Fishtec Open Day 23rd March 2013

Fishtec warehouse clearance sale

We are delighted to announce that we will be holding the Fishtec annual warehouse clearance sale at our Brecon Factory outlet this coming weekend – Saturday 23rd March 2013 – 9am to 5pm.

Throughout the day there will be a huge selection of discounted fishing tackle at rock bottom prices – the ideal opportunity to grab yourself a bargain.

What do you need to look out for? Here at the Fishtec Open Day we’ll have Ex-Demo stock. clearance items with big discounts and also a line of new products from across three disciplines including fly lines, clothing and rods, all with sale prices!

Take this opportunity to ‘try before you buy’ on all fly fishing rods that we have in stock, see how fast you can erect a bivvy or test our bed-chairs. You can also embark in conversation with out resident fly, sea and coarse fishing experts and talk to our knowledgeable customer service team with any queries you may have. Fly tying demonstrations from a well known Welsh Angler, Jonathan Williams along with expert fishing tackle and tactic advice on coarse, sea and fly fishing.

If you need any more information please don’t hesitate to get in touch! Call: 08719117001 or Website: www.fishtec.co.uk. Free parking and food available onsite. 

For directions, please take a look here.

Save hundreds of pounds on sale items from Fox, Greys, Hardy, Nash, Delkim, Simms, Airflo, TF Gear, Sage, Shimano and many more!

Fishtec Stock

 

Fishtec Open Day & Spring Sale

With the new fishing season underway, what better way to kick it off than an open day with massive reductions and big savings at Fishtec?

Pop into the Fishtec store at Brecon on Saturday 24th March to visit the UK’s Biggest Fishing Tackle Sale!

All new and current TFG, Airflo and Hardware fishing gear will be displayed as will end of line items with some great deals. Don’t miss out on the ‘one off’ spring sales!

Fly Tying company ‘Celtic Fly Craft’ will also be attending the open day, brining their extensive stock of fly tying equipment and materials. Stocking up on your favourite fly tying material or fishing tackle for the coming year won’t ever be so easy.

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Bream Feast

An estate lake close to my home has long held a big head of bream but never, until recent years, did it produce fish to interest a single minded specimen hunter like me. The average fish was always around 4lb and 6lb was about the top limit. But, in recent years, that average has apparently started to climb quite significantly, so much so that I was hearing rumours of regular doubles being taken, with fish to over 12lb certainly genuine. Now, while 12lb is still nowhere near the top end of bream weights these days, it is still a very worthwhile target and definitely rates as a worthwhile specimen in my eyes.

Having taken delivery of three of the gorgeous new TFG Classic Nan Tec barbel fishing rods, I decided to put them to use as feeder rods, using the Avon top joint rather than the separate quiver top. A bream session was planned, and as the water is close to home I took advantage by driving there on the afternoon before my session to introduce bait into the selected area. In an hour, using a Spomb, I had fired out a large bucket of mixed Pigeon mix, corn, stewed wheat and TFG mixed halibut pellets. I also included a few 15mm fishmeal boilies.

The following morning, it took a fair while to set my camp and it was around midday before I was casting the first bait into position, after having introduced a further twenty Spomb loads of bait. That was baited with a boilie wrapped in paste, and accompanied by a method ball. As I set up my second rod, which was to be baited with lobworm/corn cocktail, the alarm on the first sounded and line started to disappear off the free spool reel. The bait had only been in place about two minutes! As soon as I struck, I knew I was attached to a fair fish but, typical of bream, it never gave me any anxious moments. Soon, I was weighing my first fish of the session, 8lb 6ozs, and a good start.

Before rebating, I cast the lobworm rod into position and then attached a new boilie to the first rod. With that one in place, I turned my attention to rod number three, which was to have a soft pellet hookbait. Just as I was moulding the method ball in place, the lob worm rod was off in a fast run. This was ridiculous! Soon, I was weighing a second 8lb plus fish. Fifteen minutes later, with all three rods out together at last, I was able to contemplate a cup of tea and fired up the kettle. However, before it had time to boil I had to turn it off again as bream number three came to call. 9lb 3ozs this one registered and did give me a decent scrap for a change. Just as that was being slipped back, a fourth bream had galloped off with a boilie. A few minutes later, and less than an hour after the first cast, I was weighing a fourth fish, this time 7lb 14ozs.

After that fish, I did have a couple of hours very welcome respite before another flurry of action commenced, and by dusk another four fish had been netted. These fish were significantly bigger, at 9-2, 9-9, 9-13 and the fish that turned out the biggest of the session at 10lb 7ozs. From then until about 11.00pm there were four more fish before the action stopped completely and I was able to get a little sleep. In a hectic afternoon and evening session I’d landed a surprising 12 bream with a very respectable average weight.

