moments, we were soon looking down on a low-20lb ghosty mirror. We were just getting the mat and sling sorted when I heard a splash near my rods. Looking over to where they were, everything looked fine except for a previous season, many had hoped Mick’s weight would few ripples edging away from the bank. creep over the magical 40lb barrier. I on the other hand was fully intent on bagging The Mole from the Heron pond. Although I’d managed to catch a fair few of the
Thinking nothing of it, we weighed and photographed the fish before slipping it back. I walked over to check my rod and although everything appeared to be in order, something in the back of mind was telling me it wasn’t.
At roughly 10 acres in size, with only six fish left, it was always going to be difficult. I did manage to catch the Big Fully from the top lake at 25lb, and Blind-eye from the bottom lake at 20.10lb on two consecutive day trips, but that was it. The bottom lake was much smaller at about 2.5 acres, but with only nine carp present, it could still prove tricky.
Very carefully, I lifted the rod tip up and as the slack line tightened, it began to point further out into the lake. I wound down and struck. To this day, I will never In between fishing the park lakes, I’d still make the know how I got that fish in. I could see it on the far odd trip back into the Colne Valley. The whole area margin halfway up the lake! just seemed to grab me, in particular the Crayfish Pool, Silverwings and the Mere. I used to go to pester Alan As I played the fish, I was constantly shaking my head Welch on the Crayfish Pool before driving back up to and cursing myself for not paying more attention to Wraysbury to the little corner shop opposite the Percy my rod. Finally, after a 20-minute battle, Callum slid pub to grab some rolls and a drink. Then I’d take a walk the net under a chunky, grey mirror. It was a good ‘un, around Silverwings then down the back and eventually and as I laid her down on the mat I could see the black up to the Mere. I spent many an afternoon sat on the spot on its belly; The Mole was mine! high bank of the Mere just watching and taking it all in while I ate my rolls. It had spawned out in the close season, but at 28.12lb, I was delighted to have caught her. Once the photos The only person I ever saw over there was Bill Dawson. were taken, I left Callum to it and strolled over to Steve Every now and then, I’d see him pop out somewhere with my cup. He saw me coming and started laughing and peer into the lake before disappearing again. I while shaking his head. “Go on then son, how big?” he noticed that the fish seemed to like the top, narrow said. end.
I re-told the story over a brew, and then stayed for With it being so quiet, one afternoon I eventually most of the day listening to his countless stories of his plucked up the courage to bring a rod and some bits. fishing experiences. Once the gear was stashed, I quickly found some fish and watched these commons drifting in and out of Having broke up from Uni for the summer, and only the snags. I pulted out some mixers and just sat and working weekends and the odd evening, I spent the watched them. They didn’t really seem interested in rest of the time either fishing or wandering the banks them at first, but one did finally take a mixer, then of a lake. I spent most of the time flitting between another and another. It wasn’t long before there were Richmond Park and the Heron pond. It is fairly easy three mouths taking mixers. to get bites at the Heron. There’s a large out of bounds area on the lake that the fish frequent during the day. It I’ll never forget, shaking with excitement, trying was always easy to get them desperately to get a floater set-up. Every time I looked up, I’d see another ring rippling away in between the feeding in there and every now and then, I’d catch one. mixers. Looking around to make sure, nobody was More often than not, I was happy to watch them feed about; I stood up to cast. As I did, something caught until they’d drift back out into the main lake in the my eye - a dark shape, deeper down in the water and evening. slightly away from the main three or four carp that were now “pacmanning” their way through the mixers. It’s funny, but I never actually found them any harder It was a very dark, long fish, with a companion in tow. to catch out in the main lake, the biggest problem was Suddenly, my urge to cast out was gone. All kinds that for most of the time they just weren’t there! When of thoughts ran through my mind, and, as I tried to they did eventually come through to the main lake, it get a good look at exactly what I had seen, the other wasn’t unusual to have two, three or four bites. commons mopped up remaining mixers. I was reluctant to put anymore out and instead I opted to Richmond Park on the other hand was a different story. stash my rod and bits then come back and watch them. To cut a long story short, Bill saw my stuff and moved it as I came running around to ask what he was doing. He then gave me a bit of a telling off, as apparently it
TALES OF A JOURNEYMAN - DAVE MAGALHAES
was too blatant where I’d left it, and should the EA come out on the boats they would have seen it, blah, blah, blah. The experience was enough to stop me ever going back with my gear, and even my walks around ground to a halt. Looking back, he was only trying to put me off and being quite young, it worked!
