Brentwood Show 2015

As I'm always banging on about having limited time to get out fishing (let alone other angling related trips!) as family, work, and life generally seem to get in the way, it may come as no surprise that during the recent half-term I was busy again as we ended up going away for a few days, chucking ourselves down the sides of mountains…. on ski's of course!

Which was nice, but it stopped me doing my write up on the Brentwood show, so as they say, it's better late than never and here's what I found!

I popped over to the Brentwood Centre on the Saturday, getting there mid morning and it was nicely busy. Entering via the main entrance which leads straight into the marquee that sits just next to the main building and houses the overspill of exhibitors from the main hall. 

Not that these guys are after thoughts, with the likes of Taska, Free Spirit, Trakker, and Diem, all having large displays in here, in fact I think they'd crammed in more stands than usual.

So there was plenty to have a look at and as the place filled up I made my way into the main hall. Here you had more big names like Fox, Nash, Gardner, and Korda all adding to the 100+ exhibitors at this years event.

I don't know what it is but this show always feels a little more intimate and friendly, and with a strong turnout it certainly had a good feel to it.

And as usual I kept my eyes open for new gear that might be useful in the coming season.

   Nothing like getting a bend in your rod, I'm trying out one of the Starbaits M5 rod range at the show... please don't let go...

Nothing like getting a bend in your rod, I'm trying out one of the Starbaits M5 rod range at the show... please don't let go...

   Golden Maggot glug... err, lovely?

Golden Maggot glug... err, lovely?

Sensas have been one of the big players over in Europe for a number of years, and we in the UK have enjoyed using their bait amongst other items, but now they're expanding their fishing tackle range through the Starbaits brand.

From bivvy's to rods, luggage, alarms, and rig materials, there's a lot of interesting gear to watch out for. I played with some of their M5 rod range which is designed for the all round carp angler, built with an action soft enough to enjoy playing the fish but strong enough to put a bag out at distance. They come with full Fuji SIC fittings throughout, from a 50mm butt guide to 20mm tip ring.

I also liked the look of these Preparation Bright Tigers bait.

They're carefully selected tigernuts that are highly coloured then soaked in a heavily concentrated feeding stimulant, which I think will work well either as a single hookbait, or tipping off a boilie.

And if you're targeting the carp with maggot this coming season the Starbaits LayerZ Golden Maggot might be of interest. Being PVA friendly this glug is made of real maggot carcases and ground up maggots, so could have a lot of uses, and is the latest addition to the LayerZ range.

   These caught my eye, and I imagine they will help put a lot of carp on the bank this season

These caught my eye, and I imagine they will help put a lot of carp on the bank this season

Right, and now it's on to a hefty, but very necessary bit of kit, and I've wandered over to the Wychwood stand. Amongst the many bivvies and brolly systems around the show this beauty stood out.

With developement involving some of the top anglers in the UK Wychwood have produced the lightweight, quick to erect D-Ploy shelter. Using a spreader block engineered by those clever guys at JAG, it has reinforced aluminium ribs, a quick-strap overwrap system, and if I'm getting this right, a membrane that is much more waterproof for much less weight!

It also comes with a 5-year manufacturer’s warranty, so that may help you to forget the price!

   A camping we will go, and a very nice time would be had by all in this Wychwood bivvy

A camping we will go, and a very nice time would be had by all in this Wychwood bivvy

The last item that took my eye was an addition to their already successful range of baits on the DT Bait Developement stand. 

Having monitored many of their competitors ranges, that had pop-ups which finally sank, and wafters that floated way off the bottom, these critically balanced baits from DT are the perfect complement to the already successful Howler and Supa Fruit flavours.

   Adding to their already succesful line of products these baits should help many of us improve our catch rates

Adding to their already succesful line of products these baits should help many of us improve our catch rates

Hope that's given you some things to look out for, and as always I'll put links below to the manufacturers so you can get specific product info if you need it.

