As anyone who knows me will agree I’m not a great adopter of new things, and I guess thirty years of pretty consistent carp catching success persuades me to generally keep on keeping with that approach...
I'd had a great start to the year on Nashbait Key and although I had occasionally fished some day ticket venues most of my intensive angling was on the syndicate. Bog standard Key frozen baits, usually glugged with Key Bait Soak and with the carp really on it I was putting it in big style. Even short sessions would see me using 3 kilos and on a day session a five kilo bag..... A lot of bait for some of you I appreciate but bearing in mind the carp average 16-22lb and are shoal fish it was the right approach to catch a lot of carp. I was averaging 5-8 carp every trip and on one occasion a staggering 23, it was certainly working.
I'd heard talk of a 'new' Key which was producing the goods far and wide and after a chat with Colin and Alan thought it would be a good idea for me to give it a whirl from September onwards. I knew what bog standard Key was capable of so wanted to see what Key Cray could do...... I probably got on The Key a year later than I should have after seeing Simon Crow’s results so this time I was a bit keener to get stuck in and try the new bait myself. The guys suggested trialling the Stabilised version so that’s what I ordered.
Tackle Up at Bury St. Edmunds had their annual Nash Open Day so Alan Blair was kind enough to bring me my first stock of Key Cray MC Stabilised to start my field testing with, all in 15mm with Bait Soak and Cultured Hookbaits to follow... What did surprise me immediately was that it truly was nothing like original Key despite the name. Darker, harder and totally different feel, taste and smell to it..... wow this was different.... With a freezer full of frozen Key I was able to keep my Stabilised Cray in the garage in a plastic tub which was great news. I could keep a spare kilo bag or two in the Jeep just in case a red letter day came along.
First trip was a few days later and at my local village lake which has a limited amount of carp to around 20lb. Without any pop ups or Cultured Hookbaits yet I decided to use double bottom baits with two bait stringers to add to their appeal. With carp located in one corner one rod was under armed into position and two handfuls of Key Cray put over the top. Action was immediate and carp number one was tearing off. Not wanting to bore you that first trip produced five in an afternoon/evening, a good start for the Cray. Second trip a few days later produced three more and another one produced five. A trip to my local canal produced two more carp. Plus a swan which we won’t talk about.
The fifth trip was to a prolific water near my syndicate which I sometimes take guests to when I want to see them catch a carp or three when they have paid towards a charity auction. Conditions were poor (cold and wet) which on this shallow lake was not good news so rather than heavy baiting I decided to go with a spread of bait and once again double baits with a mesh bag stringer containing Key Cray crumb. The first carp came within an hour and after moving swims twice I ended up with fourteen that day to mid doubles so once again good results on a brand new bait.
As I type my Bait Soak and matching Key Cray Cultured Hookbaits have finally arrived so I can now start to fine tune my approach to my preferred style. The soak smells incredible and I have always found that the Cultured Hookbaits are more effective than baits straight out of the bag. The days and nights are getting colder so I will be balancing my stillwater action with some Urban Banx style carping on the canals and trips to Chestnut and Drayton where I can really see what the bait’s potential is on these prolific waters. Based on results so far I’m pretty confident it will be catching me a lot of carp!