Dave Lane on Cameras – Improve your self take photos!

I probably get asked as many questions about cameras as I do about fishing nowadays. I suppose that I normally have a remote in my hand in most of my trophy shots and a lot of people would like to improve their self-photography as this is the main subject of the inquiries.

The reason I take so many self-take photos is a mixture of two things really. I do often fish alone and I much prefer it that way but, even when other anglers are on the lake, I tend to take my own pictures whenever possible.

Firstly I do not like to drag other people away from their fishing, particularly not at the main bite times, which is generally when you have a fish to photograph. If another angler has to reel in his rods to help me deal with a fish then I always think that I am depriving him the chance of a carp himself, which hardly seems fair.

Also, there are actually only a handful of people that I would trust to take shots that a fussy git like me will be happy with. This is not a slur on others photographic skills it is just that, once the fish has been returned, there is no chance for a second attempt.

Photos are very important to me, I spend a lot of time chasing carp and I like to able to look back and see that magical moment, a sixtieth of a second, frozen forever in time.

Obviously the safety of the fish on the bank is paramount and yes, it is a lot to deal with when you have the camera and the carp to contend with but this is easily solved by forward planning, the correct equipment and a bit of practise without a real live fish in the equation.

All of this goes out of the window if I get a really huge fish, a target I have been hunting, a personal best or anything that really blows me away because, just like everyone else, I still get a bit flustered at the sight of a really special fish and then I will enlist some help.

Basically, you need to get into a routine where your camera is acting almost like another angler in the swim (without all the wisecracks) it should be in the perfect position, ready to take a photo at any time and capable of showing you the result without you having to move an inch.

To this ends I would only recommend a camera with a flip screen, one that actually points at you and displays either the picture you have just taken or, even better, has a ‘live view’ function so that you can frame the shot before pressing the fire button.

In the old days we used to have miles of cable for an air shutter release running across the ground but most half decent cameras nowadays either come with a remote or you can purchase one to suit.

Personally I like to use an SLR camera and my model of choice is the Cannon 70D, not a cheap camera by any means but I think it’s worth the outlay.

The previous model, a 60D is also incredibly good and I had one for years up until recently. You can pick up a second hand 60D for around £400 on e-bay, with a lens, which may sound a lot but, in reality, it is about the price of a new bivvy, or a couple of new rods and it will give you excellent results for years to come.

If that is out of the budget then there are ‘bridge camera’s’ like the Canon G series to consider, I used to have a G-3 that gave amazing results and I saw a second hand one on E-Bay for £40 the other day, boxed and complete with leads and a spare battery!

Bridge cameras are a halfway house between a full on SLR and a compact.

Even compact cameras can be bought with ‘flip screens’ now and they are available in every price range.

A tripod is an absolute must have item but fear not, they are ridiculously cheap and I recently upgraded to a taller, telescopic, version for video or camera and it set me back a whopping £14 online.

So, with your kit sorted the next most important thing is composure, where are going to take the photos, and this should be sorted long before you actually catch a fish.

A nice daytime self take

A nice daytime self take.

You need to pick a spot that will either have full shade or full sun, work out where the sun will be at the most likely time you will need to use the camera, pick two spots just in case one has got dappled sunlight in it because this is the absolute ‘kiss of death’ for fish photography.

Full on shade will give a nice, realistic, defined shot of the fish whereas full on sun can sometimes be a bit glary off the carp’s flanks.

Pay special attention to the backdrop, make sure that the skyline is constant and you do not have a quarter of the shot showing bright sky and the rest in shade, as this will confuse the light meter in the camera and darker the foreground, losing you and the fish in shadow.

As with the sun, go for one or the other, either open sky or totally closed background, such as bushes or trees.

For night time photography you will need the latter, an area where the flash will bounce back from, a solid background that is as close as possible to your back or you will end up surrounded by inky blackness.

A good night self take, with a bit of practise.

A good night self take, with a bit of practise.

This will make or break your finished pictures so make sure you have it right, take a look through magazines at some of the more impressive shots, or your own album at your favourite ones and find a common denominator that please your eye. Look at the background of the best ones and see what is similar in each one.

Once you have everything ready, set it all up as if you have a fish and get some practise in, digital photo’s cost nothing and can be deleted at the press of a button.

