How to fit a new rod tip eye

We are sure most carp and specialist anglers have broken either a rod tip or damaged a tip eye during their fishing career!

In this blog we look at how to fix a broken rod tip ring quickly and effectively.

What do you need?

1. Hot melt glue (available from any DIY shop)
2. A lighter.
3. Pair of forceps or pliers.
4. New rod tip ring.
5. Sandpaper or Stanley knife.

Step 1.
Separate the damaged tip eye from the rod blank by heating it with a lighter for about 4-5 seconds. This will allow the old glue to release. Once heated up, use the pliers or forceps to pull off the old eye.

Heating a rod tip eye to soften the glue

Heating a rod tip eye to soften the glue.

Once heated pull the old eye off with forceps

Once heated pull the old eye off with forceps.

Step 2.
Get the rod blank prepared for the new eye by sanding the tip section to smooth off any excess glue or graphite shards. This can also be done carefully with a stanley blade.

Step 3.
Use your lighter to melt the end of the glue stick for a few seconds.

Heating up hot melt glue

Heating up hot melt glue.

Step 4.
Apply a small amount of hot melt glue to the prepared tip section.

Step 5.
Slide the new eye into position. Ensure to line it up with the other eyes quickly before the glue hardens. Peel off any excess glue and you are good to hit the bank again!

Once coated in glue slide the new tip eye back on.

Once coated in glue slide the new tip eye on.

Maggot Myth Busting

Now that winter is here a lot of carp anglers turn their attention to maggot fishing, and why not, after all they have a brilliant track record for catching carp.

dl-maggotsOne things does worry me, however, and I don’t think I am alone in saying this, in fact I know I am not.

Somewhere along the line a few people have caught over huge amounts of maggots and, somehow, this had led to the belief that more is better. Quite literally, the more you can afford to shovel into the lake then the more carp you will catch but this is not only false, it is also very dangerous.

Winter carp will only eat a small amount of food, no matter what type is may be and yes, they may find maggots attractive but they are still very unlikely to gorge themselves on them as they just do not need that much sustenance at this time of year.

What happens to the left-over bait, the uneaten maggots that are out there on the bottom of lake?

This is the part that worries me, particularly because most people’s answers to this question will be the same.

Are you also thinking that most of them will either crawl away or the silver fish will eat them?

If so, then you are in the majority but, I am afraid to tell you, probably very wrong indeed.

Unless you have a huge head of silver fish in the lake (in which case maggot fishing is not viable anyway) and you have fairly shallow lake, then the silvers will not be eating much at all.

They are usually shoaled up in and around the weed in shallower and more sheltered area and not down in the deeps on the large open areas you are probably targeting.

As for crawling away, well they just don’t go anywhere, that is a total myth as they are too busy drowning to worry about re-location and, even if they did then that doesn’t alleviate the problem of them still being in the lake.

The uneaten maggots will eventually die and rot on the bottom and huge quantities of rotting bait cannot be a good thing for the oxygen levels or the toxicology of the lake.

I know of plenty of lakes that have now banned maggot fishing for just these reasons and others that limit their use to prevent the problems arising.

Obviously, this problem is not unique to maggots and bait of all sorts can be over applied and end up rotting on the lake bed. A lot of the better-quality boilies will actually float after a short while and often, on pressured lakes, the gulls can be seen to pick them off in the windward edge.

Not all baits will, however, and let’s face it, who wants to be fishing on top of a pile of somebody else’s old bait, no matter what it may be.

The solution, take a look before you start and after you finish, gauge if you need to top up your spots or if it worth pre-baiting before you leave and see what is already out there before you start.

On a recent trip to a Northants syndicate water I spent forty-eight hours fishing a swim that I knew held carp, as I had seen them rolling at first light. I carefully spodded out a gallon of maggots over two rods and sat back to await events.

After two nights with no action whatsoever I decided to break out the FishSpy camera float and see exactly what was going on, I had another gallon of bait in the truck and I was considering baiting up before I left in readiness fir the following week but the lack of action made me hesitant.

I simply wrapped up the spod rod with the FishSpy on to the exact distance that I had been fishing and launched it out onto the spots.

