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Courtz's Carpy Captures 2008

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Well i've decided to write a blog / diary styled peice to add a bit more detail to my captures and campaign, hope you like the first peice!


With less than a month before my club water shuts for a 6 week closed season, and with a level exams looming; I decided something had to be done in order to finally catch my first carp from the water in 2008. The start of the new year had been anything but easy, the weather showed no consistency with the lake freezing on several occasions, the eventual long awaited mild periods were often ruined by wintry showers returning the lake to an apparent dormant state. As a result the fishing was slow, very slow. Up until mid march a total of 3 carp had been caught even with about 6 anglers fishing the lake regularly. As I have mentioned none of these fell to my rods, only the occasional bream or rogue roach breaking the silence of my alarms. I knew what was going to happen; the lake would suddenly kick off in my absence. Fate played its part and whilst away for a weekend at bluebell lakes a total of five carp were caught over that short period of time, only one of which below 18lbs in weight. I had to get down there……but couldn’t! Pre-arranged plans along with part time work and the start of my driving lessons put hold to my urge to get down there, in fact with the next weekend signalling the end of my Easter break which went all to quickly, and with college returning I figured out it would be two weeks before I could get down there. Two weeks! Of planning, anticipation and overall pure torture! I couldn’t let this chance pass by so easily; something had to be done to turn the odds in my favour!


The amount of bait which was being introduced to the lake over winter had been limited, with many members resorting to one bite tactics through the colder months. I’d been introducing a fair amount of bait on a fairly regular basis, but now was time to step it up a notch. In the absence of actually fishing the lake I was in no way wasting my time, atleast four times a week I would make the 16 mile round bike journey just to be at the water. In this time and also from staying awake until the early hours on a previous session, well to be more precise it was after being woken by a big bream on a previous session, I had noticed an area where fish would consistently give away their presence. This is an area of the lake which gets very little pressure; mostly because the swims commanding this body of water are rather uncomfortable to say the least. Confident in the knowledge of where the fish could be found, and also that there was a tiny chance of my pre baiting being exploited by someone else; it was time to get the bait going in! Visiting the lake every other evening I’d introduce between one and two kilos of Bangon Baits DSM plum per night, the majority of which to the back of a small bar in an expanse of light silt on the neglected body of water, but also around other areas of the lake depending on how much pressure the water was receiving. As this carried on it was evident of increasing activity over the chosen spot, but also the lake seemed to of woken up further, with several more fish being caught around the twenty pound mark. Keeping up the baiting for another week and it was finally time to get the rods out; full of confidence the few final days couldn’t pass any quicker. I must of checked over my kit a dozen times on the final night in preparation, new rigs tied and everything ready to load in the car the following evening, I was ready and full of anticipation.




Not even room for an overwrap, and a steep drop towards the rods; not exactly comfort carping!


Arriving a few hours before dusk I started on a quick lap around the lake, three other anglers were fishing so it was time to have a chat and lower their tea supplies. Whilst looking across the lake I sat there smugly in the knowledge that my baited section of water remained vacant, just as I was expecting really. Stood on the higher ground close to the car park I made out a couple of figures just below the surface close in against a large overhanging willow, a couple of the inhabitants of the lake which had eluded me so far this year. They cruised steadily sticking to one area of the lake in particular, the section which was receiving the least pressure unsurprisingly. I could have had an opportunity to try and get these fish going on surface bait? Surely it would be reasonable to assume that they weren’t the only fish present. In the end I decided against it in fear of spooking the fish from the body of water they already occupied, instead using the last moments of daylight to ensure I could get my rigs effectively positioned.