If you set up the mat, the camera on its tripod, and even a bowl of the water you will need for the fish you can pre-create the exact scenario you are going to be in when the time comes and, this way, there will be no surprises.

Hold a full gallon water bottle and use this as the fish and keep trying until you are totally happy that you have everything framed as you like it, even soak the bottle in water if you are using a flash to see how bad the bounce back is going to be.

Once you are happy with the results then mark them all down.

Take a landing net pole and lay one end in the centre of the mat and mark the distance on the  pole with a piece of tape to show exactly where the centre of the tripod should go, this will always be the same so mark it permanently and you will have one less thing to consider.

If you are using a compact camera then the automatic feature will work out the settings for you but, with an SLR or Bridge camera, you have a lot more options.

Thankfully nearly all of the better cameras will have either one or two custom settings, usually marked as C1 C2 on the control wheel. I like to set one of these up for night shots and one for the daytime but, if there is only one then use it for night time shots as it is hard enough in the dark anyway, without having to change settings. If there are none then use a notebook or a notepad app on your phone.

Every variable should be sorted out in advance, not necessarily every trip but, once you have a winning formula, it can be applied everywhere.

Before you even think about lifting the fish from the water you should have your kit set up, your camera turned on (check the settings to make sure it stays on standby as long as possible) the remote function enabled and the remote sensor in position next to the mat.

Everything set up ready and a fish on the bank

Everything set up ready and a fish on the bank.

Take a trial shot first, just hold up your hand at the width you want include and check the picture for clarity, light, and composure. Make sure you do not have a branch behind you that makes you look like you have a set of antlers, or a gaudy sign stating ‘deep water beware’ make sure you are happy and confident and then retrieve the fish.

Your remote should always be held in the hand that has the head end of the fish as there is a wider area to balance on your hand, the tail end requires a more closed grip and it’s very awkward to work the remote.

Confidence is the key, you know the camera is going to work, you have practised enough times and you know the settings are correct, the only difference to having a photographer there with you is that one little button in your hand.

At night it is often the auto focus that really lets you down and, because of this, I NEVER use this function at night.

Firstly you need to use the landing net pole method to get the exact distance for your focal point, this is best done in the daytime and, once you have the exact focus and length you need to mark the camera lens with two little dots (tippex) one on the actual bit that spins to find focus and one on the fixed part of the lens. When these two dots are in alignment turn off the auto focus on the side of the lens and the camera will always be in focus for the correct distance, which is marked on your pole.

Alternatively, just place a water bottle where the fish will be, shine a bright light on it, and  focus the camera from the tripod and then turn off the auto focus (while the fish is still safely in the net).

Practise makes perfect and you have plenty of time for that whilst waiting for a bite and practise will build the confidence that you need to take perfect self takes every time.

If you’re taking your angling photography further, check out our fishing photography guide for loads more tips and information.

Line Angles – Carp Fishing tips from Dave Lane

In his latest tips blog post, Dave Lane shares his years of carp fishing wisdom – How often do you consider line angles and concealment? It could make all the difference to your carp catches!

I think that line awareness is the single most alarming thing to carp, it has far more effect than rigs, leads, bait or any other aspect of our angling that we give carp credit for detecting.

I do not actually believe that a carp can even see a rig as it gets up close, its eyes are in the wrong place to start with and, from what I have seen in observation, most bait items are inspected by feel in the mouth. I think this is why a good rig, or one perfectly suited to the way carp are testing baits, will outscore other presentations. It’s just a case of being able to prick the fish, to get that initial hook hold, before they can eject the rig.

Line angles are something different, this is an early warning system that all is not as it should be. It doesn’t always mean that the carp will not feed, they just do so with the natural caution of an animal that knows it is being hunted, playing the percentages is how I like to think of it.

A free meal is on offer, they know something is dangerous and they feed carefully and methodically to avoid being hooked and, every now and again, they get it wrong.

Sometimes fish seem terrified of lines, particularly when they are in a spot where they seem to have not been expecting them to be.

One day I sat up a tree at Burghfield and watched as a group of fish came in contact with my lines, the result was instant and dramatic and, within seconds, there were no more carp to be seen anywhere.

