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Winter Review

Winter Review

I mentioned in the last blog that I was going to look back on my winters fishing, we are moving into Spring with the days getting warmer and longer it’s a perfect time to look back over the colder months. It was the mildest winter in my memory with no snow in my area and Jack Frost barely paid a visit, trouble was it’s also been the wettest. Rain, rain and more rain is what kept the sky cloudy keeping the temperature up at night. What brought the cold factor on the banks was the high winds that seemed to be a persistent as the rain. It cancelled the odd fishing trip through me not wanting to try and sit it out by the lake, the one type of weather I don’t like fishing in is the wind. I will quite happily fish in any other weather even heavy rain or snow, the wind makes casting difficult and its hard to get a sturdy shelter like a brolly of bivvy to hold upto it.

The original winter plan was to pre-bait the canal and get a serious campaign on there while the boat traffic was at a minimum from November onwards but with the weather being so good for the time of year, the amount of boats moving around the waterways was still high and the temptation of moving onto lakes was too much for me. Two other plans in the back of my mind were catching a few predators on lures and a bit of river Chub fishing as I do every winter. Although I got a bit of lure fishing in, the rain had kept most rivers on a very high flooding level pretty much all winter long so I never got a go on there before the close season.

In the Autumn I was fishing the Blue Lias Caravan site pond with mixed success, a few captures including a repeat one in the size of an 11lb Mirror but never got into anything larger. As the weeks past into November and December I was working alot on six if not seven day weeks which didn’t leave much time for fishing and was the final death of my canal plans. The few chances I did get on the banks were lure fishing sessions after predators, I suffered a few blanks but did catch a few small Perch and Pike which was good for me as it was something different to chasing Carp. I had a few disasters over December which included a damaged car and Otters turning up on the one chance I did get to go Carp fishing for the day. It wasn’t until after Christmas and New Years, once work had died down a bit, that I had the time to get my winter Carp sessions back on track with regular visits to the bank. I fished Stockton Reservoir solidly over the first part of the year just because I could usually get a few runs up there even on the coldest winter day. I struggled really with a few blanks, along with a few multi-fish captures, the biggest I caught was about 13lb. I switched it up for the end of winter at Barston which didn’t go to well, catching a small Common and blanking on my two trips up there. All in all my plans 6 months ago changed due work and the weather as the weeks passed by. Looking back its been a bit of a wash out but now with the Summer just around the corner its time to start enjoying the suns rays and the longer days.

I was just a few weeks previously I been considering that my spring campaign would be on the local canal systems. A long hard think about it made me realise that with time and money being on the short side and the frustrating three-month blank I endured with a few lost fish while chasing them last spring that I’m going to concrete on two other venues. These are two different lakes I already know well and hold Carp to over 20lb, Bishops Bowls Mitre Pool and Napton Reservoir. Mitre Pool I have fished the last three years and have had some great days on before. Napton I haven’t Carp fished in 7 years but have a few ideas on how to trick these beautiful dark Carp that swim in the huge lake. Hopefully there will be a few decent sized beautiful Carp gracing my blog over the coming weeks and months.

Barston Troubles

Tuesday 4th March I was up early and on my way to Barston Lakes a little before 8am determined to redeem last weeks poor showing on my first visit there in eight years. I was by the lake and setting up on peg 97 by half past eight with a few anglers already fishing. I had a change of attack from last week, still sticking with using a chod rig with a Natures Baits Bloodworm X pop-up as a single bait roaming rod but this week the other rod was going to be fished with a small method feeder. As long as I was hitting the same spot each cast I could slowly build up a bed of bait to draw the Carp into the swim. Fishing like this I had the best of both sides of the coin, fishing with a bit of loose feed and with no feed, one to find the fish, one for the fish to find my bait. With the water still being very cold, the amount of time between recasts of the method feeder would be alot longer than in the summer months. Although I believe that the Carp are starting to move around the lake a bit I still think that their movement is still no where near as much as the summer. Spring is now firmly in the air with buds starting to show on certain trees with blossom appearing everywhere and flowering Daffodils in peoples gardens brightening up my drive to the lake.

Having a few casts around with a lead I found a harder spot on the lake bed at about 60 yards so put the method rod on there and started with the chod rig rod about another 20 yards further out. I then sat back in my new chair and watched the water.


It was a fairly warm early spring morning, the light breeze was southerly although over the first few hours it turned to a north westerly, the sun was out with scattered showers. The ground was still soaking wet with mud everywhere. The waiting game had begun with the trains and planes being as regular as the week before so I had tried to get a plane photo.


The day passed on with nothing but the bird life moving around the lakes, there hadn’t been a sign of any Carp even along the margins around the pegs near where I was fishing. With the sun being out I thought the margins would warm up the fastest and there would be a chance the Carp moved into the warmer water but I say nothing as brought the rods in and walked the banks for twenty minutes.

There was a flock of Greylag Geese, a huge amount of different species of Gull and a flock of 5 Cormorants who simultaneously landed on the lake, dived underwater, came back up and took off. Small birds were singing their hearts out in the trees and bushes around me, with ducks chasing each other around the lake. I had the usual play around with my camera through the day and got this awesome shot of a couple of Mallards, with the male showing off his colours in the sunshine.


