So, my first time back on the bank was a quick overnighter on my own syndicate lake. Although I wanted to go, once there I’ll be honest I didn’t fish well. I literally dropped the rods in the edge, a handful of bait and then had a social. It was almost to the point where I honestly couldn’t be bothered. But I did have a great social and it was good to be back on the bank amongst friends. A couple of weeks later I fitted in a second overnighter on a water over in Oxford. The weather went against me big time on this one with temperatures dropping below zero during the night ruining any chance of a bite. The big difference on this occasion though was that I did work at it and enjoyed trying to find and outwit the carp.
Out of the blue the next week, I had a call from Joe Morgan asking if I was free the following Monday to shoot a feature for Carp-TV. I agreed and suggested that perhaps we should ask my close friend Warren Fenn along so we could work and fish together on the chosen venue, Farlows. Now I don’t know the water at all. I’ve only ever fished it on two overnighters before, but as you’re aware, Warren has smashed the place each and every time he’s been since last August. We arrived at lunchtime on the Monday and the lake was very quiet. A cold south easterly wind was blowing, however Warren found the fish in one of the back bays. It was an obvious choice, a sheltered shallow bay that the fish were happy in. I settled to fish in the bay itself and Warren fished the entrance. Now as with all features, the pressure is on to catch for the cameras, more self-pressure than pressure from the crew, but you still want to get one live for the camera.
Warren managed to nail one within the first hour and then quickly followed up with another bite, but unfortunately lost it when the hook fell out. I was happily watching fish in front of me whilst pondering on what to do to get one to make a mistake. The bay was very shallow and full of reeds and weed. It was the perfect place where the fish could hide away easily not really having to come out to eat my food. As I was still switching on to being back out on the bank and working out the situation the day passed without a sniff for me. I upped my game just before dark and got the baits out to areas where I thought I’d have a chance. I did have a chance at 1am; the fish made it into the reeds but with steady pressure I managed to coax it out. It felt quite hefty during the fight. Just as I thought I’d got the better of it, literally a rod length out it found a snag and all went solid. I couldn’t believe it! All options went through my mind, even thinking, ‘it’s shallow, perhaps I could wade out’ but alas after trying everything else the fish managed to transfer the hook into thick weed.
Next morning I sat being interviewed by Joe and time to catch one was rapidly running out. I noticed the fish were moving through the reeds at the back of the bay and into the other area of lake. I tied a solid pva bag, mounted a Baitworks ‘Scent from Hell’ white pop-up and sent it out to the far reed margin. Joe was due to leave at 12pm that morning and this was 10.30am! We finished the interview and were stood looking across the bay when my Delk let out a single bleep. Looking down at the rod tip the line started to tighten and in an instant I picked up the rod and lent into a bait thief. Nick, who was on the camera, got the film rolling and we were on. After a good tussle Joe slipped a net under a very welcome mirror, all caught on film. Phew, job done! My first carp since my gear had been stolen and all live for the camera. This feature will be in the current episode of Carp-TV which was out at the end of May. Grab a copy if you fancy seeing the above as it happened.
Next for me was an Open Weekend at Total Tackle’s, Bird’s Green fishery. I’ve really enjoyed this weekend over the last few years. We (Trakker) have been invited each year to fish the lake, passing on advice and tips whilst showcasing new products. This year we focused on the new Tempest Air (which is my current choice of shelter) and the new RLX Bedchair and Chairs. Other brands were present such as Cynet Tackle and Aqua with the Fast & Light Brolly. Myself, Dave Waite and Milky fished. In the week prior to the open weekend, the lake had been flooded so a slow weekend as far as bites go was expected. I fished to a gap between the reeds and a bush off the island. The edge here is to get the bag as close to the island as you can, the closer you are, the quicker the bite. Regular casting was key; every hour at least. Attendance over the course of the weekend was fantastic. We saw lots of people and I managed seven fish to just over 20lb, an all-round result! I must thank Andy, Matt and all the lads at Total Tackle for organising another great event and for their generous hospitality.
Coming right up to date, I was recently asked if I could do a tutorial over on Linear fisheries’ Brasenose Two, which I happily agreed to. I met up with Dan and Rich on Friday evening and settled in for the night. Rich was on ‘em and proceed to catch a few up to 25lb+ which was a great result. On Saturday every swim on the lake was taken and the fish decided to sit out in the middle out of reach. We worked hard with solid pva bags, single hookbaits and zigs to get bites. Rich managed a couple more and Dan had a cracking fully scaled. On my middle rod I cast a single Kingfish 18mm tipped with a sliver of peperami out at about 130yrds.
An hour later I got a few bleeps and a tightening line. I picked up the rod and lent into the fish. Now at that distance I did lean hard into it to set the hook. What happened next surprised me and the lads a bit. The fish ejected the lead and hit the surface at that distance and proceed to strip 30yrds of line off the clutch that was quite tight. Angry and powerful was an understatement. What a scrap, a good ten-minute fight. In the clear margins I could see it was a cracking looking fish. As it rolled into the net, I could see it was possibly one of the Elstow strain of fish in Brasenose Two. Long, scaley and weighing in at 23lb+, it was a very welcome fish. For the rest of the day, Dan, Rich and myself went through various presentations including rigs, baits, knots, casting techniques etc. I left at 5pm only to receive a text from Dan saying he’d just landed another mid-double. These couple of fish were his first following twenty straight blanks, so his confidence is back and I’m sure he’ll carry on having a few.
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Until next time, tight linesRichard ‘Cash’ Farnan