I have been out in a boat at Wraysbury and actually watched two stockies feeding right up to, but not over, my line as it sat slightly proud of the bottom. They had decimated the bait on one side of the spot and completely left the bait on the other, unwilling to cross the line to achieve yet more free food.

It often amazes me how excited anglers get when they start receiving line bites, as if this is an indication of an imminent take.

To my mind a line bite is either yet another spooked carp or a fair sign that you are simply fishing too far out or badly presented between the rig and the rod tip.

I always try to keep all my line hard on the lake bed but, unfortunately, this is not always possible.

When you are fishing large lakes in adverse weather conditions for example, any slack line just gets dragged out into a big arc and, pretty soon, it rises up into the water anyway.

Fishing near to snags or in a situation whereby you cannot afford to give the carp an inch, this also calls for a tight line and, the worst of the lot, weed. It doesn’t matter how well you think you have sunk your line when fishing over weed, it will either already be on the top of it or, if it isn’t, it will be soon. Even the tiniest filaments of floating weed will accumulate and lift your line towards the surface and, quite often, the angle of line between the edge of the weed and the spot you are fishing is horrendous.

There are things that help, heavy lead core leaders, pinching blobs of putty a meter or so behind the rig, pole fishing leads on the line, flying back leads, they all go some way to alleviating the problem.

Myself I am a great fan of the captive back leads, I use them often to keep a tight line pinned down from the moment I set up the rod, once it’s down there and pinned it is harder, but not impossible, for the weed to lift it back up.

Pinning down the line with captive back leads.

Pinning down the line with captive back leads.

Lines pinned down and ready for action!

Lines pinned down and ready for action!

Attacking a swim from an unusual angle can be a brilliant way of disguising the fact that you are fishing that spot, particularly on pressured waters where the carp are actually checking it out before feeding, sometimes a different angle can also ensure a lower line lay, if you are casting over weed from the main swim but up against it from an alternative plot is a good example.

Gravel bars and plateaus work in the same way as weed, it is far better to actually drape your line over the bar on some occasions than have it exiting the bar halfway down and streaking through the water mid depth.

Fishing the close side of a bar will allow you to sink the line better so, if you want to fish the bottom of the bar at the back, why not cast from a swim on the far bank and have all your line in deep water leading up to the feature.

It’s not always possible on busy waters to actually fish from the wrong swim though, but the more thought you can out into concealing a line, the better your results are likely to be.

Returning a big mirror caught at range with the line totally concealed near the rig.

Returning a big mirror caught at range with the line totally concealed near the rig.

 

Baiting up – Carp Fishing tips from Dave Lane

As part of a series of blog posts TF Gear tackle consultant Dave Lane shares his huge experience of carp fishing, staring with some great tips on baiting up! Read on to discover baiting up – the Laney way!

When it comes to baiting up a swim, I think a lot of anglers tend to get too tied up with trying to get every item of bait to land on the exact same spot in the lake, leaving the rest of the swim devoid of attraction for the carp.

Admittedly, I am quite fanatical about the exact spot my hook-bait lands on but I am not quite so obsessive about the free-bait.

Firing out boilies, or indeed spombing them out is something that is always going to lead to stray bait but a lot of the time I am quite happy with this and, as long as the general area is hit, I know I am increasing the amount of attraction in the swim and the bait that falls in areas where it will not get eaten is not detracting anything from the effectiveness of the main spot.

If my hook-bait is on, what I consider to be, the very best spot in the swim then I know that it will get eaten fairly quickly and I do not need every single ounce of bait to be piled up on top of it.

A decent spread of bait will allow more carp to feed at the same time and create a larger area that they can home in on, bringing even more fish to the party.

A nice Burghfield mirror caught from a swim baited with a large spread of boilies

A nice Burghfield mirror caught from a swim baited with a large spread of boilies.

I think that this is where baitboat anglers miss out a lot of the time, presenting just one little pile of bait is, to my mind, fishing for one bite at a time and not really creating much of a feeding response.

If you were baiting in the margins you wouldn’t dream of sticking a kilo of mixed bait on one little tiny spot and dumping your rig right in the middle of it, as you can see straight away that you are defeating the object of the trap by lowering the percentage chances of the hook-bait even getting picked up.