For Starbaits go to www.starbaits.com

For Wychwood tackle go to www.wychwood-tackle.co.uk

For DT Bait Developements go to www.dtbaits.co.uk

Sandown visit

   Grumpy looking geezer ain't he? Me that is, not Tel!

Grumpy looking geezer ain't he? Me that is, not Tel!

For me it was a slightly different visit to the Carp Society's show at Sandown this year. Having been invited to spend the day on the Mpress stand to help promote our own publication, The Osprey Specimen Group & Friends book, it didn't leave me a lot of time to wander around the stands as I usually do and check out what was new from the tackle boys.

Not that I can complain, as on the day there was Martin Bowler, Martin Clarke, and Terry Hearn, all sitting within a few feet and very happy to have a chat whenever they weren't talking with the public. In fact I had quite an in depth discussion with Martin Clarke on fish predation, rod licencing, young anglers, and even fishery management!

Whereas Terry and myself seemed to be getting a bit more practical with him relaying how he changed over from slide photography for recording his fish captures to the more user-friendly digital format... and when he nearly lost a whole years worth of pictures, which is probably everyone's nightmare, so all very interesting stuff.

I was well looked after by Cliff and Paul Moulder and my thanks to them for inviting me, and I did actually manage to sell a few books. Though not as many as Mr Bowler, who by the end of the day had sold all his stock of Totally Immersed!

But I did sneak off for an hour to quickly sort out a few nice bits that I'm sure will be picked up on by many anglers in the next few months. Here's what I found.

   Taska's new hooklink and leaders looked really good

Taska's new hooklink and leaders looked really good

As the Taska display was just opposite the Mpress stand it seemed the obvious place to start and I was soon being shown their latest Deceptive Fluorocarbon mainline and hooklink range.

I peeled off a length and it felt amazingly supple, and when placed in one of their tanks it sank to the bottom in seconds, and was almost invisible. Then there was the Evolve Shurlink, a sort of woven fluoro that's coated for a really slim diameter hooklink, that also has a great deal of stretch in it.

Finally I was given a quick demonstration of their new leader material being folded and squashed into one of the lads hands, then squeezed tight, only for it to drop out without a kink or bend in it as his hand was opened again. Top quality gear from the lads as usual.

   A blast from the past, with Geoff Kemp flavours available from CC Moore's

A blast from the past, with Geoff Kemp flavours available from CC Moore's

It was then over to top bait suppliers CC Moore and I asked what was the hot product they had at this year's show, and they took me straight to the new Geoff Kemp flavours.

A big name back in the 80s, and known as one of the original bait flavour manufacturers, his ingredients accounted for many large carp, so CC Moore's are very happy to be sourcing these great flavours from the man himself.

On sale at the show and on general release from the 1st December, I was told that further projects were now being talked about with Geoff. All sounds pretty interesting?

   Covering all bases, Munch Baits latest stick mix range

Covering all bases, Munch Baits latest stick mix range

Then a stroll round to the Munch Baits stand and I soon spotted that the guys are adding to their excellent product list with the addition of the new Active Stix range.

Designed to complement their boilies, pop-ups, and glugs, the stick mix mirrors their three signature recipes PH1, Entity, and The Compound.

Sold in 550g tubs it's ready to use and boasts high attraction and a fast breakdown, and of course is made with purely natural ingredients continuing the company ethos.

   Not keeping us in the dark anymore, Gardner's Glo Pro line marker...

Not keeping us in the dark anymore, Gardner's Glo Pro line marker...

My last port of call was to the Gardner lads, and first up was the new Glo Pro liquid line marker.

Available in four colours, this luminous paint on indicator helps you get your baits back on the same spot when re-casting. Once you've clipped up to a distance just paint an inch or so of line near the reel, then every time you have to recast all you do is find the Glo Pro mark and clip up near it to match the same distance. 

With a good blast from a headtorch or UV torch the liquid will glow for 10 minutes. It's sold in single bottles, or in twin packs, with a UV torch included.