By 2pm I had recast the chod rig into various areas of the lake in front of me and had a few casts with the method feeder but I was still biteless and thinking about a move. I moved down few pegs to peg 97 casting at an angle across the lake away from my previous peg. Doing this I can cover more water and this part of the lake is slightly deeper and possibly holding the Carp. With no sign of Carp in the previous swim a move to try and find them was in order for the last few hours because after all if their not there your not going to catch them.


I changed tactics on the method rod as well, fishing it at about 30 yards and using a stringer with an 18mm Bloodworm X boilie on the hair, scattering 20 or so boilies in the area around it. I still used the other rod as before, recasting it every half hour to a different spot of the lake. Unfortunatly I didn’t have a bite so had to reside myself to my first ever blank at Barston Lakes, on the plus side I did get a few good photos over the last hour as the sun set over the lake.




I took this photo on my way out the fishery.


Very disappointed with the blank, although I couldn’t be 100% sure that I was on the Carp I’m sure that my rigs were fine so maybe it was the case.

Look out for my next blog which will have a my review of this winters fishing as well as my next trip so until then good luck in your fishing and

Tight Lines

Barston Lakes

As promised in last weeks blog a change of scenery was in order and having not fished it in 8 years the decision was made to fish Barston Lakes at West Midlands Golf Club near Solihull. On the Sunday evening I posted a tweet to my followers on Twitter asking for a bit of help on where the fish hold up at this time of year. I got answer and was told to head around pegs 80-90 as this was the deepest part of the lake, with this in mind I was on the road by 8.30am after a cuppa with my girlfriend and step-daughter aiming to be at the lake by 9. Unfortunately I hadn’t anticipated the traffic on the way there so arrived at the club house to pay at around quarter past nine. On the way into the building to pay there are some fairly large Koi Carp in the fountain which I don’t remember being in there the last visit I made to here. Paying the day ticket fee of £8.50 I was soon making my way down the track alongside the lake which was the time I wished that I had an off-road vehicle as there was some huge pot holes along the way. I parked up at the far end of the lake and spent some time watching the water for any signs of Carp, there wasn’t any but one of the two anglers on the opposite bank had landed a couple. Peg 92 was the least muddy of the ones where I could park my car, not quite opposite the anglers because them catching meant there were Carp in this part of the and I set-up there as the drizzle came down but I could keep my kit dry in the car while I did it. I decided the right hand rod was going to be fished as a single Natures Baits Bloodworm X pop-up on a chod rig which I was going to fished close to my left hand rod, this was set-up with a small PVA stick of crushed boilies and pop-ups with an 18mm Bloodworm X boilie over a bed of bait. I hadn’t realised until after I had arrived there about the no braid rule of the fishery so had to make rigs on the bank using mono. After having a feel around with a marker and picking my spot at about 55 yards, which was slightly harder than the rest of the lake bed, where I put out six spombs of boilies and corn. The rods were out and I was fishing before half past ten, from my swim I could see the trains going past all day as well as see the planes taking off from Birmingham airport.


The anglers opposite me were catching the odd Carp between them every hour where as I had had a single beep on the left hand rod but nothing I could struck into with my swim being continuously being visited by the lakes wildlife.

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I was glad I had my bivvy up for the day as the wind may have been southerly but it was strong and causing a bit of a chill with the overcast sky although the weather forecast was highs of 10 degrees. I was continually scanning the water looking for signs of Carp showing and I it was starting to hurt seeing the anglers across the lake catching but I wasn’t going to give up. I had a cigarette while pondering my next move, by the last drag I had decided that I would use the chod rig on the left hand rod to try and find the Carp who weren’t giving themselves away easily. Re-casting every half hour it was on the third cast I had a near instant reaction, a couple of beeps then line started to slowly rip of the bait runner. Within a few minutes this plump little Common was in my landing net.


It was very light in colour and may have had a hint of Ghostie in it, it had filled me with confidence and after checking the sharpness of the hook with a fresh Bloodworm X put on the hair it was cast into the same area, about 80 yards out. Spring was in the air to, the days were certainly getting longer the birds were starting to pair up and there was a couple of random Crocus flowering in the bush close to where I was fishing.


The anglers on the opposite bank had had eight or nine between them by now and having caught one I was thinking I was going to catch a few more but it wasn’t to be. On reflection on the trip I think maybe my bottom rig wasn’t quite perfect so it would have to be tweaked for next week as having only had the one run all day I was going to have to return to redeem myself. I did some nice photos of the lake looking upto the clubhouse including one as the light faded.

DSCF4170 DSCF4174The next day I had a working interview at the pub I was at last week I thought I wasn’t going to finish until late afternoon but I was on my way home by 1pm and with the weather being alright I knew I could get a few hours on the bank before it got dark around 6pm. I was fishing my usual peg 43 on Stockton Reservoir by 2.30pm being greeted by a topping Carp as I got there. My battle plan was the same as my last trip there because of it being a short session, single Bloodworm X pop-ups on chod rigs cast at showing Carp or moved every half to three quarters of an hour until I got a bite and found them. Fishing shortly later I was the continually looking across the water for any more signs of a Carp topping and I’m glad I had brought extra layers of clothing as the wind was freezing but temperatures were predicted the same highs as the day before.


