This month James Jenner recounts one of his more productive and certainly better-weather campaigns on the River Arun, to shake those winter blues and remind us of a time when the sun came out and the grass was green!
In June 2017 I embarked on a short river campaign, the goal being to try and bank at least one of the wild carp that were rumoured to inhabit the stretch.
The River Arun starts its journey near the town of Horsham, meandering through the beautiful West Sussex countryside as a fairly narrow and sluggish stretch until it reaches Pulborough, where it becomes tidal all the way down to its confluence with the sea at Littlehampton. South of Pulborough the tidal range can provide quite a challenge to even the hardiest of anglers, but there are great rewards to be had for those that are willing to persevere.
Having had limited success on the tidal stretches, banking two carp to just shy of 19lb over 20 or so nights, I decided to join a local club and try my hand on the upper, non-tidal river.
My membership came through in early April and I set off for my first look. The banks were generally very steep and overgrown, indicating that there seemed to be very little in the way of angling pressure as we see it on the local gravel pits and lakes.
It was obvious from the outset that a venue of this type would require a mobile approach with minimal kit, keeping quiet and aiming to snatch a fish or two from a spot before moving on. I walked for a good mile-and-a-half through some delightful scenery before I found what I was looking for; an old fallen tree across 90 per cent of the width of the river, among which a great deal of flotsam and weed had collected in the submerged branches, forming a ‘roof’ around the size of two dining tables.
Ten yards downstream of this snag was a small set of lily pads, with thick grass and occasional brambles along the sheer opposite bank, all of which sat in a slightly wider pool compared to the rest of the river. This seemed like just the sort of place that the carp would choose to visit time and again, essentially something of a ‘home’ for them. The idea was always to find a spot such as this to introduce bait on a regular basis.
With a river there are literally miles of water that the carp can choose to frequent at any given time, and while they may stop in certain areas to feed as they pass through, by baiting an area that they were likely to reside in the odds were hopefully going to be in my favour.
Three hundred yards further downstream I found another spot; a wider section with an inlet stream directly opposite and abundant marginal weed growth. By baiting two areas I would always have a backup option if I found my chosen spot occupied, although I suspected that few anglers would be likely to venture as far away from the nearest car parking as I had chosen to do. Spots chosen, I began to formulate a baiting plan.
The first few introductions of bait would be purely small particles such as pigeon conditioner, with 10kg spread generously over each spot two to three times a week for the first two weeks. The aim here was to encourage the smaller fish to feed heavily on the free bait, effectively clearing the bottom of any debris and/or light weed. The water is always coloured along this stretch and so I could never be 100 percent certain of the effect, but it certainly felt right.
I will digress slightly here just to reflect on how difficult it was for me to keep the bait going in regularly at times. Having spent the last four years working for the Ambulance Service, at the ripe old age of 38 I decided to embark on a journey to become a registered operating department practitioner, trading my ambulance greens for surgical scrubs in a busy hospital. This involves enrolling on a university course, passing several exams, and then working 40 hours per week (unpaid) getting hands-on training at the hospital. In order to pay the bills, any days that I am not working 12-hour shifts at the hospital, I am working 12-hour shifts with the ambulance service.
Suffice to say that staying up cooking particles after a long shift, and driving down to the river to throw it in after the next long shift, took more than a little determination on my part!
So, after the initial two weeks of baiting with small particles, I switched to whole maize and maples, plus a handful or two of 24mm halibut pellets, Solar Chilli Club Mix boilies and tiger nuts. If there were any carp visiting my spots, it was time to give them something to eat.
Two to three times a week leading up to June I would bait up rain or shine, often employing the help of my fishing buddy Leigh and housemate Darren to help me carry the bait all the way to the swims, for which I will always be grateful.
The magical June 16th fell on a Friday, and by half killing myself pulling double shifts wherever I could I managed to secure a whopping three days off over the weekend. The club doesn’t allow night fishing so I planned to fish from 4am to 9pm each day, driving the 20 miles home for a couple of hours’ sleep between sessions.
For the last three baiting trips I switched to feeding solely boilies, tigers, and the 24mm pellets, and despite overwhelming exhaustion, the anticipation of the first session was really building.
Soon enough it was the evening of June 15th and the kit was packed, rigs tied, all ready to go by the front door for a 3am departure. Tackle and rigs were to be kept as simple and as strong as possible: 15lb Big Game main line, 6ft lead-core leaders, 3oz flat pear leads fished helicopter style, 25lb coated braid hook links and simple bottom bait rigs incorporating razor-sharp size 4 wide-gape hooks. Finesse was not required, but if I were lucky enough to hook a carp then I certainly wanted to give myself every chance of landing it.
I couldn’t get to sleep the night before the first session, and it was an incredibly warm night. I put the TV on and sat on the sofa at midnight, watching the clock tick by agonisingly slowly. Next thing I knew I awoke to a stiff neck and brilliant sunlight beaming in through the windows. No!
