After spotting some feeding fish around 100 yards out, Dave Lane tests the Zig Rig method at Monks Pit. A yellow and black foam offering produced a fish within just five minutes of casting out, a beautiful 30+ pound mirror.
Dave’s also testing some of our new fishing clothing, using a combination of the new TF Gear waterproof clothing along with our thermal underwear! It’s getting cold already for carping so make sure you wrap up warm this winter!
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.
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.
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!
After some tough fishing at the Big Lake in Bedford over the last couple of weeks, Dave Lane makes the decision to move to Monks Pit in search of some of the larger carp he currently hadn’t caught.
Dave describes where the fish are likely to be, how to approach a carp water and what carp fishing tackle will help tempt specimen fish!
Fishing tackle Dave uses in this video:
DL Nantec Carp Rods
Dave Lane Hardcore Bivvy
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.
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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…
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.
Ever heard the term ‘invasional meltdown’? It’s what happens when the establishment of one invasive species makes it easier for the next invasive species to find a home.
It’s a snowball effect that results in the destruction of the indigenous ecology. The bad news is, it’s happening all over the world, including here in Britain.
Here we take a look at some of the world’s worst marine and freshwater invaders and ask what’s being done, and what we, as anglers can do to protect our environment from further harm.
Asian carp were imported into the Southeastern United States during the 1970s. Voracious filter feeders, juveniles can consume up to 140% of their body weight daily, and adults up to 40%. They were used to clear algae and other impurities from the waters of catfish farms and sewerage ponds. But over flow from storms released the fish into the Mississippi basin.
Their prodigious appetites mean they suck up vast quantities of microscopic plant and animal life. Simply put, Asian carp wipe out the native fish by eating all the food. And some species can jump too – presenting a hazard for boat users.
To prevent the spread of this menace, the US Army Corps of Engineers built an electrified barrier to stop the fish from swimming from the Mississippi via the Illinois and Des Plaines rivers into the Great Lakes.
Advice for anglers is simple and should apply wherever you are: dry and disinfect your sea, fly, coarse or carp fishing tackle, empty and disinfect bilges and drain live wells of boats before moving from one body of water to another.
Originally from the Caspian and Black Seas, Zebra Mussels first hitched a ride to the UK attached to the bottoms of trading ships. When the canals were built in the 1820s, infested water entered our rivers and the invader thrived.
Although small, a single Zebra mussel can filter a gallon of water per day, both clearing the water and increasing the level of waste deposited on the river or lake bed. The result is an alteration in the aquatic environment that can cause havoc among local native species.
For water companies, the mollusc poses a major problem, clogging inlets and entering treatment works. But now there’s a possible solution – Biobullets. Tiny pellets of potassium chloride – toxic to Zebra mussels – coated with tasty vegetable fat are introduced to the water. The filter feeder gorges on them, then dies.
As for us – it’s a case of check your kit for hangers on, clean and disinfect your gear after use, and make sure you dry it thoroughly.
King crab were the star of the hit TV series, ‘Deadliest Catch’, but they’re also an invasive species and increasingly, a problem. King crab are native to the Pacific shores of Siberia but were introduced into Arctic waters in the 1960s by the Soviets.
The plan was to boost crab fisheries in the Barents Sea. Clearly the plan worked, with the crustaceans being caught and transported alive to fetch a premium at top restaurants.
But in the 1980s the King Crab began to march South and West. Long lived, aggressive feeders, they impact heavily on native crab, fish and molluscs. King Crab now inhabit Norwegian waters and are eventually predicted to extend their range as far South as Portugal.
As far as management of the migration goes, there’s little we can do apart from catch them and eat them. A tasty dish certainly, but at what cost?
Not morse code or the output of a (heavily monitored) fiber optic cable, but a species of crayfish. The American signal cray all but wipes out native species in any river, pond or lake it infiltrates.
And these are tough little critters too. At around six inches long and encased in an armour like shell, the signal cray is bad news for fish. It eats just about everything in its path: larvae, molluscs, fish eggs – even its own offspring.