A couple more Carp topped including one only about 20 yards from the bank in about three foot of water so this had me thinking that maybe the Carp were starting to move about a bit. The water was still ice cold though and recent captures from here had leeches on them like they had been held up near the bottom of the lake not moving much. As I waited for a bite there was a rain shower when the sun was out which caused a double rainbow although my camara wasn’t quite good enough to capture them both.


Not long after this I had a bite but struck into nothing, within a minute the hook point had been checked and it was re-cast to the same spot but nothing materialised from it. I saw my first Bee of 2014 just as the sun was starting to set behind me, this gave the clouds a red tint that reflected into the water allowing me to get this pretty cool photo.


I stayed until just after dark, around 6.30pm but without another bite.

The release date of Natures Baits is only days away, 1st March, when they go on sale to every angler in the land. I can’t recommend these baits enough so if your looking for a new boilie this year then look no further. If you want to see how I have done using the baits please see my other blog posts.

Good luck with your fishing and until next time

Tight Lines

Location, Location, Location!

Before I go into my Carp trip I went lure fishing on Monday 17th February for a couple of hours in the afternoon. Time was tight to get any bank time this week after a punishing weekend at work, with things to do on my days off. Admittedly I didn’t manage to catch anything and lost a couple of lures but regular readers of my blog’s will know how much photography is coming into my fishing trips over the last couple of months. All I got out of my trip to Napton Reservoir was a few decent photos of the lakes residents other than the fish.

There were hundreds of Gulls there even though this is the Midlands, miles from any coastline. I wouldn’t want to be catapulting boilies out there, not a chance one would ever get to the bottom of the lake.


Some of the reservoirs Swans.


One of the many Coots that spend their time diving over the lakes weed beds.


The Tuesday afternoon I had a job interview at 3pm so needed to be off the banks by 1pm and although last week I said I was going to change venue, I ended up back on Stockton Reservoir because of this.

Location, Location, Location!

I’m going to write a small section on location before going onto the session. It’s one of the most important things in fishing and even more so in the winter months when the Carp are less likely to move around the lake looking for food. It’s also very important on low stocked lakes as the Carp could easily all be held up in one part of it. If their not there your not going to catch them, its that simple. It doesn’t matter if your using the best rig in the world with the newest wonder bait. I often will spend time walking the banks looking for signs of Carp before I unpack my car, like them topping, coloured water or large bubbles of air coming from the bottom of the lake. Some anglers will turn up to the lake and “pub chuck” there rods anywhere an assume the Carp will come to them, this isn’t always the case. It’s why I find it really important, my time on the bank is limited so an hour walking the lake on a session is not wasted time and is alot more constructive than sitting in a swim all day that the Carp aren’t in.

With this being said my plan of attack for a short session was fishing Natures Baits Bloodworm X pop-ups fished as a single bait on a chod rig as I had had better results by not putting any bait out this winter and this was a short session with less time to build up a swim. Finding them first either by them giving themselves away or by recasting to different areas until I get a bite then fish both rods in that area. With that being said I was very lucky when I got there onto the usual peg 43 as within minutes I heard a Carp top over the noise of the Canadian Geese that were on the lake. This photo is part of the flock who I was greeted by as I walked out the car park to the lake.


As it was a short session my rods were already set-up the night before and baited ready to put the 2 sections together and get fishing as soon as possible. The lakes surface was quite calm so the previously mentioned Carp that topped had left a ripple and this is where the right hand rod was going with the left hand rod being cast to where to where I had caught a Carp from the week before. From this peg I can see a large amount of the lake so there’s more chance for me of seeing topping Carp and move if I have to during the day. Settling down for the session it was just before 9am, I kept my eyes pined to the water in front of me and another 2 Carp topped close to where my right hand rod was cast. This was brimming me with confidence with more Carp activity seen so far than the last 3 trips put together, it had me contemplating putting a bit of bait out but I held my nerve and was rewarded 40 minutes or so later with this little Mirror which came from the right hand rod.



The rod was cast to the same spot with me then moving my other rod into the same area confident there were more Carp there willing to feed.



But I was waiting for a bite an hour later when I had seen more top in the same area. It was during this time that the local Robin, who has been featured in alot of my blogs recently, was back again and was kind enough to give me another chance to get this photo which I had messed up a few weeks back.

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He looked like he was enjoying posing for photos as much as the crumbed Bloodworm X boilies I put down for him.

It was a mild day after a chilly night with unseasonable warm highs of 10C predicted for the day, overcast with a very light south westerly breeze made it feel very spring like. Carp were still showing but now if different places as well on where I was fishing but it wasn’t until nearly midday that my right hand rod had sounded and a Carp was on. This rod hadn’t moved but my left hand rod had been moved around to showing Carp every half hour or so. Within a few minutes I was about to guide it over the net as it took a gulp of air when the other rods alarm sounded and line was slowly being pulled off the reel. My first double run in years and my first one when I have been fishing alone so the pressure was on to turn it into a double capture. The netted Carp looked like a low double Common with the one on the end of my line feeling a little smaller than that. It was a bit hairy with only one net but the second Carp was eased over it and I was rewarded with my double capture.



After putting them both onto the landing matt and unhooking them the difficult part of a self take photo with two Carp.