Yep, I’d fallen asleep and it was already 5am. Up in a flash and in the car within five minutes I soon pulled up at the car park to see two cars there, the first I’d seen other than my own since embarking on this campaign. The thought of my swims being occupied became a real worry as I hurriedly stormed past two lads at the first swim with a wave. A gallon of sweat and many nettle stings later I arrived at the first spot, and with immense relief noted that there were no anglers in sight. Tiptoeing down to the water’s edge I carefully inserted the banksticks and laid down the plastic sheeting I had brought to sit on (to save the weight of bringing a chair). The first rod was baited with an 18mm Chilli Club boilie tipped with a tiger nut, and before underarming the rig into place I paused for a second to take it all in.
It was a glorious summer’s day and the only sounds were those of nature all around me; the nearest road was over a mile away and I had this beautiful place all to myself. Without further delay the rig was cast alongside the snag tree to my left, followed by the second rod, baited with two tigers and cast just off the pads downstream.
Once the rods were settled I turned around and quietly walked the few metres to the rest of my kit, intending to bring my bits and pieces down to the swim quietly. I picked up my rucksack and turned to face the water just as the right-hand rod burst into life, taking me completely by surprise.
I was on the rod within three seconds, but on lifting into the fish I noticed the line angle and immediately realised something was wrong. The fished rolled on the surface opposite me and I could clearly see it was a scaly mirror, but the line was wrapped around a submerged branch from the tree raft to my left.
Gentle pressure resulted in nothing but a horrible grating sensation as the line rubbed against the branch, and though I could still feel the fish everything seemed to be becoming more and more solid. I couldn’t believe I had hooked a wild river carp so quickly, and had an even harder time believing that I was potentially about to lose it. Putting the rod down and opening the bail arm, I quickly put on my chest waders before slipping into the water. Even at the near margin the water was instantly up to the top of my chest, and still the margins sloped deeper.
Clambering back out of the water I wrestled out of the chesties and gave the rod another slow, firm pull but everything was solid. Everyone always says: “I’m a strong swimmer” and maybe they are. I am a certified Rescue Diver, but even so I would not advise anyone to do anything as foolhardy as what I was about to do. Stripping down to just my boxers, rod in hand (the carbon-fibre one, cheeky!), I entered the water and swam upstream to the fallen tree. For 10 minutes I desperately tried to free the snagged line from the submerged branch, but it was hopeless. Starting to get a little out of breath I held on to a branch and took a little rest, reflecting on how stupid it would be for me to drown in this situation, and questioning my sanity.
At that instant the carp swam straight into me, literally right into my chest, causing me to shout a few stunned obscenities before quickly locating the trailing line and wrapping it around my free hand. I then threw the rod on to the bank, bit through the line attached to the submerged branch, and found myself again treading water, this time holding onto a river carp like a dog on a lead-core leash.
What happened next might seem hard to believe but I’m sorry, it’s 100 per cent true. The fish slowly started to swim downstream away from me, taking my 15-stone bulk along for a leisurely ride! It towed me for a few feet before I guided it back towards the bank and the waiting landing net. With a scoop and a tricky climb out I finally stood there on the river bank, soaking wet, laughing, and looking down at prize in the net. I guess when your name’s on it…
I popped the chesties back on (nobody deserves to see me in boxers!) and a T-shirt, and set about the weighing and self-taking photos. The lovely scaly mirror carp weighed 16lb and a few ounces, but I honestly couldn’t have cared less if it was 10lb lighter or heavier – I’d done it! As is always the case I wish I could have admired my prize for longer, but it was a hot day and after a quick kiss and a thank you she was swimming away from me. I sat on the grass and dried out for a while before regaining my composure and getting the rods back out on the spots.
I didn’t care if the buzzers remained silent for the rest of the day I was so happy, and anyway I was certain that the commotion caused by my morning swim would have been enough to send any fish in the vicinity running for the hills.
Imagine my surprise then when three minutes later the left-hand rod melted off, and I was once again attached to an angry carp! This fight was slower and more typical of a bigger fish, and sure enough a big ghostie was soon rolling over the net cord. At 23lb she was a real old warrior, and had clearly been through a lot over the course of her life in moving water.
I just couldn’t believe how lucky I’d been to catch a river ‘twenty’ on my first session, but I did have a little smile and remarked to myself that effort really did seem to equal reward. I sent Leigh a text and told him what had happened, and he told me I needed to get myself down to the second spot and bag another one.
Leigh has had plenty of carp from the tidal stretch in his youth and so I was keen to follow his advice, but told him I needed to sit down for a few minutes and compose myself. It seemed mad to not have the rod back out on the spot while I did so! Sure enough, 15 minutes later the right rod was away again with an absolute one-toner as an angry carp made its way downstream. Once I had it in front of me it stayed deep, but through the polaroids I could see a long, chestnut mirror twisting and turning. On the scales she went 18lb and was one of the most impressive looking carp I’ve ever seen, a long, lean torpedo.
