Dave Lane Lands the 55lb Burghfield Common!

Well here it is – The Amazing capture of the 55lb Common Carp by our TF Gear consultant Dave Lane!

Many of you would have already seen the capture on Facebook and our various social networks, but such a fish is worth seeing more than once, don’t you think?

Dave mentioned to us that this magnificent fish was caught using the new TF Gear N-Tec Carp rod. On this particular range of carp rods we’ve been working closely with Dave to produce a responsive and accurate – A true casting tool. The N-Tec rods are high-modulous carbon and feature high quality components all round. Paired with the N-tec, Dave use the TF Gear PitBull Big Pit Free spool reel – An outstanding ‘big carp’ tackle combination.

 Here’s a few pictures of the 55lb Burghfiled Common.

Dave Lane 55lb Burghfield Common

Dave Lane 55lb Burghfield Common

Dave Lane 55lb Burghfield Common

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.


Carp rod salute: famous fish of the past

There are carp and then there are famous carp. Some fish have risen to take a place in the hearts of carp anglers everywhere.

And it’s about more than just size. To be a real star, a fish has to be a little bit different…a character. Here we celebrate the lives of just a few of the most famous fish ever to be captured by carp rod.

Benson (1984 – 2009)

Known as, ‘the people’s fish’, Benson was a common carp without equal. At 64 lbs she was simply enormous – but her gargantuan proportions never made her easy to catch.

In fact, during her 13 years in residence at Bluebell Lakes near Peterborough, she is reported as having been brought to the bank 63 times – less than five times a year.

Her death at the age of 25 was suspicious since carp can live considerably longer than that. A quantity of uncooked tiger nuts was found at the scene, prompting speculation that Benson was inadvertently poisoned by thoughtless anglers.

The Black Mirror (deceased 2010)

To capture the Black Mirror was regarded as one of carp fishing’s greatest prizes.

A denizen of Colnemere, a former gravel pit near Heathrow airport, Black Mirror was first caught in 1992 by Jason Hayward. At that time, the fish weighed 46 lb – not far shy of the British record.

A classic looking fish, Black Mirror enjoyed wide regard as one of the hardest carp to catch – particularly after the water became a SSSI and a SPA (Special Protection Area), making fishing illegal. It was last landed just a few weeks before it died – at a whopping 51 lb 12 oz.

Black Mirror was found floating amid a large number of dead fish. Cause of death was thought to be as the result of an algal bloom or possibly a disturbance to the thermocline.

Two Tone (deceased 2010)

Over 50 mourners attended the memorial service and unveiling of a plaque to commemorate the life of the irreplaceable mirror carp, Two Tone.

The name was a reference to the fish’s distinctive colouring, rather than ska – but the mere mention of the moniker was music to the ears of many a carper. Indeed so special was this fish that some spent years in pursuit of the elusive giant.

Two Tone was one heck of a fish. It was last caught at 67 lb 14 oz – a specimen and a half – this fish was fiendishly difficult to catch. Many tried and most failed. Two Tone was generally brought to the bank just once or twice a year.

At 45, the carp is thought to have died of old age. RIP Two Tone.

Heather the Leather (1960 – 2010)

She has her own headstone and memorial bush – a fitting tribute to a fish often regarded as the most famous carp in all the land.

At 52 lbs, she was a big old girl, but it was her wily way of avoiding being caught, and her great age that rendered her one of the most desirable catches of all time.

Thought to have succumbed to old age, Heather was found at the edge of a lake in the Yateley fishery in which she lived. The press claimed at the time that Heather had been landed over 1000 times, but the claim is a heresy. Heather was far cleverer than that – the real figure is closer to 75.

Are there any other legendary carp that we’ve missed? And which is the most famous living carp? We’d love to know.

Dave Lane Carp Fishing Diary May

Well I had two more trips after my initial success on the North Met, only these were not quite as successful, mainly due to the fact that the fish were practically living in the out of bounds areas, either that or deep within a huge reed-bed, just trying to make the most of the pretty poor levels of sunlight we were having.

On my fourth visit to the water, a short one night trip due to the bank holiday stealing half of my session, the weather had picked right up and it was actually hot for a change.

I set about walking the entire circumference of the lake and determined not to set up until I had found something to fish for.