Striving for perfection when casting and baiting is obviously a good thing and I try my hardest to hit the same spot every single time with the spomb but I know that I won’t, I accept this and, should I be having a particularly accurate day, when everything is landing in the same hole, then I will actually add or lessen the clip mark on the reel or aim slightly right or left to increase the spread of bait. Usually though I don’t need to as I am just not that consistent.

Different lake beds demand different approaches of course, if you are fishing on features then you may need that level of accuracy but, as I have said, if you do not think that they fish are feeding in the deeper water around the feature then the odd wayward spomb is not going to pull the fish away from your spot in the slightest, I just count the ones that hit the mark.

I regularly hear anglers cursing out loud every time a spomb sails off target in the wind or a single pouch of boilies doesn’t quite hit the marker float but getting stressed when it is not going quite right is a bit of a recipe for disaster.

I know it can be hard to keep your cool sometimes when it all feels like it is going wrong but the more you get wound up, the worse you actually fish.

We just get stressed and blame our tools instead of taking a deep breath and a cup of tea and then starting again, calmly and patiently.

How Dave Lane uses a FishSpy camera to confirm bottom features

As part of his series on using the new FishSpy underwater camera, expert UK carp angler Dave Lane reveals how he uses his camera as a confirmation tool.

Image: Carp-Talk

Image: Carp-Talk

Personally I often like to use the FishSpy camera as a confirmation tool rather than a general feature finder, like a standard marker float or, in my case, just a heavy lead on a braided mainline.

After casting around the swim and identifying a likely area, I would then clip up the braid onto the spool and retrieve before attaching the FishSpy and re-casting to the clip using the same back marker, as in a tree, bush or pylon.

This way I can keep disturbance to a minimum and reduce the risk of losing the FishSpy on a snag or to a crack off due to repeated and unnecessary casting. Using this process recently, I found what felt like a gravel bar running through an otherwise quite weedy area.

On closer inspection, using the camera float, I discovered that it was actually a sand bar dotted with occasional stones and each stone was completely surrounded by a ring of attached zebra mussels; thousands of the things.

Zebra Mussels in their thousands

Zebra Mussels in their thousands.

Obviously this could be an area where the carp would feed of the natural food but, more importantly, the camera had identified a potential hazard.

Had I been planning to fish the gully at the back of the bar then my line would have been running across a multitude of extremely sharp crustaceans and potentially cut through, or been trapped, if I had hooked a carp.

Simply adding a strong snag leader would alleviate the problem but, if not for the footage, I would not have known this until it was too late.

In the video below Dave Lane uses a FishSpy camera on a winter gravel pit venue, and reveals the true nature of the bottom for the very first time:

Using The FishSpy Underwater Camera To Check Baited Areas

The revolutionary FishSpy underwater camera is already proving it’s worth to carp anglers up and down the country, despite the wettest and windiest winter on record! Here Dave Lane explains how he uses FishSpy to check baited areas.

One extremely handy use for FishSpy is to check baited areas; whether this is pre-baited spots or just the actual areas you are fishing before topping up the swim.

FishSpy screen shots showing uneaten bait on a variety of lake beds.

Uneaten bait can be a problem on heavily fished waters and nobody would actually chose to fish over it so, checking a swim out before you start a session has obvious benefits.

After catching a fish, however, there has been no way to know how much of your loose feed has been eaten and, in my experience in the past when using boats, I have learnt that this varies dramatically.

Sometimes, particularly if you are using a pop-up, it can be the hook-bait that goes first and the rest of the feed barely gets touched. On other waters, and in different circumstances, the fish can take everything and leave the hook-bait until last or even return later and take it when it is being fished as a single bait.

On one occasion this summer, during testing, I caught a thirty five pound mirror from a spot I had baited with two spombs full of whole and chopped boilies. The fish came during the early morning feeding spell and was my only bite of the day.

Later, when the bite time had passed I considered re setting the trap for the following day and applying a further two spombs of bait to the area. Using the FishSpy camera I checked the area first and found that most of the bait was still present.

This told me that I had either hooked a solitary feeding fish or that the other fish had spooked off as I got the bite, leaving the remaining bait untouched.

I could see no point in applying yet more bait and simply recast on top of the existing feed, hoping that the fish would return at some stage.