Slipping her back it just didn’t seem to be possible, what an incredible way to open my campaign on the upper Arun.
It was midday by the time I got down to the second spot, dispatching two baits to likely looking areas before lying back to catch some sun and maybe a quick nap. The nap wasn’t to be, as unbelievably one of the rods was away again, this time resulting in a 14lb mirror. This fish looked younger and had a shape more synonymous with a lake escapee, but it was certainly very welcome and was clearly thriving in its new home.
Two hours passed before the same rod went again, with what looked like another low-double mirror unfortunately slipping the hook. On any other day I would have been distraught at such a loss but today I simply shrugged and smiled, for the river had already been more than kind enough to me.
I did actually manage a little nap after this capture before the same rod went once again, and an 11lb common was soon in the net. Slipping him back I decided that I’d had more than my fair share for the day, and headed home.
I celebrated with a hot bath to soothe the nettle stings and sunburn, followed by a few cold cans of beer to celebrate the best opening day I’d had in over 35 years of angling. Everything really had come together perfectly for me, and it had been worth every minute of the effort I put in. The next day was ridiculously hot, the hottest day of the year in fact, and not surprisingly I gave up soon after reaching the first swim as it just didn’t seem worth it. I did return at dawn on the Sunday though, managing a double-figure common from each spot and being back at home in the shower by 9am, ready for a day at the beach. Proper fishing.
A week went by before I returned to my beloved spots, but the session was memorable for all the wrong reasons. I saw the familiar sight of what I assumed to be the farmer’s white van in the opposite field and waved my customary hello. I didn’t receive a wave back this time, and two minutes later a Range Rover was steaming across the field towards me. I greeted the driver with a smile and a wave, but he didn’t look happy.
“What do you think you’re doing here?!”
“I’m fishing, here’s my membership card.”
“There’s no fishing allowed here, you’re too far downstream.”
To give the old boy credit he was actually pretty civil to me when he realised that I wasn’t a poacher and had just made an honest mistake with the boundary map, but that was that.
My river campaign was over as dramatically as it had started, but I’d had the good fortune to have managed a few captures before having to move on. I can’t have any regrets, and those two short sessions and the work that went into them beforehand will always be very special to me.
As I type this we are heading into December and I still have my ticket. Last week I found a couple of spots on a new stretch that look like they might be worthy of some attention, and they’re definitely not out of bounds, so watch this space!
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this as much as I have enjoyed recounting the experiences, and would advise any of you to give the river carp a go if you haven’t already. It’s hard work, but when that first one comes along I guarantee that the smile won’t leave your face for a week.
With a day session at his disposal, Max Hendry seeks out some winter carp fun to give him his fishing fix.
Name: Max Hendry
UKPB: 36lb 2oz
Occupation: Nashbait brand manager
Sponsors: Nash Tackle and Nashbait
As always I am buzzing to get out on the bank, no matter what the weather. Winter fishing is particularly fun as it allows me to indulge myself with a few visits to some local runs waters and get plenty of bites. It’s made even more fun when you have your mates there to enjoy it with.
The sole aim of my fishing at this time of year is to get bites and keep active. Big fish and campaign fishing can wait until it warms up a bit! In order to guarantee some action I look to fish the more highly stocked lakes and I try to go as regularly as possible, even if only for a few short hours. It was on one of my short day sessions that I thought I would drag Nash camera man Oli Davies along to see if I could get a few bites live for the cameras.
My venue of choice was to be Churchgate Lakes, in Essex. It’s a well-known day-ticket complex in the area but a fishery I have only visited to shoot features – I’ve never had the chance to wet a line myself. I took a walk round all the lakes and settled on the one right next to the car park. It’s got a decent stock of carp, but with the chance of a better fish too.
Although there was a match being held on there it was only the far bank that was pegged, leaving over half of the lake empty. This seemed to have a lot more fish activity than the other lakes on the complex as I walked around, so I reasoned that there would be more fish up for a feed.
I settled on a swim that allowed me access to a channel out between two islands. On the end of this a weeping willow lay over the water, and looked to be a great starting point. After a couple of flicks with the lead I soon deduced that the depth was around five feet straight off the island. This was an ample depth for fishing so I marked up the rod with marker elastic to ensure I could maintain accuracy throughout the session.
The cast was a little tricky as I needed to cast low and hard to slot the lead between two branches of the weeping willow. This allowed me to get a rig right into the cove formed by the trees, a place I am sure most anglers wouldn’t want to cast to through fear of catching up in the branches. As the line hit the clip I pointed the rod at the spot to ensure that the lead landed as far into the cove as possible.
With the first rod in position I wanted to get a nice bit of bait out there. The weather had been milder with highs up to 10ºC; today was colder again but it was due to brighten up later in the day and I thought a little bait might spur on a decent hit of fish.
