The only Barbel rig you will ever need

There are few articles written about barbel rigs because, let’s face it, they aren’t usually that difficult to hook. But there are considerations to be made and some of the dog’s dinners I’ve seen anglers using or have found on the river bank have made me shudder.

Let’s get one thing straight from the off – barbel are not carp. Most Coarse fishing tackle is fine, it does what it says on the tin. If you use carp tackle, especially lead clips, you are risking damage or death to fish in the event of a break off. I have recovered rigs with lead clips that I have had difficulty pulling apart with my hands so a tired, tethered barbel would have no chance.

Over the years I have tried numerous adaptations on a theme and have made all the mistakes that everybody else makes but, I have kept experimenting. I now have a rig that I haven’t changed for two or three seasons which means that I am quite happy with it. It ticks all the boxes and I believe that it is just about perfect – the only one I and hopefully you, will ever need.

The hook and leader are adaptable to conditions, more of that later. The important part for me is where the lead connects to the hooklink. This area is where we have to place most consideration to the fish’s welfare as a fish towing a lead is in severe danger. Also, and of great concern to me, was the number of times I lost a fish when the leader wrapped around the lead link. A barbel in full panic flight will make short work of most leader materials if they are tangled around a lead or link swivel, recovering a short, broken hooklink is usually a sign that this has happened. I tried beads, sometimes two or three in a row between the swivel and link swivel to create a stand off effect and this usually worked but not always, the same is true of tail rubbers. Using a link swivel is always liable to create a tangle just by virtue of the amount of drop from the main line. Any movement of your lead as it rolls along the bottom, something we often do to provoke a take, is likely to tie the whole lot into a knot.

So, let’s get to the point – Korda anti tangle sleeves (Kats), the answer to the barbel angler’s prayer. The pictures will show what I am on about. Immediately it is apparent that the stand off effect is exaggerated which helps us no end. But the clever bit comes when we eliminate the swivel from the link to the lead. By taking the swivel out of the equation we remove most of the problems associated with tangles.

By using just the link and attaching it directly onto the Kats we create a semi-fixed, self-hooking rig that is generally what we are looking for when barbel angling. The taper of the sleeve allows us to fine tune the amount of tension on the link and, in the event of the fish snapping you off and by carefully attaching the link at the correct point on the Kats, the lead will easily slip off and the fish will not become tethered. It really is simplicity itself and works with leads and feeders.

But, I hear you ask, what about when I want to use a running lead? Easy, just slide the link off the Kats and away you go, a running lead.

If you want to be cute and, in true Boy Scout manner, prepared, simply add a bead above the Kats when you set up. Now, if you are roving and altering your approach in different swims, you simply reattach the link above the bead which will stop it from riding up the Kats and give you a perfect running rig. You can even tease the bead over the end of the Kats for a neater set up.

You can even do away with the swivel at the end of your mainline and use a quick-change link. This allows you to switch and swap your terminal gear as well as going from fixed to running lead with the absolute minimum of fuss.

My last bit of fine tuning is to cover anything shiny (usually the link which can become shiny when its been on gravel for a while), with bits of modelling clay which will stay in place as there are no moving parts such as you have when using a link and swivel.

For the bit between the Kats and the hook, well that’s a whole article in itself. I am certain that many of you have your own opinions of hooklinks and I have tried them all. For the record, I generally start off with a length of Fluorocarbon which gives me a hooklink that will sink and sit well on the bottom. This may go directly to the hook or, when I feel it is necessary, I will form a combi-rig by attaching a short braided hooklink to the fluoro via a mini swivel.

There you have it, a simple rig with minimal bits and pieces needed to construct it which means less odds and ends to carry with you. If you stick to this simple set up you will find it efficient and adaptable to all of your barbel fishing needs.

Written by Dave Burr

Fishing tackle fashion

Fishing tackle, fashion and celebrities are not three words you usually find in the same sentence. However, the latest feather fashion trend is causing a flap amongst fishing tackle suppliers and fashionistas.

Fishing tackle feathers are being used as hair extensions, using the same cockerel plumes that anglers use for fishing lures. Saddle hackles, which use the finest long thin feathers, are the most popular. As demand far exceeds supply these premium hackles have fallen foul to soaring prices.