I scooped it up into the net. Tim was understandably over the moon and let out a massive cheer. I was pleased for him, as he’d done his fair share of graft for it over the years.
With a few days still booked off work, I decided to have a go on the bottom lake on the following day. I knew I can’t believe how much time I actually spent walking the lake held a stunning linear, as well as Blind-eye, those lakes and watching the fish feed. I used to just get which I’d caught the previous season, and an old, slatelost in my own little world as I went around Cargill’s, grey mirror with a single pectoral fin. Having watched Hythe lagoon, the Mere and Silverwings, armed with a them a fair bit the previous season while fishing along rucksack loaded with little bags of bait. It was all good the causeway and on the odd afternoon after prefun though and I learnt a lot about gravel pit carp. baiting the big lake, I had a pretty good idea where I wanted to fish. I cast out two single stiff-links, sat back The following spring, I decided to go heavy with the and watched the water. baiting at Richmond Park. Every four days I’d go down and spread 20kg of particle and boilie over two areas. After an hour or so, I had a very twitchy bite on my left It got to the point where most evenings, as I sat looking hand rod. At first I thought it was a bird, but looking over the baited areas, a fish would jump out, and more out to where I’d cast, often than not, it was the bigun. nothing popped up. Suddenly, the bobbin hit the deck, A few weeks before the start, something seemed so I struck. The fish immediately began to kite from different. As I looked around, fish could be seen bow left to right. As it got closer, I could see it was going waving around all over the lake. The Parks had taken to be a close thing as to whether or not it would clear the decision to stock 60 carp into the big lake, and 40 the island in front of me. Piling on more pressure, I into the bottom. When the start of the season finally watched the branches rock as the fish went past. came around, although confident, I was a little worried about the new stockfish. The first day I managed eight While I played it in the margins in front of me, big fish, all stockies. Paul Cann came wandering down and grabbed the net. As soon as the fish hit the surface, Paul stretched out The following day I managed another five, and although and scooped it up. He took one look, turned around it was good to be getting a few bites, I knew that The and said a little surprised: “It’s One-Pec mate.” On Royal wouldn’t hang around for long. By the afternoon the scales, it went 30.03lb. I felt a little disappointed of the following day, and after banking another three for Paul. He’d fished hard for it towards the end of the stockies, Ray the stalker came wandering around to previous season, and had baited it heavily through the tell me that The Royal and the Fullies were going up close; but, that’s fishing. and down the causeway between the overflow and Duck corner. Over the next five days, I fished either mornings or evenings, and really enjoyed myself. I Quickly skipping my rods in, I grabbed my buzzers and my net and ran around. The closest I could get was ended up with 35 fish by the end of the week, including right in Duck corner itself, and although it wasn’t ideal, One-Pec again at 29.06lb! Most of the fish came in it was as good I was going to get, as both Ray and Tim knee-deep water. All I did was find them, wade out in the postman were already setup along the causeway. my shorts and the lower the rigs down through gaps in the weed. As evening drew in, the fish moved further along and started rolling in front of Tim. The next thing I knew, For some reason, I totally lost heart in fishing the top he was battling a fish, so I went to give him a hand. lake, and the following week I was walking around a Grabbing the net and wading out, I watched as he local golf course lake called Silvermere. A couple of carefully led the fish in, before it hit the surface and friends had fished it in the past, and I’d heard loads of stories from them, so it seemed like the most obvious place to go.