What I saw amazed me, every single maggot, as far as I could tell, was still laying there perfectly presented on the bottom and the fish obviously hadn’t fed at all, despite being in the area.

Maggots everywhere on the bottom.

Maggots everywhere on the bottom – as revealed by the FishSpy camera.

This made me realise that maggots are not the wonder bait we think they are and the fish still have to be hungry to feed, in fact I wished I’d just fished with single boilie hook-baits to be honest.

The one thing I didn’t do was pre-bait before I left and I wonder just what did happen to that first gallon, did they ever get eaten?

The New Inflatable TF Gear Airflow Bivvy!!

A new product has literally just hit the shelves – the radical new TF Gear Airflow Bivvy. We feel this bivvy will revolutionise the carp fishing bivvy world, and become a best seller as a result.

The new inflatable bivvy from TF Gear!!!

The new inflatable bivvy from TF Gear!!!

What’s it about?

It’s a pump up bivvy that uses inflatable ‘air poles’ instead of conventional polesIt takes about a minute to inflate and even comes supplied with the pump. Other than the ‘pram’ hood peak support no poles are needed whatsoever. This means the bivvy is super lightweight to transport plus extremely easy and quick to erect. It also packs down into a very small bag compared to ‘normal’ bivvies – great if space is limited in your car. Quality T pegs, a nice carry bag and an integrated groundsheet complete a really decent package.

In the video below, Dave Lane demonstrates pumping up the Airflow bivvy:

As soon as they arrived, we simply had to test these bivvies outside the Fishtec shop. Inflation of the bivvy took no time at all – definitely within the minute mark. We found they were rock solid and very stable with no danger of the bivvy bowing inwards in high wind.

The material of this single skin bivvy is very tough and looks highly puncture resistant.The built in premium groundsheet is heavy duty and easy to clean. There are several door configurations, including a mozzie net and a separate clear window that you can velcro into place if needed. To pack down it was simply a case of loosening one valve and rolling it back up – so easy and quick for the end of your session.

There are two sizes available and both are very generous in terms of interior space and specification – size chart below.

TF Gear Airflow Bivvy dimensions

TF Gear Airflow Bivvy dimensions.

How much?

At just £279.99 for the one man, and £329.99 for the two man they represent superb value for money. We feel these are going to be a huge seller for 2017 –  NOW IN STOCK!!!

For full details of the TF Gear Airflow bivvy click here.

Great tips for staying warm when winter carping

If you carry on fishing through the winter for carp quite often you will be limited by the temperature. These tips for keeping warm will keep you comfortable, warm and fishing at your best in even the worst extremes.


Layers – Multiple thermal layers are essential. A base layer, mid and outer will keep you warm and feeling snug. For example the TF Gear thermo-skin underwear and Chill out onesie could be combined with a fleece lined waterproof jacket and trousers like the Trakker Core Multi-suit – a perfect cold weather combo.

Head wear – A lot of your body heat is wasted through the head. Wear at least a cap and preferably a nice bit of knitwear like one of the Trakker beanie hats.

Feet – Like the head these are a vulnerable to losing heat, and unless you take care of them they will get cold extremely quickly. Use extra socks or neoprene socks – but make sure you don’t wear them too tightly or you will negate the advantage by restricting the blood flow round your feet.

Bivvy choice – Use a twin skin for best results in the depths of winter. Twin skin’s capture a layer of air. This is very effective cold weather insulation. With a twin skin condensation is also reduced which means drier, warmer air. Some bivvy brands offer a ‘winter skin’ option that allow you to upgrade your summer time bankside accommodation at a reasonable cost.

Sleeping right – If you fish right through the winter it is well worth investing in a proper 5 season bag with a thermal cover. A quality bag is a god-send on those cold winter nights.
Another tip is too add a layer underneath you – a bed with a built in thermal mattress will provide a wonderfully warm night.

Food and hot drinks – Calories keep you warm – FACT. Great excuse to fire up the Ridgemonkey and cook up grease laden food in abundance. And it always tastes better in the cold….. Ditto for hot drinks.

Cold weather munchies! Image: Ridgemonkey FB

Cold weather munchies! Image: Ridgemonkey FB

Know Your Carp Baits

Pellets, plastics, popups? Do you find it hard to know which carp baits are the best to use, and how they work?