It seems many amateur entrepreneurs have hurriedly bought up all the fine feather lures from unsuspecting fishing shops. And are now selling them on eBay and other auction sites as “feather hair extensions” for inflated prices.

Some fishing tackle suppliers are choosing to protect their local anglers from price hikes and supply shortages, by refusing to sell to hairdressers and fashion suppliers.  However if this fashion is more than a passing fad, supply and price could be effected far in to the future.

For those interested in the fashion side of this feather fad – read on:

FineFeatherheads: Spring 2011 on Vimeo.

The trend for wearing feathers in the hair is part of a 1970s fashion revival, with everything from flairs to flowers in the hair coming back in vogue.

The feathers are attached much like hair extensions with carotene wax. They can last for up to 2 months using a ‘hot fusion’ technique, but more commonly they will last for about 2 weeks depending on the method of attachment.

The fine feather fashion is rumoured to have began in Colorado and quickly spread to California, then across the Atlantic.  The demand for saddle hackle hair-pieces is now so high that hairdressers are scouring fishing tackle suppliers across the globe.

The trend is proving most popular with teenagers and twenty-something women, but celebrities and trend-setters of all ages and genders are adopting the fashion.

Myley Cyrus, Hilary Duff and Steve Tyler are just some of the celebrities spotted with feathers in their fringe. As more famous fashion-mavens wear fetching feathers in the hair, I’m sure this fad for fishing tackle is far from over.

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!

Dave Lane Carp Fishing Diary

Wow, what a great month February is turning out to be, as always really, it really is one of favourite months of the year.
After a horrible winter with the lakes frozen solid for most of time the first big low pressure system moved in at the beginning of the month and everything really kicked off, so many lakes all seemed to wake up at the same time and a string of good fish were caught all across the country and, hopefully, the best time is still to come.

Traditionally the lakes start to wake up at some time during the final two weeks of the year and I’m sure it has more to do with the light levels than anything else, temperature and actual weather conditions can be whatever they like but the carp still feed with abandon. This early feed up though was definitely triggered by the big south-westerly winds that scoured the land and I made sure I was in the right spot to cash in on the action.

I’ve been targeting Monks Pit for what little of the winter has actually been fishable but my last fish, and the last one to come out the lake at all, was back in November when I had the thirty one pound common.

I fished the last week of January and was lucky enough to find a few fish lying up in the mid water layers in about fifteen feet of water, which is where I’d expect to find them really, I do think that they spend a massive amount of the time in the winter nowhere near the bottom of the lake, which is why I favour zig rig fishing in the colder months, particularly in these deeper pits.

Turning up on the Monday morning I found the area angler free and, even though it was on the extreme back of the wind, I still plonked myself straight in there, figuring that the fish do not generally move far at this time of year.

It just goes to show how much difference one week and a bit of favourable weather can make really, whereas I had sat on fish for two nights without a touch the previous session, I had a take on a mid water zig within minutes of casting out this time. It took me by surprise a bit and the new sample rod I was testing was still lying on the ground as I searched through my fishing tackle for the rod rests! As soon as I heard the whine of the clutch I struck into him but, unfortunately he had already made the cover of a large and unyielding weedbed and no amount of pulling was going to get him free so it was on with the lifejacket and out in the boat.

Now, I class myself as a pretty competent boater in most conditions but, in a gale force wind, I was having all sorts of problems. I got him up out of the weed without too much ado but every time I stopped rowing to net him the boat just shot off backwards with the wind. In the end I towed the fish right over to the opposite bank, 220yards from my swim and netted him as I crashed backwards into a reedbed!
Despite being absolutely knackered and soaked right through I was over the moon with my first fish of the year, a lovely mirror of twenty three pounds, that I had to carry back round the lake in my zip mat. They are brilliant for carrying fish (although obviously not usually that far) because of the padding and the fact they zip up tight the fish is totally protected and the straps just fit perfectly over you shoulder allowing you to support the bottom of the carp with your hand.

Once he was photographed and returned I set up the alarms and, no sooner had IO turned them on than I was away again, unfortunately this one came adrift straight away but that sometimes happens with the zigs.