Rather than just go down the boilie route, I wanted to give the fish something to really get feeding and competing with each other, and smaller food items are the best way to get the fish grubbing around. I had blended up some Strawberry Crush boilies to a really fine consistency in a food processor at home and the fine dust created resembled more of a stick mix. To this I added the matching Strawberry Crush booster juice and a little water until I could mould the crumb into firm balls. This would allow me to catapult small baby-fist-sized baits with a small match-style catapult to the spot.
I baited with 10 balls of crumb and cast a trimmed-down 15mm pop-up out to the spot. In the interest of giving the fish some bigger baits in the mix, I also catapulted 20 whole 15mm baits to the spot. I was hoping this would prevent the fish becoming preoccupied on the small food and meant that they would readily pick up my trimmed-down bait.
The second rod was cast a rod length to the left along the island margin, nice and tight over a small pouch of Strawberry Crush boilies. I fished a short drop on the bobbin so I could watch the slack line for line bites. With drizzle peppering the surface of the water, I put the brolly up quickly and got the gear in the dry.
After making a couple of spare rigs I watched intently with a cup of tea. Small, fizzy bubbles moved on the spot and every so often the line would twitch as a fish fed on the area. After 20 minutes the bobbin pulled up tight and I was into my first fish. After a spirited fight I landed a 6lb common; it was a good start. With the fish safely returned, I dropped the rig on the spot and re-baited. As the rig descended through the water it hit a fish on the way down – things were looking good for another bite.
With fish shoaling up tightly in winter I thought I would cast the other rod out to the spot too. As the northerly wind blew the willow canopy away from the bank it allowed me to drop the rigs right next to each other. Oli arrived just in time for the second bite and I soon had another fish from the spot in the net. It was interesting how the fish reacted to my baiting approach on the second bite. After around 15 minutes of no activity after casting out, I catapulted 10 baits to the area. Five minutes later the bobbin rose to the top and the line pinged from the line clip. More bait arriving in the area seemed to excite the fish into feeding harder.
With the fish shots of a lovely common carp all done I made Oli a brew. When he arrived his keen eyes had noticed a fish show in a quiet snaggy bay, an area obscured to my vision by the trees. I took a walk down there while he minded the rods and I dropped a handful of crushed baits on the snag bush before returning. This was to be my plan B for an opportune last-minute bite.
Back in the main swim I continued with the little-and-often baiting approach in between tying rigs and balancing my hook baits in the margin. I was fishing simple rigs so they were easy to tie. Slip D rigs are a presentation I have a lot of faith in, whether it be for bottom baits or pop-ups. I was fishing this with one of the super-sharp Nash Pinpoint hooks, opting for a size 7 Fang X. Teaming this with Combi Link in 35lb allows a trimmed-down, Strawberry Crush pop-up to kick out away from the lead perfectly. Perfectly balanced, this rig will reset itself should it be picked up and spat out by the fish.
Above the rig a simple lead clip with a 3oz lead can be cast anywhere and will be discharged in the unlikely event of the fish becoming snagged, although I didn’t want to be losing the lead unnecessarily on a water like this.
After landing three more carp to just below doubles, I was hoping for a better one to make a mistake, and continued to bait regularly hoping to draw in something bigger. The next bite proved to be a better one. The fish felt slow and ponderous compared to the previous fish and it took line from the clutch with purpose. After a couple of minutes of side-to-side plodding, I slipped the net under a good common, then folded up the mesh and turned her over for a better look.
Oli and I agreed that we both thought we had just got a 20-pounder in the net – that would do nicely. I lifted her on to the unhooking mat and weighed her at 20lb 4oz. The plan had worked and I had bagged one of the better-sized residents. After some lovely photos, and with the sun dipping behind the trees I decided that I would go and give the snaggy bush on the wind half an hour before I got on the road home. I had been baiting the spot all day with chopped boilies so it made sense to drop in there for a quick go. I was travelling light, so a quick pack-up and move was no hardship.
I flicked the two rods the short distance to the spots, laid the rods on the ground and put a stone on each spool so I could see if I had a take. I rebaited and sat back to eat the sandwiches I had been too busy all day to eat! No sooner had I finished my first chicken and stuffing sandwich, I was away on the right-hand rod fished to a snaggy tree. I ran to it and hooked into probably the smallest fish of the day, a 2lb common carp that was jet black and absolutely immaculate. Was it worth the move? Of course!
I recast and finished off my other sandwich before getting everything packed away and bidding farewell to Oli. I’d had a lovely day on the bank in great company, getting plenty of bites on a winter’s day. If you’re not getting out this winter, then I encourage you to find a local water, grab some mates and get out there fishing. It’s fun, gets you out of the house and will undoubtedly give you that much needed fishing fix until the spring!
Now is the time to begin your preparations and get more from your single hook baits, to make this your best winter ever!
There is no doubt about it, after those first couple of big freeze-ups, the carp’s activity dramatically slows down to the point where getting multiple bites is often well off the cards. Instead, attempting to nick bites here and there with high attract, minimal feed methods can be the only way of generating success when the conditions are close to freezing.