The Silvermere fish were quite old and I knew it wasn’t
TALES OF A JOURNEYMAN - DAVE MAGALHAES
going to be easy. For the first week, in between going to It also had a stack of other fish in the mid-double to Uni and work, I just sat up trees and watched them. It mid-twenty bracket. This made me feel confident that became clear to me that these fish had routines. I could get bites when I did manage to get down, with the outside chance of a real bigun. When I eventually turned up for my first session, I knew exactly where I wanted to go. There’s a Clubhouse A week after getting my ticket, a few friends and I overlooking the lake and the patio backs right up to the decided to do a six-day stint. We had a great time, water’s edge from which people feed the waterfowl. As except for scorching temperatures over the first three you can imagine, everyday there were people throwing days. Once it cooled off, the action was constant. in bread and bits and pieces in for the ducks. The fish understood that when the ducks started flapping around by the patio, it was feeding time, so they spent I moved to another spot for the final couple of days a fair bit of time there. as I’d seen Warty - the bigun - in another area. It was a good move as I caught three or four 20lb’ers, plus Out from the patio is a bar. Bang opposite this is a little the lakes second biggest resident Half-Tail at 28.06lb. island that has a swim on it known as Gooseshit; this is Then, on the last day, I lost Warty on a zig. where I decided to set up camp. I’d decided pretty early on that I would set-up in Goose’ whenever I could, and I was gutted and after throwing the rod out into the lake, just move around into different swims throughout the I proceeded to kick anything and everything around day with a couple of rods. me. After calming down, I packed up and promised myself to go all out to make amends. To this day, that The cast across to the bar was a little awkward, and I is the longest I’ve done on the bank, and although I wasn’t sure that my presentation would be right. My enjoyed it, I think I’d struggle to do anything like that plan was to cast onto the again. 18th green to my left, walk around to the patio and lower the rigs in by hand. It was simple, but I had to do it early before the golfers turned up.
These days, 48 hours fishing is more than enough for me. I’m constantly on the go, trying to work out what’s going on and how I can get a bite. It’s rare that I get more than three or four hours sleep a night as I panic about The first three days went better than I could have missing something. It sounds silly, but I’m normally expected, and I actually ended up landing seven fish drained after two nights and it takes me a couple of including the biggest resident Polo at 36.01lb and days to catch up with my sleep, so the thought of doing Clanger at 34.12lb. I also managed to lose a few. I was any more freaks me out! buzzing and didn’t really think anything of the losses. I got in a couple more trips before the remaining bigun, The next month was a struggle to think about fishing. Whitescale, slipped up and found itself in the bottom Once I was back to my routine, I began popping in on of my landing net, weighing in at 34.03lb. I felt great my way to work from Uni. I saw the better fish in the about landing most of the stock, but I did actually lose little channel near where I’d lost Warty, so continued to 12 fish as well. Bearing in mind there was only about trickle some bait in. 19 fish in there, it left a bit of a bitter taste in the mouth when I left. Towards the end of September, I managed an overnighter with a couple of friends. Although I got In the middle of August, I got myself a ticket for Boyers into the swim I’d been baiting, the bobbins remained Colnbrook West. A friend had told me a bit about the motionless all night, and an hour before packing up I place and it seemed perfect for me at the time. I was managed to stalk one out from the margins up the far about to go back to Uni after the summer break, and end. having just started my own business, as well as still working another job, I knew my time was going to be As promised, I was relentless with the baiting, often extremely limited. The lake held a lovely deep, dark turning up at 5.30 am before work or late in the evening mirror that had topped 44lb and was a real character. after Uni. That period was one of the few times that I’ve really been focused on a particular fish. I think it came down to the fact that after I lost it, I knew that if I didn’t bait then realistically I wasn’t going to catch it - and, I was going to be beaten.
TALES OF A JOURNEYMAN - DAVE MAGALHAES
It was on one of these early morning baiting trips, that I found the fish going absolutely potty
On one of my trips, I caught a mirror of 33.10lb. That’s a bigun for Bushy and I remember saying to my friend Gus as he took the photographs that this would grow to be the biggest one eventually. It had a big frame and looked as though it could get a bit bigger yet.
over the bait in the channel. I cursed myself for not bringing a rod and had to drag myself away late for work. It was all I could think about that day, and the minute I finished I raced home to grab the gear, Having left you on a high after catching a whacker off hurried up to the lake. the top last time, this time around I’ll By the time I arrived, it was already dark, and after going through everything all day in my head, the rods were done spot on first time. I was fishing a rod close in under a bush to my right, while the other was cast across to the far margin. The right hand rod was my banker and although I’d barely done any time on the lake, I felt really close to success.
leave you on one of my lowest points in fishing. With the cold weather starting to kick in, make sure you keep getting out through the autumn, as its one of the best times to catch a PB!
