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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.
#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.
#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.
#dickersons pit
Forgotten fish
Keeping a diary is a handy thing, especially if like me you sometimes need to look back. It was while i was looking through my pictures from 2008 when i spotted this fish which i had completely forgotten i had caught! The filedate said 08-09-2008 but that's all. However back in 2008 i was still keeping diaries and so a quick look at the back of the diary for 2008 revealed all. September 8th 2008 was a Monday and on the Saturday previous i had pre-baited the swim with 6Kg Hemp, 3kG 15mm pellets and 4Kg of Berry boilies. Prebaiting like this had gone on for 2 weeks already and i had managed three fish, all to short 2-4 hour sessions with just one rod and the minimum of kit. Looking in my diary for that morning the entry is brief. 'Fish rolled over spot when i arrived at 7.30am. 8.30am 26.12lb common. Left at 9.30 and baited up with 3kg Hemp, 2Kg pellets 1Kg berry boilies'. So this year i am going to start keeping a diary again, that way i can look back with just a turn of a page and perhaps, not forget any more fish?
#popups
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!
#2010
First lake 8 carp
I fished lake 8 for tench back in 2002-5 but always kept my eye on the carp even though there were very few. Then in January 2009 Andy Stafford a long time member bought the lakes and began the revival and i joined a year later in 2010 and caught my first carp from it on my first session. Lake 8 has many more carp now (approx 70) and they are all English gems. The lake has an interesting topography and at around eight acres the carp have plenty of room to get lost. There are still some very large uncaught originals in the lake with the biggest a common, estimated at over 40lb. For more information go here: http://www.woolpackfishery.co.uk/?page_id=84
#woolpack
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.