The ‘single’ hook bait approach is often referred to by many anglers at this time of year, right through until the spring months when the fish start moving much more during daylight hours. Straight from the pot, single hook baits can be effective, but with a little extra thought and consideration, they can be made that little more special, often resulting in putting more fish on the bank in the cold.
But why are single hook baits so effective at this time of year? Well, put simply, the fishes’ feeding activity slows right down and their need to gain energy through eating bait is very minimal. They will often go weeks without the need to eat anything, often just lying up in the warmest area of the lake where they feel comfortable. Single hook baits are often enough to lure a bite, especially when cast to areas where the carp are held up; the attractive stimulants and vivid colours can be a trigger in even the coldest temperatures.
Tailoring these hook baits to ensure they are as potent as possible will no doubt lead to a greater leakage of attractors and feeding stimulants into the water column, which is vital when the carp’s senses and vision are at their least effective when the temperatures decline.
Turbocharging your bright hook baits can certainly help keep those bobbins rocking throughout winter, but what benefits do these have over your standard, straight-out-of-the-pot pop-up. Well, once you have knocked up a pot of these power-packed gems, you will see why.
Prepping the hook baits with higher levels of liquid additive and a dusting of concentrated powdered stimulant will turn your seemingly ‘normal’ hook baits into crusted, potent, fruity wonders in a matter of just a few days. In the water, these additives that have been added work from the moment they are introduced, creating a halo of attraction and pH stimulants within the water that the fish can detect, spurring them into a feeding mode.
Creating these wonder baits is simple and requires a few squirts of the matching booster spray, just enough to give them a light, shiny glaze. This can be followed a day or so later with a heaped teaspoon of powdered additive – the really strong, nose-biting ones are best, such as Lactose Concentrate, Fructose and Fruit Zest.
These powders are transformational and when locked into that hook bait by wrapping them in fine-weave tights, they allow for a steady release of attractors in the close vicinity of that bright hook bait.
The most commonly used size when it comes to single hook bait fishing is without a doubt 15mm; so why not be a little different this winter when trying to trip up those nomadic carp? Alternating the size will often generate that curiosity factor and it has been known for fish to be caught on big, bright, high-attract hook baits in the depths of winter.
Having a pin-point sharp hook is even more important in the colder months, especially as the carp are moving much slower when approaching the bait than compared to the summer months, where they may be competing for food items. Having an ultra-sharp hook ensures that any pick-ups that do occur at a time when the fish are feeding in a finicky way will be converted to takes.
It is often said that overbalancing a hook bait can work against you and this can be true, certainly when fishing over lots of small bait items or into light strands of weed. In the winter though, having that bait critically balanced will only help send that hook bait back when a fish sucks with minimal effort. As they are moving slowly when approaching the single, having it balanced on an effective rig will only swing the odds in your favour.
If you do want to use a smaller hook bait in the winter, simply take a larger pop-up and whittle it down to the required size. This will enhance the leakage properties of the bait ten fold as there will no longer be a skin to seal those attractors within.
Chopping and changing has always been an effective tactic in summer or winter, in the hope of singling out the desired colour they want on that specific day. Something that is often ignored when carrying out this method is switching between tones of colour; on some days, lighter shades or colours will outfish the really vivid tones, so don’t be afraid to fish bright colours against subtle tones in the winter.
Once cracked, single hook-bait fishing can be both rewarding and enjoyable, but still remember to pay close attention to the factors that will inevitably make bites materialise. Location is paramount in the winter, so aim to get this right first before chucking those irresistible bright ones at ’em!
Many anglers believe carp move into open water with consistent depths come the colder months. With others targeting the same regions, accurately going the extra few yards can spell success!
TIP 01 - SORT YOUR FEET OUT
Like anything, you will only be as good as your foundations. Casting is no exception and a good solid platform will help you generate power and precisely channel it through your body, into your blank, and ultimately give you more power.
Mike Dagnall refers to his stance as his punching stance.
Lift your toes in the air and that will make you lean back naturally. Don't overstretch because this might throw you off balance and result in an inaccurate cast. Ensure the gap between your legs is comfortable for you. This will differ depending on your height and body shape.
Once comfortable and with your front-foot toes in the air, step into your front foot firmly and smoothly. As it lands and your back foot lifts, that is the critical point in when you want to cast.
Karl Pitchers prefers to begin with both feet firmly together. This helps him to line up his body and where he wants the lead to go. He will then step into the cast, transferring his weight as he does so.
TIP 02 - WEIGHT TRANSFER
This is key because you are transferring this weight and power into your rod blank. The weight transfer must come from back to the front foot and must be a smooth transition. Many anglers will drop their shoulders during this transition but this will instantly reduce your range.
TIP 03 - HAND AND ARM POSITIONING
Firstly, ensure you have a tight grip on the rod. See how Mike grips his with just his little finger behind the reel seat. This is as secure a hold as you will find.
