Check in with my latest thoughts and catch reports, as well as blogs and posts from my closest friends. You'll also be able to keep up with my various multimedia work, both personal and professional.
|Posted by CarpLife on March 13, 2017 at 5:30 PM||comments (0)|
Having been a journalist for many years before entering the world of Product Development and Marketing, it always brings me great joy to see my articles in print. So as you can imagine, I was extremely excited to be asked to write a monthly Day Ticket Diary piece in a new project hitting the market soon from Angling Times.
Carpfeed is actually a website – www.carpfeed.com – loaded with tactical tips, fishery advice, reviews and catch reports. It's a news hub, right on the pulse of what is happening right now in the world of carp fishing. To support the website is a print product, which will be available once a month with Angling Times.
They've asked me to compile a monthly article, focussing on Day Ticket venues in the Midlands. And not the usual venues, either. I'm going to try and keep it really accessible, visiting venues that don't require pre-booking, that are easy to find and easy to fish. Places to go and catch interesting carp that not everybody may have heard about.
The first in this series launches on April 4th, where I visited Fisherwick Lakes in Lichfield, West Midlands. It's a complex with lots of lakes to go at, two that are especially interesting for carp anglers. Mind you, I caught fish from more than one lake whilst I was there, I couldn't help myself!
You can read more in April and, of course, there will be a video to go with it with a few tactical hints and tips designed to help you put more fish on the bank.
|Posted by CarpLife on January 6, 2017 at 7:00 PM||comments (0)|
Earlier this year I ventured over to Germany again for yet another exciting Road Trip. Suffice to say, the trip went extremely well, with over 60 carp between all of us, on a lake where that kind of tally takes years, not days, usually. The talented Davey Gans captured it all on film, as myself, Bjorn Brandt, Franz Paezold and Felix Scholli fished on. The videos will form part of a fantastic YouTube series called Next Level Road Trips, launching via social media with the likes of Twelveft in Germany, Monkey Climber in Belgium, KWO in the Benelux and Carpology in the UK.
The full 5,000+ word story is in the latest CARPology. I urge you to check it out. Reliving the moments was awesome and it's one of my favourite articles.
|Posted by CarpLife on January 6, 2017 at 6:30 AM||comments (0)|
Acton Bottom Lake is one of those venues that makes you feel different. James May often describes the feeling of driving a good car as giving him a 'fizz' in the genitals, and I must admit, Acton gives me the same kind of sensation.
When you consider the stock, it's easy to turn away. There are more stockies than there are originals, and most of the originals come out once a year, if at all. It's a venue where it's better to be lucky than good, but it helps if you're both!
I first fished the Bottom Lake last summer. With temperatures soaring, lakes like the Bottom Lake are always worth fishing, I've found. Because they are so fiercely shallow, the carp spend most of their life near the surface anyway. To them, a sunny day just gives them a warmer back. Over the years, I've done reasonably well on such venues, not being scared to put the rigs under the tips and chill out.
For most anglers, the idea of casting out just once in 48 hours is incomprehendable. I understand why, but I'm a glass half full kind of guy (actually, I'm a full glass with ice, a slice and an umbrella kind of guy) so leaving them in position doesn't scare me. With shallow water, rubbish fishing conditions and carp that have seen every trick in every book, it's the only way.
I learnt the hard way last summer that this was the score at the Bottom Lake. I fished four swims on my first 24 hour trip, and three on a secondary trip. I chased the fish all around the lake and they stuck their middle fins up at me like I was some sort of pub-chucker. This time around, I was going to remember what I'd learnt on all those other lakes during the summer doldrums – that if you can't get them to take a floater, you need to sit back, relax, and trust in what you're doing.
I'd done a little more research on the lake this time, rather than just turning up 'cold'. Friends Steve Hall and Alex Lister have done a bit of time there, so they had a bit of advice about the carp's movements. There whereabouts is less important in 25 degrees. With so many hippos around you can't miss them!
I'd also been punishing Dean Fierro about the place. He'd had four originals in four trips, only to add another to his tally before I even arrived. That's some going, but what was his secret? There wasn't one! "Just Dolly Drop them out there and sit on your hands mate. If it's your turn, it's your turn."
Sensible advice from someone who has since become a good pal. Dean wasn't wrong, either.
Upon arrival I found the fish clouding up in one of the overgrown corners of the lake. I put a rod there quickly only to watch them disappear before I could even cast another rod out. Steve had recommended a spot along the Dam Wall, which I wasn't going to ignore, but for my other rods I just left them propped up the brolly until I saw something more concrete.
The carp were all on the surface anyway, so I watched their patrol routes closely. They were coming achingly close to the bank, closer-in than I thought, and my heart nearly shot out of my mouth when I watched one of the big old black ones bosh out just metres from where I was standing. The fish showed again, only this time a load of bubbles and weed followed afterwards, with a big plume of creamy silt. I waited an hour or so before flicking a Hinged Stiff Rig to the spot. It was a proper spit and sawdust rig, a big hook, 16mm cork-ball Code Red pop-up I'd made myself and soaked in Chilli Oil, with a little lead. It dropped so nicely I simply couldn't believe it. I lifted it back to hand and it was clean, so out it went again. Thud! It was a great drop given all the weed around. I'd been lucky to see what I'd seen.
The first night passed uneventfully. I had a crazy liner on the middle rod – the one on the dam – which I think was caused by the weed between me and the spot. The line lay was pants, no wonder they stopped going down the shallow arm where I'd seen them in the first place.
That day was a hot one. I spent most of it in the next swim trying to catch one on a floater, but all it did was send them up the Shallows. The guy there caught a stockie, which sent them back my way. The fish seemed settled when they got to the open water. Every now and again I'd see one ghost past the front of my swim – these weren't stockies visiting the margins, they were the proper 'auld kippers!
That night I felt I was destined for a bite. I was up at the crack of dawn after a monster boshed in the middle of the lake, right near where I'd moved my middle rod. Steve Hall arrived around 5am and in that hour we saw loads of fish crashing. Big ones too.
I was just settled back into the sleeping bag when the left hand rod on the nice clean spot just a few feet from the bank erupted. I watched bow-waves off in every direction as the pile of Code Red was found and my trap was sprung. It had been a while since I struck into a fish at such close quarters, I virtually ran past the fish in my waders!
The fight was typical of an old male fish. Powerful, a struggle at every twist and turn. But with the meat cleaver rig I had on the end, I had no fear about putting pressure on. Soon enough, the Outline Fluorocarbon leader knot was on the spool, and I knew he would soon be mine. With plumes of silt everywhere and my feet slowly sinking, a big black mirror was in the folds of the net. I let out a quiet yelp of joy under my breath. I hadn't even got out the water when Steve called my phone.
"Any good mate?" he asked.
"It's an original Steve, I'm buzzing!"
My mate Colin was on the way anyway as he lives just two minutes from the lake. He helped with the photography and filming of the fish. What was great was it meant Steve could leave his rods in – a good job, too, as before Colin left, Steve slipped the net under an upper double stockie!
The fish was a proper old bad boy. One I'll certainly never forget, and one that's whet my appetite to give the Bottom Lake some serious attention in the future.
You can watch the Video of this capture on the Videos section of this website!
|Posted by CarpLife on||comments (0)|
I enjoyed a rather productive trip for my 33rd birthday, a winter session I thoroughly enjoyed. With two 34lbers in the mix and three other fish to 27lb, it was great fishing in unseasonably mild conditions.
For the full story, check this out here: https://www.avidcarp.com/Articles/Article/277-Birthday-Beauties