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#bottom-bait-rig
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.
#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.
#river granta
A magical trip
For some years i have planned a very special trip down this very special little river and each year i promise myself the same thing. Get a canoe and go. There is miles of wondrous winding river and countryside to meander down with untouched fishing and carp to be found. There is so much adventure and unknown out there, still. Pic: http://thecarpcatcher.co.uk/pictures.php?location_image_id=491
#film
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.
#pva bags
Redhouse lake Part two
It's the morning and we are greeted by a tench as we continue my first session on Redhouse lake. With all the weed its obvious that spots or areas to put a bait are going to be hard to find, however i have a few indispensable tools in my armoury to deal with it. One is my homemade weed rake which you use with rod and line to clear spots and the other is my bag fishing skills, honed to perfection. Whilst in the bivvy i show you the method i most use with bags and one that has caught me loads of fish from the most weedy of places.
#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.
#hair rig
A legend
It's the tenth anniversary today of the passing of a legend, Lenny middleton. Lenny is best know for the invention of the hair rig (see:http://thecarpcatcher.co.uk/thecarpcatchers_blog.php?post=402) but he was also a Taxidermist of some repute and enjoyed fishing in all it's forms. Lenny fished all the famous venues including Savay at the height of it's glory alongside all the other legendary names, he had seen it and done it all. A true sportsman, a gentleman and a fine maker of tea his contribution to carp fishing is immense. So whenever you cast out a hair rig pay a little homage to the man himself because he earned it. Lenny is seen here on Lake 3 with Bertie back in 2005, one of a few he had that afternoon on kit that got thrown out by the dustman, an original hair rig and bait that looked like rubber floor tile! I kid you not, a real master.
#scenic
Ironing out mistakes
Last weeks session on Frisby lakes was just what i needed to get back in the groove before i start my year on the much tougher, Woolpack lake 7. You get rusty and so ironing out mistakes and trying out things is best gotten out of the way early. So apart from the usual setups and rigs I also managed to get out my sharpening file and hook doctor. I have been touching up the korda choddys, taking some of the beak down just past the barb and bringing the hooks up to needle sharp, I also practiced taking the micro barb down slightly as well, with pleasing results. I tried a couple of new hooklink materials as well as bedding down the new line on the spools. I caught fish too! and that doesn't harm the confidence. I gave the K-LO it's first outing and that held up sweet, with five kilos going out over the three days. So next week it's another practice session just in case on Nickolls lake down in Kent, then on to lake 7, I hope i'm ready.
#john wilson
A massive influence
Just finishing off next weeks episode of The Woolpack lake 8 (episode 15) where we enter silly season and start to empty the place. Even though i spend three to four days on the lake it still can all just fly past and seem like a dream. But then comes the editing of the footage and i relive it all again, always it seems in the third person and i'm always surprised at who i am. The obvious influences throughout my life come shining through and this fella John wilson is at the front of the list. The first angler on the screen that actually made me feel i was there and taking part, he had a massive influence on me and this is very evident in the next episode.