Man holding mirror carp

Catch a swimming carp
Image source: Wikipedia

Here’s our guide to knowing how and why each of them attract a bite, along with hints and tips from some of our favourite bloggers too.

What a carp needs

Knowing the nutritional needs of carp is one of the keys to finding the right bait. As the lads at Carp Fishing Tactics put it:

“A carp is an intelligent fish and it also has a memory. It knows what’s good and what’s not edible”.

They’re able to “test” the bait as they swim nearer to it and will reject any smell or taste that they recognise as previously having carp tackle attached to it.

They go on to say that carp are particularly attracted to “amino acids emitted by bloodworms, crayfish, and aquatic plants”. Extracts from green-lipped mussels, kelp, liver and molasses all contain this acid, and carp recognise this aroma as having nutritional value.

Types of carp bait

There are five broad categories of carp bait, and each has their own appeal for the carp – and therefore, benefit for the carper; Boilies, Particle, Liquid Additives, Pellets and Plastics.

1. Boilies

The boilie is the number one carp bait and, according to Angling Times, by a considerable margin. There seems to be a bewildering array of different sizes, shapes and flavours on the market, but only two main types – pop-ups and bottom bait. Both have their advantages.

Bottom bait

This is a loose bait you let into the water that will quickly sink to the river or lake bed – a carp’s natural habitat. Bottom bait is easy for the carp to grab with it’s mouth as they are used to foraging for natural grub in this part of the waterway. These types of baits are best suited to clearer waters in which you know nothing will obstruct your hook.

Pop-up bait

Pop-ups are buoyant, and are sometimes brightly coloured and flavoured, which will stop your rig from getting caught in any floating detritus in the water. However, from time to time, carp can get suspicious of something they see floating on the surface of the water and might not always take them.

Pop-up baits are more durable than a bottom bait, as they have to be able to stay buoyant above the lake bed. These tend to be more robust than a ground bait. You can usually keep a supply of these in your fishing kit for years without worrying that they’ll go off, or lose their efficiency over time.

Top of the boilies

There’s a huge choice of boilie for the carper to try. By all means experiment and find what works best for you – but here are a couple of our favourite types:



There’s plenty scope for scopex
Image source: Fishtec

Scopex is a type of flavouring for bottom bait that crops up time and again in discussion among carpers. It’s very distinctive. It’s made with a base of ground tiger nuts, and has an unusual ‘burnt butter’ flavour. forum moderator, Nick, explains that Scopex gets its characteristic aroma from the main base ingredient, N-butyric acid. This is a compound found naturally in rancid butter, as well as in other animal fats and plant oils. Carp are attracted to fatty foods, and as Hammercarp points out at the Carp Angler’s Group forum, one of the benefits of Scopex boilies are that the burnt butter scent will linger in the water for days.

Pineapple pop ups

Jar of fish bait

Top of the pop ups
Image source: Fishtec

One of the most popular pop-ups is the Pineapple juice dumb-bell. It’s fluorescent yellow, and has the flavour of tropical fruit. They’re particularly suited to winter carping. Their intense aroma and flavour will attract carp, even when the fish are a bit slow in the cold water. But they can be used any time of the year.

Dave Lane raves about these in one of his YouTube videos, saying that these are fantastic single baits, especially if you just want one brightly coloured attractor bait in the water.. However, he does add that you don’t need to restrict yourself to using pop-ups that way. Dave’s also had great success using them over a bed of natural food bait.

DIY pop-ups

Do you fancy having a go at making your own pop-up baits? It’s easy! Look no further than Mark Pitcher’s guide at Carpology. Mark writes:

“The process is so simple you can even do it on the bank (if you don’t want to annoy the other half with a messy kitchen)”

He adds that you could try making your own personal mixes like brown fruit baits, yellow or pink fish baits, and unusual flavour combinations.

Mark uses Mainline liquids and pop-up mixes with raw egg. His other great tip is to double up on the amount of bait dye you use. This makes them really bright so they’ll stand out in the water.