It’s not the best photo but this was the best of a few that I took.



The largest of the two was this Common at 13lb 7oz which also had an Otter damaged tail.

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Over the moon I got the rods back out after safely returning the Carp to the cold water of the reservoir for the last forty five minutes. During this time I didn’t catch but was happy with my few hours and proved that location is the key. When I got back and posted my photos onto Twitter one of the lads at Natures Baits, Steve, did this graphic of the day for me.


Thanks again Steve and you can all follow him on Twitter @carp_angling.

With all the showing fish I thought I may have caught a few more and am sure I would of if I have been able to stay the day. Maybe putting out a few freebies out there with my hook baits could have caught me a couple more, I was very unwilling to do so with me only being on the bank a few hours and its something I guess I will never know.

Good luck in your angling and Tight Lines




Short February Sessions

First thing I noticed as my alarm went off to wake me at 7.00am on Tuesday 4th February was that it was getting light earlier and earlier, reminding me that Spring isn’t too far away. My only full day off this week was the day before but with my car getting repaired I wasn’t able to get out on the banks so it was only a short session before work when I had got my car back but it was a session. Car loaded up I was on the road after a cup of tea by 8am and at my peg by half past. Fishing the same peg as the last two sessions because of the strong south westerly wind so I could keep out of it. I spombed out about 20 crushed Natures Baits Bloodworm X boilies on each spot I was intending to fish on and my rods were out by 9am, one on a chod with a Bloodworm X pop-up, the other with a 18mm bottom bait and small PVA stick to help prevent the rig tangling on cast and help push the hook away from the lead on landing. I am now starting experimenting with something new in my stick mixes, I’m crushing pop-ups in my Vision Muncher and putting these through the mix. Theory behind this is that when the PVA melts that small crumbs of pop-ups will float up to the surface which I hope will get the attention of any passing Carp that may not be near the bottom and hopefully pull them down towards my hook bait. In the winters clear water of Stockton the visual aspect of it is even higher. This is what the PVA sticks looked like.



So with the rods out it was time to sit back and enjoy my time on the bank, the sun was shining but the strong wind was putting a huge chill factor on a pleasant day. The flock of Canadian Geese were making a right racket from the moment I got there and the Robin that keeps joining me on my trips was back singing for his dinner and hopping all around the swim and the hedge behind.




After a couple of hours with no sign of Carp it was time for a change of tactics on one rod as I started using it as a single bait, roaming rod, recasting it to a different place every half hour or so. The time passed midday into afternoon and I hadn’t seen a Carp move let alone caught one so I was starting to fear a blank. By 2pm it was time to leave, the blank was a reality, this was all I caught.



The day before my next session I did a reccy around some of the local canal system, work had denied me any chance of a canal campaign over the winter but was looking forward to a spring one. I had to add these photos I took of a boat owners feeders where these Blue Tits were all over the nuts that were out for them.




It was Tuesday the 11th that the next fishing trip was planned, only an afternoon session as the heavy rain forecast for the morning didn’t tickle my fancy. Walking round the lake and setting up in the rain would get my kit as well as me soaked through even with full body waterproofs. The afternoon was supposed to be drier and sunnier so a midday trip to the lake would still give me 5 hours or so of fishing. It was pouring all morning and even a heavy hail storm around 10.45am it didn’t look good for drying out later in the day. It stopped in the end with me being at the lake just before 1pm. Arriving in the car park it was empty so the prospect of the lake to myself looked a good one.


The lake itself was looking wind swept as the south-westerly breeze was blowing a gale towards the lake entrance where I stood.


I was fishing the same peg as the last few sessions, peg 43. I spodded out 4 Midi Spod fulls of Natures Baits Bloodworm X 18mm boilies, whole and crushed with a bit of sweetcorn as an added attractant because as we all know, all Carp love the stuff. This was put around the same spot as previous visits, a small crushed boilie and pop-up filled PVA stick was put on the left hand rod on the baited area with the right hand rod fished using a pop-up Bloodworm X boilie on a chod rig cast toward the back of the far island. Now the waiting game was on while scanning the water looking for Carp topping the lakes surface.



With all the rain we have had this winter the path around the back bank at Stockton Reservoir is soaking.



Forty minutes into the session I was moving the right hand rod to recast it further to the right of the far island. The left hand rod would stay put for now on the baited area trying to attract the Carp to the bait while the right hand rod would be used for the opposite, to find the Carp and present a bait in front of their nose.

Time passed on into late afternoon without a Carp showing in front of me and several casts into different areas with the right hand rod, the worry of a blank was starting to slip into my mind. The weather had been weird and wonderful with sunshine, cloudy patches, rain and hail throughout my time on the bank.


Around half three I changed my left hand rod onto a chod and pop-up from being a bottom bait, casting it about 20 yards shorter of where I had been fishing. This worked because just as had started to pack up this rods alarm sounded and I was soon playing a fish. Within a few minutes I had this plump Common of just short of 10lb on my landing matt, carefully being unhooked and having it’s photo taken for my blog. I did had another run on the same rod just before dark but struck into nothing.



