A short Carp Fishing session with Dave Lane

It’s been a bit of strange few weeks for me since catching that big leather over at Northants. I suddenly found myself without anywhere to fish, a situation I was neither familiar nor particularly happy with.

It would have been the ideal time to start on a winter water, getting a bait established and learning a bit about the fish movements etc while they were still active but as I had nowhere in mind or no tickets in hand I decided to visit a few of the places I have been meaning to try some carp fishing for ages.

The first one of these was my old mate Alan Taylors place over at Ecton, also in Northants.

The Ecton complex is an extremely pretty chain of lakes comprising of three syndicate and one private lake all of which are well established and have many islands and peninsula splitting them up and making them seem smaller than they actually are. As a result of this my first walk around the complex on the Monday morning ended up taking me five hours, mind you I was looking for signs of fish feeding and somewhere to actually angle so I was taking my time.

Eventually though I spotted a couple of fish rolling on the biggest of the lakes, in a channel between a shallow bar and long island, and I decided to load up the carp barrow and make my around to there.

The swim looked hardly fished, probably due to the fact that it was the opposite side of the lake to the track and the swims on the track side could be fished practically from the car.

The bar in front of the swim almost reached the bank and it ran parallel to the bank, a bit like a road going through the swim, the water on top was very shallow so anything hooked would probably have to be netted by wading out to the drop off.

I set up all three rods with yellow pop-ups and fanned them out over the thirty yard gulley between the end of the bar and the long island that made a backdrop to the swim, scattering a fair spread of boilies over the entire area.

Any fish moving through would come across bait and hopefully stay around long enough to find a hook-bait as well.

I waded the landing net out and propped it up on a long bankstick, just on the drop off where the gully started as I was sure this was where I would end up netting the fish but, just to be sure, I set up a second net on the bank as a fail-safe. I always carry at least two nets with me and quite often three, I think they are such an inexpensive item compared to a lot of the kit we carry and having the option to split your rods up in adjacent swims or either side of some bushes etc, improves your chances of multiple catches no end. I love to have one rod on its own waded along the margins with its own net and fishing far more effectively with a short line between the rod tip and the bait.

Dave Lane's set up

Anglers who don’t use bivvys or any kind of shelter, regardless of how short the session could be caught out with this temperamental British weather… Kit and clothing will take the brunt if not kept safe and dry. With everything set and the bivvy erected I sat back to wait but as soon as I did the first rod was away. A lively scarp, a bit of well-planned wading and I was soon waddling back with a common of around eighteen pounds in the net, perfect!

Later that evening I had to repeat the whole affair again, only this time it was a mirror of similar size. I was glad I’d had the little bit of practise in the daylight though because I could have easily come unstuck as I stepped off the bar into the slightly deeper margins close to the bank.

The swim died a death after this second fish but I suppose all the paddling about couldn’t have helped much still, two fish from a new water in a one night session wasn’t a bad result and I drove home a happy man.

The ninja guide to fishing tackle

Legend speaks of a fearless and highly skilled ninja somewhere at large in the wilds of England; a ninja so passionate about fishing that he keeps his fishing tackle with him even when carrying out freelance ninja work in the evenings.

Combining ninja work with fishing is strictly for professionals, but there’s no harm in imagining what a ninja would do with a selection of fishing tackle.

Trip wires

bird fishing line

Clever birds – the ninja’s nemsis

Almost invisible to the naked eye, fishing trip wires are made from super strong fishing line and will surprise even the most careful adversaries. Clever birds may give them away though.

Fishing rod whips

ninja fishing rod

Classic ninja fishing stance

In a the blink of an eye the humble fishing rod is expertly transformed into a whip, that produces a crack so loud that even Indiana Jones wants one.

Throwing hooks

fly fishing hooks

Cunningly disguised ninja hooks

We all know fishing hooks are rather sharp — well imagine them attached to a fluorescent fishing weight and flying through the air like shurikens (throwing stars). Deadly.

Decoy waders

waders

Beware – the old decoy waders trick

You’re walking through the park one morning and you see a brand new pair of waders standing upright on the grass — what do you do? You have a closer look. Wrong move — you fell for the oldest trick in the ninja training manual.

Fishing net traps

fishing net

Fishing nets – the ninja’s flexible friend

The fishing net is a ninja’s flexible friend. Combined with camouflage, a large branch bent backward, and a pair of decoy waders and you’ll be hanging upside down in a web of rope, 50ft from the ground in no time.

Reel Deal

fishing reel

Fishing reel – the ninja’s secret weapon

A specially adapted reel is attached to the ninja’s belt and using strong fishing line and hooks, he is able to abseil down the side of buildings. Some say he can even fly. Now that’s the reel deal.

Umbrella spear

fishing umbrellas

Fishing umbrella or lethal razor-tipped spear?

Excellent for keeping you dry when it’s raining, but when it’s closed this fishing umbrella is turned into a lethal razor-tipped spear. Beware of sunny days.

Bivvy

bivvy

Bivvies – the ninja’s preferred hideout

There can only be one place where this ninja takes cover, a place that hides him from searchers, a place that keeps him warm and dry. Whisperers say that his hideout is a bivvy. Watch where you step, he’s out there somewhere.

Dave Lane Carp Fishing Diary

Everything is starting to change over the lake now, the weed is a major factor in where you can fish and the clear spots are slowly being engulfed by acres of Canadian pondweed.

The swim that has been so kind to me over recent weeks is starting to resemble a football pitch and fishing over the top of 100yrds of weed does not come without it own problems, particularly boats and geese, in which the lake is now covered.

It seems as if every Canadian goose within a hundred mile radius has decided to roost on this one lake and the noise at night is astronomical as they all argue about who is sleeping where!