The first thing I noticed, being the day after bank holiday, was the litter everywhere, not from anglers I hasten to add but from the general public as the North Met is actually part of the Lee Valley parks and is used by a multitude of different people. Just why people think it is alright to leave all their discarded wrappers, bottles, bags and even used nappies laying around the place I do not know. If they turned up for their picnic and found the public areas looking like a rubbish dump then they would be disgusted and go elsewhere but they think it is totally acceptable leave it in this state, just who do they think cleans up after them every time?

Anyway, rant over, but I do so abhor litter in any form whatsoever and there is just no need.

I took a long slow stroll around the lake, with the dog charging on ahead at every opportunity and chasing anything that look stupid enough to run, squirrels, other dogs, ducks, sparrows, he’s not particularly fussy although he couldn’t actually catch his own tail but that never stopped him trying.

After a good hour or so of looking I climbed a small tree situated on the mouth of a dead end bay. It was a perfectly situated swim as it sits adjacent to a gap that the fish have to pass through on their way from one end of the lake to the other, a natural bottleneck with a small bay set to the side for resting and sunbathing in. A very shallow bar cuts across the swim about twenty five yards out and forms the mouth of the bay so that, once the fish have passed over it, there is nowhere else to go but into the bay, passing right through the little swim I was now standing in.

I stood up the tree for a bit and then saw what I was after as a carp appeared over the bar and slowly cruised beneath me, shortly followed by three more and this was all the encouragement I needed, I was off like a rabbit for my carp fishing rods.

Luckily I had stashed the barrow about five hundred yards away when I arrived, being almost at the end of my first circuit meant that I was nearly back to the fishing gear anyway and it didn’t take long to get everything into position.

Before casting I spent another ten minutes up the tree just to make sure I was picking the best spots and then I flicked out three rigs into the best looking interception points, scattering about a dozen free baits around each one.

It was one of those situations where you just know you are going to catch, definitely the best chance I had since starting on the lake and I wasn’t at all surprised when my left hand rod signalled a drop back after only half an hour of casting.

The fish had kited around into the bay, away from the bar and the small island in front of me, perfect really and it was a good tussle in deep clear margins that followed. I could see about ten feet down into the water so I knew it was a decent fish way before I got him into the landing net.

He was a nice long and old looking mirror of thirty one pounds, almost a leather along his flanks with a great big head, what a way to start a trip.

With the photo’s done and the rig back out there I put the kettle on and sat back to bask in the sunshine but not for long!

May 30lb Carp for Dave Lane

This time it was the left hand fishing rod and that was where the danger really was, the shallow bar had a snag growing out of the top and, had he managed to clamber over it into the main lake than I really would have been in trouble, I was a real battle of wills for a few minutes and huge surges of water washed up the side of the bar as he tried over and again to gain the sanctuary of the open water.

Eventually he realised I wasn’t going to give in that easily and he tried to make it into the bay but he’d gambled his biggest energy reserves with the bar and I soon had him under control.

Once again I could see him way below the surface and this time I knew I had hooked a real biggie. Every time he turned and twisted below the rod I could clearly see his deep flanks and huge shoulders and I knew he was somewhere around the forty pound mark; quite a scary thing really knowing just how big they are so long before they are beaten.

Beaten he was though, eventually, and into the net he went with a last defiant slap of his tail.

On the scales he stopped just short of forty, just a few ounces mind and still a real whacker.

This one was more of a big pit chunk, a real deep bellied, broad shouldered beast and he looked just fine with the sunlight bouncing of his orange flanks.

Near 40lb Carp for Dave Lane at Fishtec

With two fish under my belt I knew I was staying put for the night, even the swim was tiny and barely more than a little grassy slope to the water.

The night was quite eventful as well, I had a further four takes before it grew light, two of these I unfortunately lost but a pair of twenties finished the session of perfectly. As if often the way at this time of year I awoke to a completely different day, the sun had been replaced by cloud and rain and the fish had moved off to find more suitable areas to live in but I packed up happy with my results.

Next week I will be starting my campaign on a huge 250 acre clay pit, full of bars and mystery with an unknown stock, right up my street!

Dave Lane filming the TFG Carp Fishing DVD

Well it’s been all change for me recently, I’ve finished on Monks Pit and I’ve deferred Black swan sailing lake for a year or two so it’s on to pastures new.

