Early Spring Carp Fishing On Celtic Lakes

It is now mid March so spring must have arrived by now.. right? With the weather seemingly on the change for the better, our resident carp and coarse fishing adviser Simon Howells decided It was finally time to break out the carp fishing tackle, and head out for the first fishing trip of the year!

Celtic lakes fishery map

Celtic lakes fishery map

My truck was packed to the brim with fishing gear for the three day outing from Tuesday until Thursday,  and I headed off on a journey to deepest rural Wales. The chosen venue was Celtic lakes resort, near Lampeter. Celtic lakes offers superb fishing on 6 waters of varying sizes, all heavily stocked with carp to 35lb+ and catfish to 85lb as well as a mix of coarse fish including tench, roach, rudd, perch and bream. I reached the lakes about lunch time, and after speaking to Janet the fishery manager had a good look around the lake and picked my swim for the few days fishing.  During the setting up of the bivvie and the rest of the fishing gear it was a really nice day; sunny with hardly any clouds at all and even though it was mid March it was fairly warm. Indeed one or two fish were spotted on the surface, so a mental note was made of where they were, so a bait could go out in that area!

Everything set up and ready for a run

Everything set up and ready for a run!

I decided to fish a three rod set up. I placed my left hand rod out tight to the island with mainline cell as a hook-bait over a bed of robin red pellets. The middle rod was for the catfish into open water, so on went the large halibut pellets, with  mainline halibut syrup to give them some extra zing. The right hand rod was going out on the right side of the island where there was a large cut between the two islands. On this rod I would be using the new Nash TG boilies. To attract the carp I put out a bed of Nash TG stick mix and chilli hemp, then threw in some white chocolate and coconut ground bait, Nash TG flakes and finally tandoori shrimp liquid to finish off! I have to say it smelt really nice and if I was a carp I would definitely be trying some. It made me hungry anyway!

Carp bait all ready to use

Carp baits all ready to use

Well I didn’t have to wait that long really as the left hand bite alarm started bleeping and the swinger started going!  After a short fight a small but lovely common carp at 6lb – 2oz graced the net. The light started to fade and the night drew in. Nothing happened for a long time until my left hand rod went again just after I had got into bed and turned the light out for the night… I shot out of the bivvy lifted into the fish and once again it didn’t feel very big. After another brief fight I landed a common carp of 6lb – 9oz at about 1.20am. After putting the fish back it was straight back into the bivvy to get some shut eye.

6lb 9oz common carp

6lb 9oz common carp

In the morning I was woken up by very high winds at about 5.30am, it was seriously blowing a gale and chucking it down with rain and sleet, the temperature had dramatically plummeted. Poking my head out of the bivvy door I could see fresh snow dusting the hills!  What a change from Tuesday and this would really affect the fishing if the temperature didn’t go back up slightly! Unfortunately nothing happened all day Wednesday, but hey that’s carping for you! Thursday was here before I knew it. There was no change in the weather but the wind had eased a little and to be fair I was thinking of jacking it in early. While pondering this I put the kettle on for a brew and a quick bite to eat, and lo and behold my left rod screamed away with another common carp that weighed 8lb – 3oz.

The final carp of the trip goes back

The final carp of the trip goes back

Sadly this was the last carp of the trip and it was time to pack everything down in the pouring rain, and head home! I will be returning soon as I really want to get one of the specimen cats from the lake and some bigger carp… so in the words of Arnie.. I’ll be back Celtic lakes!




Dave Lane Zig Fishing for Carp

Dave Lane is one of the top UK specimen carp anglers, In this video he shares some fascinating insights into the world of zig fishing for Carp! Watch on to discover how Dave puts his own twist on this devastating method, which will help give you the edge when the fishing gets tough during the winter months.

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Fishy sayings debunked

Ever wondered why people say they’ve “gone fishin’” rather than “gone for a walk”? Or why carp are forever associated with complaining?

Ever stood on the riverbank and wondered why angling is called angling or why a kettle of fish is such a bad thing to be in? Wonder no more.