Your arms can be either straight or slightly bent but the reel arm, which is the vital pivot point, must be straight and not collapse or falter throughout this transition. The pivot point must remain firm throughout the cast with all the effort to pull the hand on the rod butt into your body. The harder and faster the movement from your hand to your body, the further the lead will travel.
The butt arm moves, the pivot reel arm does not!
TIP 04 - LOOK
Itmay seem simple, but look where you are aiming. Ideally,you want the rod to stop at a 45-degree angle once cast.
Mike looks at his thumb on the rod because this is generally the right angle for the perfect trajectory, which will launch the lead on the cast under a tight arc.
Keep looking and the angle, until the lead hits the water.
TIP 05 - HIT IT AND FINISH
Have the confidence to hit your rod; under normal casting practices, a rod should not falter or break. If it does, simply send it back and got it sorted. With the amount of money, testing and technology that goes into rod manufacture, you should not be able to break one merely by casting!
When positioned, gather yourself and pull the butt arm into your body hard and fast; keep the angles and your position until the finish to gain maximum results.
TIP 06 - FINGERSTALL
Yes, it has been done to death, but a fingerstall is vital for continuous use and distance casting. This simple device will give you the confidence to whack that rod without the fear of damaging your finger.
A fingerstall should ALWAYS be worn when using braided mainline or braided leaders.
Karl fishes with monofilament mainline even for spodding and he feels that when you are continuously baiting up or taking your time to get that cast right, a fingerstall will eliminate bruising or cuts, which can hinder performance, and also allows you to hone the feeling through the stall, which will buffer the sensation for your finger.
TIP 07 - PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT!
Like everything, practice makes perfect! Learn to relax and go through the motions. If you are tense and almost mechanical you will hinder the explosive power needed to harness that punch for the extra distance.
Don't ever set yourself up to cast immediately at 160 yards. Take the tips written above and get them right, rehearsing the motion at fishing 80 yards. Once you can continuously hit the clip accurately, increase the range in small steps.
Being fluent in your
We delve into the details of an exciting new launch from kingpins of the rod market (BF)
DOMINATOR X RODS
Sonik entered the UK carp scene several years ago with a market sweeping range of rods that sold like hot cakes and pinned the brand firmly on the map for offering exceptional rods as a superb price. You could buy a set of three rods for the price of two in tackle shops across the country and we’re told that their latest release that comes in the shape of the Dominator X will be available under the same deal so keep an eye out for these in your local tackle shop if you’re looking for a new set of rods on an irresistible deal! The Dominator X is made to a luxurious standard utilising premium carbon for enhanced casting accuracy and improved playing action. The fittings are top draw too, including a Fuji 18mm DPS reel seat, finished in a tremendously slick gloss black and SIC guides are used throughout including an anti-frap tip ring to reduce crack-offs when giving it the big guns. On the blank, a satisfying high modulus 1k carbon weave flows across the butt section proving additional strength and a visually pleasing appearance. The graphics are understated and look just how you’d like them too, providing a premium feel to the package and the line clip is soft and non-abrasive ensuring your line never gets damaged within its grip. On the grip section, you’ll find a sleek Japanese shrink wrap handle that rounds off an impressive rod on the eye. In terms of performance, we’re told they pack a punch to with the ability to launch PVA bags tremendous distances in testing they look set to be the perfect all round rod for looks, performance and value for money in 2018. The rods are available in an array of test curves and lengths ranging from 10ft rods that are perfect fort he roving angler all the way up to 13ft powerhouses that are designed as hardcore casting rods. You’ll even find a dual purpose spod and marker rod in the range so that all bases are covered and there’s a rod for pretty much every carp angler on the planet available from the Dominator X collective.
DOMINATOR X 8000 REEL
Sonik is not the first brand that comes to mind when you think about reels, however, this impressive new launch is set to change the common consensus we think they’ve smashed it with a superb offering in the shape of this black beauty! Couple the impressive image with the fact that it will be selling for a touch under £80; the all-new Dominator X 8000 becomes a seriously interesting product! When we first saw the unveiling of this reel at Sonik’s tradeshow during the latter part of 2017 it was remarkable how everyone’s jaw dropped when we were told the price of it. We have no idea how they’ve made such a competitively priced reel feel so good in your hand, but they have and this truly is a superb piece of kit for the money. The lightweight graphite body has been partnered with a long cast aluminum spool that will handle over 400m of 0.40mm line, boasting substantial line capacity for use in the UK, whilst ensuring there’s still plenty in the tank for use abroad when fishing larger continental waters. Super slow oscillation provides exceptional line lay, which boasts extreme casting abilities when coupled with the large capacity long cast spool. There are very few reels on the market today with super slow oscillation and line lay of this caliber for the price this thing is being sold at, it’s very impressive when put in perspective. Sonik has added yet another high-end feature into this exceptional value reel and that comes in the form of their unique, Quick Torque drag system, which ensures you remain in total control when playing fish allowing you to adjust the drag from a free running spool to a tight clutch with a simple and quick turn of the drag cap. On the inside, you’ll find a stainless steel worm shaft, 5 shielded stainless steel ball bearings and a roller bearing to ensure the smooth movement of revolving parts, completed with a 4.1:1 gear ratio that provides mega cranking power. For a visually pleasing effect and to mirror the impressive image of the Dominator X rods, the reel boasts a very sleek all-black finish, complete with a wooden handle grip to give an extra touch of class and the whole packages weighs in at a feather-light 635g.
