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Catching For Cash

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As many of you have already read, i am fishing to raise money for charity next year, and i will be keeping an up to date blog of my fishing escapade's on here during the course of that time.


The challenge will begin on the 1st of January next year and will finish on the 23rd of September when the charity social finishes at Merrington Carp Fishery. My primary aim is to catch 20+ fish over 15lb, but i will be looking at catching some bigger specimens as i progress through the year.


I have a couple of local venues in mind, one of which will receive the majority of my attention. This one i am going to start fishing with in the next few weeks, to firstly give me a feel for the water and also to trickle in some bait over the winter period ready for the challenge ahead.


As well as having the aim for charity i do have my own personal aim of catching 10 + 20lb fish this year. So it is a tall order indeed but one im sure i can accomplish.


I will be writing a detailed account of my adventure's, covering rigs, baiting and thoughts plus hopefully some photo's during the season, which i hope will keep you interested enough to keep reading this blog.


Thanks for reading



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Pre Baiting


As you know i have been thinking of pre baiting a couple of pools ready for the challenge that lays ahead next year, and there is no better time than to start right now.


One of the water's is quite a busy water with plenty of bait going in so i feel i have to do some a little different to firstly present a food on a regular basis that they are not going to get caught on for a while, promoting feeding confidence, secondly doing the baiting in such a way that will be unique, in the way other anglers won't be using this method.


It is a method i have applied before and has payed off but it does take a bit of time to introduce.


Now i am a massive fan of PVA, i have used the solid pva bags for years and only recently have i moved over to the mesh, stick variety. The pva sticks i think give me the best presentation i can use for fishing in normal circumstances but if i do encounter a lot of weed i will move back over to the bigger solid variety.


This leads me on to how i will pre bait the one pool, the one thing that always baffles me when anyone baits up is, why would you bait up with single boilie when you are using any kind of pva system. To my mind for the best part, yes the fish will come across the boilies and eventually start eating the baits with some confidence given enough time, but then the angler will fish with a pva system that is totally different to the free offerings. Which looks completely alien to what the fish are feeding on confidently. So my method is to pre bait with the pva sticks, as this is what i am going to be fishing with during the course of next year. This will get the fish used to coming across my sticks and hopefully give the fish enough confidence for my assault next year.


The sticks i use are the 32mm variety, filled with two table spoons of mix. These can be catapulted out to some distance, so that won't be an issue. The sticks will only be placed where i think the fish are regularly going to visit, i didnt want to start piling in a massive amount of bait as other anglers will just fish over the top. But a steady supply of four or five sticks for every spot should be enough during the course of the next three months.


I don't like using just small particles in the mix itself as i think a lot of the smaller fish will clear it all before the carp get the chance to find the food.


The recipe for the mix is as follows


Chopped and crumbed boilies

Groundbait that matches the boilies im using

Some crushed pellets




This mix gives a good variety of food and attraction as well as giving the carp something to eat.

Its going to be quite hard not to go and fish for a few weeks as i know the bait will be working for me, but ill just have to sit on my hands for now until i feel the time is right. Ill let you all know how it goes in a few weeks.


Thanks for reading

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Hello fella's


Right an update


I went down to the lake in question, and was very surprised to find nobody fishing it at all. I must say there's some lovely looking area's to fish and a few swims that command a lot of water.

I didn't really do any plumbing around, i just wanted to see the water for myself.

After a good look around at some nice looking spots, i did trickle in some bait, but it wasn't until i was leaving when two others guys informed me its full of crayfish, which to be honest left me a little deflated. These little horror's seem to be following me every where at the moment, but nonetheless im still going to give it few session's before christmas, just to see how bad it is. It does mean a total re think as regards to baiting though, the fishmeals are out of the window, and the vegi baits are back in.

Now i know crayfish will eat anything but in my experience they do love a fishmeal, so this will be avoided at all cost's.

I think i might bait up with a mixture of hempseed, corn and chick pea's. With chick pea's and a grain of plastic corn as a hook bait. I have used chick pea's before to some success, but i do find them a little soft from the can. So i might roast the hookbaits in the oven, just to see how they turn out, also i will probably heat up the remainder of the chick pea's and give them a good dose of curry powder, as winter is on its way.

Chick pea's are a little difficult to present in a stick mix, and i feel the blender may well make another appearance to the kitchen work top. So what i will do is blend the chick pea's up add the corn and hempseed whole and mix in some dried ground crumb, proper vegi style, :D .


I still want to pre bait the lake and will be going down once a week as before until i feel its ready for a fish.


Thanks for looking

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Just a little update


This will be the mix im pre baiting with, although it does mean using the dreaded spod :roll: . I haven't spodded anything for years but needs must.




1/2 kilo of dry Chick Pea's, soaked in garlic and chilli for 24 hours then boiled for 20 mins.

Mixed in with 1/2 kilo of hempseed and 1/2 kilo of sweetcorn.

Whilst the particles are still hot ive added a big table spoon full of marmite.


Off out again tomorrow pre baiting a few spots, then fishing in a couple of weeks.