2. Particle baits


It’s Alive…
Image source: Fishing Magic

A Particle bait is a catch-all term for any sort of natural or food-based bait, including insects. Some examples include: chickpeas, dog biscuits, groats, hemp seed, maize, maple peas, sweetcorn and tiger nuts. The latter being used as the base of Scopex bottom bait. Kev Hewitt at Carpology says:

“I find that once carp get on the particles they feed more aggressively, instigating other carp to feed which in turn creates competitive feeding”.

When carp feed on particles, they start to hoover up everything on the bottom, and filter the silt through their gills. This clouds the water and encourages other carp to feed, and also makes it more difficult for them to suss where your rigs are.

Penn at Tetraplegic Living has some good ideas for particle baits you can rustle up yourself, including simple kitchen standbys like plain white bread. He says:

“Take a piece of bread about the size of a 50p piece, fold it around the hook and then squeeze very tightly around the knot”

Penn tells us it’s best not to squeeze all of the bread too tightly, and to make sure you leave some nice flaky bits that will come off in the water.

Northern Carp Angler recommends mixing different particle baits:

“I like the analogy of the buffet, if there’s only pork pies there and you happen not to like pork pies you’re going to go hungry. If there’s also pizza, sandwich, crisps and buns you’re much more likely to like something and have a munch”

It’s the same for fish. Offer them variety, and they’ll feed. Penn takes this idea and suggests using either maggots or worms and ‘cocktailing’ them with sweetcorn clusters.

3. Liquid additives

Bottles of goo

Goo for your life
Image source: Fishtec

Liquid baits come into their own as we roll into Autumn and Winter and fish become less active in the cooler water. This is when carpers need the most help to get a bite.

Liquids fall into two categories, artificial and natural:

Artificial: These are chemical liquids that have been developed to mimic the taste and aroma of real foodstuffs. They’re often brightly coloured to make them even more attractive to carp as they lace the water.

Natural: Anything taken from real life foodstuffs that either fish or humans would recognise, so for instance, liver extract, molasses or bloodworm. If it has amino acids or natural sugar in it, carp will be drawn to it.

Artificial liquids like Korda Goo form an aroma cloud in the water, which provides some extra added attraction for the carp to bite at. They also make a great addition to bind stick mixes, added into ground bait for soaking pellets, and for glugging hook-baits. They come in a vast array of flavours ranging from tropical fruits like pineapple through to sweeter, stickier tastes like caramel and coconut.

By far one of the most popular natural liquid attractants for carp is molasses, according to Matt Sparkes at Angler’s Mail. It’s high in amino acids, sucrose and has no chemical additives. Best of all, it’s relatively cheap at just under £10 for a gallon and can be bought from most pet food retailers.

Matt offers a great tip for a homemade mix, using liquid molasses:

“I like to add [molasses] to a dry mix of dog cereal, adding warm water the next day. This results in a fantastic mix that’ll cling to any feeder with ease and it won’t break away on even the meatiest of casts”.

He adds that you don’t need to be too specific with measurements. Fish will be attracted to the sugary taste and aroma, and aren’t bothered about weights and measures.

4. Pellets

Close up of fish pellets

Pellet them with these little delicacies
Image source: Fishtec

Pellet baits are compressed ground bait or fish meal that break down fairly quickly in the water. High in nutrients and essential proteins, they are great carp attractors. For Carpology, Gary Bayes says that you can use pellets for pre-baiting very successfully and it’s a “wicked way of getting the fish into an area without the hassle from diving birds”. The pellet turns to mush, and the birds don’t get anything and lose interest. But the fish will keep coming back for days.

He suggests that if you’re going to pre-bait, match your pellet to your boilie in terms of its flavour and aroma, for maximum effect.

5. Plastics

Plastic fishing bait

Plastic fantastic fishing
Image source: Fishing Magic

Are artificial baits worth using? Carp Tackle Review suggest that every angler should carry fake bait in their kit. They can be used alone or with other liquids and flavourings, such as Korda Goo. The notion of an artificial bait is to persuade the carp to take anything that looks like it might be a real bait, without them inspecting it too closely.

According to Total Fishing the most popular form of artificial bait is corn, particularly for carp. It works well during the daytime, as it’s a highly visible shade of yellow, which looks very attractive to fish in the water. Add artificial corn to a bed of pellets with some real corn in the mix, and you’ll find that the different textures and tastes will attract carp. You can also use artificial baits on their own, without any other feeds.

