With autumn starting to get a firm grip things can become rather unpredictable on the carp front, sharp frosts can be followed by mild south westerlies and trying to work out the right tactics isn’t always straightforward. Luckily for the most part it’s still been fairly mild and rather than start easing back on the bait I’ve been giving them both barrels still!
It’s becoming a bit of a constant theme but everywhere I’ve fished over the last six months I’ve arrived to be told that the lake isn’t fishing well and things have been slow, and that is exactly how it was when I visited a lovely lake in the south of England with three friends recently.
“It’ll be a tough one!” they said. “One guy has just been on for ten days and blanked…” Ouch! You don’t really need to hear that when arriving for just three nights but all I could do was give it my best. Whatever the situation, I already knew what I was going to do and I was full of confidence that I might just be able to wangle a fish out.
If the carp were that spooky then the best way to build their confidence would surely be to give them plenty of food to lull them in to a false sense of security. I gave them two kilos of Coconut Crème and a new Nashbait recipe I’ve got on test over each of my three rods along with plenty of hemp. I must be honest it seemed like a lot when it was all going out and it caused a fair bit of disturbance, but the plan was to leave the baits there until they went - or until I had to go!
On the rig front I used 20cm of fully coated Combilink with just the hair stripped back along with a size 6 Fang Uni hook and a 2.5oz lead on a weed lead clip. Hook bait was just a 20mm bottom bait - I always like the idea of fishing the same as what I’m putting out when baiting heavily. Back leads were fished on all three rods as I’m not really a fan of slack lining. The water in front was actually very shallow with the level being down nearly 18 inches leaving only about two feet out there so I didn’t want them bumping in to the lines.
After a quiet night it was just around 10am when the middle of three rods tore off and a big bow wave raced across the calm surface. It was a great scrap but I soon had a long 31 lb mirror in the net! Over the last two years the owners have been electro tagging all of their fish and when they came to check on this fish it showed that it was one that had not yet been tagged - proof in a way that it hadn’t been caught much in the last couple of years!
On the right of the swim I was fishing just over the back of a gravel hump and I was sure that I could see slight movements in the area. Sure enough mid afternoon a powerful take saw the fish stripping line at a rate of knots but running in towards the far bank stopped it in its tracks. The battle went on for about 20 minutes and I knew that it was a good fish. Sure enough a deep-bellied mirror rolled in the net and she tipped the scales at 43 lb 4 oz. I was well chuffed with that one for sure! They were my only two takes of the session but more than enough to send me home with a smile on my face.
Sometimes you just have to block out what people are telling you and fish in a way that makes you feel confident. Using plenty of good bait has worked time and time again for me this year - and thankfully it worked again this time. It bears repeating, quality bait, simple rig and the rest will follow.