My winter fishing hasn’t exactly gone to my original plan from back in the autumn through work and other commitments but my canal campaign is going to be starting soon and there’s finally a change of venue next week so until then

Tight Lines

Back on Stockton Reservoir

After having a few runs just five days before from peg 43 on Stockton Reservoir and with the wind not changing direction since, it was on the 27th January I was back on the same peg by 8.30am. I had the theory, with a few winters previous experience on the lake, that the Carp would be in the same area. Using the same tactics as the last session I put out 5 spombs of broken up and whole Nature Baits Bloodworm X 18mm boilies on the same spot. Fishing both rods with the same pop-up version on a chod rig, using the left hand rod on the baited spot with the right hand rod being used as a single bait, roaming rod, re-casting every half hour trying to find the Carp and nick a bite. By 9am the rods were both out and I was setting the bobbins on them.


It was coming upto ten o’clock and having already re-cast the right hand rod once, casting it closer to the far island, I was thinking of doing it again when the alarm on that rod made a couple of beeps then slowly started to pull line off the spool of the reel. As I stepped through the mud to get to my rod I struck into what felt like an reasonable sized fish for the venue. After a few minutes bringing it slowly but surely across the lake with it carting left and right, I was slipping the net under her and I could see it was a double figure Common Carp.


I carefully placed the Carp into my weigh sling after zeroing the scales and it took them around to exactly 13lb.


The rod was quickly baited with a fresh boilie and cast back out to the same area. Usually once I have had a bite from a certain area of the lake, although there are no written rules in Carp fishing, I would get another couple of runs as the Carp shoal quite tightly during the colder months.

A robin, which I think is the same one from other sessions, was back singing for some food so he had crumbed down Bloodworm X boilies I put down for it to eat. I’m really disappointed I didn’t get this shot but have put it on here anyway. Hopefully when I get a new camera in the coming weeks it will help eradicate these mistakes happening when photo opportunities present themselves.


It was just gone 11.30 when my left hand rod came into life with a slow and steady take and after a couple of minutes this little Common was having his photo taken for my blog.



The day moved into afternoon and I still hadn’t seen a Carp show itself all day but I still plugged away hoping for another bite while continually scanning the water looking for a Carp to top the surface. I also had my eye out for Otters as I have seen them back in December, the lake owner has told me to keep an eye out as the odd half eaten Carp have been found around the banks and to ring him if I spot them. Having said that I haven’t seen them since and an angler off my forum has fished it quite alot this winter and never seen them. The wind had picked up slightly but it was still a mild day for January with even a few small bugs flying around the margins of the lake, it was more like an early spring day. Unfortunately I had to leave by 2pm so with no other indications of Carp or bites I was back in the car and on my way home by then.

Looking for a change of scenery next week if the weather stays mild to start February having not Carp fished any where but Stockton so far in 2014.

Until then Tight Lines.

January Carp Sessions

It was Tuesday 14th January the next time I was gracing the banks after having work done to my car denied any chance of me being lake bound on the Monday. Heading up to Stockton Reservoir around 12pm I started to walk around the lake looking for signs of Carp. It was a sunny day with a light southerly wind. I stopped for a chat with a dog walker, he told me of Carp head and shouldering out the water up the far end of the lake. As I walked round there the two other anglers on the lake had just moved round from another bank to near where I was fishing last week. By the time I had got there they had caught three small Carp between them in twenty minutes. On the other bank they had blanked all morning but I wasn’t to be put off. They were fishing small method feeders with pellets and dead maggots so they could only get it about forty yards, this lead me to believe that if I fished the bank they were on and fished around a hundred yards I could get onto the Carp and they wouldn’t be able to resist the Bloodworm X. So with that being said I was set-up and having my first cast of each rod by 1pm, by now it had clouded over a bit.



The rods had been set with a Bloodworm X pop-up fished on a chod rig with a 3oz distance lead. The other was set with a trimmed down 18mm Bloodworm X boilie topped with a piece of white corn fished with a small PVA stick to help prevent any tangles fishing at that distance, every half an hour or so I would wind in and cast it to another spot searching for the Carp of which I still hadn’t seen one show. As time passed into mid afternoon I still hadn’t had a bite and was starting to get concerned as the lads on the other banked had bagged a few between them, I could see this because the wind eased off, the water had no ripple on it and I could see their lines when they had a fish on. I had been scanning the water but was also enjoying the wildlife the lake had to offer. From the Woodpecker that few over to the flock of Long Tailed Tits that had travelled along the hedge behind me, I was wishing I had a faster shutter speed on my camera to capture some of these creatures. On the plus side I did get to play with my new tripod.





By 4pm I was starting to pack up and call it a day as the sun was starting to set when, the left hand rod slowly started to pull line off the reel. I was into a Carp but after a two minute battle, as I started winding it back the hundred yards across the lake, disaster as the hook pulled. This inspired me to stay until dark as I re-baited and cast back out to the same spot. It didn’t happen for me but I did manage to get a cracking photo of the sunset.


Monday 20th January I was knocking off work early and was ready to start walking the Oxford Canal with my lure rod in hand by 1pm, an hour without a touch went past and I had to make a decision, stay on the canal or head to Napton Reservoir. I chose the reservoir where I had caught a few Perch and Pike over the winter. Starting to work the lure as usual from swim to swim, after the cold start to the day with a hard frost it had warmed up quite nicely by the afternoon.




