Perhaps On Reflection

Tunnel vision

“Should I stay or should I go”, sang The Clash and I too was wondering what to do when I pulled up to the new lake(s) last week.

Autumn was upon us and the main lake was closed for landscaping, pruning and de-silting, so the only option was the (very) small one, or do I go back to the other lake – Overnight Success – and all the issues that that could bring; as The Clash sang “If I go, there will be trouble” but loitering in the car park, “This indecision’s bugging me”.

I decided to stay put rather than drive the half hour, plus I had limited time as I had to be back to collect the twins from school.

As I walked around the small lake it gave up very few clues as to where the carp were. I settled on a spot that had a tree lined bay to my right and open water and two large areas of pads out front. The locations looked good even without any shows to speak of.

I primed a couple of likely looking spots with a mixed bag of boilies and set about getting the rigs and rods ready – Dynamite Red Amo, BaitTech Triple N and new to the party DT Baits Supa Fruit.

The ‘bay’ rod was a simple lob to the reeds, and the ‘pads’ rod was a short cast to what I hoped would be a patrol route between the lily’s. The former was a Ronnie presentation, and the latter a KD come snowman stylie. Both baited with Supa Fruit.

Now this lake supposedly has carp 28lb, but not many. So when I did see a couple of shows in the area, they were small commons. But I thought any fish in the swim might attract bigger prey to the mix of boilies, hemp and corn.

What I did not expect was the chainsaw and subsequent bonfire on the large lake to be so intrusive. The noise shattered the peace and the smoke made me think that bonfire night had come early, I just needed some fireworks from the spots!

BANG, the ‘pads’ bobbin crashed into the blank but I did not connect to the fish; promising I thought.

And unfortunately that was how the rest of the session panned out with one more aborted take. I knew there were fish in the swim, as I could see the line under the rod tip dip back and forth, “It’s always tease, tease, tease”.

I even switched to a zig for the last hour, moving the ‘bay’ rod towards the pads but to no avail.

So having ‘Stay[ed]’ it was time to ‘Go’ with Jo Strummer’s and Mick Jones’s words still rocking my mind. Perhaps on reflection it was the wrong decision and I left thinking about the next time I would be doing Combat [Rock] with the carp.






Ronnie And Reggie

Double trouble ‘n’ tooled up

I recently sat down to watch Legend, Tom Hardy’s suave, charming and volatile portrayal of the Kray brothers; one actor playing identical twins with some very clever camera trickery. 

The dapper gangster twins ruled London in the 50’s and 60’s rubbing shoulders with stars and the establishment. This film is brilliant, much better than the Kemp brothers depiction where I couldn’t get passed Spandau Ballet – so true!

Tom Hardy is excellent, handsome and threatening in equal measure and this got Carppuzzle thinking, we have the Ronnie rig but where is the Reggie rig?

The Ronnie rig much like its terrifying gangster namesake has been bossing waters up and down the country, and making headlines as anglers extort carp from all manor of lakes.

So popular is the rig that Carpology has subscription deals where you can get all the components, and I’ve even seen then “really tied” on eBay.

Now if you cannot “tie” this rig you should be fed to the fish; gangster style.

But what could the Reggie rig consist of?

As the father of twins, I know the difference should be very subtle. At first glance the same but on closer inspection you can see a very slight difference.

From the top down, Avid boilie stop, Fox hook bead, Korda kurve hook size 6, Bank Tackle swivel and Korda shrink tubing.

For me changing the boom section is enough of a difference. Rather like changing my twins shoes, it’s the last thing you notice, and then it’s too late.

  • For Ronnie, Gardner Ultra Skin, for a dirty bottom (no pun intended), super soft to allow the lead to bury a tad, yet still present nicely over debris. Out of the confusion he’ll viciously hook an unsuspecting carp. Deadly.
  • For Reggie, Gardner TripWire, for a clear bottom, transparent and stiff enough to kick the hook away from the lead. More business like, functional but equally clever, he’ll snare a passing carp. Deadly.

You could change the pop-up but that is too obvious. Much like cutting my twins hair differently.