Finding the spot was a simple process, out went the marker which was gradually dragged back until the first knocks of gravel were felt. Counting the float up registered fourteen feet of water, the area just behind gradually sloping to sixteen. Casting the rod out a few feet behind the float and clipping it up got the right positioning over the back. Next on goes the rig, a 6 inch rigmarole black Hydrolink to a Nash TT Fang X baited with a DSM plum bottom bait. A golf ball sized pva bag of matching freebies both whole and crushed along with a few matching pellets and bits of paste is hooked on, before the rig sails out past the float and gentle lands with a dull thud on the lakebed, that’ll do nicely! Sinking the line and allowing plenty of slack to prevent a sharp angle coming off the back of the bar, next out comes the catty to spread about 50 fourteen millers in the area behind the back of the float, followed by six spodfuls of matching pellet. The other rod is placed to the right of the swim under an overhanging tree in seven feet of water, the lead donks down nicely on the gravely bottom which runs for the majority of the road bank margins, a few baits both broken and whole and the job’s a good un. Sitting back for a moment to consume my third tea of the night, thinking about the session ahead I notice a few black clouds appearing on the horizon, time to set up the bivvy I think! Not long after and I’m about settled in to the tight swim, rods sorted, shelter set up and tidy next up for a bit of food. Whilst cooking an all day breakfast in a tin I fail to notice a small commotion in front of my swim, only alerted by the ripple marks gently flowing from close to the left hand rig. A couple of bleeps on the alarm get me poised on the edge of the bedchair in readiness, but nothing is forthcoming. Now into darkness a few splashes can be heard out in the lake, interrupted by the sound of heavy drizzle on the top of my bivvy. I’m not sure about you but I can’t stand it, the endless chorus having an effect similar to Chinese water torture. Trying to eliminate the constant drone I decided to read for what seemed like an eternity, however it must have only been close to midnight when I finally drifted off into a dream land filled with carp.


With no disturbances in the night early dawn arrives; awoken by the tune of flo rider coming from somewhere behind the bivvy, half asleep I turned back over into the sleeping bag before realising what it was. Picking up my phone from the bedchair pouch I peer hazily onto the screen. ‘1 missed call’ right who’s that then pressing a few buttons and ‘Jordan’ appears on the screen, the lad fishing down to my left, I’d better go and see what he wants. Walking along in the dim light I notice a few ripple marks as I approach his swim, what’s he done then? Gone and fallen in? As I get closer there he is bent double with a fish which is trying to do its best to avoid the waiting net, joining him in the swim I am bang on cue to net it for him after a couple more lunges. From memory it was a mirror of around 17lbs, but a cracking red chestnut shade from it’s winter colours, also his second take of the early hours, unfortunately loosing the first to a hook pull. A bit of banter is exchanged and I trot back to my camp hope of some early morning action, the period which seems to be most production in the recent weeks. Despite scanning the water constantly over a few morning cups of tea little more than a few roach reveal their presence and before I know it noon is upon us! Knowing the best chance of a fish had probably passed I clip the rods and reel them in, on inspection I’m annoyed to find the hook on the left had rod has embedded deep into the bait, rendering it obsolete, damn that was the banker spot too!


After quickly nipping to the local shop for a few supplies once again I’m on a quick stroll around the lake. With the polaroids on I can only noticed a few shapes just under the surface towards the central body of water, and despite two more laps of the lake I spot nothing which would make me consider moving. Back to the swim then and time to get the rods sorted. With the small group of fish still visible at around forty yards range I set up a surface rig on the spare rod, whilst catapulting out a couple of small mesh bags of mixers. Cruising lazily beneath the free offerings they show no sign of interest and gradually fade away as a dark cloud blocks the afternoon sun, great more rain I mutter! Getting the rods out to the same spots seemed to be a priority, and after a couple of attempts I was happy with the placement of both. Not with a minute to spare either; just as the clouds reached overhead hail started falling heavily and dimpling the surface of the lake. I was forced the move everything into the back of the shelter as the hail started entering through the open faced front, then the wind picked up even further! As you’ll of seen this swim is nowhere near big enough to fit on overwrap on, forcing me to lift up the groundsheet and pull it over my bedchair in order to keep my belongings dry until the showers had passed over. There’s not much more to report for that evening apart from the occasional liner, which nearly had me slipping down the now lubricated section of ground towards the rods. Two other anglers packed up, leaving the lake in just the presence of myself and another down towards the far end bay. Luckily the night stayed dry, reducing the chance of a broken limb if I was to get a run, but no action was forthcoming and I was left scratching my head at mid morning the next day.