Back in January 2001, I went with some friends to watch a slide show by Terry Hearn. It was his first one, and some of my friends had known him since he was By midnight, I’d caught three commons and a few young man, so they wanted to go along and offer a bit tench and bream all on the rod fished across to the of support. other side. It was doing my head in that the right hand rod hadn’t gone, and in the end, I just wound it in. I’m Once the slide show was finished, we went to the bar sure the line cutting across the channel was putting the to have a few drinks. I was the designated driver, so fish off, as when I’d fished with my line across to a clip I was on the cokes, while the others wasted no time on the far margin I caught all the better fish under the in knocking them back. The banter soon began, and bush to my right. Steve shouted: “Put your hand up if you’ve had the Royal.” All three of them had caught it, so they all Because it was dark, I couldn’t sort out the clip so just punched the air and cheered and laughed. Typically, fished across and put a back lead on. With the other rod just as they stopped laughing Terry came wandering out of the way, I crashed out on my bedchair. I awoke a over, so Steve grabbed his hand, stuck in the air and few hours later to a one toner from the Neville. Unlike they all cheered again. It was all tongue in cheek, but I the others, this one actually went down the channel remember thinking to myself: “Sod it; I’m going to go towards a big snag at the end. Clamping down, it soon and have it next week.” turned and made its way back towards me heading for a big weed The next day, I went straight over to the park and put some bait on the spots that I’d baited heavily in the bed to my left. Again, I clamped up and turned it. It spring. The following Monday I went over to day’s plodded about for a little while before hitting the surface fishing. I didn’t catch anything, and the birds proved to 15 yards out. In the half-light, I knew what it was - not be a bit of nightmare, wiping out the rods a few times. that there was any doubt in my mind anyway - as the I came back again on the Tuesday morning. Grabbing rod was doubled over under the weight. Eventually I my waders, which I’d stashed in the Rhododendrons, got it close enough to scoop it up and breathed a sigh I waded out to cast to my spots. The mice had taken a of relief. At 38.12lb, it was well down in weight, but liking to them and chewed a couple of holes into the it did not matter. I never have or will be interested in legs. The water was absolutely freezing, but I got the catching fish at certain weights. To me it’s all about rods out, and then I sat with my legs over the stove to catching the fish, whether they are 35lb or 42lb! The warm them up, trying to dry my socks and trousers new wave of anglers is obsessed with weights and sizes, off. I told myself that I’d stay until the birds wiped me but surely, it’s all about the chase and the final prize - out and then I’d go home. By the afternoon, they’d the weight should be immaterial. done two of my rods except for my banker, so I stayed put. I must have dozed off, as I awoke to the Neville Any spare time I had after that was spent doing short screaming. In a bit of a daze, I stumbled forward and sessions over Bushy Park.
TALES OF A JOURNEYMAN - DAVE MAGALHAES picked up the rod. It was dark, and couldnâ€™t really see what was going on. The fish did not fight and I wound it straight in without any fuss at all. Donâ€™t ask me why but I thought it was just a stocky. I was actually a bit annoyed that it had woke me up. Still not aware of what had happened, I grabbed hold of the line and bent down to unhook it. As I tried to focus on the fish, it dawned on me that it was too big to be a stocky. Then I noticed a pointy dorsal, and three scales on its side. In a panic, I turned around to grab the net. As I did so, I could feel the fish knocking its head as my hand bounced behind me. Just as I got hold of the net, my hand flew up as the hook came out. I was gutted. Nearly 10 years on, I can close my eyes and see it picture perfect in my head laying there on its side and I still get that sick feeling when I think of the hook coming out. Until next time, be lucky! Dave Mag
SESSION OF A LIFE TIME AT
MAR PECHE STEVE SHENFIELD
Darren, John and I arrived at the fishery gates at about 11am on Saturday 13th June 2009, knackered from the overnight journey; I do love the M25 on a Friday night! This was our third trip to Kevin Maddocks’ French bigfish water, Mar-Pêche, a stunning 25-acre lake situated in the river Yonne valley, near the town of Montereau, where the Yonne joins the Seine. This stretch of the Yonne has produced a former world record for a rivercaught carp at a staggering weight of 81lbs. Once again, we had booked the whole lake for our exclusive use. The facilities on offer at the fishery are pretty good with most swims having a tap for water. On each of the 3 sides of the lake from where fishing is allowed (there are no swims on the West bank) there is a hut which has electric points (English and Continental style plugs) for charging mobiles, bait-boats (although bait-boats are banned as an experiment for 2009), walkie-talkies etc. Also in the hut are a fridge and a freezer, a luxury for a week in France. The huts behind ‘Hobbits’ and ‘Squirrels’ Drey’ each house a flushing toilet. There is also an additional toilet block with a couple of showers sited on the North bank along with two caravan/ chalets available for hire. If you hire one of the chalets, you are guaranteed exclusive use of the nearest swim, either ‘The Jetty’ or ‘Fallen Tree’. As to the stock, Kevin estimates that there are about 150 carp in the lake, with 4 different fish having been caught at over 70lbs and a further 10 over 60lbs. The average size of carp must now be close to 40lbs, a fantastic French venue for the serious angler. There are also several catfish in the lake running to a weight of 160lb.