Both the bites had come on the right hand side of the swim so, figuring I was maybe just on the edge of where the fish were hanging I upped sticks and moved one swim further along, giving me room to get more baits into the bite zone. It was a good move as it turned out because about an hour later I had two fish on at the same time, it had suddenly turned into spring style fishing in the middle of winter. Two and a half months without a bite and then I’ve suddenly had four bites in one morning, it was madness really but I wasn’t complaining, especially as I landed them both, despite having no end of problems with the weed again, the first being an eighteen pound common and the second a mirror of just over twenty pounds. The one thing that was noticeable was the size of the fish as Monks is a renowned thirties water with a handful of fish over forty and also a good head of upper twenties, the fish I was catching were all on the smaller side of the scale but you never know what is waiting just around the corner do you?

I have spent the last god knows how many years trying to catch myself a forty pound common, I’ve had shed loads of thirties but never broken that magical forty pound barrier, in fact that was the very reason that I joined Monks in the first place because it has one very large common in there, very large indeed and that’s the fish I always sit there and justify to myself the fact that I’m freezing to death, or soaking wet or moving for the fourth time in a day, I always think that one might be next!

At about four o’clock and with an hour or so left of daylight, unbelievably, I had yet another take, once again on a little piece of foam fished six feet of the bottom but this time I’d decided there was no way it was going to reach the sanctuary of the weed, I’d had enough of boats and wind for one day. I piled on the pressure right from the start, relying on the tip action of the new rods to cushion the effect of the strain on the six foot hooklink and size eight hook, which it did perfectly. Despite being able to cast to the horizon these rods really are a dream to play carp on and I can’t wait to get a full set of them to fish with as, at the moment, I am using one of each test curve to test all the actions.

I kept the pressure on that fish right the way to the bank and, despite his frantic headshaking, never really gave it a chance to do anything much at all. As it rolled up through the gin clear water I could see it was a common and, as it rolled over the net cord I could tell it was a goodun but it was only when I went to lift the net I realised exactly which one it was.

As I replayed the fight in my head and realised how many liberties I’d just taken with such light tackle and such a big fish it was frightening but, nevertheless, there he was in the bottom of the mesh, forty six and half pounds of common carp, a new personal best and one of the nicest looking beasts imaginable, what a way to start the year!

I did manage to catch one more fish the next morning before the lake closed back down and the fish just switched back off again but I’d already caught what I was after and given the new fishing rods the ultimate test, and they’d shone through perfectly.

Spring Carp Tactics

At this time of year the carp metabolism is still quite slow but also they’re on the move and looking for food, The three different rigs I’ve got to show all play different parts in getting them crucial bites at this time of the year in the perfect carp fishing feeding zone.

Firstly I’m going to start with what I call the ‘cocktail’ its called this because instead of having one hook bait, it has 3 different hook baits. In this case I have a small piece of trimmed tiger nut a piece of real maize and then a bit of fake white buoyant corn. The reason it gets so many bites is personally because of it visual attraction and its also nearly neutral buoyancy because of the fake corn which makes it so much easier for the carp to make a mistake whilst there feeding. The rig I use is the basic blow back rig and its so affective when fished with a small bag of maize and crushed tiger nuts.

Tip – Although I use maize and tiger nuts in my cocktail, try experimenting with chick peas or maples you could be surprised with your results.

This is probably my prefered way to fish at this time of the year, a small 14mm Celticbaits G-nut boilie topped off with a 10mm glugged pineapple pop-up. The reason I find this so effective is once again because of the neutral buoyancy and also because of the quick leakage of the baits; the G-nut 14mm boilie I’ve been using through the winter months has a great leakage rate, and the carp find it easier to track the baits down. I also fish it with a small bag of crushed boilies, just to give the extra boost of attraction.

Now the third and final rig I use at this time of year is the claw rig the reason I use this is because the hook bait ends being quite big. To show you what I do, I’ve got so pictures of me doing it step by step.

In the picture above you can see there is a 14mm beast feast boilie on a long hair this will become clear as when I add the paste on (picture below).

Now as you can see I’ve added the beast feast paste onto the 14mm boilie and now the fishing  bait has doubled in size and if the hair was shorter then you added the paste you would have to mask the hook, and at this time of the year when the carp are feeding cautiously you cant risk the hook being covered at all.

