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.
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!
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.
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.
Well, here I am back from my holidays and for the first time I can ever remember I stepped off the plane at Stansted to find it was just as hot at home.
You know that feeling you get when you arrive on your holidays and walk out on the metal staircase into a wall of super-heated air, well that’s what it was like in Essex!
I was fully expecting the lake to have changed a bit over my two week absence but, the next Monday, I was still amazed to see just how much. The weed had gone ballistic in the summer sun and, what were lightly sprouted gravel bars before my departure, now resembled privet hedges running in solid green lines across the lake.
Unfortunately this meant that most of the decent shallow water spots were now unfishable and the only clean bottom to present a bait on would be the deeper marks, not ideal in nearly thirty degrees.
By sneaking about in chest waders though I did manage to ambush a small group of carp that were milling about on top of a plateau, it obviously was made of something too hard for the weed to take root but at least it offered me somewhere shallow to place a single bait.
Before I cast I pulled out my Galaxy phone and snapped off a few pictures as the fish cruised about only a couple of rod lengths away.
It was exciting stuff being so close to them as they milled about next to the hook-bait and then I saw one upend and suddenly shoot off across the plateau as he realised his mistake.
At such close quarters the fight was electric but, unfortunately, very short lived as he managed to wrap the line around a small snag and pull the hook. There was a huge bow-wave as he sped off through the weed taking the rest of the fish with him.
This was to be the pattern over the next twenty four hours, hours walking for a few brief moments when I had a chance of a bite.
I did manage to hook two more fish but the weed was so savage that they both came adrift during the fight.
I hate losing fish, absolutely detest it and, if I think that I have more chance of losing than landing them, and then it’s time to move on in my book. I see no point in just getting bites for the sake of it and it’s not fair on the carp so I packed up and headed for home.
That’s the thing about some of the big gravel pits I like to fish, they are ok up until the middle of summer but, once the weed gets up and the algae cuts down your visibility they can become unrealistic places to fish. With this in mind I started to make plans for where to fish next, maybe a return to the North Met lakes in the Lea Valley?
Just before Dave set off on a family holiday to Sunny Spain he managed to put together this carp fishing video diary of his most recent carping trip. Packed full of carp fishing hints and tips on how to choose the right swim depending on the wind, Dave’s knowledge and experience is not to be looked past!
After a successful start to his North Met campaign, the fishing has only seemed to get better, but the only thing lacking at the moment is the wiser, larger specimens which inhabit the lake. With plenty of carp ranging between 15 and 23lbs, Dave’s still searching for the elusive 30lber…. Are they in there?
Here we are then, April has finally arrived, the official first day of spring has been and gone and the clocks have gone back to provide us with a glorious extra hour of evening light. Of course the next line should read “The sun is blazing down on the lakes, the daffodils are all out in bloom, and nature is resplendent in all her glory” but the reality is that it’s still snowing!
Never mind though, let’s just ignore that fact because the time has come to get out there with your carp fishing tackle and catch some fish, who cares what the weather man says, it’s April and the fish must be starving by now. I have had two more trips to the Estate Lake, possibly my last two for a while because it is nearly time to move onto pastures new.
One of the two visits doesn’t really require much in the way of a blow by blow reportage as I just cowered away in my Hard-core Bivvy, sheltering from a bitter North-Easterly wind and snow flurries, but we are not going to mention that again are we?
The other trip was far more productive, the air temperature rose a couple of degrees, the fish decided that it was in fact spring after all, and I caught not one, not two, but four carp in a frantic twenty four hour period.
Not only were the bites forthcoming but, for the first time this winter I managed to get two of the pick-up’s from a new area, rather than just out in the middle in the silt.
There is an island out to the left of the swim I have been concentrating on and it has a hard gravel shelf that runs around its perimeter. There are various trees and bushes that overhang the margins out there and these provide the perfect haven for carp. By clipping up and adding a yard at a time I managed to place a bait tight between two of these snaggy overhangs and present, for once, on firm and clear lake bed, a perfect trap for any island margin patrollers.
I have obviously tried this ploy a few times over the last couple of months but always without success so I was over the moon when this was the first rod to rip off. More than just another capture this was a sign that the fish were finally on the move and willing to leave the sanctuary of the deep silt in search of food and sunlight.
Over the next twenty four hours I managed another island bite and two more fish from the old spots in the middle. Although none of them were monsters I was still well happy with four carp to mid-twenties after the previous week’s non-entity of a trip.
It really does take such a little change in the elements at this time of year to kick start the chain reaction that results in a successful session, a few hours of sunlight or a swap in the wind direction can be all it takes.
Talking of which, look out for the weather this coming weekend as they are forecasting the first bit of South based wind for months, on the strength of this I am predicting some big catches all over the country so make sure you are out there to cash in, remember where you heard it first!
I will be out filming the new TF Gear DVD all next week, we have some exciting new products to showcase and, hopefully, there will plenty of action on the rods as well, I can’t wait!
Well that was that then, the second coming of the ice age soon put paid to my little run of catching carp.
I turned up last Monday full of confidence of finally achieving my lifetime ambition, a big carp in the snow. The white stuff was falling out of the sky in flakes the size of white sugar mice and an even crisp coating covered the banks, but not enough to put a damper of my carp fishing enthusiasm.