I figured that there was very little left in Monks for me to target, having caught most of the known biggies bar about two or three and two years is about enough for me on any water really. There are too many places I want to fish and too little time to fish them all. Black Swan was a different story as I still love the place and I know in my heart that I am not finished on there yet but I needed a break and the arrival of a new ticket helped make up mind.

I have been trying to get onto a new gravel pit in the Nene Valley and, as from April, I have finally managed it and it’s exciting times ahead.

The lake has only been officially fished for the past year so it is still full of mystery and intrigue and this, more than anything, is what seems to spur me on the most.

Before I could make my first trip however, I was needed over at the Linear complex in Oxford to make a new  TF Gear carp fishing DVD to go on the front cover of next month’s Total Carp.

I hadn’t been over to Linear for a few years but I always used to be a fairly regular visitor, often fishing there in the winter and also attending charity events in the warmer months, something I intend to resume later this year actually.

The filming was booked for the end of the bank holiday weekend which, in reality, could have been a big problem as the lakes were packed but, luckily, we had managed to book an area in advance and there were signs of fish out there right from the off.

Catching fish for the camera is always a fraught affair, if it doesn’t go right on the day or the fish are just not playing the game then a lot of time and money can be wasted so it always starts off as a bit of a pressure situation. Not only that but there is a lot of behind the scenes action going on so it can be tricky to concentrate on the lake which is something I like to do totally; I find that just watching the water can give you all the answers you need. Luckily for me I had a good crew there and most of the time I was free to ‘do my own thing’ and, once I had found the right range and a rig that worked the fish started to come.

We were on Brasenose two, which is well stocked with nice looking carp in the high doubles and twenties but, due to the early time of year, a lot of these were determined to stay out at long range. I was using the new TF Gear Multi-Flex carp rod, which comes with twin tips and I was genuinely amazed at how well they performed at range, bearing in mind I was hitting about one hundred and ten yards range to land on the fish and using fifteen pound line. The rods have two different top sections, one at 2.75lb for all close in work and the other at 3.5lb for long range stuff. It’s a brilliant idea really as it saves having two sets of rods for different waters or approaches or even times of the year and the action is superb on either set-up.

A couple of the fish were really nice mid-twenties and every one of them, no matter what the size, fought like a tiger all the way to the bank. On occasions I was amazed just how hard they did pull but it was all good fun and a great demonstration of the tackle I was using at the time.

I won’t go into too much detail and ruin the DVD but the whole session went really well and, on the second day the fish got up in the water and started moving around a bit which gave me the opportunity for a bit of zig fishing as well. If you do you watch the disk, which will be on the front of the June Total Carp issue, look out for the takes while we are actually filming other stuff, or sitting by the rods chatting as these are genuine takes and not mocked up for the camera. Moments like those are so hard to capture on film and were worth their weight in gold as they occurred, as if on cue, and really gave the finishing touches in my view. You might also see my new carp dog making an appearance or two, I’m not 100% sure if he will be in the finished version but he spent most of the session doing his upmost to appear on camera and, behind the scenes, there was a permanent ‘stick thrower’ trying to keep him otherwise amused.

All in all it was a highly successful session and, although tiring, we ended up with loads of good footage, I’m just glad I’m not the one who has to edit it all!



Carp fishing on a small local water

Follow Scott on his fishy travels throughout the UK. Fishing for anything that swims using the latest fishing tackle from TF Gear.

Finally, after frozen lakes and river, a cold that I couldn’t shift and the prospect of finding a new job I managed to get a few hours on the bank. Unfortunately its not everyday that things go your way and this surly wasn’t mine.

For me, getting to and from the places I fish can be a pain as I have to rely on public transportation, mainly trains and buses, but I’ve never really had a problem with them. Arriving at the train station at 7.30am I found that the lift I have to use to get to the platform was again ‘out of order’ so I had to lug the gear up a flight of stairs only to be told that the train to Chilham was to be replaced by a bus service. So back down the steps to wait for the bus, Great! It arrived at around 8.35am and speedily went on its way. Now normally when a bus replaces a train it stops outside the station, right? Wrong, this guy shot past my stop and carried on drive and when I asked him if I could get off he said “no, not until the next stop” which unfortunately for me was almost a two mile walk back on myself with fishing gear. After an hour I made it to the lake of which was the match lake owned by Mid-Kent Fisheries just as the rain started to come down.