Ben Francis’s verdict “An Impressive Rod and Reel combo, great performance for the money”
FIRST IMPRESSIONS 9/10
VALUE FOR MONEY 10/10
BAG IT UP!
Bites can be hard to come by, so why not make it easy and fish for one at a time with the ever-effective solid PVA bag.
Bags are often seen as a bit of a fail-safe method, but why not use that to your advantage this winter and maximise your chances with minimal cost and fuss with the chance of nicking a bite or two in the process.
Solid bags are seen by some as a hassle to tie, especially when your hands are wet and cold. Here a few tips and tricks on how to use them successfully and why they should be in your armoury.
This doesn't have to be expensive. A fine blend will often give the very best bag filler because it compacts down nice and easily. This produces smaller bags that are better to cast, faster to sink and there’s less chance of you getting your hook link in a mess when loading.
We ran a bucket of mixed pellets through a blender to break up the larger 2mm-plus items and were left with a fine mix of varied pellets. When immersed they cloud up and release a steady stream of attraction but without giving the carp anything to fill up on.
Maggots are another invaluable edge at this time of year, so we buy them in bags. Just a pint per rod and a scattering of whites will suffice for a day’s angling. Buy the maggots several days before you intend to use them and keep them in a sealed plastic food bag. This will eventually suffocate the majority of them. It may sound cruel, but dead maggots won’t make a mess of your bag when tying them up in advance and they certainly won’t put the carp off.
Oils are also great additives to utilise at this time of year, but using the right one is imperative to success. It is wise not to use a thick one such as vegetable oil. Thinner varieties, such as hemp oil, can be a real winner to add to the bag mix or inject into the bag once tied.
Tying bags on the bank can be hard with wet and cold hands so to take a hand towel with you. By utilising the Avid Bag Stems you can tie up multiple bags well in advance; 12 to 24 hours should be long enough so as to not risk them becoming saggy. Injecting them with oil will also help. The stems will protrude from the top of the bag, keeping your rig and inline lead safely nestled inside, and can simply be tied to your main line or loop-to-loop for even quicker results. The stems are a great way of getting around a leader ban when you still wish to use solid bags already tied.
If you do fancy fishing a drop-off inline lead, you will ideally need to tie your bags up with the leader hanging out. However, check venue rules because some don’t allow leaders or specify which they do allow.
Have a bucket solely for your mix, end tackle and PVA stash. A multi-compartment bucket like the RidgeMonkey Modular Bucket System is ideal. There is enough space at the bottom for a lot of bag mix and two separate side containers can house rig essentials, hook baits and PVA, keeping them dry, which is a must.
As the saying goes, practice makes perfect, and if you wish to be one of the quickest bag tyers on your local water then now is the time to practice. Tie up plenty at home, because doing it in the comfort of your house will ultimately be the best place to begin. You will then see a remarkable difference when out on the bank because you will find a routine and pattern to suit you.
Damsel, was a little quiet this weekend but saw Richard Saunders bag a nice common at 20-15. Gary Hassan also had a common at 15lb and a bream. Dave Varney a 6-08 tench, Simon a 12lb mirror, Duncan Mitchell 3 to 15-08 and Karolis banked an 18lb common and 2 bream.
On Carp Lake, Adam Stevens banked a 23lb and on his first visit to Manor Farm Nathan Stewart landed a 21lb PB. Andy Stapleton also had a 22lb common. Michael Gould bagged 5 commons to 21lb all on Mainline Cell and Jerry James caught 5 commons to 23-08, all on Sticky Baits Krill. Ken Sharpe landed a 18lber. Stuart Raby landed 4 to 19-08 and Daryl Emery 5 to 17-14. Dan Jackson caught 3 commons to 22lb on Milky Toffee pop-ups. Gerry Allbury a 17-15 common and an 18-15 common while Lee Feltham caught 2 low double commons and one of the few mirrors to come out at the weekend at 15lb. A 20-08 common fell to a snowman fished by Brian Morgan. Paul Cook caught 3 to 21-03
On Becks, Sam Gough banked 3 to 15-10, Lee Gilbert 2 to 17-10 and William Lewis 2 to 10-08 and a bream. William, Anthony and Chris caught 7 bream between them and a 14lb common. Dexter Bugg had 3 at 12lb and 2 at 15lb and Mark Barton landed a 16-08 common. Carl Harvey caught 3 to 18-10 and Marin Weemes 2 to 17-04 and Stuart Webber a 15-02.
On Blunham, Vickie Dudley-Cave landed a 13-05 PB common and Ben Hogan a 14-05 mirror.