All I’ve done now is grabbed a handful of of 2mm pellets and 4mm pellets and squished them onto the paste. On the lake bed that will all slowly breakdown and there will be a variety of food signals going off and this will encourage the fish to feed and get grubbing, I strongly advise people to try this!

TF Gear Trail Blazer Barrow and Bag

TFG Trail Blazer Barrow

I’ve tested out the new TF Gear Trail Blazer Barrow for some time now, and really put it through its paces. It caters for all my angling needs, from carting my excessive fishing tackle bundle around a 70 acre lake for 3 days fishing, to light loads for a day session. The barrow is lightweight and has adjustable front and side bars for larger loads with 2 adjustable back legs. When fully loaded, the barrow has a good centre balance and really impressed me by not tipping over – something which has happened to me on numerous previous occasions. The barrow comes with 2 bungee ropes that hook onto 4 rings which are built into the framework for better grip.

The frame is lightweight and has a removable wheel for ease of loading in your car, with screw-in hands making the barrow useable in a matter of seconds. The tyre has good tread that is nice and thin which helps when pushing over rough terrain. You can even place 2 buckets at the back of the barrow which will rest on the 2 bars perfectly when requiring more space.

Pit 1

Pit 2

TF Gear Force 8 Heavy Duty Barrow Bag

The barrow bag is the perfect accessory for the barrow, with a hard top and bottom and heavy duty material which will protects all your gear inside. The bag comes with 4 large pockets on the outside, and one large pocket in the lid with a heavy duty zip. Inside the bag there are pockets built into the back and sides for easy organisation of your tackle. For the best result, try 2 barrow bags –  this will take all your gear and fits on the barrow perfectly side by side.

Pit 3

Pit 4

First Carp on a New Venue

After almost 12 months travelling around, field testing my baits at different venues and having amazing results, I decided to sign up to a club water. This happened to be the Fendrod in Swansea. With the excitement to get fishing, I left the house without a kettle; luckily it was a pleasant night and the weather was fair.

I arrived at the lake and was amazed by the beauty of a local authority lake. As it was my first time fishing the venue, I had no knowledge of the place, so I decided to fish far enough away from the other anglers and found a peg I liked the look of and put my bivvy up.

I began with a few casts using my TF Gear X-Plus Marker rod, and found it was pretty flat and gravely in front of my swim; but it was also shallow which explained why all the anglers were to the right of me in the deeper water. So after a good hour of searching for a spot to fish, I decide to clip all three of my rods up to a spot of gravel at around 80 yards out.

My Rod set up at Fenrod

My Rod set up at Fenrod

My plan of attack was to spod 8mm and 4mm pellets maggots and some Beast Feast 20mm and 14mm boilies, then dust the whole mix off with Beast Feast stick-mix.

The reason there is a variety of sizes of bait and colours is for the visual attraction, and also because the carp are picking different weights of baits which keep them guessing.

Mixed bait

Mixed bait

The rig set up was kept as simple as possible with my own little twist. The components you will need to tie this rig are all available from Fishtec: a kurv shank hook of any size you choose to use (in this chase I’m using korda size 8 hooks), a korda flexi ring swivel pair of sharp scissors (ideally braid scissors), a puller tool to get the knots tight, medium sized rig rings, a slice of shrink tube, a needle , TFG putty, a spool of thread and – last but not least – 20lb soft gravel brown korda braid.

Items used to tie the rig

Items used to tie the rig

Once you have all the components, firstly take off about 9 inches of braid and then strip of two inches of the coating. Tie a rig ring on to the stripped bit using a half blood knot, then pull a bait over the rig ring so you can get you desired length of hair. Once it is to the length required, tie a knotless knot onto the hook. Slide a strip of shrink tube on to the hook to act as a blow back rig, then shrink it by placing it over steam (watch your fingers!). The final step is to tie a grinner knot onto the flexi ring swivel and as you tighten this knot make sure you moisten with a little saliva so it does not strip any of the coating off near the swivel and make sure it will not slip bye giving it a final tug with the puller tool. Place a little blob of putty on the non-stripped bit of braid and the rig is ready to go.