Hopefully if all goes well and i can avoid the crayfish ill be using a single chick pea, tipped off with a single grain of corn.


Thanks for looking

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Well another update lads


It was a good morning all round. I arrived at the lake to find it totally devoid of anglers again so i took the chance to walk round the whole lake and do some plumbing about and spod some bait out. I must say after the first few initial casts i got my eye in with spodding accurately again, easier when there isn't anyone watching :lol: .

I must of baited a good ten or so spots, one of which a decent size carp topped out after fifteen minutes, so that was a good sign. A pike grabbed hold of my marker float, which made me smile and i saw another three fish shouldering out, two in the shallows and one in the margin to my left of one of the swims i quite fancy.

One disaster though, the top of my spod broke off, right on the last spod full of bait, so its given me a reasonable excuse to order a new bright yellow Gardner rocket.

I did lose a bit of mix out of the back of the spod, which i had forgotten about, but this is easily solved with either some pva nuggets or some dry mix pushed into the back of the spod.

I just thought i would mention, while plumbing around im not actually looking for any cleaner gravelly spots. Now winter is approaching im looking for the deeper drop off's, where i believe a lot of the bait will end up dropping into anyway, and with the colder months drawing in, the fish are going to be seeking deeper water to hold up in, keeping away from the colder upper layers.

I feel quite happy with what i have seen and done today, the plan was to get as much of the lake covered in bait today, and as the weeks pass by i will narrow the baiting down to two to three spots, hopefully drawing the fish into where i want them, i just hope all this work pays off.


Until next time


Speak to you all soon

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My rigs have changed very slightly recently, in fact the only real major tweak would be the company i am using. Along with quality, reliability and cost, one overwhelming aspect is customer service. Now i have talked to both Richard and Lewis at Gardner Tackle and both have always made time and made me feel like nothing was to much trouble. Gardner Tackle have always been at the forefront of carp fishing for as long as i can remember, so i would indeed fully endorse their products. After having at chat with Lewis, telling him exactly what i was looking for he put me onto these products.




This is the rig




The rig itself is 6 inches long, i find this a nice length of hooklink, i would shorten the rig for a solid pva presentation, but i find this length perfect for a stick presentation.

The loop at the lead end just lends itself for a quick change rig, when used in conjunction with speed links.




The hair is coming off right round the bend of the hook to add weight to the point, with a ring tied to the end ready to tie any bait on using floss.

The only other thing i have added to this rig is a Korda Sinker just to ensure the hooklink is pinned down to the deck.


The lead system is an inline set up, i still feeling it gives me the neatest presentation as i have drilled out the lead to encapsulate the speed link and rubber, plus i have counter sunk the hole at the back of the lead to it easily slides over any leader knots.




I have tied a loop in the end of the leader so i can break the whole lead system down and change the lead at the drop of a hat, should i need to.





As you can see the whole lot pulls into the lead, leaving a very tidy presentation.

This presentation is set up so i can change anything i want to very quickly, without having to cut through the mainline.

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Little update


Went to the water yesterday morning for another pre baiting trip, i was expecting to see some fish on the surface as the sun was out, but no such luck.


Anyway i got another 5 area's baited, the same area's as last week, i didn't see any signs of fish activity, but one of the margin area's i had baited last week was cleared off.


However i did manage to break my marker float this time, which is really annoying, that's a Fox, Korda and MCF one i have broken now. Im getting sick of items not being up to scratch, so i went and purchased two Gardner marker floats, why not im on the Gardner rampage at the moment. The other floats have all gone at the swivel, apart from the MCF one, which for some bizarre reason, has now been changed over to plastic eyes which can not stand the forces imposed by a braided mainline, silly really. I thought it was just me but Keith was holding one as i walked into his shop complaining of the same problem. The Gardner ones have a simple brass loop, no over complications just nice and simple.


The new spod performed well, it did get a bit of a wobble on when fully loaded which was easily sorted by just filling the spod two thirds the way up.


As i said last week i was going to try and stop the spillage out of the back of the spod by thickening the mix up a little with some oats. This worked quite well. I had no where near the amount of spillage as last week and the spod stayed true through the cast.


Right that's it for now until next week

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Well boys


After spending most of the week feeding, burping and changing young Ben, a couple of hours spent on the bank, baiting, was a most welcome interlude. You see i take over the baby duties at night giving the missus the much needed rest that she deserves, which, in between feeds leaves me an hour or two to get as much emailing done as i possibly can, to try and drum up interest for the raffle/auction next year. 60 messages in all so far, 3 responses and 2 declining, which is what i expected to be honest, as a lot of our illustrious tackle/bait companies already donate to a lot of worthy charities.

When your going to bed at 2 o'clock in the morning and being woken at 4'am and 6'am and then getting up at 6.30'am to start the daily task's it can leave you feeling a little deflated, confused and a little rough around the edges.

If you hear on the news today about a hairy beast like figure with blood shot eyes being spotted roaming the banks of a lake in the West Midlands this morning, fear not it was me.