My Set up

My set up for the day was easy, a straight waggler rig with a size six super specialist with six pound line straight through, naturally I was using my trusted 10ft nan-Tec float rod, and for bait, spam. The other rod was my 10ft 2.5Ib tc nan-Tec carp rod with 10Ib line on a pva bag set up, a 2oz in-line square lead with a 2inch 15Ib N-trap hair rig, bait was a CC Moore NS yellow dumbbell with the new Cold Water Hot Spot mix mixed with Feedstim XP and Live System liquid.

The Fishing

By the time it had taken me to get from my house to the lake (which is only 8 miles away) then set everything up I only had about three hours left to fish, so out went the rods and down came the rain even harder as the wind forced it sideways. The first fish came around half an hour after first cast on the carp rod. As i struck, the fish ran for cover, giving a good account of itself trying to snag itself up, but in the net it went and a 5Ib 3oz common was the first. Soon after that I had another run on the carp rod which produced another common of 5Ib 13oz.

Time really flies by when you only have a few hours to spare and with only half an hour left the carp rod was off again with a bit more aggression this time. It’s something about these small end of winter carp, they seem to have so much energy and dart to every snag around before succumbing to the landing net. This mirror was defiantly a fish with big boots and at only 5Ib 7oz it really fought hard.

By now the rain really was coming down hard so I packed up and headed of home only to have to wait for five different buses to stop and say that I couldn’t get on because there was not enough room. I did get home eventually be it I was an hour and a half late, oh well it can’t always go write can it, but I got my rod bent and now I’m geared up for some big fish hunting the two species in mind at the moment being a double figure Tench and Bream.

You Think You Know A Lake…

You Think You Know a Lake

After a very disappointing result at a recent fishing competition, followed by a couple of weeks with a serious lack of fish banked, I have been well and truly irritated with my own fishing. So instead of doing a few hours here and a few hours there I decided to do a proper weekend session down a lake I thought I knew very well.

I knew the water down Argal Reservoir in Cornwall would be low after the summer but when I turned up there it was very obvious that the water was extremely low. I had never before seen it like this so took the opportunity to well and truly check out the areas I had previously been fishing.

I could actually walk out to the spots I had fished before and what an eye opener it was. There were snags everywhere with perfect clear areas to be targeted in the future months. What shocked me the most was a whole row of tree stumps that I had no idea where there up until that moment. I can’t imagine the amount of times I have fished over them!

I just had to then check out the rest of the lake so spent the next hour walking around it checking out the other pegs. Without seeing it you probably couldn’t even imagine the snags that were there. In front of one of the pegs there was even a full wall that really would restrict any fishing for even the most experienced angler.


I was eager to get my carp rods out but didn’t really have a clue where to place them; all my usual spots were an impossibility. The feeling of fishing a ‘new’ lake gave me a real buzz and before I knew it I’d located three perfect areas and bait was being put out.

All I could do then was wait with an unusual feeling of anticipation. The evening soon came without so much as a bleep of the alarms soon to be followed by the morning. I questioned myself as to whether I should locate some different areas but decided not to. I changed my rigs and re-baited those same three areas. Before long I was thankful I had done so as my rod screamed off resulting in a lovely looking 25.04lb common. A much needed fish for my own self confidence. This was soon to be followed by an 18lb mirror, well worth getting the fishing tackle out.

If nothing else this weekend was a real eye opener. You may think you know a lake inch by inch but in truth until you can actually see it for real how much do we really know?


Tight Lines Samantha

Dave Lane Carp Fishing Diary


Sometimes you just have one of those sessions; a red letter day that just arrives out of the blue, well my last trip was exactly that.

I had been so keen to get back into the big bay after having caught two nice fish the previous week but, for some reason, once I arrived I wasn’t too convinced that it was the right choice. I don’t like having a pre-conceived idea about where I am going to fish anyway so I took some time out and went for a walk around.  It didn’t take me long to find an area that looked a lot more ‘carpy’ out the middle of the lake between two islands.