Having said that I have gone for two different colours but in hindsight there is only in bait for these rigs – Nash Key Kray [sic] Pop-Ups!


Pastures New


New water, new campaign, new #carpgear. Why a new water, well see Overnight Success; and a new campaign, see previous blog Holiday Blues, and as I’m sure you will agree, any new #carpgear needs no explanation!

The new venue has three lakes, is perhaps the smallest I have fished but very pretty and with a good head of fish of all species, being mentioned in Angling Times for some large perch, very carpy.


My first visit was an short afternoon session, a sort of recon for the second planned visit, an overnighter two days later.

With that in mind I packed one carp rod, a Fox Warrior 2.75, giving me a possible surface option and an 11ft waggler by Shakespeare. The plan being to drop boilies in a nice margin spot while fishing for anything using corn, luncheon meat and or chopped worm on the waggler.

Walking around the lake and chatting to other anglers it seemed that the big’uns come out of the corners. With that in mind I dropped into the south east corner. This was a shallow shady spot, but would see the last of the days sun.

The waggler proved fruitful with roach to over a pound on corn and worm. When the perch moved in, I upped the size of hook and worm and this culminated in a handsome perch just over the pound mark.

Sergeant at arms 

The swin then went quiet and I suspected a carp had moved in on the bait so I quickly changed to an ounce bomb and some luncheon meat and waited. Sure enough after fifteen minutes it was away and taking line on the light tackle.

Then as quickly was it arrived it was gone as a great boil of brown water saw the hook shed.

With a couple of liners on the margin rod I judged the afternoon a great success, reconnecting with “active” fishing as opposed to the more “passive” carplife.


Back with a barrow load of gear for the overnighter and I dropped into the north east corner as an angler was just leaving.

The reeds were being knocked about, the water was bubbling, and this corner was at the deepest end of the lake and looked promising.

I threw a couple of handfuls of BaitTech Triple N boilies in and around the reeds and set the rods up.

I was using the Sonik S3‘s paired with Tournos 8000‘s, despite being a small lake there are thirties in it and I didn’t want to be out gunned. Plus they look great and are a beautifully balanced combination.

Half and hour later out went the right rod and then I started to think about the position of the left.

The options were; open water, left margin, or along the north bank margin but I would have to wait and see if anyone in those swims was staying the night as I would be fishing in their water.

As there was an hour until the gates would be locked, I flicked the left rod into open water and waited to see who would be staying.

By seven the north bank was clear and by then I had had two from the margin spot, both around 10lb.

The left rod was placed close to an old willow, 6.5 wraps out and then surrounded by a smattering of boilies.

By 10pm I had had three more from the margin, all commons again and of a similar stamp. The left rod remained quiet.

The bivvy was up and the kettle on and time to relax on my new acquisition; a JRC Stealth bedchair, first impressions were that it would very comfortable for the night.

All was quiet after that, bar being awoke by the aerator at midnight thinking it was the most enormous show in the history of carp fishing. I drifted back off until half three when the carp did start to stir.

As I had to be off the swim by 7am I swung my legs off the very comfortable bedchair and put the kettle on. I knew if I lay down again I’d miss the action so snug was the bag and bed.

With the sunrise not due for another two hours I listened and most of the shows seemed to be mid water to my left, probably about where a angler had told me a trench ran.

I wound in the left rod, change the hook link to accommodate a pop-up and cast into the darkness.

The next hour passed without a bite. The carp were still active and I could see the right reed margin more clearly so decide to recast for the last two hours.

I discovered then that I have cast too close to the reeds in the dark as the hook had collect a twig and what not. I doubted my presentation during the night and could this be the reason the right rod suddenly went so quite?

Accurately placed this time I started pack away and load up the barrow.

Homeward bound

Bleep bleep – the right rod called out and I was in again. It felt heavier than previous fish but sluggish, then the carp woke up fully and was off, left and right, diving, surging, after a good scrap another common was in the net and the biggest yet – a low double.