I worked my way round the lake until the sun started to set, this family of young Swan’s followed me around which made casting difficult as I had to do it round them.



Needless to say I blanked, the water was quite coloured rather than it’s usual clearness which may have put the predators off hunting.

Wednesday the 23rd was my next day off so I was setting up on the banks of Stockton Reservoir before 9am on peg 43. A wet, rainy night had been met by a cloudy morning, that being said it was very mild day considering we are in the middle of winter. This was going to be my first chance to try out my new Midi Spomb which will get reviewed on my website soon. So I got 50 odd broken down boilies and put them out at about 50 yards, fishing my left hand rod over the top with a Bloodworm X pop-up on a chod rig. The right rod was cast at about 80 yards to the back of the far island with the same. Then the waiting game started.



About half ten my left rod slowly sounded and something started pulling line off the reel, I struck into nothing. Recasting onto the same spot the alarmed screamed again about 11am and my first Common of 2014 was in my landing net, getting unhooked and ready for a photo.



I took this opportunity to bring my other rod in and walk round to my car to get my polarised glasses as the low winter sun was blinding me. On the way round the lake I saw the other angler fishing the lake which turned out to be someone I know so chatted to him for half hour. Back in my swim I cast the rods back out and it wasn’t long until the left hand rods alarm sounded for the third time. A slow pulling battle started as the Carp used it’s weight against the curve in the rod tip. It wasn’t long however before it was safely in the landing net.





Weighing in at 13lb 10oz that was two “barney rubbles” on the bank so was happy with how this January session was going. It went quiet on the Carp front from then on with only one showing over my baited spot. I had a bit of company for the afternoon with this little Robin who was enjoying the crushed Bloodworm X boilie I had put down for him, he kept landing close to me singing for his supper.


At 3pm I began slowly packing up and thinking about calling it a day when the right hand rod had a run. I had been using it as a single bait, roaming rod all day but hadn’t found the Carp. The last cast had only been about thirty yards but as I struck into nothing for the second time on the session, I quickly checked the hook and recast to same spot. Before I had a chance to put the bobbin on the line I had another run, it wasn’t long before I had won the battle and the second double figure Common of the day was posing for a photo with me.


On this note I decided to call it a day, packing up and walking back round the lake to the car. After quick chat with the other angler and his mate who had joined him I discovered that they had only the one Carp between them I was pleased with the days achievements.

As you maybe able to tell from this blog I am enjoying using my new tripod for my camera, I now want to get a better camera that has a longer zoom than the one I have now with a faster shutter speed. Photography has always been part of my fishing but since blogging I seem to use it more and more so its the next expensive item of tackle on my wish list so it can only mean better photos, or just possibly more of them.

So until next time, stay lucky on the banks and tight lines.

End Of 2013, Start Of 2014

Work was frantic on the run up to Christmas but I had a chance to get out Carp fishing on Thursday 19th December, I still hadn’t done any Christmas shopping but the temptation to get on the banks was too strong. After mild days on the Tuesday and Wednesday, on the Thursday morning I could hear the wind outside from my bed as I woke. This was instantly putting me off but after sorting out a few things at home I was free from about 11am and decided to head down the lake to see how bad it was. When I got down Stockton Reservoir the wind was quite calm in the car park but as I walked upto the lake it was blowing a gale and waves were making it hard to see any Carp that might be topping. Lighting up a cigarette I had a walk round the lake, stopping every few minutes to watch the water for any signs of Carp. It didn’t take long for me to see one as it jumped out the water splashing back in on it’s side, soon later I spotted another one head and shoulders out of the water in the same area. Trouble was they showed at over a hundred yards and fishing head on into the wind I still decided to give it a go as there was another angler there braving the conditions. Rods were out and set up with 3oz leads distance leads, one on a chod with a Bloodworm X pop-up from Natures Baits with the other on a helicopter rig with an 18mm Bloodworm X boilie and small PVA stick to help stop it from tangling. Three hours went by without a bite, although I did see a couple of Carp top but at a further distance than I could cast to, I gave up and went to do my Christmas shopping. The other angler had long gone before this, with this being my last chance of catching a Carp in 2013 it wouldn’t be until 2014 before I would feel one pulling on the end of my line again. Facing the wind, the waves were battering the bank I was on.


The years fishing had been a good one for me with a new PB which was also my first 20lb Common, finally catching myself a Carp out of the canal after months of trying with numerous Bream and best of all becoming a team member of new bait company Natures Baits. I have had a few lows as well with a three month Carp blank in the spring before I started blogging and a couple of blanks at Nell Bridge in the autumn.

Looking forward into 2014 my time on the bank is going to be spent more on big fish/harder waters to try to catch a few bigger Carp and most importantly just generally enjoy my time fishing. I’m also aiming for a new Perch PB, having never caught one over a pound I will be lure and worm fishing a bit to try and do it.

So first trip of 2014 was a short lure fishing trip in gale fore winds at Napton Reservoir on the 5th January but I blanked. After an hour or so of battling the wind I gave up but did get to have a bit of a play with my new camara tripod a mate gave me for xmas.