SESSION OF A LIFE TIME - STEVE SHENFIELD
K E V I N WA S O N H A N D T O M E E T US AND TO LET US KNOW HOW THE LAKE HAD BEEN FISHING OVER THE PREVIOUS WEEK.
Kevin also has another French water, ’The Labyrinth’, just a few minutes’ drive from Mar-Pêche. His website www.lesbeauxlacs.net has details of both fisheries. Kevin was on hand to meet us and to let us know how the lake had been fishing over the previous week. There had been several forties, a handful of fifties, a couple of sixties and, the highlight of the week, a new lake best of 71lb 2oz, a fish known as ‘Barbie-Jo’ from ‘Left-hand Hobbits’. Remarkably, this fish had come out twice in a couple of days, the second time also breaking the 70lb barrier at 70lb 12oz from ‘Heron Point’. So, no pressure on us to catch then! On my two previous visits I had fished the swim known as ‘Right-hand Hobbits’ and this was where I was keen to ‘plot-up’ for this trip. The swim is probably the most consistent on the fishery over the course of a year and commands a great deal of open water, with the lake being approximately 240 yards wide at this point. The depth is pretty even, dropping away from the steep marginal shelf to about 12-13 foot. The bottom appears to be a uniform depth and made up of firm silt with small patches of gravel. With our trip being later in the year (mid-June) than our previous Spring-time visits, the marginal shelf was quite weedy. A wooden platform separates this swim from ‘Left-hand Hobbits’ and is handy for the playing and sacking of fish in the
SESSION OF A LIFE TIME - STEVE SHENFIELD
deeper water. Darren and John were being their usual non-committal selves, not wishing to declare their swim choice. After a walk round the lake, this situation hadn’t changed. Unsurprisingly, there were a number of fish in ‘Romany bay’ as this swim hadn’t been fished during the previous week and offers the fish a degree of sanctuary. Eventually, decisions were made and Darren dropped me and my mountain of gear off in ‘Hobbits’. John had decided on ‘Fallen Tree’ from where he could also cast a rod or two into ‘Romany Bay’ and Darren dropped in next door to him in ‘The Jetty’. Having the whole lake to ourselves gave each of us the option of a move later in the week if our first-choice swims proved unproductive.
system were attached. A 3 1/2 oz distance pear lead was sufficient to hit the shorter distance. To this I attached, via a clip, a short hook-link constructed from 15lb ESP Sink-link with a size 6 Korda Kurv hook, again tied using the knotless-knot with a long hair for the large hook-baits. For baiting-up I would be using Mainline Activ-8 in 22mm, rolled for me by Alan at Tasty Baits. For hook-baits, I had hand-rolled and air-dried some 24-30mm boilies in the same mix. All 4 rods were cast out to the spots (having clipped-up to the marker) and, with a scattering of boilies around each baited rig; it was ‘game on’! Time to sit back, prepare some food, have a beer and then get some much needed sleep.