Then last in my quick look at new stuff at the show was Gardner's Ultra Skin hooklink. It's a finely coated braid that is seriously thin through all the 15lb, 25lb, and 35lb range, and can still be stripped easily. Got to have a play with this for my carping, and possibly for the barbel too!

   ...and the new super supple hooklink with a very thin diameter

...and the new super supple hooklink with a very thin diameter

Hope that's given you a few things to look out for when you're next in your local tackle shop, and as always I'll put links below to the manufacturers so you can get specific product info if you need it.

For Taska go to www.taskacarp.com

For CC Moore go to www.ccmoore.com

For Munch Baits go to www.munchbaits.com

For Gardner Tackle go to www.gardnertackle.co.uk

Brentwood Carp Show round up

Another weekend, another show, and I'm in Essex for the Brentwood Carp Show.

As usual it had that great buzz about it in the packed main hall, with people squeezing past each other in the narrow aisles to see the multitude of exhibitors present.

The format was the same as in previous years with an enclosed walkway from the main hall through to a large marquee that housed even more stands. In fact, if there was a manufacturer that wasn't there I be hard pressed to name them!

As it's hard to preview a show that hasn't happened yet(!) I've used my show visits to report on some of the new products that I've come across at these events so here's my latest finds.

   Looking pretty sleek, the new Tournos 8000 from Sonik

Looking pretty sleek, the new Tournos 8000 from Sonik

One of the first chats I had was with Ian on the Sonik stand. They were very proud of their new Tournos reels, and why not… as these matt black, understated reels really looked the business.

I had a play with the Tournos 8000 big pit reel as Ian ran through the impressive features including the 8+1 stainless bearings, instant anti-reverse system, worm drive for great line lay, and the rotor lock bail arm to stop snap offs due to it closing mid cast. All sounding very good.

   Interesting new concept from Starbaits, the layered boilie

Interesting new concept from Starbaits, the layered boilie

As I continued working my way round the show I came across a mate of mine whose now a sales rep for Starbaits.

Having quite a name for themselves amongst the carp anglers of europe they're now starting to get more widely known over here.

Already having a wide range of baits available they were showing off their latest innovation which is the LayerZ hook bait.

It consists of a normal boilie that has an outer layer made from the same ingredients, but designed to break down faster and produce an area of dissolved particles around the boilie, with both coating and bait then releasing fish attractants and feeding stimulants. Nice idea!

   Carp angler and author Martin Clarke, showing off his latest publication

Carp angler and author Martin Clarke, showing off his latest publication

Next, and it was time to catch up on my reading… well, have a chat with my chums on the Mpress stand anyway!

With a great catalogue of titles from some of the biggest names in angling there's usually a book or two that ends up coming home with me. 

And you never know who might be on the stand as well, this time it was Terry Hearn, not sure if you've heard of him, supposed to be a bit of a 'carper', and also Martin Clarke, who was signing copies of his latest book Heads Down Tails Up, which I'll be reviewing fairly shortly.

Had a chat with the man himself and found out the book was two years in the making and features plenty of his own stunning captures plus a few chats with other leading anglers who have given an insight into their carping lives.

   No he's not hungry, it's Bait Zones latest krill groundbait

No he's not hungry, it's Bait Zones latest krill groundbait

Ok, so if you ask most anglers what flavour is popping up in everything at the moment, it surely has to be krill. And after checking out the different baits on the Bait Zone stand this was confirmed as top man Gary Bailey showed me the newest addition to their 'ready to fish' groundbait range, it was indeed krill!

Available in airtight tubs this mix is perfect for making 'sticks', adding to your groundbait, or used straight onto a method feeder. As long as no water gets into the tub it will stay fresh for up to a year without the need to freeze it.

Well, a great show, and after three hours walking around I was now looking forward to my Sunday dinner... 

For more tackle info on the companies mentioned, here's some handy links:

www.soniksports.com

site.starbaits.co.uk

www.calmproductions.com

www.baitzone.com

British Carp Show round up

BritCarpShow2copy.png

So it was a pleasant drive up the A11 to Norwich this Sunday, I was heading for the Norfolk Showground, and The British Carp & Angling Show.