Wednesday 8th I was at Stockton Reservoir and cast my rods out at dawn. After putting out 40 odd 18mm Bloodworm X boilies at 60 yards I fished a stringer of them over the top on the left rod and a chod rig with a Bloodworm x pop-up on the right rod fished at 80 yards as a single bait to the back of an island. It was still mild as it had been all winter so far with a brisk south-westerly wind blowing right to left where I was fishing. It was a stunning sun rise as I think you will agree.


Within an hour the right hand rod sounded the alarm as the line slowly was pulled off the reel. I jumped onto my rods and was into my first Carp in about two months, a couple of minutes into the fight the hook pulled. This annoyed me greatly as I swore under my breath, disgusted with myself but after checking the hook point was still sharp I cast back out with a fresh boilie and stringer on. The lake by now had five other anglers on it including one who after asking where I was fishing asked if it was ok to fish a couple of pegs up from me. After telling him it was no problem he had two in his first hour of fishing. It wasn’t until around midday that I had a bite and it was the right hand rod that screamed off out of no where making me jump into action. After a battle of a few minutes this little Mirror was my first Carp of 2014.


The afternoon wore on and after another angler came round for a chat saying no other Carp had been caught except by me and the bloke next to me it made it even more of an achievement. But it was clouding over as there was rain due late afternoon so by 2.30pm I was packing up, calling it a day as the first few drops of rainfall started to fall and the angler next to me and myself hadn’t caught any more. I had a chat with another angler and the 4 of them on the other bank had one run between them all day but not landed any Carp, two of them were also packing up. Happy with the capture of a Carp as I haven’t even seen one in a while I headed down the pub for a cheeky pint of stella on the way home.

Happy New Year and I hope everyone has a fished filled 2014.

December Blues

Now in December I’m starting to wonder where this year has gone, it didn’t seem that long ago that I was floater fishing in shorts and t-shirt. I hadn’t had a day off in thirteen days but Thursday 5th I was off work and planning a day session on local runs water Stockton Reservoir. The weather had been mild all week but the forecast for Thursday was gale force winds upto 75mph, unbelievable, this must the the worst conditions for angling in. With winds that strong using a brolly for shelter was immediately a no no as your brolly would fold inside out or get blown across the lake. Putting a bivvy up would also be hard and then there is the casting which is extremely difficult but this wasn’t going to deter me. Up just before dawn I packed the car had a cup of tea and watched the last couple of overs of the ashes. Got down to the lake and quickly turned round as waves lashed across the water, there was no way I could fish accurately at seventy yards plus and this is where I wanted to put the bait. This was very disappointing as I don’t know when my next day off will be and with the canal campaign a none starter at the moment I was hoping to catch a couple of Carp as it’s been so long. Deciding that sitting at home all day wasn’t an option, a couple of hours and cups of tea later I was lake bound again. Clattercote Reservoir was my destination after seeing so many Pike in there when I visited in the summer and lure fishing was looking like my only option for the day, at least one bank would be slightly sheltered from the wind because of the direction of it. On the way there disaster happened, the wing on my car had been recently damaged while parked up in the car park at work, the wing was dented and a couple of the connecting poppers that hold it to the car had come off. As I went round a corner while driving a gust of wind must have been at the right angle to rip it off. The van behind who was driving right up my backside then drove over it and shattered it into a million pieces. This was the remains as I pulled into the reservoirs car park.


By midday I was fishing but was met with a very different scene to the last time I was here. The waves were pushing down from the far end of the lake to the dam wall and were white capped, it looked like the sea and the water was at least 6 foot down and the boards were high out the water meaning it had recently been drained to fill the Oxford Canal. 001 003 I walked down to the far end of the lake and looking from on the boards I was going to have to cast it quite far to get into the deeper water. The far end of the lake around the islands was barely a foot deep but it did let me see whats around the margins of the islands for future reference if I visit the lake Carping. 002 A few casts in a couple of swims I soon realised that it wasn’t going to happen cause of the weather conditions, I was soon in the car on my way to Boddington Reservoir hoping that it was its normal level as its quite deep close in and some predators sit at the bottom of the shelf a few foot out all year round as I have had success there in winters past.

As I arrived at Boddington again I was met with sea like conditions, huge white tipped waves were ripping across the lake and smashing into the sailing club banks spraying into the air like a stormy sea would into a pier or harbour wall. There were two lads giving it a go with their backs to the wind braving the weather so thought I would try it myself. I travelled along twenty odd swims casting a lure around each one without a bite and after nearly getting blown into the water a few times I decided enough was enough and I had to give up, admitting defeat this time.



With being at work everyday the next week bank time again was going to be hard to come by, Tuesday 4th I wasn’t in work until 4pm so the chance to get a Carp session was on and I was at Stockton Reservoir for just before 8am. It was overcast with a southerly breeze blowing over the lake. I had my mind on fishing the far bank and with there being an angler on peg 56 it was a no brainer to head to that area of the lake. Past winter experience has taught me the areas that the Carp hold up in this lake and these two banks were where I could cast to them. I catapulted about forty boilies over the area I was fishing and the rods were out before half eight. I sat back in the swim with this being the view from there.


A sign of every winter down at Stockton Reservoir for me is a Robin who comes down looking for some anglers bait to eat. Obviously don’t know if its the same one all these years but they are friendly little chaps and after years of trying I have finally got a photo of one on my rods.


I then topped it off by getting another shot which was alot better and closer than the first but it turned around just as I took it.