Sunday morning dawned without so much as a bleep. Running on adrenaline, I quickly put up the bivvy After some breakfast and a visit from and, with the gear stashed away, it was time to get the marker rod out. Having fished the swim before I had Kevin, I reeled in the rods late morning. All the baits a pretty good idea of the layout of the swim, however, came back relatively clear of any bottom weed, so after a few casts it was apparent that there was a lot presentation was ok. I like to rest the swim for a few of blanket and silk weed across the bottom of the hours during what I consider to be the unproductive lake, nothing too bad. An hour or so later and I had part of the day, allowing fish to enter the area without identified a couple of spots that were clear enough being spooked by lines. It’s a confidence thing. It also for decent bait presentation. To the right hand side of gave me the chance for a walk round the lake and to the swim I found a nice gravel spot which sloped up catch up with Darren and John. Having spoken on the gradually from left to right, with the depth 12ft 6in to walkie-talkies, neither of them had had any joy either. 11ft 6in at about 80yds, perfect for a couple of rods. To After lunch and a few beers, I returned to my swim to the left of the swim I found two further spots at about spend a while further investigating my spots with the 90-100yds where I could feel the lead down on the marker rod. I was very happy with the gravel area in marker rod with a firm ‘donk’. With time and energy the right-hand side of the swim but felt I could search running out, it was time to set the rods up. For the two out some better spots to the left. After a few casts with longer range spots I had borrowed some Free Spirit the marker I had a couple of clearer spots marked 13ft, 3 1/2lb tc Hi-S rods from my mate Norman, no up. The 4 rods were cast out to the spots and again chance of being under-gunned then! To these I fitted I scattered about a dozen baits around each rig with my Daiwa Emblems loaded with 16lb GLT Pro Clear. the throwing-stick, not tight as I wanted the fish to be For the business end, I attached 3ft of ESP 45lb lead- actively searching out the freebies. core, with a spliced in Korda size 8 swivel at one end, to the main-line using a Keith Moors’ knot. A Korda 4oz All too soon Monday morning came and brought with tournament lead was fitted via a Korda lead-clip and it some showery rain. At about 08:30, during one of tail rubber. A small hook-link clip protected by a short the bright intervals, my left-hand rod was away. As I length of silicon rubber would enable me to quickly struck into the fish, I shouted ‘hauling’ only for the change hook-links, but to start I attached a short hook to pull! I think Darren and John were genuinely 25lb Kryston Mantis hook-link with a size 6 Korda gutted for me.....not! I reeled in, checked over the rig, Kurv hook. The hooks were tied using the standard re-baited and, was about to re-cast, when the left-hand knotless-knot with a small stripped-back section of rod of the pair fished on the gravel spot went into the Mantis and a long hair as I would be using 24- meltdown. This time I bit my tongue and struck into 30mm hook-baits. For the shorter range gravel spot I a fast moving carp. The fish felt heavy and after a brief set up my Harrison 12ft, 3lb tc Ballistas, coupled with but spirited battle I slipped the landing-net under a my Shimano Baitrunners loaded with 12lb Berkley very big mirror carp. I unclipped the hook-link and, Big-game. Again, lead-core leaders with the lead-clip after putting the rod down, carried my prize to the waiting unhooking mat. I peeled back the folds of my landing-net to reveal the flanks of a typically Frenchframed carp and a new PB. I removed the hook-link,
secured the fish on the mat and readied the sling and scales. After zeroing the scales with the wetted sling, I transferred the fish to the sling and, using my landingnet pole to steady myself, I lifted the sling off the ground. The scales read off a weight of 57lb 2oz. Bloody Hell; I’d smashed my PB by over 12lbs! By this time the light rain had returned, so I decided to sack the fish for a while. I rattled off a text to Kevin to inform him of my capture and he replied that he would come up to photograph the fish when the rain left off. Soon the rain stopped and everybody gathered for the photos as I struggled to hold the fish for the cameras. With the pictures in the can, metaphorically speaking, the fish was returned, leaving me wondering how I could ever top that. Once again I reeled in at about midday to rest the swim and celebrate my new PB with Darren, John and a few beers (you’ll see a theme developing here). Later that afternoon I returned to my swim to prepare for the night, brimming with confidence. With no reason to change tactics, all 4 rods were soon cast back out on the spots, together with the usual scattering of boilies. The night was again uneventful and as the morning wore on I thought my chance for the day had passed. I was on the point of reeling in for the day when the right-hand rod fished to the gravel spot roared off. I picked up the rod and struck as an angry carp pulled back. The carp managed to find the safety of a weed bed but
SESSION OF A LIFE TIME - STEVE SHENFIELD
THE SCALES READ OFF A WEIGHT OF 57LB 2OZ. BLOODY HELL; I’D SMASHED MY PB BY OVER 12LBS! BY THIS TIME THE LIGHT RAIN HAD RETURNED, SO I DECIDED TO SACK THE FISH FOR A WHILE.