It’s important to mention that not all angling venues will permit the use of artificial baits, so always check their rules and regulations before you go ahead.

What different types of bait do you use to catch your carp? We’d love to hear your hints, tips and opinions, so head on over to our Facebook page.

A Carping Christmas Wish List


Tis the season to be merry… and carpy

Christmas is just round the corner, and that means the carp lover in your life will probably be hoping for a little special something to fill their stockings.

Not sure where to start? We’re here to help! We’ve searched high and low for the pick of this years carp fishing gear to tick off that Christmas wish list.

From high-tech to low-cost, we’ve dug out ten top treats to keep the angler in your life happy on Christmas morning.

1. FishSpy underwater camera

FishSpy view of riverbed

Image source: FishSpy
See the lake bed like you’ve never seen it before

Top of any angler’s Christmas list has to be the FishSpy. This neat little camera, hidden inside a specially designed marker float, means you can catch all the action above and below water in real time.

Designed to help you map out your swim, you’ll also be able to watch your own ‘Catch of the Day’, streamed in all its live glory to your comfy perch on the bank.

More than just a great techy tool, the camera records to a built in SD card, meaning you’ll be able to thrill the whole family come Boxing Day with your very own highlights reel.

2. FishSpy screen stick

Image source: FishSpy The best way to catch every moment

Image source: FishSpy
The best way to catch every moment

The camera’s running, but with only two hands, your favourite fisherman really needs some way to watch it while he’s fishing.

The great thing about this relatively low-tech accessory is that it’s a simple, well executed idea. It holds a phone or tablet securely, easily relaying FishSpy footage to the busy angler.

It holds lots of different-sized devices, and can be used for far more than just the underwater camera feed.

Will they want to catch the match while out on the bank, or maybe even FaceTime the family?

Your festive fisherman could also stick it in front of your bivvy for a mini-cinema experience, so they won’t miss out on their favourite Christmas movies.

3. Bait boat

Bait boat

Image source: Anglinglines
Simply messing about with boats

If you’re really looking to splash out on your beloved carper this Christmas, a bait boat could be the way to go,

There is some debate over the need for such a pricey gadget, when there are other methods for presenting bait.

Paul Cooper, who runs a fishing syndicate on a small lake, pondered the pros and cons on Angling Lines:

“If you approach a water that has constant pressure from baitboats, then surely wouldn’t it be a better method to spread your bait, instead of small dumps of goodies with a hook bait sitting in the middle. On the other hand, baitboats can reach places where you haven’t got a chance of casting to.”

As the price decreases, these little gadgets will become ever more popular, and for an angler looking to build their confidence in baiting this could be the perfect gift.

4. Bite Alarm

Delkim bite alarm on river bank

Image source: Delkim
Time to treat someone to a new bite alarm

An anglers’ staple, yet always progressing, could it be time for a new set of bite alarms?

With new alarms coming up with features such as silent or vibrator systems, and anti-theft alarms, there are plenty to choose from.

Over at Catfish and Carp, they have come up with their ‘ultimate bite alarm’ review, but there are still some things you should be looking for, no matter what the alarm.

Key things to check are battery or charging systems, and receiver compatibility – important if they want to be leaving their rods for a little while.

5. Sandwich Toaster

Ridgemonkey toastie maker

Image source: Fishtec
Not just for toasties

Everyone needs a snack by the riverbank, and a toastie maker can help warm the parts that a cold sandwich just wouldn’t reach.

But it’s not just for sandwiches. Plenty of anglers have experimented with cuisine from breakfast to dinner, and with recipes from Mexican quesadillas to Chinese stir fry’s.

Eager to show off their kit, the guys at Ridgemonkey have come up with a quick tutorial for a full English.

Now who’ll be the first to rustle up a tasty Christmas treat?

6. Carp barrow

Carp barrow and dog

Image source: Fishtec Facebook
Space for all your carping needs

Essential for anyone heading that little bit further into the wild. A fishing barrow is also a great idea for getting all your new Christmas kit out to your favourite swim.

Things to look out for include good wide wheels – or a three-wheeler to avoid lifting, and mud feet for the legs.