Nevertheless i battled the fatigue and got down to the water at 9'am, to again find absolutely no one fishing there again.

I have narrowed the baiting down to three spots now the first session looms in a couple of weeks. I did see 3 to 4 fish roll in the general area, which is a much greeted sign and left me feeling a little more confident.

I am itching to get on the bank and start fishing but i still have to be patient, as i will be fishing a Sunday i think i will go on the Friday before and bait up the same as usual, hopefully bringing in the fish.

I have now started to think about how i am going to hit the first session on there, but ill leave that for another blog closer to the time, as im experimenting with stick mixes at the moment.

Oh yeah by the way, i managed not to break anything this time, hooray.


The view from my chosen swim, it commands a lot of water




Anyway until next time, good luck to you all and have fun.

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I just thought i would do a little more of an update with the first session rapidly approaching. This one will cover a few of my first session plans and approaches

I have just settled Ben down after a good feed and a quick change, so i have a couple of hours of spare time before he wakes for another feed.


Right, coffee at the ready and where do i start.


A little update for the raffle/auction Spomb Ltd are on board, and they have even offered to send the items straight out from their premises to who ever wins the items, which is a help.

Plus they have very generously sent me some free spombs for my own personal use, which i am very happy about, so i will be putting these through their pace's on Friday.




I do not own a spod rod, so the smaller versions will come in very handy indeed, as you know i can break down the presentation on my fishing rods, thus removing the lead, which in turn means i can simply attach one of these spombs when ever i feel the need. So a massive thank you to Spomb for giving me that option.


I have been thinking a lot about how i am going to approach my first session and i think it would be a good idea to cover all bases. I have been predominantly been baiting with chick pea's, hempseed and sweetcorn to try and totally avoid the resident crayfish but i would still like to fish one rod with my boilies. I have so much confidence with these boilies that i would be silly not to fish with them. I have been put off because i have found crayfish love a fishmeal boilie, but i still think it is worth ago to cover all options.

There is one area where i have seen fish on a regular basis, rolling and topping out, which i haven't baited. Again covering a few more options, so i think i will just use a single boilie and stick mix on this area and maybe just a scattering of a few boilies.


Now i am a big fan of line concealment, and have recently been put on to this product.


Which is a great product, it hugs the bottom so well, and it is no where near as abrasive as leadcore. There are a few snags in this water especially in the margins so i feel justified using a leader.

Plus i use the Gardner pin down flying backleads, these are the original and in my opinion still the best.


And i use my own backleads


I find other manufactured backleads to heavy, especially when lifting into a fish. These are only 10 grams in weight and do the job perfectly for me.


I have just re spooled my reels, and i was looking for a supple, fast sinking but strong line. All the other lines i have used have been a bit stiff and a bit of a nightmare on the spools, so again after a lot of question's asked and a brief word with Lewis at Gardner Tackle i decided on the Pro Carp in !5lb.


First impression after a good soak in warm water for a couple of hours, it went on the spools like a dream. Last week i did test the line for its sinking ability and casting ability. Now im no expert on line at all, but it did cast very nicely, and sunk very well indeed, so much so i may dispense with my backleads, i will see with further testing.

I think with all of these little details i have the line concealment pretty sewn up.

All this weekend i have been tying rigs ready for the sessions that lay ahead, and all i have to do now is work on a chick pea stick mix.

So until next time

Good luck to you all

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great write up, a couple of things i would do/think about. first, if the contour hugs the bottom really well do you need a flying back lead? even the small flying ones can mess up indication a bit? second, if you have so much faith in the boilies but crays are a problem, (you should of lived in east london in the 60s lol, i'll get my coat) then how about fishing on in the near margins so you can check regularly and just lower back on the spot without to much/if any disturbance casting back in? i always enjoy your write ups, keep em coming and good luck

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I am fishing on a marginal spot, but the others are in open water where i have seen fish top and roll on a regular basis. The contour is really good, but if i use a leader i don't like it any longer than a couple of feet. I feel a longer leader would tangle easier, should i have a break. So the pin down leads are an ideal option for pinning down the mainline behind the leader. I suppose its a confidence thing really. I do have a lot of faith in the boilies i use, in fact they have caught me fish right from the off on many a water, but crayfish do love these boilies, which is why im trying to totally avoid them with chick pea's, whether it works or not is another matter, but i just wanted to try the boilies, to see how the crayfish react and the carp too, again its confidence. If i start getting the tell tale signs of crayfish then ill have to re think my tactics. I really don't mind what the crayfish do to the bait, as this can be easily sorted with either mesh or hardened baits, but they do mess up your presentation, which i hate. :D

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Nice one Gary, I have the Pro Carp too! What a surprize! 8)


It seems to be very good line Kev, its being put through its pace's with a spod and later this week with a spomb. I have tried some distance casting and it casts very well and sits on the reel very nicely.

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good write up mate...nice looking water too...maybe a bit more about the history/ stockings etc??....do like reading what other people are facing...and their chosen attack on a water...and reasons why...what other probs are you coming up against...tow??....etc etc ....keep them coming mate :wink:

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