In Scotland, the entire ecosystem of a number of lochs has been destroyed – and many more are threatened. And rivers from Cornwall to the Highlands are being over run.
Signal cray were brought to the UK in the 1970s for use in the catering trade, but soon escaped into rivers. The solution is to prevent their spread by careful attention to cleaning fishing gear when moving from one body of water to another – and eating the varmints whenever possible.
They measure just 3 cm but are already a huge threat to Britain’s still waters. They arrived here from the Caspian sea in the ballast water of ships, and now threaten to invade some 60% of our lakes, ponds and reservoirs.
They’re lethal because they eat like crazy, kill other shrimps and even small fish – which they’ll leave uneaten. And because they’re so small, once they establish a breeding population, they prove very difficult to remove.
Otherwise known as Devil Shrimps, the killer can live for a long time out of water – giving it ample opportunity to travel from one site to another on uncleaned equipment. This is a major threat to our aquatic ecosystems, and the long term implications of infestation are unknown.
So – all you sailors, kayakers and anglers out there – here’s what we need to do: next time you go fishing, before you go home, check your gear to make sure you’re not packing away a live killer shrimp. When you get home, give your stuff a good clean – and dry everything thoroughly before you use it again.
If you use a boat, bait boat, kayak, float tube, waders, sailboat, dinghy – whatever – empty it, dry it, clean it and disinfect it before using it in another body of water. It’s up to all of us to protect our environment for future generations.
Sorry it’s been so long since my last blog but, what with school holidays and an acute lack of carp there has been precious little to blog about!
I have still been off chasing the unknown, trying my hand on waters that most sane anglers would not look twice at. Unfortunately that is the only way I am ever going to realise my dream of a big unknown carp though, and it is par for the course to have more than a few blanks along the way.
There comes a time however, when I just want to get out there and get a bend in one of my many fishing rods and this time happens to be now.
Last week I decided to re-visit a small and tree lined lake not far from my home. It’s situated on the edge of the Thetford forest and is a picturesque, tree fringed lake with a large and well established island running along the centre.
Because of the surrounding forest it has a fair depth of silt, a build-up of years of fallen leaves that have rotted away on the bottom, forming a thick layer of detritus.
As a result of this the carp can be seen bubbling and fizzing up as they feed in the deeper water and this can lead to some exiting stalking situations.
I turned up on a Thursday morning, just for a quick day session as the conditions looked ideal.
I always think if you have a lake nearby and a bit of time on your hands, it got to be worth a trip out, even if it’s a quick one, as it only takes a few minutes in the right spot to catch a carp.
At this time of year, as the air temperatures drop and we get a few low pressure systems moving in, the carp can suddenly go on the feed and the lethargy of summer days can seem a thing of the past. September is actually one of my favourite months of the year and it has provided me with countless personal bests and memorable captures over the years gone by. In fact, I would go as far as to say that September, April and possibly February can be the best months of the carp fishing year.
On this particular trip I found the carp, as expected, bubbling up in the deeper siltier part of the lake and I spent a fruitless couple of hours chasing them about, using light leads and long nylon hook-links, a method I have a lot of faith in when the bottom is soft and silty.
On this occasion though, they seemed to be totally pre-occupied with whatever was crawling around in the detritus and I had to employ a backup method as time was ticking away and I had to pick the littlest one up from school at four o’clock.
About two in the afternoon the sun made an appearance and, within minutes, I spotted the first carp cruising along the sunny side of the island. This area is a lot firmer and I knew, if I could get a bait tight enough to the island, that I had a shout of a bite.
It’s exciting stuff when you have a bait cast into just eighteen inches of water and you can clearly see the backs of carp as they pass over the spot.
I think there must have been at least three near misses before the bow wave of a carp lined up perfectly with the exact spot of my single bait and then, suddenly, there was big swirl as he sucked it in and realised his mistake.