The fish have been behaving differently as well, I think the weed is actually putting them off a bit and I have been seeing more activity in deeper areas, where the weed is not so established and the carp have got somewhere to actually swim about without battling through the underwater forests.

As a result I spent my next session in an area that I have named South Park, a large deep bay at the southern end of the pit, an area where I was seeing more and more early morning shows, mostly at range over the deep water.

My first session produced two fish, which was an encouraging start but, after having a good look from the boat, I realised I was actually fishing the wrong side of the bay. I was casting huge distances to land in slightly shallower water, just up against the weed but, by fishing the opposite bank, I could fish over the weed and half the distance which, in turn, increased my accuracy no end.

Next trip down I knew exactly where I wanted to be and, luckily, the swim was free when I arrived.

With the spots already noted from the previous week is was a relatively easy task to get all three rods sorted, even taking in to account a near gale force wind that was whipping across the surface. Setting up the new Hardcore Bivvy was a bit of fun as the gusts must have been in excess of fifty miles an hour but, once up and pegged out, it was as solid as a rock which was a good test for a new product and one that it passed with flying colours.

The first bite came a couple of hours later and by then the wind was savage, so savage in fact that I could hardly hold the rod up straight. All of my braided mainline was out of the water and being held up in a huge bow by the wind, even with a lively carp on the end. The poor fish spent most of the fight on the surface, being pounded by the waves and he was probably quite relieved when he ended up in the comparative calm of the landing net. At twenty pounds he wasn’t the biggest in the world but a great start and what a blinding looking carp as well, a real pearler and one for the future.

Despite managing to get the bait back in position it was well into darkness before it ripped off again, the wind had abated a tiny bit by then and the fight was a little more predictable, especially when it ended up buried in the weed a short way out. Because of the conditions I had to enlist the help of another angler but, between us, we soon had matters under control and lovely, old looking thirty pound mirror was hoisted into the cradle in the bottom of the boat.

I was happy with my two fish for the session, my plan had come together nicely and I don’t think I would even have been able to reach them from the original swim, especially with a hooligan wind blowing in from the side the whole time.

Before leaving I managed one more trip in the boat and treated all my marks to a fair scattering of free bait, something to keep the carp interested and the swim primed for the next week, a method that seems to pay off really well at this time of year, I couldn’t wait to get back for another go.

BELOW THE SURFACE

Towards the end of summer the weed is at it’s most prolific and finding clear spots is paramount to success. I am lucky at the moment as in I can use a boat to see what is going on and, with the help of a glass bottomed bucket, I can really see the difference between different areas and how the weed layout effect the fish. From the bank this is a bit more difficult but it’s worth investing a bit of time with a marker or just a lead on a braided line to ensure that the spots you are fishing are really as good as the first might seem. We are now getting a lot of silkweed appearing, stifling previously clear areas but, more importantly, stifling the weed and this is often the beginning of the end for the larger weed beds as the silkweed will choke the light and kill of the weed below. This is when the fun really begins as huge areas of uprooted weed start to drift around the lake wiping out your lines, I can hardly wait!

TACKLE TALK

I mentioned the Hardcore bivvy earlier and, now the weather is starting to cut up a bit, it’s important to have a house you can trust. The Hardcore bivvy is a fantastic bit of fishing gear and I’m not just saying that because I designed it either. It has everything that I thought was important and all the components are interchangeable or removable so, in essence, you can build everything from the basic pram hood umbrella up to a porched two man shelter with overwrap. It also has a removable front section that you can exchange for a full mozzie panel with just one zip movement.

The main thing for me though is the strength, I like to be able to use one shelter all year around and be safe in the knowledge that it will still be there when I wake up, no matter what the British weather can throw at it and the design agle of the poles on the Hardcore Bivvy ensure maximum strength with minimum weight.

All going according to plan

All going according to plan…

Things are progressing nicely over at the big wind-swept Reading lake this season, and Christ has it been swept by a few winds lately.

The conditions have been superb for angling and, luckily, the hot and still days of summer have held off and the fish have fed really well, particularly in the big winds.

My third trip to the lake coincided with one of the rare, hot and calm days and, as a result, started off a bit frustratingly but, on the second day, the wind picked up and brought cloud and a little rain and everything instantly changed.

If it wasn’t for good friends and mobile phones my session may not have turned out the way it did but, shortly after a visit from my old mate Chris I received a call from him, telling me he’d stumbled across some fish on the way back to the car. Bear in mind that the lake is just over two miles in circumference and you can see why it’s hard to keep an eye on the whole thing yourself so this information was a god send and I was off like a rabbit to take a look myself. On arriving in the swim, where Chris was still watching, we instantly started to spot carp just poking their heads up above the increasing wave line. That was good enough for me and I set up my tackle and bite alarms for the night, only to be woken at 3.30am by a blistering take and, after an amazing battle I landed a common of just over thirty six pounds.

Although that was the only bite of the session I was still more than happy with a result like this from such a tricky lake.

Weather Watch

The beauty of fishing in the summer, particularly on large lakes, is the mobility of the fish. Carp are affected by the slightest change in wind direction and this fact gets amplified according to the size of the lake.

I find that nowadays my I-phone AP for weather has become one of my most treasured pieces of carp fishing tackle, the weather AP as much as anything, and I often check it ten times a day to see if there is anything interesting happening. If I see a switch of only a few degrees coming I make sure I am ready to move if needed and keeping an eye on the new are that the wind will hit.

Winds become old and stale very quickly in the summer, from a fishing perspective anyway and I always love to get on a fresh blow as quickly as possible, and so do the fish.

Whether it is the uncovering of new food items, the re-oxygenation of the water or any manner of other reasons that the carp move is really immaterial to us, all we need to know is that they do and then make the most of it as quickly as possible.