The action started again at first light, but during the daylight hours fish only came spasmodically. In fact, only two more bream came before dark, although I did land a solitary five pound tench and get bitten off by a big pike that had taken a liking to a boilie. After dark, though, the action turned absolutely manic. I won’t bore you with a blow by blow account but, during the night I was landing fish about every forty minutes. By daybreak, I’d had no sleep whatsoever and was absolutely knackered. In total, I’d landed 27 bream from 7lb to 10-7 plus the tench, approaching 200lbs in total.

Looking back on the session, it was great fun but obviously the chances of a really outsize bream appear to be limited by the sheer numbers of fish. But with bream you never really know. Anglers who have spent far more time than me after bream have told me that it’s very common for a huge fish to suddenly show up amongst much lesser individuals. I shall certainly go back and hopefully improve on my 10-7 result.

Simms Freestone Breathable Waders

Having used waders for some years now, I have learned how valuable these fishing accessories are.  During the winter months I love trotting.  Whether it be for grayling in the upper Wye Valley or for chub and roach on the many southern rivers and chalk streams.

You soon learn that one of the best ways to present a bait effectively on a river, is to wade out and allow the bait to travel downstream, unhindered by the sharp angles created by fishing from the bank.  Plus it’s a very rewarding feeling to stand in the water and actually fish.

I have used numerous types of waders.  From thigh length nylon, to the full chest waders made from neoprene.  Obviously each style of wader has its own merits.  I spent last winter using some very good neoprene chesties.  Throughout the winter months they got a thoroughly good workout.  It was a cold winter and the 4mm neoprene did help to keep me warm.  However you soon realise that this benefit is outweighed by one of the major drawbacks of neoprene.  As soon as you start to walk any great distance, you begin to sweat quite profusely.  The mixture of heat and sweat cause a huge amount of condensation and wetness inside the waders.  Often once removed, it looks like you have been wading without the waders on!

The other downside to these types of waders is the fact that they come with fitted Wellington boots.  These are often uncomfortable, especially if walking any great distance.  Neither do they offer a great deal of support to the foot when actually wading.  Often the water pressure squashes the boots and thus your toes whilst wading.

So I decided to treat myself to a pair of breathable waders.  After extensive Internet research, I plumped for the Simms Freestone Breathable Chest Waders.  One reason was the name.  I’m not a mindless brand driven buyer, but Simms has a tremendous reputation for quality.  If I was going to spend a fair bit of money, I wanted to be certain I was getting a reliable, well made product.

I opted to purchase the item from the Fishtec.  They were doing a terrific package deal where you received the waders and boots for a special price.  At the time of purchasing they were also offering a further 10% off!  So I ended up paying just £225 for the boots and waders.  As usual their service was impeccable and the waders soon arrived.

Having already tried a pair of these on prior to buying, I knew pretty much what to expect.  They are light with a soft feel.  Very airy and pliable, so they are very comfortable to wear all day and walk around in.  The boots fit extremely well and again walking around in these all day is a doddle. The boots are for all intense and purposes, hiking boots.  They support the feet and ankles well and are very comfortable to wear, whilst remaining very robust. These particular Freestone boots come with a felt sole, pre-drilled to take screw in studs.  This type of sole offers unparalleled grip on bedrock, vital when wading.  The studs offer further grip when walking on muddy banks.

I have been wearing these on and off all summer.  Fishing places like the Wye, Kennet and Trent they have come in useful, not just for wading but for general use.  The areas of the Kennet I fish are very overgrown.  So during the summer months, when the mornings can be quite dewy, it’s great to keep dry by using these waders.  There is nothing worse than getting totally soaked through whilst walking through thick undergrowth and using the heavy winter type salopettes to try to stay dry, is a poor solution.  The other great benefit is during the rain.  Now I know what you’re thinking. Rain? In the summer? InEngland? Surely not! Well on those odd occasions when it does rain in the summer, breathable waders offer great protection. Obviously they are going to keep you dry during the heaviest of rain storms, without weighing you down or feeling uncomfortable.

The Simms Freestone Waders are made using a 3 layer construction. They are highly breathable and lightweight.  They also come with a very useful front pocket and a nice handwarmer fleece lined pocket.  The suspender system is very comfortable and easy to do up and there is also a wading belt.  They come with built-in gravel guards which are very easy to use.
So far I am over the moon with these waders.  I have waded out to almost waist-high and spent long periods of time in the water.  Thus far they have been excellent and I have no reason to believe that they will be any different in the future. No sign of leakage or any condensation inside the waders. Having worn them on a few very hot days, they remained comfortable and I didn’t over heat.  Had I have been wearing neoprene, I’d have probably wilted away to nothing.   They remain dry and comfortable throughout and I am delighted with them.  They have proven to be one of the best purchases I have made.