About an hour into the session I noticed what at first I thought was a fish topping, when a few seconds later it resurfaced then dived down again I was thinking it was a Grebe but at this point it was seventy odd yards away and was hard to see. Following bubbles coming to the surface I realised they were moving incredibly fast so cant be a Grebe and as it came to the surface again right over the area I was baiting I could see it was an animal. First thought in my head was that’s far too big for a mink, I have seen them many times before and this was easy to see it was alot bigger than that even at this distance. It wasn’t long before the animal popped up with a fish in its mouth and as it did it made a strange sound I had never heard before and three other animals came over to it at speed along the surface of the water from one of the islands but these were slightly smaller. It was then that I thought are these Otters? I didn’t think we had them around Warwickshire but it appears that after conservation efforts over the last few years that we now do have them. I watched these animals for about an hour and they were in and out of my swim, with this happening I was packing up before 10.30am and making my way around the lake back to the car park just in time to see the lake owner who was collecting day ticket money from the other angler on the lake. I chatted with them both, the other angler thought the Otter were Carp topping and had been casting to them, the lake owner asked are you sure they aren’t Mink as I can do something about them but not Otters. I assured him they were too big for Mink and his plan for the rest of the day was watching the water with binoculars to see if he could spot them after I told him the area they were in. Being a commercial fishery that is stuffed with Carp this could be very easy pickings for a family of Otters and worrying times ahead for the lake. The lake is only eight acres with four islands for them to hide so finding evidence that the are taking the fish stocks could be difficult to do without a boat. Otters are a protected species so what can be done the lake owner isn’t sure, with them moving onto the lake I think I will be changing my winter runs water as this lake has been it for the last seven years as its usually good for a bite even on the coldest of days.

This is possibly the most depressing blog I have written with bad weather, car damage, Otters and blank sessions, I’m hoping there are better times to come but for the moment…

Tight Lines.

Loads Of Work, Not Much Time For Fishing

Over the last few weeks I have had alot of work on so bank time is down to a minimum, with being a chef my profession extra work for money is a rare opportunity so while its there I have to take advantage of it, usually its hours to the business. Friday 21st November I had the next chance to get on the bank for a few hours and it was lure fishing at Napton Reservoir that was on the agenda. Getting there for around 7.30am it was a frosty, cold morning and the puddles in the car park had a thin layer of ice on. When I got to the lake there was a northerly breeze causing a slight ripple on the surface, it was a beautiful morning and I had a bite on the first cast from this little Perch who burst out the reed bed and took the lure under my feet.



For such a small fish the speed it came out of the reeds was unreal and amazing to watch in the gin clear water. I worked the lure swim to swim and had a jack Pike chase it into the bank but back off last second. I think this is because they can see me as their so close to the bank and the water is so clear but around 10.30am I was in again to a Pike that would have been barely above a pound but it hammered the lure down to the back of it’s throat.

After making my way around the smaller of the two parts of the lake I called it a day to spend the rest of it with my girlfriend as we don’t get many days off together. Determind to have a go the next morning and I was back there for dawn the next day. Starting where I had the day before I started working the lure, a cold frosty morning again and a strong breeze made my hands get cold very quickly when I didn’t remember my gloves. I love dawn at anytime of year but late autumn and winters low sun is proberly my favourite especially when Jack Frost has visited.




Over the next two hours I worked different lures through different swims but had to admit defeat and go to work without even having a fish chase my lure.

Tuesday 25th November I was back at dawn for another short session, this morning the water had gone down a bit as it’s used to top up the canal and the water was a bit cloudy rather than gin clear. A cloudy morning with a northerly wind made it a bit chilly but never the less I started going through my box of lures, giving them a work out in each swim. The array of bird-life here is huge. I have seen numerous species from the Mallards, Tufted Ducks and Coots that use the water to the Buzzards, Woodpeckers and flocks of Fieldfares and Redwings that use the surrounding fields, hedgerows and trees.



These gulls above that can number in the hundreds on the lake along with the Tufties and Coots can make baiting up for the Carp in the lake difficult but over these few sessions I had seen seven Carp top all in the same area of the lake. Although there are less than 50 Carp in 18 acres of water they are large, dark and scaley creatures so could be worth a go for if I get a chance.

Anyway back to the session, after an hour or so with nothing having a go at my lure I stepped up the gear putting bigger reel, line strength and lure on to see if any of the bigger Pike were feeding. An hour of that covering many swims I still hadn’t had a bite so reverted back to the smaller lure to try a couple more swims then end the day before work. It was in one of these swims that i saw a Pike attack my lure, only a jack but bigger than what I had been catching of late. Another cast over the top didn’t get a touch but on the second retrieve I got a bite but this wasn’t the same fish as it was smaller.


I was pleased with it anyway mainly because it had saved another blank session. I had a few more casts over the same spot to see if I could entice the other one again but it didn’t come back for another go so it was onto the next swim. I spent another twenty minutes fishing but was unable to tempt another bite and it was time to go home to get ready for work.

On the Wednesday I had another sneaky hour and a half but after having only the one jack chase my lure I suffered another blank. I’m missing the Carp fishing so going to have at least a day off next week and get a session in so until then good luck in your fishing and

Tight Lines

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