And that was the end of a very enjoyable session. Six common carp up to 12ish lb, a good nights work and a good nights sleep on the new bedchair. Lots of positives and looking forward to coming back and fish the other corners.


Holiday Blues 

Keeping a lid on it. 

For most people the holiday blues kick in at the end of your two weeks away. For the carp angler it starts the moment you leave the UK. 

Whether you just miss your angling or the fear that your target fish will come out whilst away, those two weeks in the sun with the family can be a fraught time.

Holidays naturally come with stresses and strains – airport queues, finding somewhere [nice] to eat, sand on your towel, a noisy swimming pool, a disco next door at 3am, the list is endless. But for us carp anglers not fishing only adds to this.

You may forget for a moment or two as you relax and find some peace and quiet but then something will jog your mind into action; the kid in those camo swimmers, sweetcorn in your salad (only in Spain), mobiles that sound like buzzers, Neil Spooner’s hat in a gift shop, beach shelters that look like bivvies, and that fella reading Total Carp in his carpy green crocs!!

Coping with this sensory bombardment is difficult, and more so with social media keeping you in touch with catch reports. It’s enough to drive you crazy.

I’m not a hardcore carper but a generalist and a novice to boot, so holidays are a pleasure. This could all change as I delve deeper in to carplife.

In this occasion Carppuzzle is treating the holiday like the old closed season (if shorter), or the weeks before the footie kicks off again. I’ll be starting a new campaign on a new water upon my return. Watch this space.

Tightlines and tan lines!!

Overnight Success

Up and running 

First overnighter on ‘the’ lake and finally the final piece of the [Carp] puzzle fell into place – result. 

My first fish from the lake; it’s seems to have been a torturous journey to get here. This upper double mirror tripped up at 8am and fell to a single 18mm Triple N boilie tipped with buoyant corn on a KD rig, all presented over a few Spombs of boilie and particle. I kept the faith, kept it simple and kept believing in the bait.

But it didn’t always look like this first overnighter would end with a bite, let alone a fish in the net.

I arrived at 7pm and all bar two swims were occupied and this was a Thursday night!

Option one, No. 14 at the northern end of the lake, was near the pads and the party. Next door and in the next swim down a “social” was in full swing, with the bailiff holding court.

Option two, No. 8 at the southern end of the lake, was quiet but with limited water, having said that, a fella told me the carp were showing in that corner the previous night.

No. 8 it was and I went and chatted to the man around the corner in No. 9, to see where he was fishing – in my water was the answer! But he agreed to wind in his third rod, which was great.

The good side of carplife.

Out went the rods, one in the left margin and the other straight out (eight wraps). Slightly different baiting up, boilies only to the left and boilie and particle out front.

With the bivvy up, curry eaten and the coffee on, the angler in No. 7 was into a fish. A low double and I helped with the pictures – both sides – as he was sponsored by a bait company and needed to post everything on social media; yeah, yeah, yawn.

The modern side of carplife.

Then the bailiff arrived pissed in his nail of a car with a blown exhaust, not a great advertisement for the venue!

Now the night passed quietly [well at my end of the lake, but more of that later] without any liners or shows. I was up at 5am scanning the water. It had rained a little over night and the pressure was low, it looked good.

I had rebaited and recast at nightnight but was unhappy with the margin rod. I wound in and there was some debris on the KD so I switched to a Withy Pool and a white Mainline Banoffee pop-up.

I also wound in the right rod, rebaited with four more Spombs and in the morning light I was happier hitting the clip and thereby the spot.

The sunrise was red, very red, a shepherds warning if ever I saw one. Torrential rain was forecast for the afternoon and I started slowly packing away.

And then wallop I was in on the right. The carp came quietly to the margin and then started lunging left and right in the deeper water. It took two attempts to net but what a relief and what elation at finally having a carp in the net.

Pictures done, weighed (16lb 4oz) and back it went. It’s only after the fish is returned you think perhaps you should have taken a few more shots. I did resist the temptation to photograph its arse!

The odd side side of carplife.

Out went some more bait and the rig. From passed visits I knew that multiple bites were possible and sure enough after ten minutes the bobbin crashed into the right hand  blank.

