Returning to a favourite club water meant a bit of a rethink as conditions on the day started to change.
This venue comprises of two lakes with the first being a known big carp lake, with residents here to over 40lbs, but with that comes a lot of effort, putting in plenty of time on the bank, and then you may start reaping the rewards.
Whereas the other lake, that myself and fishing buddy Bob fancied, tends to be more productive on short sessions with a good head of low to mid-double sized carp and amongst them a handful of 20s.
Bob being an early bird is already starting to fish when I arrive. I drop off my gear in a nearby swim and walk round to see how he’s doing and nick a cuppa from his flask.
He tells me there’s been plenty of fish moving about and as we chat I notice carp jumping, patches of feeding bubbles, and even one or two cruising just on the surface.
All very encouraging, and when Bob’s float slips away and he then lands a nice mirror carp I soon finish my tea and hurry back to get my rods out.
Now I have to admit I’m rather over gunned here as I’ve brought my normal carp rods, which are 12ft, with a 2.75lb TC, and to enjoy the sport with fish of this size all you really need are light carp rods or even your barbel rods. Perhaps I should remind myself of that next time I come here!
Anyway, on my first rod I hair-rig a 12mm boilie and under arm cast it into the corner of the lake to my right, where there’s overhanging trees and branches that all look nice and ‘carpy’. I then break up a dozen boilies and throw them in over the top as free offerings to get the fish feeding in the area.
The rod gets placed on my rod pod, I turn on the buzzer and basically let it do its own thing. But my other rod will be set up with a float, so off comes all my end tackle, on goes a waggler with a couple of swan shot pinched on about 4-5” from the hook.
A few handfuls of hemp and sweetcorn are thrown out a couple of rod-lengths in front of me, followed by some pellets, I then adjust the float to the correct depth and fish it over top, trying a piece of sweetcorn on the hook.
Then it’s sit back and over the next few hours… nothing?
Over the last few weeks the sun has finally made an appearance, and with the Daffodils and Bluebells popping up everywhere I think we’ve all just decided Spring has arrived and Summer won’t be long in coming. But with this brighter weather has come high pressure and a chilly, if not downright cold Northerly wind that was now starting to blow straight across our lake.
With absolutely nothing showing it looks like the wind has dropped the fish, I’ve tried cut down boilies, artificials, sweetcorn, and Bob’s gone with worms, maggots, and even bread, but no fish are biting.
I’d actually turned up with limited bait choices as I thought the carp would mop up the small boilies I had, and the only thing I hadn’t used were a bag of SonuBaits Oily Floaters, which are a great floating pellet with a high oil attractant… fat chance of them working as there was nothing on the top now.
But the more I looked at them, the more I wondered what I could do with them, then it struck me, why not try using them as pop-ups?
The rig is simple, a length of braided hooklink, I was using Gardner Disruption with a size 10 Mugga hook, tied on with a knotless knot and a hair. If you don’t know how to tie one look at my 'How to' section, or get on the internet, there’s plenty of instruction to show you.
The other end of the hooklink gets tied to a swivel and then onto my mainline, after I first thread on a lead clip. The clip keeps my lead in place, so the set-up acts like a bolt rig. It also allows the lead to come free in case of a snap off, and not left trailing from the carp’s mouth, I always set up with the fish's saftey in mind and would hope every angler does the same.
The rigs finished with a small shot pinched on half an inch below the hook to sink the rig and allow the pellet to float just above the bottom. All I needed now was a small pva bag of pellets nicked on the hook and I’d be ready to cast.
When the rig hits the bottom, the pva melts allowing the small pellets to fall in a tight patch with the main popped-up pellet sitting above them to entice the carp. It’s a set-up you can use anywhere, places where you don’t want to make a disturbance dropping loads of bait in, at distance where you can’t get any free offerings nearby, or to cast out quickly to a showing fish.
Now instead of putting it back in the corner I cast out to a fallen tree further along the bank, as we all know carp love a feature to mooch around in.
It can’t have been more than twenty minutes before I get the first couple of beeps on my alarm, before it screams and line starts flying off the reel. A few minutes later a pretty mirror lays in my net.
Over the next hour or two the set-up claimed three more carp, and I hear from Bob that he’s winkled out one more on a prawn. Half a dozen carp, caught on what turns out to be a tricky day, I’ll settle for that.
Then again I was trying to catch on the float, but at least I worked out a way to attract a few bites… and in the end grab a few fish!