Whilst cooking a nice greasy fry up in the company of the bailiff’s son, we noticed a fish break the surface across the lake against a tree lined section of margin. A few moments later and it came straight out the water; again close to a large overhanging hawthorn tree, time to go and have a closer look! The weather was now warm and bright with hardly any wind at all, climbing up a tree on the opposite bank gave a good view of the water out in front. Still I noticed the occasional solitary fish cruising through the swim, but they looked like they had no intension of feeding. Grabbing a few mixers and a catty I returned and fired out a dozen or so baits in front of the swim, out of nowhere appeared a pair of mallards who engulfed the lot and sat there quacking for more, blooming ducks! Eventually they drifted away to the confines of a large willow tree, so not making the same mistake twice out went two small pva mesh bags of mixers; not so clever now are you ducks!!! Even with the baits remaining in the swim for a good half an hour no response was provoked by the odd passing carp, cruising straight under the offerings without even flinching. Even so there were still fish present, so this is where I decided to move for the remainder of the session, aiming to travel light with just a pair of rods and a stalking rod, along with the necessary rig pieces, bait and unhooking gear. Within twenty minutes I had packed up my excess gear from the initial swim and concealed it in the top car park, before heading off to where I had spotted the fish. Trying to stalk one was to be my priority, so the pair of rods were placed against a tree towards the back of the swim and once again I climbed up the same tree to get a lookout to the watery depths below. The bright sun had stayed and I was pleasantly surprised to view over a dozen fish sat lazily below the surface, almost a third of the lakes carp population! It was evident of a group of large fish cruising gently in a pattern which was directly above a large bar about 30 yards out, and also a couple of fish concealed along the tree lined margin to my left, making the most of this unsettled patch of bright sunshine. Again out go a couple of mesh bags of mixers slightly upwind of where the fish are held up. This time a couple of fish seemed to show a slight interest, cruising gentle under the baits for closer inspection before gulping down the occasional free offering. This was a chance too good to miss!




They looked up for a floater whilst cruising in the afternoon sun


Keen to capitalise on this opportunity I grabbed the stalking rod and start tying up a long mono hooklength of 9lb powerline, ready to attach to the floating braid mainline of the small shimano reel; with the intension of freelining in hope of a bite from the fish which were gradually cruising closer and closer! My hands were shaking so much in anticipation that it took much longer to connect the leader onto the mainline, and just that moment my phone rang, it was a friend inquisitive of how I was getting on. ‘’Can’t talk now mate, I’ve got a few good fish feeding along a tree lined margin and am tying up a stalking rig now, I’ll text you when I bag a 20!’’


With the rig now ready I continued to flick the odd mixer out into the path of feeding fish, gradually they became more excited until atleast four fish were eating the baits with some consistency, increasing their confidence for a further twenty minutes until I cast out a baited rig. Well I’d like to say that I nailed one first cast, but obviously this cannot always be the case! An hour later and although the fish were still evident I had yet to have a proper inspection of the hookbaits by one of the resident carp. Gradually the fish moved a bit further out of range, so I had to resort to small bags of mixers to get the necessary distance whilst freelining. Despite many of the freebies disappearing I had only experienced one missed opportunity, the fish heading in a straight line for the hookbait, before freezing on the spot. Now who said carp can’t swim backwards? Well this one didn’t abide to this as it gradually backed away! The bright spell had now vanished as a dark cloud drew overhead, again came a shower of hail, which got heavier, and heavier! Reeling in the hookbait I was forced the seek shelter against the bank of earth behind the swim, sitting there huddle next to my gear with the unhooking mat over my head, providing a barrier against the consistent barrage of small balls of ice. Just as the hail started to die off I felt a slight tickling on the back of my neck, brushing my hand along my head revealed what it was, BEES!!! Jumping from under the cover I legged it 40 yards to the adjacent swim, I had always wondered what those small holes were!