Meeting one of the organisers soon after I arrived it was clear they were a little upset that some of the big names had decided not to come along this year, but this was countered with the fact that crowd numbers had been very good for both days.

And as I started to work my way around and chat to some of the exhibitors, most seemed happy with the turn out, especially as people seemed to be buying!

So I'm not sure who really missed out in the end, us or the exhibitors?

Well I'll do my usual bit now and mention some of the latest, or newer items that were on show.

   Small but perfectly formed, new covers for ATT's alarms

Small but perfectly formed, new covers for ATT's alarms

My first port of call was to the lads on the Advanced Technology Tackle stand with their array of compact alarms and receivers.

Mainly showing off their usual range of products, they did have a couple of new items, the first one being a new cover for the super little 'iw' alarms. 

The cover is a neat snug fit and will help protect your alarm when it's chucked in your tackle bag, but the clever bit is the little device sown into the inside that actually switches off your alarm as you pop it away… nice.

The next was a pouch to put your receiver into, and its little trick was that it floats, so if you're fish spotting and drop your receiver in the water it will just bob about on the surface, and not disappear with a splash, closely followed by the sound of someone sobbing!

   Boilies, pellets, pop ups, method mix and booster juice. All part of the Nash Instant Action range

Boilies, pellets, pop ups, method mix and booster juice. All part of the Nash Instant Action range

Probably the biggest stand was that of Nash Tackle.

With loads of their gear displayed from bed chairs to bivvys, there was plenty to look at, and I did notice on their bait section there was the new Instant Action range of boilies and accompanying products that I reported on in my bait/tackle section last week.

I had a good sniff of the Coconut Creme and Tandoori Spice boilies, and they're great flavours, in fact the whole range was, but I can think of a couple of places to try those ones!

   Offering good discounts on their carp products, local tackle dealers, Angling Direct

Offering good discounts on their carp products, local tackle dealers, Angling Direct

But on with the show, and Norwich based tackle shop owners Angling Direct had a large selection of their carp gear available and were offering 15% discount at the show, plus even more for multiple purchases.

The tackle dealers also have outlets at Waltham Cross, Rayleigh, Chelmsford, Suffolk, Wroxham, Ashford, and Sittingbourne.

   Dried bloodworm, daphnia, and krill, all ready to be rehydrated and added to your bait, from Munch Baits

Dried bloodworm, daphnia, and krill, all ready to be rehydrated and added to your bait, from Munch Baits

Right, with clubs and venue owners getting ever more particular about what type of baits gets spodded, spombed, catapulted, or just lobbed into their waters, it was interesting to chat to the boys on the Munch Baits stand.

Their ethos seems to be to help anglers put more fish on the bank, obviously, but to also benefit the fish along the way. Working with a group of animal nutritionists they produce bait that contains only natural ingredients to give a blend of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids which they claim aids wound healing and boosts the fishes immune system, which all sounds very good!

This family run business is fully confident of the ingredients they put into their bait and actually list them, along with the nutritional value, on the back of their packaging.

New for the show was their dried product range, bloodworm, daphnia and krill which can be added to a stick mix, or rehydrated for using in groundbait or method mixes, think I'll be having some of that!

So with Angling Technics, Rig Marole, Taska, Carp4u, Eclipse Baits, Baitzone and the Pike Anglers Club all worth a look, I was happy enough on my drive back to Essex!

For more tackle info on the companies mentioned, here's some handy links:

www.attackle.com

www.nashtackle.co.uk

www.anglingdirect.co.uk

www.munchbaits.co.uk

Sandown round up

Carp Society2.jpg

Well it was off to the Carp Society Winter Show at Sandown over the weekend, and very enjoyable it was too.

Plenty of top manufacturers were showing off their products, with tackle out now, plus gear that will be available in the early part of next year.