A lot of people will advocate the method of ‘locking up’ when fishing up against islands, fishing your line as tight as possible with no clutch or free-spool set and the bobbin right up against the rod but I totally disagree. The way I see it is this; a fish cannot actually take any line anyway, not unless he is going to climb out over the island and the usual result is that they shoot sideways along the island margin until they find a snag. As long as you have a small drop on the bobbin then you will know instantly when the bait has been picked up and, with a tight clutch, it takes just two paces backwards to pull the carp away from danger before he even realises what’s going on.
With the fish safely in the clear channel I had time to enjoy the fight as he plodded up and down over deeper water, putting a healthy bend in the rod as he did so.
Under the tip was a different matter and there were a few tense moments as he realised he was losing the battle but everything held firm and the forgiving action in the top section of my TF Gear Nan-tec rods easily absorbed all the last minute lunges.
Once he was beaten and lying on the mat I had a chance to relax and appreciate how well a few hours in the right conditions can go, instead of being stuck at home working I was holding up a heavily scaled twenty six pound mirror for the camera. With the fish safely returned and the gear hastily thrown in the back of the truck I just made it back to the playground in time, although I did get a bit more room around me than usual and a few wrinkled noses at the distinct odour of fish slime!
After my lost fish disasters on the big pit I decided on a return to the North Met last week for a spot of carp fishing, to try my hand and, hopefully, find it a bit less crowded than it was in the spring.
Well it was certainly a lot quieter and, surprisingly, a lot more scenic than the last time I was there. The trees had all leafed up nicely and the undergrowth had spread profusely, filling in all the gaps in the bankside and leaving the whole lake looking a lot more ‘carpy’ and nice.
I started off with the customary walk around the lake, climbing a few trees and peering into every nook and cranny but, after about two hours, I was still no closer to finding anything to fish for. I figured that, if they weren’t in the margins, then they must be further out into the lake out of sight so I found a nice swim that gave me a good view of the open water and just sat and watched for a while.
It wasn’t overly long before I saw a fair sized mirror carp slide up out of the water at about one hundred and twenty yards range so I loaded up the barrow and grabbed the bivvy and made my way around to the nearest swim.
One thing I had noticed on my travels around the banks was the proliferation on daphnia clouds, huge swaths of red slowly undulating in water like massive natural larders for the fish.
Daphnia is a massive source of protein for carp and it so easy for them to just swim through it like a big old whale shark, filter feeding as they go through. Quite why they would choose to ignore it in preference for an angler’s bait that they know may be dangerous I wasn’t sure and, going by the reports of how the lake had been fishing, I wasn’t convinced that they would.
As with all carp fishing though you have to take the rough with the smooth and, even if a lake is not on its best form, it’s still a lot nicer sitting out there trying your best than it would be sitting at home moaning about it.
Although my trip ended up being quite frustrating, as I watched carp just idly milling about in an edible environment, I still enjoyed every minute of it and, I found out later, somebody managed to bag a nice mid thirty just after my departure, from the other end of the lake.
Over the last week or so however, we have had a noticeable change in the weather, the evenings are turning cooler and damp and the mornings are refreshing, dew soaked and feeling a lot more conducive to catching carp.
I predict that the next few weeks will really start to pick up nicely and I am confident of a few good fish coming to the net.
In a couple of days’ time I am off to Oxfords Linear fisheries for the annual charity fish-in, held to raise funds for the Motor Neurone Disease association.
Basically it works by anglers paying to fish with the better known and mainly professional anglers in the industry (who give their time and help for free) this raises funds, as does a raffle on the last night.
The whole event is very light hearted and informal although there is a great chance for the paying anglers to pick up many tips and methods to take away to their own local waters and, hopefully, a few personal bests to be caught a swell.
Last year I had a lovely young lad called Sam to look after for the three days and I took him off stalking around the complex for most of the time. We eventually settled on Oxlease lake where I helped him to find a few fish and get them feeding on the surface.
It’s always an exciting method but, when he hooked into a very big fish indeed, it become a nerve wracking experience for me. I don’t think he quite realised what he had hooked until it rolled into the net.
At thirty two pounds it was, by far, his biggest ever carp and a real old warrior to boot.
I just hope I manage to send this years ‘visitor’ home with a smile on his face to match the one that Sam was sporting as he eventually headed off, tired but happy.