with steady pressure it was soon on the move again. I slowly gained line and before long the fish was close in to the bank. Unfortunately, the carp dived into the marginal weed and everything locked-up. I waded out into the lake to get a more direct pull on the carp but was unable to gain any more line. John had noticed my predicament and had rushed round to offer his assistance. Luckily there was a boat moored alongside the nearby platform for just this reason and John quickly maneuvered it into position above the weeded carp from where he could see the tail of the fish waving in the weed. He told me that I was attached to a very big mirror carp and not to panic (which obviously had the opposite effect). John managed to free the mainline and the carp came to the surface from where he got it into the landing-net at the first attempt. He bit through the main-line just above the leader so that I could put the rod down and give him a hand to get the boat nearer to the bank. Kevin appeared in the swim just as we transferred the fish in the rolled-up net to the unhooking mat. He had seen John in the boat from his house and guessed that I’d had another. John had estimated the carp to be near 70lbs, but Kevin was a bit more conservative, thinking that he recognized the carp as the one known as ‘The Animal’ (later confirmed). The great fish was gently placed in the sling and John and Kevin lifted it onto the scales for me to read off a weight of 64lb 8oz. I’d now smashed my recent PB by a further 7lb and my previous PB by nearly 20,
SESSION OF A LIFE TIME - STEVE SHENFIELD
wow, what a result! We rested the fish in the deep water off of the platform, which gave me a chance to recover before we did the photos. With the fish returned safely to its watery home, I could celebrate with a beer or three with John and Kevin (who had a soft drink as he was recovering from Shingles). As usual, I reeled in to rest the swim for a few hours during the afternoon and to join John and Darren for some lunch, cooked on one of the stone barbecues sited around the lake.
be awakened by the alarm on the same rod a couple of hours later. I picked up the rod, struck and made my way to the platform where I soon slipped the net under a big mirror. On the scales this fish went 49lb 8oz and I had another prize in the sack for a morning photo shoot. After the early morning text, Kevin turned up to do the pictures. I think he was enjoying this session as much as I was. I know he takes a great deal of pride in the quality of the carp and the fishing at Mar-Pêche, which is a testament to the hard work he has put in Surprisingly, the following night and morning were over the years. As the sun climbed in the sky, I reeled uneventful, with no action to my rods. in as usual to rest the swim and enjoy a few beers and another ‘barbie’ with Darren and John. Things remained quiet also for Darren and John on the opposite bank and as mid week approached they were Meanwhile, John was well pleased with a new PB, a both considering a move. mirror weighing 52lb 2oz, caught from a rod cast into ‘Romany Bay’ from his swim ‘Fallen Tree’. Darren, However, things picked up on Wednesday night again without any action from ‘The Jetty’, decided on a through to Thursday morning. I’d just decided to get move to ‘Heron Point’ after seeing a few fish crash out. my head down at about 11:30pm when a few minutes later one of the long-range rods ripped off. I picked up Later that afternoon, I returned to my swim to get the the rod and struck into the fish. To avoid any problems rods out for the night. The sun seems to set much later with the marginal weed, I decided to play this fish in France (yeah, I know they’re an hour ahead of us here from the platform. After a short struggle I had the in the UK, but it stays light until well past 10:30pm) carp wallowing in the deep water in front and could and I had been sitting, watching the water. During the see that I was attached to a large common carp. The week the carp had been very active throughout the fish went into the landing-net at the first attempt and evenings, rolling all over the lake. I must have crashed I unclipped the hook-link. I collapsed the net and, out on the bed-chair as I was suddenly awakened by making sure that the carp was safely secured, I carried the alarm on the right-hand rod fished on the gravel it to the unhooking mat where I removed the hook spot. I quickly struck into the fish and again moved from the bottom lip. In the beam of my head-lamp, I onto the platform. Eventually I had another colossal could see that this was