Had every scrap of bait been gone and the bottom of the lake visibly disturbed then I would have increased the baiting levels, hoping to create a situation where I received more than just one fish the following day.

In the video below Dave uses FishSpy to investigate his swim after a missed bite at 4.30 am, and discovers a spomb full of bait.

The implications of bait checking with a FishSpy camera are simply huge.

  • Save yourself a packet in the cost of bait over a year.
  • Save time by avoiding areas where fish are clearly not feeding.
  • Maximise your chances of a carp taking your hook bait with just the right amount of bait being present in the the swim.
  • Check how successful your pre-baiting is, by seeing if those spots have been visited.
  • By using boiles of differing colours, shape and flavours it is now possible to determine a selection preference by checking baited spots.

I had always relied heavilly on guesswork but the FishSpy has changed all of that. I can now see exactly what is on the lake bed and fish far more effectively because of it.

Tightlines, Dave Lane.

For more information visit www.fishspy.com

Fishtec offer 6 or 9 month interest free finance packages on FishSpy camera bundles – own a FishSpy for as little as £37.50 per month! Click here for full details.

Dave Lane’s Top 5 Winter Carp Gear Tips

Veteran UK carp angler Dave Lane has spent many a long winter on the bank, in the worst conditions possible in his full-time quest for carp. It’s not always easy, and winter can be a challenging time, even for the very best angler. Find out which carp fishing tackle essentials help Dave get through his grueling long haul winter sessions.

The proper kit, sleet in the air, a warm jacket and a big mirror

The proper kit, sleet in the air, a warm jacket and a big mirror.

1. The proper kit for the job.

The big difference between winter carp fishing in recent times, compared to yesteryear, is the level of comfort we are now able to achieve.

This is a huge bonus and a major contributing factor to the increased amounts of fish that now get caught during the months that we used to write off as being worthless.

The availability of decent thermal fishing clothing, boots, twin skinned bivvies and sleeping bags that can keep you warm regardless of the outside temperature, have made winter fishing actually enjoyable, rather than just an exercise in survival.

This leads to more time on the bank and more fish in the net.

It's essential to stay warm and dry

It’s essential to stay warm and dry

2. Illumination.

With fifteen hours of darkness per day in mid-winter it becomes essential to be able to actually see in the dark.

Just one trendy, red bulbed and dim head torch may seem very ‘carpy’ but the reality is you will find yourself in situations where that just isn’t enough.

This is not only on a comfort level, but on a safety and efficiency one as well.

I have three different types of fishing head torch and two bivvy lights, obviously not all on at once I hasten to add, but all there and charged should I need them.

Night fishing - make sure you bring muliple light sources.

Night fishing – make sure you bring multiple light sources.

If I catch a fish in the middle of the night I will take it away from the water’s edge and use a powerful head torch to ensure that the hook is removed safely, the fish retainer is fastened correctly and there are no unseen stones or brambles or other foreign objects in the sling or mat.

If I am setting up for night-time photography then I also want to be able to see what I am doing and not scrabbling about in the dark for the camera remote or adjusting the camera settings by the light of my phone.

Inside the bivvy I may need to tie a fresh rig, or just rebait the one I have, and I want a decent light level for this, even if it means putting down the door for a few minutes while I do so.

Back up torches are an essential item of kit, they are inexpensive and can save a session if the primary light fails, is dropped in the water, trodden on or just gives up the ghost.

3. A decent set of binoculars.

If you haven’t ever tried using binoculars in the dark then you have been missing out.

A front lens of 50mm will gather a huge amount of light, far more than the naked eye, perfect for confirming if that last big splash was a bird or a carp.

They are also handy on a pitch black night for picking out the far bank markers before you re-cast, just to confirm that that indistinct shadow is really the tree you thought it was, the one you are supposed to be aiming at.

4. Zig fishing kit.

I would never even consider winter angling without the ability to fish zigs if needed.

I have changed my whole mind set over the past five years, about where I think the carp are within the water table during cold weather.

I am not saying it’s the best method all of the time, because it isn’t, but I will always make sure I have the correct line, hooks and foam to give it a go.

Stuff for zigs - make sure you bring them along!

Stuff for zigs – make sure you bring them along!

5. My kindle or I Pad.

Boredom is a killer on a winter’s session, it’s all well and good when people say you should spend the whole time watching the water but, during those interminably long nights, that isn’t actually realistic and will only lead you to getting cold and miserable.

