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#2014
Redhouse lake Part ten
The last session on Redhouse lake in 2014 and it's the end of a long hard road for sure. Out of 21 days i spent fifteen on the bank and Redhouse pretty much became my home. Fishing as single mindedly as this though can take it's toll and in many ways. The journey of 50-60 miles each way from home was really no trouble at all to be honest. The camping by the lake was a pleasure for the senses and the soul. The food and brews kept my spirits up as well as the visits from David the owner, Alf and Paul the bailiffs, Gordon Owen the tackle shop manager and of course my mate Shaun. The session with my old mate Jeff rekindled the magic of a true friendship. I was constantly busy trying to outwit and out fish the Tench and of course i managed a few gems. For me it was sheer adventure. I was on my own fishing a lake that was forgotten. No-one really knew what was in there and the chance to find out was what drove me on. If life can be measured then i had my fill by the banks of Redhouse lake.
#2004
The hair rig
In 2002 I started to fish the Woolpack lakes in Godmanchester. One of the resident anglers on there was a fella named Lenny Middleton. Lenny and a few of his friends as we know are attributed with the development of the hair rig. Obviously I asked and we chatted about this and other subjects on many occasions. However it is a story that Lenny told me by the banks of the woolpacks lake two/three one afternoon that I would like to relay to you here. Lenny spent an enormous amount of time fishing the Woolpack and would often stay two weeks at a time. This of course lead to him being very sociable and the offer of a chat and a brew was always on the cards. I of course admired Lenny, he was real old school and let's face it a proper legend. But through our numerous cuppers I gradually began to ask him about the old days and in particular the origins of the hair rig. The account he gave me is something else that will always stay with me. I remember it all so well and can picture myself now sitting by lake two having yet another cupper with Lenny and discussing all things carpy as well as putting the world to rights. Lenny was still tying the original hair rig he first wrote about in Course Angler in November 1981 and this lead to the question I eventually asked, 'How did you get the idea?', this is what he told me. Lenny had been fishing a number of waters and doing well on particles and being the inquisitive type wanted to know what other particles he could catch on. He had determined that the carp were particularly fond of sweet baits and so to this end searched for a particle to fulfil this requirement. The only one he could think of was tiger nuts as he remembered that when he was a kid you couldn't get sweets (rationing) and so they used to get a cone of tiger nuts instead. He went out and brought some and took them home to prepare. However, no matter how much he boiled them they simply did not get soft enough to side hook. After many attempts to get the tigers to stay on the hook he eventually decided to tie one onto his hook using a piece of fine line. He immediately caught and thorough the day continued to cast out the same bait each time. Eventually the knot worked loose yet he noticed he was still catching fish. So there you go, the invention of the hair rig wasn't about catching shy fish, about rig mechanics or stealth, it was about bait.
#notifications
Notifications
If you have ever wondered how you can always ensure you get notified of posts on TheCarpCatcher facebook Page then here is the answer. Hover your cursor over the Liked button and select 'All on' for notifications and 'See first', simples!
#field-testers
TheCarpCatcher Bait
The second most important thing after location as far as i am concerned is bait, it is after all what you put in front of the fish to catch it. My faith in bait is as strong as my passion for it and if i didn't have total confidence in my bait then i wouldn't use it, it's that simple. So this year see's the start of TheCarpCatcher Bait and hopefully it will prosper. At the moment the field testers are getting the chance to get some of the initial batch from the manufacturer and as always their voluntary feedback is always welcome. Last years test went amazingly well and there will be more on the way. The Berry needs developing and testing with it's new format. Then there is Ultimate Fish Mix a culmination of everything that is awesome in a fishmeal bait basically :-) Popups and Bait soaks to develop and test too plus all sorts of other things to give us that confidence and edge that we all want over our fishy foe. If you want to apply to become a field tester for TheCarpCatcher Bait then follow the link, cheers. http://thecarpcatcher.co.uk/notifications.php
#common carp
A real Gem
It gets busy on lake 7 early in the year so i delayed my first visit until this week. However when i arrived at the lake almost all the swims on the West bank were taken so i opted to walk the East bank with my water bottle, and try and find a swim that gave me the most clear water. For a while i was torn between two swims out of a possible four choices but i eventually settled in a swim in the south east corner. The wind was blowing from the North west straight into the area i was in but would be moving to the south south-west. In the final twenty-four hours it would be moving back to the North west. Despite the rain temperatures stayed up giving me the confidence to keep feeding the spots, building them up over the session and wait for the turn in the wind. On the last night it turned and i had a nice carpet of bait out from 1-3 days old lying in wait. Just before first light on the last morning the right hand rod ripped off with this 31.6lb common on the end, as my good friend Martin Lawrence said, a real Gem and a great way to start my year. Successful setup was my semi-fix-running-rig, my standard fluorocarbon bottom-bait-rig with a 18mm K-LO Hard hooker.
#tips
The Importance of bait
The great thing about reviewing my sessions whilst editing is that i can analyse them and identify my strengths. Only through this can a pattern of success or otherwise be identified and this film has a message that's abundantly clear and that's the importance of bait and how you apply it. A constant trickle of bait over a four day period has paid off for me on many occasions and the reasons are obvious. We know they eat our bait at there own time of choosing and it's because of this that we have to regulate what's in the swim. Too much and they might fill up and move on before picking up the trap. Too little and there caution remains making it equally likely that they won't pick up the bait. Little and often regulates how much is in the swim but it also gives you variation too. Bait will be spread out more randomly and will be in different states of breakdown so this will see the carp being a lot less cautious and the fact that there is always a few baits in the swim too is a real bonus. The only thing left is to keep an eye on conditions, adjust your feeding accordingly and of course, be lucky!
#winter berry
Summer always comes
Summer always comes as they say so even now at the start of winter with the frosts and the cold rain i am looking forward once again to those long barmy days. This year between April and November i managed to spend two or three nights every week by the bank. In that time i caught almost a hundred carp and now with winter upon us these summer sessions where i did so well and had so much fun are coming to the fore. So over the next few months join me as summer comes to my films and we relive those moments.
#nickolls lake
Ninth anniversary
I have just completed my second session this year on Nickolls lake down in Kent and as it happens i also celebrated the ninth year of TheCarpCatcher. It's amazing to think that over all those years the format has remained the same, the only change i guess is me and my beard! So to celebrate i ventured into the wild area again taking two trips with the barrow on what must be a half mile trek. Four days in a JRC 60 inch oval brolly in torrential rain, fog, boiling sun and a driving north-easterly, some nice carp, plus eels! lots of em!! I ain't no pussy but it's good to be home and i'm ready for the tenth year.
#lake7
The Woolpack lake 7 - part five
It's my first week using my new Trakker Tempest brolly something i have been wanting to sort for a some time. Weather for the week is westerlies and sunshine and the swim choice is the south bank giving me a great view of the lake as well as a chance to fish the exit of the drainage channel and put a bait near the sanctuary of the southwest corner. The lake has just opened after a six week break for spawning and so has been very busy with plenty of pressure on the fish so i am expecting it to be tough.