Completed rig - without bait

Completed rig - without bait

As you’ve probably noticed, there is only one thing missing from this rig: bait. I only use this rig when I want to fish a single boilie and maggots at the same time ,and this is where the needle and the thread come into play. Firstly place your chosen boilie on a gate latch needle and gently push it over the rig ring.

Placing the boilie onto the rig (1)

Placing the boilie onto the rig (1)

Boilie fixed to the rig ring

Boilie fixed to the rig ring

Grab a decent sized needle and some thread – cut off a 7 inch strand, then push through the needle eye. Slowly begin to put maggots on the needle and slide them down onto the thread (if you put the needle point through the bigger end of the maggot they will survive longer therefore being far more attractive under the water).

Sliding maggots down the needle onto the thread

Sliding maggots down the needle onto the thread

Once you have put maggots on the thread (10 to 15 is usually ample) slowly take the thread of the needle and then bunch all the maggots up as illustrated.

Maggots bunched up on the thread

Maggots bunched up on the thread

The final stage is to put one end of the thread through the rig ring, followed by two over-hand knots to secure the maggots in place. You’ll left with a presentation (illustrated below), and there’s no doubt you’ll soon be saying, “that’s a bite.”

Maggots secured to the rig ring

Maggots secured to the rig ring

The final presentation

The final presentation

And a bite it was! I topped up the swim later in the evening, as I had problems with ducks diving for the baits during daylight. At 5:30am the next morning I had a screaming take; after a long fight I managed to land this beautiful 20lb 4oz common. This made my day as it was the first fish I had caught on the Fenrod.

The end result - a 20lb 4oz Common Carp

The end result - a 20lb 4oz Common Carp

The Heat is On!

High temperatures and bright weather aren’t my favourite conditions to be carp fishing in, but I’d booked the Friday off work so Thursday night – with car packed – I was off to my syndicate water in Herefordshire. A stunning estate lake with some of the best-looking carp I have ever seen. Thursday night was quiet, just a good tench of 8lb 6oz and a new lake record (which was very pleasing but not exactly what I was after); the rest of the night drifted by quietly. Friday dawned calm and hot, and unfortunately some of the lake’s residents had started to spawn! Talking to the other members on the lake, we all thought that with these conditions it was going to be a struggle.

I walk around the lake and climb a few trees to see what’s happening, and find a group of carp feeding well away from the spawning fish;  clearly, a move was in order. My TF Gear Chill-out bivvy is soon moved to my new swim, rods cast out just as the late afternoon sun is starting to lose some of its bite. The lake is crystal clear and one of the most important bits of tackle I have for these conditions is the Tfgear Secret Trap fluorocarbon main line, which is almost invisible in the water. Having a  higher specific gravity than water it sinks really well, and on slack lines it is almost like having backleads on – which helps not to spook any of the fish in the area. Within 10 minutes of setting up in my new swim, one of my TFG Glimmer bite alarms screams into life and the left hand Tsi rod cast close to the far tree line is in action. The fish comes in to about 30yds quite easily – making me think it was maybe one of the smaller fish in the lake – when suddenly it banks to the right and a slow solid run that’s impossible to stop takes 50-60yds of line off me in one go. The fish now kites even tighter to my right and my line is now going through the tree branches. The forgiving tip on the Tsi rod cushions the carp lunges, but with the line now precariously caught up there’s only one option – into the water I go! 10 to 15 minutes later and I’m slowly making some ground on the fish, it rolls out about 15yds and the action of my 3.5lb Tsi is great even at this close range. A couple more minutes and I slip my net under a very large common, but its not till I try to lift the net from the water when I realise I have the lake’s biggest resident; a stunning common that sends the scales round to settle on 40lb 8oz, a new lake record.

40lb 8oz Common - a new lake record.

40lb 8oz Common - a new lake record.

Pictures taken and congratulations from the other guys, and I settle back down with all rods recast. I retreat to my Comfort-zone fishing bed chair, looking back through the pictures on the camera to make sure I wasn’t dreaming, before drifting off to sleep. I have a few liners in the night so fish are still in the area, but a quiet night overall – not that I’m too bothered. Up early and Saturday is much the same, hot and sunny. I sit out watching the lake wake up, kettle on for an early morning brew when suddenly my middle rod is away. After a very hard fight I slip the net under another stunning common, the scales settle at 30lb 4oz a great result and another lake record falls – the largest brace ever taken on the lake, it really can’t get much better this!