another very big carp, certainly mirror safely in the landing-net. On the unhooking over fifty, possibly even sixty! I secured the fish in the mat I was drawn to the intricate starburst scaling on wetted sling and lifted it onto the zeroed scales. I again the tail and recognised the fish as ‘Cluster’ from the used the landing-net pole to steady myself to get an picture board in the hut, one of the known sixties. The accurate reading of 58lb 12oz. Not wishing to sack scales recorded a weight of 57lbs, down in weight, this fish overnight, I tried Kevin on his mobile and he soon arrived with his camera to do the pictures. With but who cares about a few pounds when fish are as the fish returned and the rod re-cast I got back into magnificent as this. With the fish safely sacked in deep my sleeping-bag to reflect on what was turning into a water, I soon had the rod back on the spot and was stunning week and we were still only halfway through! back in my sleeping-bag. A couple of hours later, as the sky brightened, the same rod was away once more. A few hours later, just as dawn was breaking, the alarm After yet another arm-aching battle I had another big on the other long-range rod sounded. Once again I mirror on the unhooking mat ready for weighing. was in! I moved to the platform to continue playing On the scales and a weight of 55lb 1oz was read off. I this fish and soon had another common ready for the sacked the fish alongside it’s slightly bigger companion, net. This fish was soon on the scales and a weight of realizing that I had just had a brace of fifties in the 43lb 1oz was recorded. I sacked the fish in the deep night! Kevin turned up to do the photos after receiving water accessible from the end of the platform. After re- my text informing him of my latest captures. ‘Cluster’ casting and a brew, I drifted back off to sleep, only to looked even more impressive in the light of day. Maybe the pictures don’t do the fish justice but the sight of her will remain with me forever. With the pics done and both fish returned it was time for breakfast and a brew.
SESSION OF A LIFE TIME - STEVE SHENFIELD
I’D JUST DECIDED TO GET MY HEAD D OWN AT AB OUT 11:30PM WHEN A FEW MINUTES LATER ONE OF THE LONG-RANGE RODS R I P P E D O F F.
With no further action through the morning I reeled placed the fish in the weigh sling and up onto the scales. in at midday as usual to rest the swim for a few hours The needle spun round to register a weight of 57lb 6oz, and grab some lunch (and a beer or three). giving me my sixth carp over 50lb of the week. Kevin, once again, responded to my text and turned up to do John had caught a double during the night from his the photos in the morning. He recognized the fish as baited spot in front of ‘Fallen Tree’ (a double from ‘Arfur’ (from ‘arf a tail). Mar-Pêche being a rare capture indeed) and Darren had lost a fish from his new swim during the morning. Having returned the fish, it was time to start packing away, our week over. We were hoping to be away by By late afternoon I was preparing for the last night, the about 11am, which would give us plenty of time to get week seeming to have flown by! With the four rods to Calais for our return ferry. cast out I could sit back and enjoy my last evening in France with a curry and a beer, watching the water John had caught another small fish for Mar Pêche, a and savoring the atmosphere. I was going to miss this mid-thirty, off of his baited spot in ‘Fallen Tree’ and next week! Eventually, as darkness fell, I reluctantly Darren suffered another blank. climbed in the bag; sleep was going to be difficult as the events of the past week kept playing over in my mind. Prior to the trip, I had said (a little bit tongue-in-cheek) However, I must have dropped off as I was dragged that my target would be a fifty during the week. Not for from the bag by the alarm on the same rod that had minute did I think I would end up with two forties, five produced the last two fish (that little gravel area was fifties and a sixty. certainly doing the business). A short fight ended with a big mirror rolling into the out-stretched net. Once Surely the session of a lifetime..! on the unhooking mat I could see that the tail of the fish was deformed with part of the top lobe missing, possibly as a result of some early damage. Carefully I
SESSION OF A LIFE TIME - STEVE SHENFIELD
VIDEOS CARP FISHING VIDEO - YATELEY CAR PARK LAKE VENUE/SWIM VIDEO GUIDE
Carp Fishing Video - Yateley Car Park Lake Venue/Swim Video Guide.
Carp angling publication featuring: Nigel Sharp, Dave Magalhaes, Elliott Gray