Here's some of the new stuff that caught my eye.

   The spacious Groundhog brolly from Nash

The spacious Groundhog brolly from Nash

In the Nash area I found the Groundhog brolly, with its new fibre glass rib system giving it great rigidity and once the centre pole is removed and the central hub pressed back, plenty of head room. Nash wanted a lot of the rear of the brolly touching the ground to get lots of pegging points to make it very stable on the bank. A serious bit of kit.

   New terminal tackle from Rig Marole

New terminal tackle from Rig Marole

Over at the Rig Marole stand they were displaying their Hydrolink Micro. A scaled down version of Hydrolink, this is a fine braided hooklink with a fine fluoro carbon inner. It's semi supple and lends itself for use with bottom baits. There was also some new hooks, the Hunchbax, a fully tied chod rig set-up and anti-tangle sleeves now added to their range.

   The boys at Taska come up with some handy bits!

The boys at Taska come up with some handy bits!

   All shapes and sizes, new luggage from Taska

All shapes and sizes, new luggage from Taska

There was plenty of interest at the Taska stand as these guys keep coming up with some great products. I had to laugh when one of the young lads asked me if I ever have trouble with crayfish eating my rig putty… err, I fish in the Lea Valley, they're everywhere, and they eat everything! But being serious again he then showed me the new Taska Chod beads that are impregnated with tungsten, so sit nicely on the bottom and won't warrant the attention of the clawed fiends!

There were anti-tangle sleeves and general rig beads in the range, and I also noticed they had a new collection of luggage that looks like it covers a lot of uses.

   Big enough to live in, Trakker's Cayman Pro Bivvy

Big enough to live in, Trakker's Cayman Pro Bivvy

   Time for a rest, the RLX Flat-6 Bed

Time for a rest, the RLX Flat-6 Bed

If you're doing more than an overnighter and need a proper bivvy the Trakker team have a top product with the Cayman Pro Bivvy. It's a two rib system, so is quick to erect, and it's made from their highly rated Aquatexx fabric. There was loads of room inside, no problem getting your bedchair and all your kit in there.

They also had their RLX Flat-6 Bed on show, which has been designed to fold up with a thick winter sleeping bag inside. It has six fully adjustable legs and is very light to carry.

   Amongst many great products, Gardner's Trick Link hooklink

Amongst many great products, Gardner's Trick Link hooklink

On the Gardner tackle stand they were telling me that their Trick Link hooklink was selling well. This low memory mono hooklink comes in a camo grey/green that blends in well with most underwater situations, has great knot strength, and has that balance between rigidity and a little flexibility making it perfect for booms and stiff links.

Had to keep my hands in my pockets or I would have bought tons of bits here!

   We were supposed to talk about the book not rock music! Julian Cundiff with his new book

We were supposed to talk about the book not rock music! Julian Cundiff with his new book

Also got the chance to have a chat with well known carper Julian Cundiff. And what a friendly guy he was. We'd been chatting on Twitter recently, more about music than fishing, but then we are a couple of old 'rockers'!

Had a flick through his new book, and it looks great, I'll be doing a full review on the site soon, so keep an eye out.

Always like to give a shout to Stoney & Friends doing the business for a great cause. In fact they've got a super raffle in aid of MacMillan Cancer Support, with one years free fishing at Ricketts Mere carp fishery in Essex up for grabs. Tickets are £5 each, and can be bought at the Five Lakes Carp Show in Maldon on 15/16th March 2014, or if you aren't going, or can't wait contact Gary or Andy at ricketts@hushmail.com

All in all a good show with plenty to look at... so did you guys go, what did you think, and what products did you find?

For more tackle info on the companies mentioned, here's some handy links:

www.nashtackle.co.uk

www.rigmarole.co.uk

www.taskacarp.com

www.gardnertackle.co.uk

www.stoneyandfriends.co.uk

Leon Bartropp's Winter/Spring rig

My mates at Gardner Tackle sent me a little article from Leon Bartropp on how to set up the 'multi-rig', have a look!