On Winters, Andy Harrison banked a 16-08 and a cracker at 27lb. Eddie banked to at 18lbs. Keith Barrick bagged a 17-08 common, a 19lb mirror, a 28-08 common and PB 30lb mirror, all on Cell and a Cell bottom bait.
On Booneys, Adam Wilson on his first visit caught a 18lb common and went on to bank another at 29lb. Gregg Taylor had a 15lb. Darren Worley banked a 14lb common and a 24-12 mirror. Andy Stapleton caught a 15lber and Stuart Minney had a great 48 hours catching 7 fish to 29lb.
Fancy fishing Manor Farm? Click Here
A 48-hour guest session on Chilham Mill fishery has seen Solar Tackle team member Jake Anderson land two of the ‘A Team’, the Starburst Mirror at 35lb and The Stunner at 33lb, both over using the new Originals Club Mix and Red Herring baits.
Jake explains: “After arriving at the lake I found a nice clear spot among weed, although the spot wasn’t hard as there was still some low-lying weed, but the area was fishable.
“I put in around 6kg of 20mm Club Mix and 15mm Red Herring boilies to start and around 5kg of HOB Chilli Hemp with some 11mm low-oil pellets added too. Two rods were fished a rod length apart on this area. The third rod was placed around 16 yards away from the main baited spot to another clear area, which I baited with around 2kg mixture of boilies and particles.
“The idea of the third rod was that it would be just off the big baited area and hopefully attract the warier carp that sit back from the main shoal. The first 24 hours passed uneventfully for me, but Josh Scoble, who accompanied me on the trip, managed to land an absolute pearler called Ringo at 33lb.
“The second night brought with it perfect weather. It went from hot, humid conditions to overcast, raining with periods of thunder. When I woke up at around 6am I was puzzled as to why I had not caught during the night. I had seen fish fizzing over the bait, the weather was perfect but a carp was missing.
“It got to around 10am when my rod placed on the smaller baited area sprung into life. After a short battle, the hook pulled!
“I re-rigged the rod, and this time made some slight rig alterations as I put the hook pull down to my rig rather than the weed or the barbless hook rule. It’s all too easy to blame the weed, the rules or anything else for losing a fish, but it's only you that can prevent it.
“With the rod back out one hour passed and the same rod screamed into life again. After a dogged battle, one of the ‘A Team’ popped up in the shape of the Starburst mirror, which was at a spawned-out weight of 35lb. The next 2.5 hours were quiet until I started packing up. Just as I started taking down the brolly one of the rods on the larger baited area sprung into life. The culprit put up an enjoyable, strong fight, but after 15 minutes a fish aptly named The Stunner popped up at 33lb.
So a great session had with 3 30s landed between the two of us and also 3 of the best lookers in the 26-acre, Kent pit!”
Solar’s The Originals boilie ranges will be released to the public at the start of September.
Fewer anglers were hitting the bank at Manor Farm this week no doubt allowing things like summer holidays to get in the way of their fishing, those who decided against such frivolity were rewarded with some excellent fishing.
On Damsel Gary Robertson bagged 12 fish between 10lb and 17lb, 10 of them coming from the margin. Darryn Clark caught a 15lb mirror and Sam Burden banked 6 to 15lb including the orange koi. Simon caught a 5lb tench and some bream.
On Carp Lake, Debbie Lefort caught 5 to 16-14 using a PVA mesh bag. Kieran Pailing bagged 7 to 21-02, his PB in a 48-hour stay. David Hill caught a 24-10, a 17-04, a couple at 8lb as well as a 3lb tench. Harry Holt, aged 10, fishing with his dad caught his PB at 15-03 on a Cell dumbbell and PVA mesh in the margin then went on to smash it again with a 20-05, he also bagged a 16-07. Dan Orchard banked a 22lb mirror and Paul Reed two 13lb commons. Steven Freear back on Carp Lake banked 2 twenties to 21-06
On Becks, Jack Rose bagged a 21-08 mirror to a Krill dumb bell topped with a piece of IB fake corn, and another 2 at 11-04 and 14-01. Martin Walker caught a 19lb common.
On Blunham Ray Renford was delighted to bag a 15lb carp
On Winters Adam Pearce caught two at 18lb, a 19lb and a 20lb. Dan Jackosn a 17lb and a 18lb. Luke Spencer caught two thirties in one day, both commons at 30-08 and 32-12. a new PB, and finished off the weekend with a mid double mirror. Neil Conway caught a nice mid double scaley to Signature pop up presented in a gap in the heavy weed. Earlier in the week, Jordan Pashley banked 6 to 24-12 and Dan Gray bagged a 29-14 common.
On Booneys Jamie Fahey fishing the north end caught 3 to 20-02. Andy Morrison banked a 21lb common and Ryan Murphy 2 commons to 16-08. Chris Hayward picked a swim he had not fished before and caught 6 to 29-04.
Want to fish Manor Farm? - http://manorfarmfishing.com/
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