We’ve put our heads together to come up with solutions to some common fishing sayings – so next time you’re out fishing, all you need to think about is the fish.

Gone fishin’

Gone Fishin' sign on a wooden board on a wooden door.

Image source: William Scott
So have you actually gone fishing, or not?

You’d be forgiven for thinking the meaning of the term, “gone fishin” is so obvious it’s undeserving of a mention, but that’s where you’d be wrong. Because there’s a whole lot more to the popularity of the phrase than meets the eye.

Until 1951, in America, if a shop was closed and a sign in the window stated the proprietor had gone fishing, they probably meant they’d taken their fishing equipment and  – gone fishing. But then along came Bing Crosby and Louis Armstrong, and recorded a little ditty called “Gone fishin’” and hey presto, the phrase passed into the mainstream. Later re-recordings by Pat Boone and Gene Autry among others helped to cement the phrase in the public imagination so that now, if you’ve “gone fishin’”, you might have headed to the river bank, or equally, you could just be taking a break!

Kettle of fish

Kettle of fish soup cooking over a campfire.

Image source: Alexpurs
The origin? Fish stew!

Two meanings in one cauldron with this one: a “fine kettle of fish” as in a bit of a pickle, and a “different kettle of fish” meaning something altogether different. But where does the phrase come from? Nobody seems to know for sure. However, like the sleuths we are, we did manage to track down a couple of possible explanations.

A kettle of fish seems to have been an 18th century innovation, possibly linked to a practice among Scottish Lairds of giving a “kettle of fish”. An outdoor picnic would be held by the banks of a river, where the nobles and their pals would wet a fly or two. To the delight of all, the catch would be cast alive into a big vessel of boiling water to be cooked and eaten.

Another explanation comes from over the pond in Newfoundland where 100 lbs of fish was called a “quintal, kintel or kental” It’s thought the word, “kettle” evolved through repeated mispronunciation.

There she blows

A sperm whale rising to the surface of the ocean to breathe in Sri Lanka.

Image source: Shane Gross
This phrase was bad news for whales.

Did you know peak oil actually occurred all the way back in 1846? Of course we’re not talking about Brent crude here, but that other oil boom of yesteryear – the sperm whale oil business. Up until the mid Victorian period, whale oil supplied lubricants and soap and was also used in the processing of textiles. But its main use was for lighting and spermaceti was the best oil money could buy. Scientists still don’t know what the oily contents of a sperm whale’s head is for, but back in the day, it was the brightest, cleanest burning oil money could buy.

A single sperm whale could supply as much as three tons of the stuff. “There she blows” was the battle cry of the whaling ship’s masthead lookout – and all too often, it spelt doom for an innocent creature. Whales were hunted to the very brink of extinction. What saved them? The invention of the light bulb.

Stop carping

A mirror carp swimming underwater on a hot day.

Image source: Kletr
Poor carp have an unjustified reputation as a nag.

Ever been told (or told someone) to stop “carping”? Ever wondered what the poor old carp has done to deserve its reputation as a nag and a moaner, whilst really just trying to avoid your carp fishing tackle? The answer? Nothing. That’s because the verb “to carp” actually has nothing at all to do with the fish of the same name.

In fact, “carping” comes from Middle English – a form of English that was in use from the 12th to the 15th century. It was the lingo of Chaucer’s Canterbury tales and developed from Old English after the Norman invasion. In Middle English, the word was “carpen” or “to speak”, and this came from an even earlier old Norse word, “karpa”, which meant “to brag”. Relax – it’s not the fishes fault!


Old fashioned drawing of a man angling.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Richard III is to thank for angling.

Here’s a riddle: What has angling to do with a car park in Leicester? For the answer we need to travel back in time to the late 15th century and the very late, King Richard III. Before the murderous monarch cried, “my kingdom for a horse,” (according to Shakespeare anyway) was gruesomely killed and buried in what became a carpark, he may well have told his squire to pack some sandwiches, his fishing rod and an angle or two for a day’s fishing.