Winter and early Spring can be a very difficult time to catch consistently, the fish are either lethargic or just beginning to wake up and a big bed of bait is the sure fire way to destroy your chances of catching, I prefer a single bright popup positioned in the right place that will get any carps attention, I've caught many fish this way over the years.

The “multi-rig” as it is widely known is a rig that you can cast almost anywhere to showing fish or position on gravel, silt or even light weed just by adjusting the height of the popup, this really is a versatile rig, the other benefit is that if you accidently blunt a hook and cannot re-sharpen it effectively or you catch a fish on the rig, you can change the hook very quickly without having to retie a new rig everytime, just slip off the retaining loop, slide on a new hook, position the loop again around the shank and you have a finished brand new rig all ready to cast out.

How I have found to best fish this rig is to attach to a ring swivel on a lead clip system, I trim the “critical mass” putty until the 15mm popup just sinks, this enables you to use a small piece of dissolving foam if fishing over weed and as the foam dissolves the popup drifts slowly down to rest on any debris on the lake bed, thus presenting perfect presentation everytime. 

   And here is the proof in the pudding, a nice early spring mirror caught using the rig described.

And here is the proof in the pudding, a nice early spring mirror caught using the rig described.

Effort = Reward!

A good mate of mine, Paul Moulder, who some of you will know from his articles in the major carp mags, has kindly offered to write an occasional piece for us, describing his ongoing quest for big carp.

Like a lot of us Paul has to juggle family and work commitments before getting out on the bank, so most of his outings are overnighters. He's a top carper who's always thinking of the best ways to catch.. as well as just enjoying being out there! 

As I'm sure you'll enjoy his tales. Take it away Paul..

   Last minute adjustments, I want to be sure everything's ok

Last minute adjustments, I want to be sure everything's ok

Finally summer is with us, and not a moment to soon. The weed on my syndicate is growing strong and this will bring new challenges to my fishing, which I will have to adapt to. The spawning seems to have started all over the country, which has given me the opportunity to get up close with the carp in another venue that I plan to target later on in the year. Watching those fish up close has already lit the flame for me and I'm looking forward to the new challenges that it holds.

My mobile approach has definitely paid of this spring catching me some good fish, which, if I hadn't put the effort in, I have no doubt I wouldn't have caught.

One such session saw me turning up to a busy lake. After a few laps around I settled in a nice swim where I had seen a couple of fish cruising just below the surface. The carp were moving off the shallows, down a marginal slope, and into some deeper water. It seemed to me that they where leaving the shallow water after a warm day of probably sunning themselves, and I was hoping for a bite from the slightly deeper water which had some nice silty spots to fish too.

Knowing the area pretty well and spotting a few more carp leaving by the same route, I decided not to use the marker float and to be as quiet as I possibly could. With two hookbaits positioned and a kilo of Fishing Wizards Kudos boilies scattered around the area, I sat back just as the sun was setting feeling very confident - surely it was just a matter of time!

   Vital piece of equipment, you can't do without the kettle!

Vital piece of equipment, you can't do without the kettle!

The kettle was in full flow and as the moon rose into the night sky I heard the first fish crash out from the water not too far away. A few good fish had been caught over the past week or two from this section of the lake, and going on recent seasons, some of the bigger fish seemed to like this area more than others at this time of the year.

Full of caffeine from all my tea drinking I couldn't rest so spent much of the night sitting at the front of the swim observing the water. If the carp where going to feed in the silty spots during the night they would be rolling over it, cleaning their gills as they feed. Over the course of the night, apart from the one fish crashing out at the beginning of the night the only activity I had witnessed was from a big set of lily pads to my right, where there seemed to be a few fish moving through them.

   I spend a lot of time watching for signs of fish movement

I spend a lot of time watching for signs of fish movement

These where only very subtle, as I watched the pads getting knocked about a bit. Tiredness caught up with me and I got my head down for a couple of hours before first light and my alarm. Come morning I was shattered, I had a long day ahead of me and could have done with a lay-in. Did I? - Hell no. Kettle was on and a very strong coffee was in order to kick start the day.