Within ten minutes the bright sun had returned, and luckily the bees had vacated the swim for the time being. So returning back up the tree and my heart sank as no more dark figures could be seen at anywhere around the lake. Disheartened I took the opportunity to get one of my static rods out, a single DSM plum pop up cast towards the bar where the fish had been holding up, feeling it down with a solid donk I was pleased with the positioning, and happy in the knowledge that the area had received a fair bit of the matching bait over the couple of days previous. Pulling off a couple of feet of slack line I sat back and waited for the line to sink before walking over and clipping on the bobbin. Just at that moment I noticed a group of three fish cruising lazily past, in a direction towards the overhanging margin to my left. All three of which looked every ounce of 20lb, one common and two mirrors which looked a few pounds bigger! Picking up the stalking rod already baited with a Bangon Baits condensed milk wafter, I flicked the rig in the direction of the margin, about eight feet in front of the intended targets, it landed effortlessly with no more than a splash. The group of fish cruised up towards the bait with the common pushing in front of his two friends before freezing for what seemed like an eternity with his nose inches from the bait. Right on time he inhaled the bait and sweeping back the rod I was met with a solid resistance.


I’m not sure who was more surprised out of me or the fish, but if I was to guess then it would have been the fish. Not initially realising its mistake it wallowed gently as I drew it to within two feet of the net cord, then it clicked and he was having none of it. The little 8ft rod took on a nice curve as I was left having to backwind furiously as the fish made off for the other end of the lake at some pace.




After taking atleast 70 yards of braid on the first run the fish began to slow down on its escape, and circled effortlessly in the centre of the lake with the rod still compressed, gradually as I gained line the fish drew closer and closer. Staying on the surface for a while, whilst giving a magnificent fight as it bow waved in every direction possible, an exhilarating fight on braid I can tell you!




It was probably a further 5 minutes before I had the fish wallowing about twenty feet out from the net, looking in a state of surrender. Keeping the rod high my prize drew closer and closer, praying that the size 10 hook would hold. Luckily it did and she kissed the net cord first time.




Lifting her onto the mat she didn’t look as bulky as she has been before, having lost a bit of weight around the girth. The tiny Drennan barbel hook was embedded to the bend, two inches back within the roof of it’s massive mouth. Onto the scales she registered 20lb 7oz, my first twenty of the year and a stunner at that!



20lb 7oz


Another angler from the lake rattled off a dozen or so photos along with a little bit of video footage of me returning her, cheers the pictures look great! Holding her back in the edge she passed a few air bubbles from out her gills, and realising the presence of freedom bolted away instantly giving me a soaking as she went.





Well that was it, my first fish of the year from my target lake for the majority of the season, and with two weeks left of the season I hope I can manage to fool another of the residents into taking a bait. Throughout the closed season I’ll still be keeping in contact with the water, through a couple of work parties when I get to go out in the boat amongst other jobs. Also by visiting the lake regularly I’ll be able to keep the bait going in at a regular occurrence. Hopefully this summer will bring results which are even close the last year I spent there, in which I experienced one of my most rewarding years carping in my life.


Tight lines and get out there,



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With no disturbances in the night early dawn arrives; awoken by the tune of flo rider coming from somewhere behind the bivvy, half asleep I turned back over into the sleeping bag before realising what it was. Picking up my phone from the bedchair pouch I peer hazily onto the screen. ‘1 missed call’


Flo Rider!?! You CHAV Courtz! :lol:

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As for this weekend.............


With it being my mum's birthday yesterday my parents have gone away for the weekend as from this morning, good and bad at the same time..................


The only downside is the lack of transport means to actually get to the lake :cry:


I was up this morning with the stalking rod and landing net strapped to my bike frame, bait in a rucksack. Leaving just the obstruction of an unhooking mat which may create a few minor implications on the 8 mile journey along a couple of main roads! Luckily phoning a firend who lives close to the lake and i've managed to scrounge one if i want.


Getting on the bike i notice a couple of problems

1. I cant make any left turns due to the obstruction of the net pole :lol::lol:

2. The brake cables have twisted around the net pole :lol:


Luckily i've managed to blag a lift off my sister when she finishes work which means a 24 hour session is in order, so am sat here with the gear almost ready begging for 6pm to arrive any quicker, hopefully my first 20 mirror of the year could be on the cards???


Will report back tommorow :D


Must hurry up and pass my driving test!!!!!!!

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