An angle is middle english for apex or tip, fishing is fishing, but fishing with a hook is angling. An angle is a fishing hook.

Guide to carp fishing rods

Does your partner, parent or friend think all fishing rods are just the same? One of the best replies we’ve heard is, “If they were all the same, why would there be so many on the market?”

As with most hobbies, fishing has become increasingly specialised, with specific types of tackle to suit every possible fishing scenario.

Some anglers are firmly set in their choice of rod, it determines what fish they will catch, what method they will use and presumably how big their catch will be! Using a fishing rod which is specifically designed to target your intended quarry can result in a better overall user experience.

Choosing a carp fishing rod must be one of the most confusing situations for any angler whatever their level of experience. With so many brands to choose from, selecting the ideal length and test curve for your fishing can become confusing.

Watch how to choose the right rod

Dave Lane and Marc Coulson explains everything you need to know about choosing a carp fishing rod in the video below.

Understanding test curves

The test curve of a carp fishing rod usually indicates how powerful it is. The higher the test curve the more powerful the rod is. For example, a rod in the 2lb test curve bracket can cast around 100 yards, a test curve of 3lb or higher are highly specialised rods, designed for anglers casting large leads and baits well over 140 yards.

A 2.5 – 2.75lb test has a very forgiving blank, allowing fish to run and lunge under the rod tip without hook pulls, these rods also make the whole experience of playing a fish more pleasurable. The higher the test curve the more brutal they are in their fish playing abilities, expect hook pulls at close range if the fish are lightly hooked.

What length rod for carp?

Most standard length carp rods are 12′ to 13′. Generally a 12′ rod will suit most carp anglers, giving sufficient length for good casting and perfect control when playing a fish. 13ft rods are more of a specialist tool, again the longer rods help achieve greater distances but the added length can become a hindrance when fishing in tight swims and battling over hanging trees.

Cosmetic VS Performance

We all know anglers are partial to a great looking fishing rod, the term ‘tackle tart’ instantly springs to mind but experience has shown us that as nice as it is to own something pretty, it’s not always the best or most practical option when it comes to looking for a carp rod. We know not everyone can make it in store to try a rod before they buy, so make sure to check online fishing tackle reviews and magazine articles to get a feel for what’s available.


Dave Lane New Years Carp Fishing Video Diary

What could be better than fishing your way into the new year? Follow Dave Lane in his first carp fishing video diary of 2014! In the two part diary, Dave describes (again) the advantages of moving pegs when things aren’t really going your way.

There’s some great tips in both of these carp diaries, including how to  choose the correct carp setup and also how to detect if the fish are high in the water.

Part 1

Part 2

Check out the unbelievable underwater footage from Dave’s new GoPro Hero3+ Black Edition!

Carp Fishing Special from Dave Lane

Dave Lane has produced many carp fishing video diaries over the last couple of weeks and this is our favourite yet! Dave’s a phenomenal angler as many of you will know, catching plenty of carp using some of the best best carp fishing tackle on the market. But even the best make mistakes… Have you ever done this?

Dave Lane’s Carp Fishing Special

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.


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!

Dave Lane Carp Fishing Video Blog – Monks Pit

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


2014 TF Gear Babes Calendar

2014 TF Gear Babes Calendar Front Cover

Struggling to find a fishing related present for your hubby or partner this Christmas? We at Fishtec have the perfect gift. Ideal for hanging in the fishing room, garage, or ‘man space’, the 2014 TF Gear Babes Calendar is packed full of carpy fun and features beautiful women cradling large carp.

This is the second year TF Gear has put together a Babes fishing calendar, with 2013’s being a massive hit all around the country. I mean, what’s better than actually going carp fishing, or buying some carp fishing tackle than beautiful women holding carp?

Price: £7.99 

Order the TF Gear Babes Calendar here

For more previews like the below, join our Facebook Page!

2014 TF Gear Babes Calendar February

Miss February Preview

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