Sorry for the length of this review but I wanted to offer a really comprehensive opinion on how good they are, having spent so long looking for a set of breathable waders myself.

  • QuadraLam™ Technology with Toray® waterproof fabric
  • 100% Nylon face fabric with DWR finish
  • Adjustable elastic 1.5″ suspenders
  • Front hand warmer pocket with quick-drying microfleece lining
  • External pocket with hook & loop closure
  • Patented built-in neoprene gravel guards and built-in belt loop
  • 4mm high-density neoprene stockingfoot
  • Easily converts to waist highs
  • Nylon wading belt included
  • Offered in 7 stock sizes: S, M, MK, L (9-11), LK, XL, XXL
  • Our Price: £229.99
Written by Nathan Walter

Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary Aug 11

WHAT HAVE I BEEN DOING?

I took a week out from sea fishing to visit the south of France for a carp fishing holiday. I found an ideal carp retreat last year in Martins Lakes near Montpon. A six berth site, swimming pool and a well stocked specimen lake means the wife is also happy and although my carping is not too serious I enjoy it. Unfortunately this year the weather let us down a bit with a monsoon on our arrival putting the carp down for the week with my best of 24lb beaten by step son, Andrews’s 35lb mirror.

Back home I was greeted with the tail end of Katia and whilst the south of England escaped the worst of the hurricane the stir did wonders for the local shore fishing. After a month or more of very poor results it was nice to see bass, dogfish and codling number on the up, even a few soles appeared in the local competition reports and these are the most reliable when it comes to the real weight of the fish around! I am now itching to get fishing once work is caught up on, although this coming month I go to Ireland with Sea Angler magazine for the annual Sea Safari and preparation for that is also taking up much of my time.

One thing the recent gale did do was remind me of the winter fishing to come – Rough conditions ruin many a novices attempt at sea angling at this time of year if only because it forces them to fish a less productive, but calmer shoreline. If you can handle an onshore wind and are willing to face some discomfort I promise you better results, but many don’t even get out of the car!

FISHING NEWS, COMPETITIONS, ETC

Several large competitions in my region coming up include the TF Gear sponsored Kent Classic being fished on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent on the 13th November 2011. This event is nearly always a sell out of its 400 pegs so don’t lave it too late to booking. Fishing 11am until 4pm.400 pre-book only pegs. Booking in from 7am at Sheerness East working Men’s Club. Trevor 01795 877127 or trevback@sky.com

Ray 07930390761 or rayjeffrey@hotmail.com Entry forms can also be downloaded from the website sheerness-sac.co.uk

Another popular southern competition that is also likely to sell out of places well before the date is the British Sea Angling Championships. Fished from Deal and Walmer beaches it’s on Sunday 16th October. Fishing 11am until4pm and the top prizes include £1000 for the heaviest bag and £1000 for the biggest fish. Details etc. Pat 01304 361248

The SAMF Masters championships on the 11/12th of November are a competition I started in 1989 when I was secretary of the organisation. This year it’s an Open although you have to join SAMF to fish. It’s being fished in Suffolk from OrfordIsland and the Dirty Wall. Entry fees are: £40 non qualifiers, £20 qualifiers. Competitors have to become members of SAMF. Optional pools of £20 on the day. 100% payout on day prizes and overall prizes. Contact Andy Steele on 01772 611597 or John Amery on 01995 61211.

My last event is the three day Dover Pier Festival on the 29/30/31st of October fished on Dover Breakwater. I have a special interest in this one because I organise it. Its pre book only. 01303 250017 or 01304 204722.

TACKLE NEWS, TIPS AND INFORMATION

I did a demo of a rig with bait clips on Sky’s Tight Lines programme a few weeks back and it has caused lots of interest from anglers. It concerned tension springs.  A lot more anglers are now realising just how handy this small accessory really is for keeping the bait clips under tension when casting. Not only do they help off the ground casters, but they keep the baits clipped down when the wind is buffeting hooks off clips without springs. Try them out and a tip, cut one in half and you can use it on two hook snoods.

Worth repeating is that Breakaway Imps are the perfect add on bait clips for those that want to use their own moulded lead. Lots of anglers now use the popular Breakaway impact lead with its built in bait clip but the Imp is the complete answer because it makes any lead and “Impact” lead!

The price of carbon worldwide is rising fast and the word is that it’s going to put 15% or rod prices in the not too distant future – So don’t leave buying that new fishing rod too long. Fishtec is the UK’s largest mail order fishing tackle retailer. Check out my TF Gear 14ft Delta Nan-Tec beachcaster on www.fishtec.co.uk Tel. 0871 911 7001

Finally: The best advice I can give sea fisherman at the start of autumn is to make a point of picking the best tides to fish. All over the UK it’s the spring tides that produce the most fish – As a newspaper reporter for local papers I know that the fortnightly spring tides produce the best catches from boat and shore. So get your hands on a tide table for your region and mark down those spring tides and fish them!