It wasn't long until I again saw the lilly pads being knocked as the carp where milling around in them. Most of the activity was on the opposite side of the pads too me, in a little swim where the carp confidently swim right under your rod tips. I had been trickling a mixture of Kudos and Yellow Peril boilies into this swim all spring and had caught a few nice fish from it already.

I soon realised that some of the carp must have drifted off the shallows, over where I had set my traps for the night and headed straight for the safety of the pads and had probably spent the whole night in them.

A big plume of bubbles hit the surface in the little swim and that was it - I was soon winding the rods in and on the move around to it.

   What lies beneath? A carp's idea of heaven?

What lies beneath? A carp's idea of heaven?

With re-tied bottom bait rigs, and chopped down Yellow Peril hookbaits, I added a small bag of chops to help keep the rig from tangling and also to add a little extra attraction around the hookbaits. The two underarm flicks were perfect and went down with a nice clean 'donk' - on the money, as a dear friend would say.

Both lines were slackened off to allow the line to naturally sink to the contours and the clutches were set tight, as letting the carp gain sanctuary in the pads would normally result in a lost fish.

Once the rods were out, the tea kit was on once more for a refreshing brew, the effort for the quick move had made me thirsty. I sat by the rods with my tea as the next set of bubbles began to break the surface just behind where I had positioned my hookbaits. As the minutes went by, more bubbles fizzed up from the bottom, slowly getting closer and closer to my traps.

The time was now about 5.30am and a coot had decided that it was time for his breakfast too. Guess where? - Yes that's right, over my spots!

I couldn't believe it, I definitely had a couple of fish feeding down there and a coot starts dive-bombing the bottom of the lake for his own food. I tried everything to stop the coot from feeding off the spot, waving my arms around like a lunatic, swinging my spod in the air from side to side as well as my landing net. All this had to be done very quietly and also slowly, as I wanted to scare the coot away, but not the fish. It must have looked really funny for anybody opposite me that morning.

Through no scaring of my own, the coot charged off back to his nest, a grebe had closed in on his nest and his mate was calling for back-up!

I sat back down, hoping my chance hadn't been blown. It hadn't. Another big set of bubbles broke the surface right over the right hand rod, and as they continued to hit the surface the alarm let out a single bleep, something had knocked the line.

As I waited patiently, the inevitable happened and the bobbin rose with such force, I heard it hit the rod before the alarm let out its war cry - I was in!

I grabbed for the rod and pulled into the fish. It boiled straightaway on the surface by the edge of the pads, but didn't gain the safety of the pads on its bid for freedom. I held firm and didn't give the carp an inch knowing that if it did get into the lilies I might loose it. As the fish turned I reached for my landing net, dropping it into the waters edge ready to be used.

Once the carp neared the net I scooped up my prize and let out a shout - YES!

Sitting up most of the night, watching for signs of fish. Making sure I was still up at first light, I was shattered, but had seen the activity to make the move I needed to do - and now it was all worth it for in the folds of my landing net I had a good fish!

I readied the mat and zeroed the scales, then hoisted my prize from out of the lake to see her in all her glory. As she lay there on my unhooking mat, I could see it was a carp called Popeye, one of the old originals from the lake. On the scales the weight read 37lb 6oz and I placed her into the retaining sling while I got my camera equipment ready.

   My mobile approach works, with this old original gracing the net

My mobile approach works, with this old original gracing the net

Shots were taken and Popeye was returned back to her home not knowing how happy she had made me that morning. I was tired from lack of sleep, but with such a great capture the day drifted by effortlessly.

Well as you can see from this tale, my mobile approach has been working well for me. If I can, I will sleep under the stars, all my unnecessary tackle which I don't really use has been removed from my carryall and I try as always to travel as light as I possibly can.

Until next time,

Paul Moulder