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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.
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.
#linear carp
The Woolpack lake 8 - part 12
This week is a little different as we start off as a guest on my mates Jeffs syndicate Virginia lake. I first laid eyes on this water in 1981 when it was on the ARC angling club ticket. I never fished it at the time as the lakes further up the drove had far more carp in them but now that has all changed and this lake is stuffed with carp up to thirty pounds plus. So we start off with an overnighter, a freshly made batch of K-LO popups and boilies and then go on to lake 8.
#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.
Kick back
Since I started carp fishing in 1980 I have used many different kinds of rod, lead and rig setup to try and catch carp. In the early 1980's much of my time was spent on a steep learning curve that took me from light 1/4oz running rigs and float fishing to 2-3oz bolt rigs, tight lines, heavy bobbins and high rod positions
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.
Tighten up
In some of the later episodes of The Woolpack lake 8 it's been noticed that i have changed over from my Delkim ES bobbins to my old set of Fox Swingers and there is good reason, tightening up. If you have read the article Kick-Back ( you will know that the weight of the bobbin is important in the setup as it helps hold everything tight and keeps it all in balance. Another important point about the Fox swingers is the way the clip works and the fact that they show up drop backs far better than any other bobin i have used. Again with the kick-Back setup this is important because the first indication you will often get is a drop back as the tension in the line is released on a pickup.
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.
River carping
There probably isn't a river, drain or canal in England that doesn't contain at least a few carp and some a lot more. Many of these fish have never been fished for and over the years have quietly grown on to rival anything you can catch in a lake. Although river fishing is a challenge it's not an impossible one and the rewards can be amazing. More often than not you will be leaving footprints where others have never trod; you will be breaking new ground and catching dreams. Since releasing the series River Cam Carp Quest in 2011 I have received many requests for information about river carp fishing and so I have decided to put together this short piece covering the main aspects you need to address.