Worried your favourite angler’s got too much to cram on there? Richard Ballard of Nash TV has perfected the art of loading a barrow – it’s all about keeping the weight balanced around the wheel.

7. Carryall

Carryall bag

Image source: Fishtec
For those who want to travel light

If your Christmas carper carries a bit less kit, a carryall provides a smaller alternative to a hefty carp barrow.

There is a great range of light, multipurpose carryalls, allowing you to pack a tackle box and other bits of gear. Some versions even includes a freezer pocket, perfect for frozen bait or storing a few snacks.

8. Bivvy Light

Image source: Fishtec
Light up your life, and your bivvy

As the winter nights draw in towards Christmas, every angler will need something to help him tidy his tackle box.

If you’re looking for that special light, gear reviewer Paul at Pike Pikers TV is full of enthusiasm for the Ridgemonkey Bivvy-LIte Duo. He’s especially enthusiastic about the fact it can provide ten hours of light from just a four hour charge.

Another top feature of the Ridgemonkey design is its four lighting modes, including full and half beam red lights to be less intrusive and help preserve battery.

9. TF Gear Carp fishing onesie

The angler in your life doesn’t have to feel left out when everyone else is dressed in Christmas onesies. The TF Gear Carp fishing onesie offers them a warm snug Christmas, whether it’s on the bank in the bivvy or on the sofa with a mince pie.

10. Powerpack

Ridgemonkey powerpack

Image source: Fishtec
Keep things powered up while on the bank

Carp anglers need to know when it’s time to come home for the Christmas dinner- this product from Ridgemonkey sets a new standard and ensures that there is no excuse for an uncharged phone.  This charger will provide 20+ charges for a smart phone and power other gadgets too.

Gift Vouchers

Image source: Fishtec If in doubt there's always gift vouchers!

Image source: Fishtec
If in doubt there’s always gift vouchers!

While there should be something here for every taste, it’s important to remember tech can be very specific. It’s always good to dig out as much information from a gift’s intended recipient as possible.

If in doubt, you can always play it safe and get them some gift vouchers. That way, they can pick up exactly what they want.

And whatever you decide to get, make sure you share your top gift ideas on our Facebook page.

Checking a baited spot with a FishSpy camera

In this new video, our in-house expert carp angler Dave Lane uses a FishSpy camera to check if a baited spot has been visited after a fruitless session.

Watch it here:

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 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.

FishSpy camera’s are now just £129.95 – what’s your carp fishing worth to you?

Carp And Specialist Fishing Leads

Carp and specialist fishing leads come in many different styles and shapes, with each one made in a particular way for a reason. This blog guide takes a closer look at some commonly found fishing lead types – know your leads, improve your fishing!

Carp and specialist leads

A selection of carp and specialist leads

1. Swivel pear

Korda’s classic pear lead is probably the best selling lead in the UK. It’s shape means it is good for distance, and it’s condensed mass means it performs well when thrown into or across a wind. This shape can also easily plug into silt, which gives an advantage of increasing resistance and therefore your carp hook-up rate. A downside is the round shape can roll about on a hard bottom.

2. Square pear

A square pear is a condensed weight lead, designed for improving hooking ratios. The square sides mean it does not roll around therefore reducing tangles and keeps steady in position. It also casts well from short to medium range.

3. Swivel distance

This nose heavy lead is the ultimate extreme distance caster. Very stable in flight, and capable of traveling straight so you can hit your spot with accuracy, swivel distance pears are popular for good reason. On the down side, the shape means the lighter tapered end gets picked up first which potentially makes hooks ups less reliable.

4. Big grippa

Grippa style leads are designed to stay firm in place on the bottom, making them exceptional leads for flowing water – perfect for barbel or chub. The shape is not the best for long casting, but on a river distance is seldom a concern. On stillwater grippas are perfect for fishing on slopes and gravel bars where you need your rig to stay in position.

5. Flatliner pear

The flatliner pear is a condensed shape designed to be used as a semi-fixed or running rig weight. Best used as a part of a bolt rig at short the medium range, it has great hooking potential as it holds to the lake bed. Great for margin slopes and sand bars where you need your rig to stay put.