A good book will while away some of those hours of darkness and you can still hear if a fish jumps; this winter I have decided to try and write a good book rather than read them so most of my ‘downtime’ has been spent tapping away on the keyboard of my pad.

Boredom can be a killer - keep yourself entertained!

Boredom can be a killer – keep yourself entertained!

Dave Lane Carp Fishing Diary Late November 2013

Well, I reckon I made the right decision when I moved my fishing over to Monks Pit in Cambridgeshire.

Since that first successful trip when I managed to bank one of the three remaining forty pound plus carp in the pit that I hadn’t already caught, things have just got better and better.

The next week I only had a single night at my disposal but the fish fed like crazy and I ended up with an incredible nine carp on the bank, I almost made it to double figures but fish number ten fell off at the net just as I was packing up!

As if catching this amount of big carp wasn’t rewarding enough for thirty hours spent solidly casting, spodding, and playing fish, one of the fish was yet another of the trio I have at the top of my hit list. This time it was a fish known as Moonscale and he weighed in at forty three pounds, a top result and, realistically, that now leaves only the one biggest fish in the lake for the full set.

Moonscale,,

Since that trip I have had a further four visits and, although none of these trips has been quite as manic, I haven’t actually blanked yet, which a real bonus.

A couple of times I have taken it right to the wire, catching at the last minute to save a blank but even then, the stamp of fish has made it well worth the wait.

Just the other week I fished for forty eight hours without so much as a sniff and then, in the last two hours of the trip, I took fish of twenty four and thirty six pounds in quick succession.

A-cracking-looking-34-mirror

Most of the carp have been falling to the new Mainline Hybrid fished snowman style over plenty of free offerings and a bed of hemp, tigers and corn but I have had a couple on maggot and a couple on zigs.

It’s about this time of year, as the temperatures start to drop sharply, that the zigs start to produce a few fish and it seems as if the colder it gets, the better they work.

Luckily, at Monks, I can use four carp fishing rods throughout the winter and this allows me to try different methods such as zigs and maggots while always keeping at least two rods on my favourite boilie approach. I have had most of my biggest fish from this lake on boilies and I am confident that the biggest one will fall to this method in time, all I have to do is keep on persevering and hope the wheel of fortune spins in my favour before the winter is over and I move on to pastures new.

Check out my video diary here on the Fishtec blog!

Dave Lane Carp Fishing Diary November 2013

Dave Lane Hartford Mirror

The Hartford Mirror..

As we move in to November we could well be wondering if the winter is actually coming at all this year. I am certainly not complaining though, the weather conditions throughout October have been perfect for carp fishing and my catch rates have been a reflection of this.

At the beginning of the month I moved back onto Monks Pit, in Cambridgeshire as I thought it was about time I targeted some large carp again. I have enjoyed my summer excursion on the large gravel pit in search of unknown monsters but, with the year getting into its last quarter, I wanted somewhere to settle down on, in readiness for the colder weather.

Monks has been good to me in the past and I have had a total of five different fish over forty pounds from the venue. I thought, at one stage, that I had finished with the place but, recently, I got chatting to a couple of mates who still fish there and realised that there are probably still three or four over that weight I haven’t caught so a return for the winter seemed more and more like a good idea.

My first trip was an impromptu affair, pulling off the big pit halfway through a session when I thought I should be making the most of big low pressure system, and turning up at Monks with just an hour and a half of daylight remaining, just enough time to get the carp fishing tackle sorted and setup for the night.

Having not been on the lake for two years I would have preferred a bit more time to walk about and suss the place out a bit but, instead, I opted for a swim that I had always liked in the past. The swim I chose was in the middle section of the lake, always a good bet to start with and it gave me a good view if anything topped elsewhere.

The carp at Monks do like a bit of bait so I spent the next hour spodding out a bed of boilies, hemp, tigers and corn, setting all three carp fishing rods at the same distance in a line across the swim.

That first night went by without any action and I was just thinking about a move when a good sized fish topped right over my right hand carp rod. It couldn’t have even been a full minute later when the line tightened up and the tip pulled down towards the surface, signalling my first bite.

