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#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.
#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.
#1981
In the beginning
I started to take pictures of my fishing back in the the late 1970's but sadly many of them are now lost. However in 2014 i went out and got myself a scanner for old photo negatives as luckily i still had plenty of them stashed away. There are still plenty of pictures missing but i did unearth a few gems and the beauty is i remember the moments when i took them. This one is of Newport pit out Saffron Walden way and shows my early setup with matching mitchell 300's, one of my first sets of homemade alarms, homemade buzzer bar, wine bottle tops as bobbins and needles for monkey climbers. What i remember so well is that i was trying out a new bait with sodium caseinate in it and unfortunately i had used to much in the mix. After i baited up i noticed that all my baits were floating away down the lake!
#bait making
Chin stroker
Four minutes into part 12 of The Woolpack lake 8 and i start talking about bait and it brought on some right old chin stroking i can tell you. I had just made a fresh batch of 18mm popups containing a sample of hydrolysed krill protein concentrate and i was using these alongside an early batch of K-LO. I was confident the bait would work and indeed i had one within ten minutes but as always with bait you're never quite satisfied, you always want to improve. Do a quick search for chin stroking on the internet you will come up with something like 'Stroking the chin is often a signal that the person is thinking hard. They may well be judging or evaluating something, particularly if the conversation has offered them a choice or decision to make'. S'true, grow a beard, make decisions ;-)
#park farm
Park farm part six
It's half twelve in the afternoon and i have been putting out mixers for an hour or so hoping to get the carp interested however conditions change and so does the session.
#film
The Woolpack lake 7 - part four
It's the last week of May 2016 and the weather is in a downturn with cold wet driving northerly winds day and night. When i arrived I counted plenty of cars in the car park so i knew it was going to be tough getting a swim on the wind and a walk around the lake soon revealed little option. Now it's at times like these when you think your chances of a fish are small that you must push on. Places like lake seven are not easy prospects and you need to spend as much time on the lake learning as you can. So even if a session looks like a write off, you must still go. Remember if it was just about catching fish it wouldn't be called fishing.
#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!
#lake7
Learning time
It's the first week of july, six weeks after my last session on the woolpacks lake 7. The lakes have all been closed for spawning and the change is dramatic. The trees and bankside which were just starting to fill out in May are now heavy with summer foliage. The water is considerably warmer and the carp much more active, split up into small groups and no longer shoaled. This is the time when it starts to get really tough, with an abundance of natural food and the bombardment from the bankside there is a surplus. The long hot summer days and clear skies also shorten the feeding periods lessening chances. It's scratching time, but it's also learning time too, that's the one thing you can always do no matter what the carp or the weather are up to.
#k-lo
Fluoro K-LO
Something that's been missing from my bait box recently are these, fluoro popups. What with getting the full range of The Berry sorted it slipped my mind and now of course is when i need them the most. The weather over the last six weeks has been hot with days when there isn't a breath of wind and it's at times like these that an inquisitive bite can get you that bonus fish. So with the weather looking like it's going to continue hot they're sure to get used. You can get them here http://thecarpcatcher.co.uk/bait-k-lo.php