Although I would have to fish over the top of a lot of weed I had the use of my boat to help me mark up the clear areas and I had recently constructed a glass bottomed bucket that would aid in this process. By pushing the bucket through the surface layer and peering through the glass it removes all reflection and glare from the surface and it is absolutely amazing when you can actually stare down in eight feet of water and see every stone and strand of weed on the bottom.

After an hour of boating about and fixing garden canes on heavy leads to mark the better areas I was ready to cast out and sit back to await events. I didn’t have to wait too long either as the first carp rods tore off within an hour or so.

Unfortunately the weed between me and the spots I was fishing was so thick that the boat was needed of its  straight away as there was just no way I could guide the fish back over the top, even with a strong braided mainline. That first carp weighed just over twenty three pounds and was just the tip of the iceberg.

Over the next forty hours I managed to hook and land eight carp in total which is a crazy number from a venue as challenging as this one, I suppose it was just a case of being in the right place at the right time. It was, however, one of the most knackering trips I can remember because, between baiting, finding spots and landing fish I reckon I must have had at least thirty trips out in the boat, even in the middle of the night I had to go out and land fish. The biggest fish of the session was, unfortunately, my first repeat capture from the lake but at thirty seven pounds it was still a hell of a fish, even more so because it was a common. It was the last fish that was the most interesting though as it came at three in the morning in the thickest fog imaginable, not usually good conditions. It was so foggy that I had to leave a very bright light on at the front of my swim so that I could safely boat me and a twenty nine pound common back to the bank without getting lost!

So what triggered such a crazy feeding spell then?

I’m not sure I have the answer really, especially as, when I finished my session and boated out to retrieve my markers there was still bait laying on the bottom over all the spots, even the one I’d just caught from. Whatever happened I certainly wasn’t complaining because I reckon it will be a fair old while before I get another trip like that!


Due to the Indian summer we seem to be having this year there has been an explosion of weed and, in more recent weeks, silkweed or blanket weed has grown in abundance. On my trips out in the boat I had started to see this stuff appearing all over the clear spots on the lake bed, covering everything in green slime. Over the last week or so it has also started to grow in huge clumps on top of the existing Canadian pondweed and this is when it can become really troublesome. Once it gets a hold and forms strips right across the top of the weed it can make a lake almost unfishable. What happens is that your line lies across the top but, as soon as you hook a fish, it gets pulled tight into the silkweed which then wraps around your mainline and sticks like poo to a blanket! The weed will not slide down the line and, consequently, it just keeps bunching up in the tip ring making the playing of fish an absolute nightmare. Hopefully this will be a short lived thing and a couple of sharp frosts might knock it on the head but, looking at the forecast, I can’t see this happening in a hurry.


With the night’s drawing in like crazy now we spend more and more time in the sleeping bag, so it’s important to be comfortable and warm, not all fishing tackle will keep you warm and cosy.

I have been working on a new sleeping bag for the ‘Hardcore’ range and it’s now available. It uses micro-fibre technology and a crushable outer shell which means, basically, that it is extremely light and can be compacted down to a fraction of the size of a standard sleeping bag. Due to the way the fibres work they trap the warm air from your body and swell up the bag around you, a bit like a puffa jacket.

It has attachments to hold it in place on the bedchair and, unlike a lot of bags; it can be left on the bed and does not stop you folding it totally flat.

There is also a neat little expander panel on each side of the bag, behind the zip and this allows you to make the bag wider or narrower to suit your own size.

I am extremely pleased with the way it has turned out and if you do decide to treat yourself you can be safe in the knowledge that I have fully tested it over the last year, in all conditions, and it has performed perfectly. I’ll certainly be spending a second winter in it anyway.

Gabriel’s Coarse Fishery

Gabriel’s Fishery is an excellent complex of five lakes and a mile and a quarter of waterfront along the bank of the River Eden located where the Kent,Surrey and sussex boarders meet. The lakes are set in partial woodland giving contrasting light and shade over the water where the water lilies and marginal plants put on an attractive display not only for the angler to appreciate but to provide the ideal environment for the fish to flourish in.