6. Ball lead

The most condensed form of lead weight possible, the ball weight is considered a good hooker because however the fish picks it up the weight distribution is the same. Now out of fashion somewhat – the square pear offers the same advantages but does not roll about.

7. Flat swivel pear

A fairly good caster due to it being nose heavy. A good shape for anchoring in flowing water and on underwater bars and gradients, this type of lead is a good all-rounder especially for hard bottomed waters.

8. Inline square pear

A great lead for a semi-fixed bolt rig. One of the best for getting a hook set when carp fishing. Not so great for distance. We have also used it as a river lead for barbel, and as an inline pike lead when float fishing – the square sides make it less prone to rolling around in even a strong flow.

So which ones should I take with me?

Good question – our answer is to take them all! A decent selection of leads in your lead pouch will enable you to fine tune your approach according to the conditions. It is the little things that can sometimes make the difference – a lead isn’t just a lead.

Carry a decent selection of lead weights for all eventualities!

Carry a decent selection of lead weights for all eventualities!

Celebrity Carp of the UK

Man holding large fish

Image source: Bluebell Lakes
“The People’s Fish” RIP.

There are some amazing carp in British waters. There are carp that are famous for their size, others their age. Some even have a celebrity following.

Some are just plain elusive. But that doesn’t stop anglers from trying to net them. It just makes the chase more fun.

British anglers have long respected impressive fish. There’s been Benson (aka “The People’s Fish”), who died in 2009. Colne Mere carp Black Mirror departed in 2010. Two Tone last caught weighing in at 67 lb 14 oz, died at the grand old age of 45. He was mourned with a ceremony attended by no fewer than 50 anglers. Carp, we salute you.

But as the old guard take their place in history, younger carp commandeer the waters. Here, we give you some of Britain’s more recent celebrity carp.

The Fat Lady

Dave Lane holding giant carp

Image source: Ireland Fishing Diaries
Dave Lane caught the Fat Lady when she weighed 52 lbs.

The grande dame of British waterways is known as “The Fat Lady”. But, alas, she sings no more. She passed back in 2011 of natural causes.

It’s said that this particular carp was over 30 years old, giving her a good ten years on the carp’s average life span. During that time she was caught more than 200 times and was an obsession for many anglers.

The Fat Lady held the title of Britain’s biggest living freshwater carp for a year. This title was previously held Two Tone. At the end of her life, she weighed in at 61lb 6oz, meaning she left some pretty big waves in her wake.

The Parrot

Image source: Advanced Carp Fishing Magazine
Dean Fletcher and the 68lb 10z monster carp.

The Fat Lady’s title was taken over by Berkshire carp, the Parrot. Don’t let the diminutive name fool you. The Parrot is a behemoth of a fish, so-named for the shape of its mouth.

When Dean Fletcher – an avid angler who had pursued it for almost a decade – finally caught the giant mirror carp in Cranwells Lake in January this year, he couldn’t believe his luck. Or its weight.

Some of his friends had caught The Parrot back in the early noughties when it weighed around 30lbs. But when Dean reeled it in, The Parrot weighed 68lb 1oz, which smashed Two Tone’s previous heavyweight record. His reaction? “Blimey.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. That is, until September 2016 when Big Rig rolled into town.

Big Rig

Tom Doherty holding large carp

Image source: Facebook
Tom Doherty and Big Rig in Shropshire.

Anglers can get quite particular about what to call the latest megacarp. The name, “Marriage Wrecker”, comes up with alarming frequency whenever a new monster carp surfaces, showing just how addictive carping can be.

But Big Rig definitely lives up to the name. Landed by Tom Doherty at the Avenue Fishery in Shropshire, Big Rig weighed a whopping 69lb 13oz. That’s right. Another British record has been born. And Tom smashed his own personal best, which before September stood at 44lb.

But not everyone’s as pleased with the catch. In fact, Tom’s received death threats. Some passionate critics believe that the record should only go to a ”naturally” grown carp and Big Rig was artificially “farmed” or imported from outside the UK, so should not count.

Big Rig is indeed the result of RH Fisheries boss Rob Hales’ quest to “grow” Britain’s biggest fish. Big Rig went from 39lb to 69lb 13oz in just three years. It looks like Rob’s quest has been achieved!