Right from the off the fish felt heavy and incredibly powerful, but then I had been used to catching twenties from the big pit over the previous months so I was unsure exactly how much bigger this beastie might turn out to be. He fought well in the deep and clear water eventually weeding me up in a big bed of Milfoil down to my right. After trying all the usual tricks with no success I had to resort to going out in the boat to free him, this is always a lot easier and safer with heavy weed once you actually get right above the fish and change the line angle as it enters the weed-bed. After a few hairy moments I managed to get him free and then it was just a matter of playing him out in open water. With the clarity being so good I could clearly see him ten feet below the boat, twisting and turning on the line and he did look very, very big indeed. Although I’d never seen the fish before I recognised him from a description I been given only the previous night and, as he went into the net, I knew I’d cracked one of the few remaining big fish in the lake that I hadn’t already caught. He was a fish known as the ‘Hartford mirror’ and he weighed just a little over forty pounds, what a way to start a return to Monks!

Once I had sussed where and how they were feeding I juggled the rods around a bit and kept a constant supply of bait going in over the area and, during the next twenty four hours , I managed to bank a further five carp up to mid-thirties but the Hartford mirror really was the star of the show.

If I had had any doubts about where to pass the colder months of winter then they have been dispelled now, with fish of this stamp only an hour from my doorstep I reckon that Monks will be seeing quite a bit more of me and Paddy over the coming few months, I can’t wait to get back out there.

Dave Lane Carp Fishing Video Diary #3

The fishing has been tough and the weather fairly unpredictable but Dave Lane has still managed to put together another of his Carp Fishing video diaries, showing you exactly what hes doing to try and temp large carp to the bank.

This week his two part carp fishing diary takes him to Big Lakes at Bedford…

Part 1

Part 2

Dave Lane Carp Fishing Diary | Mid September

Dave Lane Mid September

With nothing much happening on the big unknown carp front again I decided to take another trip over to Kingfisher Lake in the Thetford Forest. I enjoyed my days stalking carp the previous week but I couldn’t help but think that there must be a way to crack the problem of the bubbling carp being pre-occupied on natural food.

I had decided that bait must be the key, as it often is so, rather than just chase them around with a handful of boilies; I was going to set a trap, and a big one at that.

I arrived in the early afternoon and picked an area at fairly close range, about twenty yards from the bank, one that had signs of fish moving regularly through it. By simply watching the surface of the water I could identify the most frequently used areas by following the trails of little silver pin-prick bubbles as they hit the surface.

Once I had picked my spot I fed it as accurately as possible with about one and a half kilos of boilies. The plan was to keep everything so tight on the bottom that, once the carp passed through the spot as they filtered the silt, they would be incapable of not sucking up a mouthful of boilies as the entire bottom in a small area would be covered with them.

Although I had great faith in my new method I decided not to fish on it straight away, instead I put both rods under the island where I had had the twenty six pounder last week and just kept an eye on the baited area, watching for any change in the pattern of bubblers.

I did not have long to wait either, within an hour I could plainly see that the trails and lines of bubbles had converged on the baited area and much larger concentrations of ‘fizzers’ were erupting exactly where the boilies were.

Winding in one rod I flicked it out into the epicentre of the disturbance and, within minutes, it was away with a lively little common attached to the other end.

Now I had a method that I knew would work I had two choices, just trickle in a few more baits and try for a second bite or take it one step further and fill it in again, I chose the second option.

Unlike the previous week’s visit, I actually had the whole night ahead of me so I decided to take a gamble and put another kilo and a half on the spot, making it wide enough for two rods as I did so.

Well, the gamble certainly paid off, although I was worried for a while as it well into dark before the second bite came.

After that it was just like clockwork, every time I climbed back into the bedchair and drifted off to sleep anther screaming run from the mag-runner bite alarms would drag me back out again. This went on for pretty much the whole night, approximately one fish an hour with a welcomed break after four in the morning, the last and biggest fish coming along at first light.

I had managed seven takes in all, landing six of them up to twenty six pounds and all commons apart from one small mirror, which was a bit strange really as it’s pretty much an even split in the lake, maybe the commons just like the silty areas a bit more.

I packed up about midday extremely tired but very happy with my results, all I need now is a result like that on a larger scale from one of my main venues and my favourite month of September will be complete.