See you on the beach.

Alan Yates

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.

Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary Dec 10

I have been making a few terminal rigs for my forthcoming Irish match trip to fish the Winter Beach Festival at Wexford. Wire booms are always my favourite at this time of year. I like to fit a tiny swivel to the end of the boom by opening up the wire eye of the boom and fitting a swivel. A small length of silicone tubing keeps it in place. This allows me to use the lighter, thinner flouro carbon hook lengths and small hooks for flatties etc. I wrap the wire boom rigs around a rig winder, but you need a larger size (10cm diameter).

I enjoyed a hastily thrown together competition between Folkestone SAA and a group of anglers from Hampshire. They included my old mate Clive Richards with whom I helped to form SAMF back in 1980 and his local tackle shop dealer Chris Fox of Grayshott Tackle. It was a dab fest with the Folkestone ten man squad landing 25kg of dabs from Folkestone pier, Hampshire managed 17.270kg with Clive Richards their top man on 3.30kg. Folkestone’s best was Mick Tapsell on 5.710kg.

Competitors fishing the Hants versus Folkestone competition on Folkestone pier. Folk captain John Wells with the team cup.

I fished a series of events over the holiday and included a couple of top three finishes including a third in an open at Hythe Ranges. The winner, my mate Mick Tapsell from Folkestone, hooked 17 dabs for 2.030kg and with dabs all that are about inshore from the Kent shore at present he has made a killing winning three open matches on the trot. His secret, slightly stale black lugworm tipped with a little known dab bait – piddock clam.
Over the Christmas holiday I got my hands on a famous tackle companies new catalogue – Are they having a laugh – Beach casters over £400 reels nearly as much don’t they know there is a recession on?

Fishing News and Competition Reports
The sea angling match season flounders as we start the New Year, rockling as well. I have a few events to fish in Kent including the popular Fountain Open at Seabrook and Hythe on the 6th February. Like most of the other large events coming up it’s a Penn League and with another year just starting in the Sea Angler magazine Penn Sponsored National Championships we are all back to square one with zero points.

Other February events around the country include the Blackdown Sea Angling Club Open on the 19th February at Minehead to Blue Anchor. It’s not a venue renowned for lots of fish and so gives everyone a chance of success. The ideal competition for the beginner, or those who want to try competitions. The fishing is from 5.30pm until 9.30pm with the sign in at The Anchor Hotel, Blue Anchor. From 1.30pm. 1st Prize is £200, details form Alan Tel. 01823664085 or 07912018910.

For the experienced or keener match angler who want lots of fish then the Skua SAC 2 day Winter Open competition at Talacre on the 26th and 27th February is the perfect choice. Fishing is from 9am until 1pm Saturday and 9.30am until 1.30pm on the Sunday. The draw is from 6am. Pegs are limited, pre- book only and peeler crab is banned. Contact Pete Corker Tel 07711622015. Gordon Thornes Tel. 01244813003 for more details.

Around the Scene
It’s fishing chaps, but not as I remember it – the latest issue of the British Record Sea Fish list is proof if you needed it that UK sea angling is going to rack and ruin – we are clutching at straws with a list of rare species like amberjacks, Blue runners and miniscule mini species. The chances of breaking a record of a UK resident species are remote – will we ever see a plaice over 5lb again?

Nah, instead of giving us a list of silly records the Angling Trust ought to be out campaigning for a sea fishing rod licence and some funds to fight the commercial lobby who continue to empty the sea daily!

The British Record Fish Committee met at the Fishmongers Hall, London on 14th December 2010 and the following record claims were ratified by the committee:

Greater Amberjack of 1lb 7oz 1 drm (Seriola dumerili) caught from the boat by Mr Neil McDonnell Off West Coast of Lundyon the 29th September 2010

Marbled Electric Ray(Torpedo marmorata) 10lbs 14oz 11drms caught from the boat by Mr Gary Crane off the east coast of Sark (CI) on 15-Oct

Connemara sucker(Lepadogaster candollei) 10 grammes caught by master Jonathan Trevett from the Stone pier at Weymouth on the 12July 2009

Blue runner (Caranx hippos) 2lbs 8oz 12drms caught from the North Cornwall coast by Mr Nick Rogers on the 13th September 2007

One plus that did come from the BRFC meeting was that they are looking into forming a record list for catch and release having at last realised that its what anglers want. May I suggest that the record list switches to length and then that would completely solve the problem of weighing fish on a boat.

All the best for the New Year

Alan Yates

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.