Of all the words I have written, and books too (six so far) the most positive feedback I ever get is from my monthly diary piece. I guess revealing my life good and bad strikes a chord amongst many and long may that continue.
The diary piece I’ve always written for Crafty Carper started in July 2008 and bar one or two monthly excursions on rigs I haven’t missed a month in almost eight years – I’m not really sure where the time goes either!
The problem with the diary was that I couldn’t really concentrate in depth on rigs and baits so for the next twelve months in Crafty I will be doing just that. Rather than put the diary into early retirement when it has always been so well received I’ll be continuing the warts and all look at my successes and also struggles each month on the Nash website.
As a Nash Consultant for many years I am lucky in that I get a sneak preview of all the new gear and when it’s appropriate I sometimes get a headstart to try it. Sometimes I will be sent products and baits to field test and evaluate some of which will find their way into your hands eventually. No products or baits work as well as they can before they have been tested and refined, the plus side being that when you get them in the shops they are as good as they can be. Take The Key for instance, it was tweaked for months under a different name never mind the years that were spent getting to that place to start with.
So what about me and my fishing? Well I guess many of you do know more than enough about me but for those who don't I still work full time as a Legal Advisor in Criminal Law and that takes me all around North and West Yorkshire. Up at 6 am and home for 6pm means I am no full timer when it comes to carp fishing and my fishing is probably more like yours than many of the other ‘name’ carpers you read about. With the good old Flexi-Time I can tweak my job to allow me mid week overnighters which is what you will read plenty about. Plenty of single days and half days have been booked off work to give me an advantage at times.....
From April onwards I will on average fish two overnighters a week and maybe twice a month I will have a half day on the afternoon of my overnighter or the following day off to maximise my chances. Full weekends are definitely out due to family commitments and when you add in tackle shop open days, conferences, gigs, cycling and more I really could do with an eight day week full of thirty six hour days!
The water I had joined for 2016 did not allow winter fishing from December onwards due to shooting on the estate around it so late winter until April I was flitting countrywide on various day ticket waters keeping my eye in, taking guests fishing and experimenting with a number of new products. I see a lot of carp anglers take all winter off and believe me it takes time to get back in the groove again, especially when you are starting on a new water with a new bait.
Locally I spent time on a canal which gave me access to carp only minutes away from home and as it was one rod fishing most of the time I did it Alan Blair Urban Banx style on my pushbike. Not only did I catch plenty of carp to upper doubles but I got a lot fitter too. My last remaining supplies of 4G Squid did the trick and most carp came to double bottom baits over a spread of 15mm boilies.
Pete Wilson’s Chestnut Pool in Bedfordshire also gave me a chance to take guests with a realistic chance of them catching and was a great place to experiment with baits and rigs. Fishing waters where you might get a bite each day doesn’t tell you a lot about what is and isn’t working but on more productive waters you can see how bait, rig and tactical changes can catch you a dozen carp instead of six. In fact get it right and you can catch even more.
Experimenting at Chestnut certainly proved that and one session with a pal proved that the tubed Multi-Rig with a tiny white pop up over The Key murdered the carp, outfishing standard tactics three to one. Overshotting the rig and fishing it over Key dumbbells did the trick as the carp were definitely homing in on the bait but were making mistakes with the hookbait a lot quicker than Key pop ups over Key freebies The addition of Diffusion shrink tube to the Twister 5 really helped with hookholds as each one was hooked bang slap in the bottom lip. On productive waters you can end up dropping fish due to mouth damage but the tubing negated that potential problem.
I'd treated myself to an Air Lite SS2 bed and sleep system for overnighters, perfectly suited to my style of overnighters being so light and compact. Heck I could even fit it under the Scope Brolly which was even better. In the warmer months I do prefer to fish under the stars but the good old British weather can change so quickly that a brolly always has to be handy.
The Scope Brolly is ideal as it fits in the holdall easily, weighs very little and if the weather changes I can get the SS2, two Barrow Bags and me under it. It all helps when keeping mobile and keeping dry. As they come Twisters are very sharp but you can sharpen them up even more if you want. This has both advantages and disadvantages from my own findings. The advantage is that you will hook more fish for sure. However you will probably bump more off as the hook often finds a home in any part of the carp’s mouth, some of which won't be able to sustain that hookhold. Dropping an upper 30 at Nashy’s Church Lake proved that to me. Also if your lake holds numbers of bream and tench you will end up landing lots more of them too. A sharpened hook is good for one bite only so on productive waters is pretty pointless (sorry) and can be pretty expensive!!! Horses for courses…
Bait wise as always I had made my own pop ups using The Key base mix and the liquid attractors Gary Bayes was kind enough to provide me with. Because I use comparatively large hooks I have never felt that confident with standard pop ups you can buy off the shelf. However the new Key Airball ones are in a different league and not only do they hold up a Twister 5 but they need a number 4 shot to nail them down. I simply screw them into a Bait Screw when fishing day sessions and floss them on for longer sessions or if large numbers of nuisance fish are present. Tank tests have shown that even after twelve hours soaking they are still very buoyant and still smell great.
So that pretty much brings you up to date on the fishing front and as ever it was pretty busy in other areas too. The Northern Angling Show and Five Lakes went down well on the Nash stands and Alan, Des and myself had plenty of fun. I've been to plenty of gigs too, cycled hundreds of miles, answered stacks of questions on social media, caught lots of carp and thoroughly enjoyed it all. See you next month with a packed diary.
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