The second Common, yet another lake record

The second Common, yet another lake record

I have to recast all 3 rods after playing the last fish; with all the commotion I was not expecting any more action, so I sit back down to finish boiling the kettle and make some breakfast. The fish have other ideas, and incredibly I’m in again after a good fight as a stunning 25lb mirror comes to the bank. What a session – after 5 years on the water, and many blanks in what seemed perfect conditions, a couple of days I thought would be tough tough turn out to be a record session. I slowly pack down and make my way home, and I think only another angler will know the feeling of satisfaction you get when it all comes together in a session of a lifetime.

Mirror 25lb  087

25lb Mirror, last catch of the session.

Fishing Tackle that will last you a lifetime

I’ve been trying out some new fishing tackle, and been using my TF Gear V8 Distance reel for over a year now, and can honestly say that I’m more than impressed with it! When I’m looking for a fishing reel I need one that can stand up to the abuse of big French carp and English fishing too.

TF Gear V8 Distance Fishing Reel

TF Gear V8 Distance Fishing Reel

I like the smoothness, performance and feel of the reel and most important the light weight of it. The line lay is perfected which helps with those long casts to the horizon, and the gear ratio can cope with any size of fish you have hooked. You can set the front drag from semi tight or as loose as you desire. I love the big reel rubber handle when winding in from extreme distance, as it seems to be no effort at all.

V8 Distance and TSI Rods

V8 Distance and TSI Rods

When mixed with the TSI rods you will have the ultimate tools for catching carp, which is very light weight and a perfect match. I use the 3lb test rods which are incredible thin blanks with a beautiful black carbon finish to it. The TSI handle has a Japanese shrink-wrap covering which gives you a good grip of the rod when playing monster carp.

TF Gear TSI Fishing Rod

TF Gear TSI Fishing Rod

The TSI is an all through action rod which will cast any lead to extreme distances all day long, even with a PVA bag, it won’t let you down. When playing fish this is where the rod comes to life as the rod will do all the work for you and is fantastic for playing fish under the tips; I have never lost a fish when using these fishing rods.

pit 4

So if you’re looking for fishing tackle which will last you a life time and won’t let you down, check out the TSI rod and V8 reel.

pit 5Happy fishing!

Carp fishing in the Margins

How many of us inspect the margins when we arrive at a lake?

You might want to, if you want to improve your catch rate. Fishing for carp in the margins can be extremely productive if you find the right places and apply good angling tactics. How many fishermen/fisherwomen ignore the margins when fishing? They see all that water out in front of them and think that the fish must be out there. I often see anglers using three fishing rods with all of them cast out to the far bank. With so many anglers casting out far it makes the margins a safe place for carp to hang out. In fact, the margins can even be the best places to target the bigger carp in the lake.

Fishing in the Margins

Fishing in the Margins

As long as you’re quiet when setting up your carp fishing tackle and actually fishing, you can take fish from the margins in most lakes. Carp have great hearing and will be able to pick up vibrations from the surrounding bank, so you do need to be as quiet as possible.

Centre Pin Fishing Reel

Centre Pin Fishing Reel

When it comes to margin fishing I tend to use a small 8ft rod and centre pin reel; this allows me to fish in-between trees, and other places where it would be hard to use a 12ft rod. It’s best to wear dark green or brown fishing clothing, or better still, use camouflage clothing, as you can blend into the surrounding. I like to find the more subtle features rather than the obvious ones such as overhanging trees, island banks, etc. I like to look for features like undercut banks, posts or trees sticking out of the water, small bulrushes, bushes, lily pads or inlet pipes all these can be ideal feeding spots for carp.

Carp taking bait

Carp taking bait

I like to use a small float, 8lb fluorocarbon line and a size 10 hook partnered with good quality bait. One of my best methods is to wrap paste around a small boilie, many fish have taken using this approach, as the carp are not wised up to these methods. So as the weather starts to warm up go out and have a go, this is a very rewarding way of catching carp guaranteed to provide a good fight whatever size fish you’ve hooked into.

Landing the Carp

Landing the Carp

All the best and good fishing!

Fantastic result!

Fantastic result!