The drive through the Estate was pretty hairy as, half an hour before light; mine were unsurprisingly the first set of tyre tracks on the lane. Even in four wheel drive it was more than a little slippery but I arrived in one piece and with no dents or scrapes.
Pushing the barrow was easier than normal though as the sloppy mud on the paths had frozen solid and I trudged straight up to the swim I had been so successful ion the previous two visits.
Surely this would be the week that I returned victorious with a camera full of images a big golden carp against a Christmas card background?
I knew I was up against it though as the forecast was for a rapid deterioration in the conditions and hideously cold temperatures during Tuesday night, this combined with a swing in the wind to the East meant there was a very real chance of the lake freezing over.
To start though it looked perfect, the snow kept falling and the baits all went out in the right spots first time. I put the bivvy up to shield my kit from the snow and settled in for the duration.
The first bite time came and went, shortly followed by the afternoon chance without as much as a sniff.
As soon as grew dark I knew I was in for the long haul as I have only had the one take in darkness and the nights seem so interminably long at this time of year but a film on the mini DVD player and a good book helped to pass the time.
Once again the morning feeding spell came and went and I busied myself by making a snowman for company, it was looking really good until Paddy decided to eat both his stick arms!
Once I had re-cast all the rods with fresh baits there really was very little to do apart from sit and wait some more and consider the sanity of doing another night as they were predicting temperatures of minus eight that night.
Luckily I had come well prepared and the layers of thermal fishing clothing I had on kept me nice and warm despite the biting easterly winds.
Once again darkness fell only this time the forecast came good and by midnight I knew that my chances of that magical snow photo were as far below zero as the thermometer was.
I snuggled down for the night and, as I awoke on Wednesday morning, I was actually surprised just how nice and warm I felt, I had my trusty Hard-core Sleeping bag tucked up around my chin and the fleece lined cover keeping in all that lovely warm air, it was quite a shock when I peered out of the bivvy doorway and saw fifty ducks all walking in single file across the middle of the lake, my quest for a carp had failed but I suppose my testing of the new winter range of clothes and sleeping bags had been a roaring success. I was tempted to just stay in bed and pretend I was still fishing but, eventually, I had climb out and start the long and arduous task of packing away a frozen bivvy and breaking the ice to retrieve my lines with fingers that felt like frozen sausages.
As they say though, you have to be in it to win it and there is still plenty of winter left to try again, and plenty more snow on the way.
Well it’s all back to normal again, the tinsel is keeping the mice warm in the loft and the tree is all folded up in its box again. I had a bit of a lay off from fishing over the holiday period but I was breaking my neck to get back out there at the beginning of this week, especially with the mild weather we have been having.
I set off on the Monday morning for Northampton and a return to the Estate Lake, arriving just as it was getting light. Apparently nobody had even thought about carp fishing the place for two weeks and I wondered if the carp would still be holed up where I caught my last three fish from?
Obviously this was going to be my starting point and it didn’t take long to get three rigs out there on the spots.
I was sticking to my successful method of a standard hair rig with a bottom bait and the addition of a small PVA bag of 10mm baits, just to give the carp something to home in on through the thick silt.
With the fishing rods out I quickly set up the Hard-core Bivvy and then stuck the kettle on for a brew but something seemed different, quieter than usual, and then I realised there were no sheep. Usually there are woolly Ovines wandering around everywhere, sneaking up behind your bivvy and startling the hell out of you with a sudden loud bleat but, for some reason, they had all disappeared today; maybe Lamb had been on the menu at a big New Year’s Eve dinner at the manor house!
I didn’t have to wait long to find out if I was in the right spot, sheep or no sheep, the carp were definitely still there as I had my first take about ten o’clock in the morning. After a bit of a tussle in the silt where the fish sent up huge sheets of bubbles as he tried to bury himself under the mud, I managed to steer him into the margins where he just plodded up and down for a few minutes before waving the white flag and rolling up into the net.
This was a nice welcome back present and a great way to start the New Year but I couldn’t help but wonder what I might have missed out on over the previous few weeks. On the scales he registered twenty eight and a half pounds and, after a couple of pictures, I slipped him back into the cloudy water.
With such a quick result I had high hopes for the rest of the session; especially when the next rod ripped off at three in the afternoon. This fish fought far harder than the previous one and I really did think I had hooked one of the really big commons for a while but, as he eventually came over the net cord, I could see he was another mirror. Incredibly pale in colour, probably due to the lack of light getting through the muddy water, he weighed in at just over thirty and a half pounds.
Now I really was confident and I could see a session to remember stretching out ahead of me but, as is the way with carp fishing, the lake had other ideas. It was as if that last fish had pressed a panic button and all the carp retreated to the bunker for the next two days as, apart from two bream, the alarms remained silent.
The weather just got better and better and I still find it hard to believe that nothing else fed although I certainly am not complaining at two big fish in the first week of January.
I hope the rest of the month goes as well, although they are forecasting some horribly cold conditions over the next few days so let’s just hope the lake doesn’t freeze over as that’s about the only thing that will stop me being out there again next week!