Update: Big Rig came out again at the end of October – at 71lb 4oz to Robby Harrison. It seems this fish is getting bigger at a phenomenal rate.

Black Eye

Mark Holmes and Black Eye carp

Image source: The Session
Mark Holmes and Black Eye at Chad Lakes.

Chad Lakes’ Black Eye is another giant carp that’s gone up to the big lake in the sky. Blogger and angler Mark Holmes’ advice?  “Big Carp are not immortal so go and get them.”

Wise words, indeed. Mark’s pursuit of Big Carp took him to Chad Lakes in Gloucestershire where he was lucky enough to catch Black Eye:

When I cradled this fella at 52lb 6oz caught float fishing I couldn’t stop grinning for a week.

He had 43 carp catches in a lake which only had 28 carp in it, before he was able to land Black Eye. Mark eventually lured him in with a float-fished prawn.

Nostell Fish

Simon Crow with Nostrell Fish

Image source: Simon Crow Carp Fishing
Simon Crow with the Nostell Fish, the “finest carp in Yorkshire.”

But not all celebrity carp are renowned for sheer size. Some carp achieve notoriety for the effort it takes to catch them. The chase. The single-minded pursuit.

Angling author Simon Crow has caught 50-pounders in six different countries (England, France, South Africa, Austria, Hungary and Romania). He knows his big fish. He even caught Black Eye back in the day. But in his words, Yorkshire’s Nostell Fish was, after two seasons in search of it, the pinnacle of his big carp fishing:

The effort I put into catching the Nostell Fish was like no other carp I have ever fished for.

The Nostell Fish, considered by many to the “finest carp in Yorkshire”, went into his net at 43lb 6oz. Not a mammoth, but a monumental experience for the angler. Simon said

I stood staring at it for several minutes, trying to convince myself that it was definitely that fish. The feeling of elation was incredible.

It’s that feeling that keeps us coming back to the bank time and again.

Have you ever had an encounter with one of Britain’s celebrity carp? Or, which monster are you currently pursuing? We want to know about it! Head over to our Facebook page and share your tales of carp, past and present.

Swim Mapping with FishSpy – The Dave Lane way

In this new post for the Fishtec blog, Dave Lane looks at an alternative way of using a FishSpy camera to rapidly map out your swim.

Just recently I have discovered a new and interesting way of using the FishSpy camera for mapping out a swim, a method that will give you a quick and easy overview of what is in front of you.

The marker rod need set be set up in a slightly different way to the usual, recommended, FishSpy method.

First thread the lightest lead that will achieve the distance you require (I was using two ounces for sixty yards).

Next slide on a large rubber bead and then firmly attach a size 8 swivel.

To the other end of the swivel you will need to tie a meter long length of a strong and tangle free braid (I used a 35lb coated hook-link material so avoid twisting around the mainline on the cast).

Then you attach the FishSpy (without the foamy) to the end of this hook-link material or preferred braid.

Attach your FishSpy without the foamy

Attach your FishSpy without the foamy.

Before casting you will need to enable the device and set it to record.

You then pick an obvious marker on the far bank and cast, clipping up the spool of your reel to ensure you hit the same distance each time.

The lead should be retrieved at a slow spinning speed along the bottom, stopping briefly every five or ten turns as you do so.

Because the float is being dragged behind the lead on the 1m link it will be held in a flat position a couple of feet above the lake bed and actually film vertically rather than horizontally, thus giving you a forward facing picture and a wider sweep of the entire lake bed.

The lead will also kick up a trail, showing you roughly the softness of the bottom as you go.

Once the float is fully retrieved you can replay the footage and view the lake bed in your swim.

You may need to disable the ‘Screen Rotation’ on your device and turn the device upside down to view the footage up the right way.

The breaks at five or ten turns of the reel will show up as pauses in momentum of the footage and, should you notice a feature worth further investigation, you can work out where it was by replicating the amount of breaks back from the clip.

You can then let the float up and check the area before casting to the float.

Please note, the clips below have no breaks in the retrieve and is a constant retrieve.

You can alter the speed of the retrieve to suit your requirements.

We would like to point out using your FishSpy without a boom or foamy is entirely at the owners own risk. We also recommend the addition of a weak link at the lead, just in case a snag is encountered.