Facilities on offer at Gabriel’s Fishery
Disabled access: Yes
Tackle Hire: No
Toliets: Yes
Refreshments: Yes
Day passes: Yes
Phone: 01732 865 355
Web: http://gabriels-fishery.co.uk/index.html

Mixed Fortunes Carp and Coarse Fishing

27/28th April
I was back on the tench trail. A good friend runs a carp syndicate which I intend to give some serious attention as it has produced some really stunning scaly mirrors to high thirties. For this session, though, I was scratching an itch I’ve had for some time in trying for the water’s very elusive and apparently modest tench population. The reason for my interest is the fact that among the handful of good tench that have fallen accidentally to carp rods and their boilies’ is one fish last season that weighed in not far short of eleven pounds. That is a giant fish from anywhere.

I went armed with traditional tench fare, four pints of casters, two pints of live red maggots, a gallon of deads, mini halibut pellets, sweetcorn and a bucket of hemp. In discussion with the regulars, it seemed that those tench that had been caught had all come from a very small area at the far end of the pit from the car park, where a shallow area of about five feet runs out some forty yards before dropping sharply into twelve feet of water. Everywhere else on the pit sees over ten feet of water within a rod length of the bank.

What I hadn’t appreciated was the distance to the far end of the water with a loaded barrow which, despite all my manoeuvrings, required two trips to transport the gear for a comfortable two day stay. By the time I had the swim sorted I was well and truly knackered. I’m 67 now and realised at that moment that tench fishing at this particular water would probably not be a long term affair, not with traditional volumes of bait anyway. It will be worth tackling with small boilies in the future so there is far less weight to carry.

In the event, the area I was intending to fish was occupied by two carp anglers, so I had to move even further round the bay and eventually settled on an area with 9ft of water ten yards out, gradually falling away to twelve feet at forty yards. With no other features apparent, I opted to fish at thirty yards in 10ft, and proceeded to introduce eight Spombs of mixed goodies into three areas. The intention was to top up with two or three more over each rod every few hours. That done, three feeder rods were cast into position, all three being feeder rigs using Kamasan Black Caps. One carried two hair rigged Enterprise buoyant rubber red maggots to a size 12, the second hair rigged buoyant rubber casters and the third a true bottom bait of two natural maggots directly on a size 14.

There is really not a lot to say. Despite diligently recasting my feeders at least every hour and regularly refreshing the swim with bait, I never had a fish in nearly 40 hours of fishing. The only action I saw was a heavy roll over the feed just as the light was fading and a slow lift of a couple of inches on the left hand rod at dawn, which never developed into anything strikable. All in all it was a highly disappointing session and by the time I’d sweated blood again getting the gear back to the van I’d mentally crossed the water off my list as one warranting attention as a big tench venue! It’s a gorgeous water, but when I go again it will be with carp in mind. If a big tench hangs itself on one of the rods I’ll take it as a welcome bonus.

4/5th May
After the great first carping session at my local water two weeks earlier, I’d decided to return for two more days in the hope of getting a fish nearer to 30lbs. With the water being very local and only available in daylight hours it would also be a nice change not to be sleeping out in a bivvy.

I duly arrived at the official opening hour of 6am and moved into the same swim I’d fished on my first session, from where I could place baits in close proximity to the fringes of an island at about 60yards. The first act was to fire out fifty 14mm baits to each of two areas (there is a two rod rule), which would be topped up with a further 20-30 baits after every fish or missed run. The hookbaits consisted of two 14mm baits on the hair and every cast was accompanied by stringers carrying a further six freebies.

Over the two days, I fished from 6am until the designated leaving time of 9pm and the fishing was simply brilliant. Suffice it to say that I ran out of bait both days. On day one, my final tally was six carp landed, all good doubles with the best a corking common of 18lb 8ozs and I also suffered three hook pulls, which I put down to the barbless hook rule. Day two was even more hectic, with ten carp landed. Again, all the fish bar one were good doubles to 17lbs, the exception being a cracking mirror of 23lb 14ozs. There were also two fast runs missed for no apparent reason.

In my searches for fish to beat my personal bests, which is my usual motivation, the water certainly does not have the potential to beat my current best of 44lb-2oz and therefore is one that will be used only for the occasional fun session. Having said that, the fish all fought like tigers and it was a nice change to be having my string pulled frequently by good carp, rather than consistent blanking in the hope of a superheavyweight from a rock hard water. The new venue will be a great confidence re-builder after tough sessions.

Off to Horseshoe next week. Let’s see if the tench are any kinder down there!