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Back from the Woolpacks lake 8 after another interesting and busy session. The weather had been lush all week raising the lake temperature from 57 to 59 degrees F and the shallows looked on for a carp and indeed i had one within the hour but then the tench came and came. The final score at the end of the session was eight tench netted between 6 to 8 pounds and seven dropped. The dropped fish were all to the size 6 rig and the netted ones a size 8. The netted ones were retained and then popped into the stock pond as per syndicate instructions, so i wont be catching them again!
Confidence is the key
I spent the afternoon mixing up my Berry basemix and sorting a few kilos for the bank holiday weekend. It's the first opportunity i have had this year to get out for a few nights and i'm hoping to score of course. At this time of year the fish are just waking up and few of them are going to be around, so choice of water is vital. Deep ones will produce but they are not as good a bet as the shallower ones. This is simply because the shallower lakes warm up faster and are more stable than the deeper ones. We learned this at Valley pool, spotting the same old carp swimming around the first few weeks of April but then as the sun got out and the water stabilised, pop! Up come a few more. So i am hoping i have all bases covered. One thing for sure thought, whilst i'm making and using my own bait i will always be totally confident that if a carp comes by it'll get interested. From top left: 14mm Robin Red glugged 14mm Berry popups, 14mm Two-Tone Berry popups, 10mm Berry Hard hookers, 10mm Berry Balanced hookers, 14mm Berry corkball popups and 10mm Berry popups...sorted!
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.
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.
As swims go this isn't a bad one eh? This is Almatret on the Catalonian side of the river and on the other side your in Aragon. The border at this point runs exactly along the middle of the River Ebro. Spain has what they call autonomous communities which are in themselves nationalities within the Kingdom of Spain much like Wales or Scotland. So if you go to fish in spain then you're most likely going to be fishing in Catalonia or Aragon. And therein lies a problem as they also have unique differences in their language so you dont just need to learn Spanish, you also need to learn some Catalonian at least. However dont fear, English is and has been for centuries one of the most adaptable languages in the world taking on many words from other cultures, so most Spanish speak it! Anyway i digress, back to the swim. Its 307 meters wide and has depths over 11 meters. Old olive groves litter the closer in areas as well as massive boulders, sunken trees and most likely the odd ship or three littered here and there. We get the odd twig floating down river, they get trees and the odd bloated 100lb+ catfish! I kid you not, snaggy isn't the word.
Understanding carp
If anything the underwater footage of Valley should have dramatically changed your view of this small intimate little pool. It should also confirm that carp do indeed hibernate during the colder parts of the year. It's not the first time that i have pointed out that the hardest waters to fish are often the smallest. Carp more than any other fish learn about their environment and can associate any change with danger. The one thing i have noticed on Valley is this 'sensitivity' to their environment. It's tangible, their posture and the way they switch off or just avoid areas when your about. Valley pool has given me a great chance to do what i love and that is to study the carp. I truly believe that this is paramount to becoming 'the complete angler'. Results and numbers don't matter in the end as you forget them. Experiences with carp, close up, learning their secrets and their ways stay with you forever.
Old School
Back in 1980 when i first started out carp fishing all i had was a giant wicker basket (a must have back then) and a bike, a thoroughly useful item of fishing tackle if ever there was. I have to say the two worked well together and with my canvas roll up rod holdall (no made-up rods back then) i managed to carry everything i needed for a day session. Most of it was food and drink with the odd tin of sweetcorn and luncheon meat (which ended up as tea if i wasn't catching). There was no pods, no buzzer bars, no boilies! No hair rig, no bolt rig, no chod rig no no no. It was old school, driven purely by the adventure of being a carp angler and that has never left me because even now 36 years later, i still get on my bike.
The Woolpack lake 7 - part six
Episode six is the first part of a three night session i did on lake 7 back in August 2016. A rare chance to be on my own on lake seven and an opportunity to see how they react without the usual bombardment under ideal weather conditions. The constant heat and southwesterly winds had been replaced by cooler northwesterlies and even though fish were showing half way up the lake my instinct told me to get on the end of a summer northerly, set my traps and wait.
#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.