This felt better initially, more resistant and then again no. What broke the surface shocked me – an eel! About a foot and a half long.

Figure of eight, in No.8

At that moment the bailiff appeared and his car now had a smashed windscreen and stoved in roof! He’d rolled it at the other end of the lake driving like a drunken loon. God help us if he’d hit an angler or a bivvy last night!

The ugly side of carplife.

By now I was done, and so were a couple of others, the antics of last night putting us off staying any longer and in some cases ever returning.

I think I’ll come back but not for another overnight. Don’t get me wrong a love a party but when I chose to fish that’s want I want to do.


Bio Hazard

Facing up to reality 

Back on ‘the’ lake but this time Carppuzzle was thrown a curve ball not experienced before.

I arrived at 6am hoping the gate would be open, as has previously been the case but this time it was firmly closed. Faced with an hour wait I turned around and headed back to a road side cafe (Off On A Tangent) for a breakfast roll.

Here I got chatting to another angler and he said that one of the three lakes at the venue had KHV. I’ve heard this was a very serious disease and relatively new to the UK. After a quick look at Wikipedia I feared for the specimen lake. The fella was not sure which lake was affected but this would throw a big spanner in the works for todays and future visits.

This could be the ultimate blank!

Just before 7am I headed back to find the specimen lake was clear of disease but full of anglers. It was the Tench Lake that had seen a few cases of KHV that had been confirmed by the man at the Ministry and now all nets, slings etc had to be dipped.

Which does beg the question;

Why were we not asked to do this previously?

With the lake full by 7am I dithered as to whether to fish the small lake, Decoy, which was very weedy and not something I was confident tackling. I walked around it anyway and saw nothing bar one angler.

As I walked back to the car park a swim at the north end of the main lake was now vacant and I dropped my bucket bank side and watched the water still undecided.

This end was quieter with fewer lines in the water, it was also shallow with some pads which would catch the morning sun so as I was already here it made sense to stay.

One rod to the reeds on the opposite bank and one on the edge of the pads, and wait, and admire the latest acquisition; a pair of Fox Micron Mr+ alarms. I decided I needed to update the alarms and have a remote system as I often walking around the margin baiting up during a session.

I did not have to wait long before the new buzzers sounded. The right rod against the pads had come to life. As I lifted the rod there was no resistance just a large common rolled off my line as it pinged off his pec about ten yards out

The pads rod now became a zig slightly over mid depth and I fired particles over it from time to time in the hope that they were somewhere up in the water. 

In the meantime the left reed rod gave me a bite but as has been the case so many times before nothing. So the head scratching began, was it presentation, hooklink / hair length, weight or bait.

At that time the bailiff dropped into my swim and he told me that the previous occupants had fished two nights and in his words, “proper filled it in!”. So I was faced with another few hours fishing on or around kilos of unknown bait! And looking in the margin I could see a bright fluoro pink pop-up, so I guessed they were fishing these over boilies.

The bailiff believed the KHV was contained, and viewed the closure of the Tench Lake as a good opportunity to clean it of some weed and tidy the swims. 

Heading for another blank I threw out a few floaters as the sun hit a lunchtime high but it was only the roach that were interested. If anything it was a bit of a waste of time as I’d not seen anything on the surface. 

As the season drew to an end I thought about my fish in their tank – it could do with a tidy up, a good clean and some freshly treated water. Healthy fish equals happy anglers, no matter what the size. 



I’m Going Nuts

Still proving a tough nut to crack

Visit number seven and the Carppuzzle decided to complement our favored Dynamite Red Amo Tigernuts with the real McCoy in the hope that this will bring a chunk to the bank. 

I arrived at the lake at 6am to find one angler who was on an overnighter. With the whole lake to choose from I dropped into No.2. This would give me an easy cast down the reed line where I had had a bite before (Bucket List) and where I had seen a 26lb mirror come out (Blankety Blank). The second rod would be held back for shows and would more than likely end up on the middle plateau at seven wraps.

Whole, chopped and ground tigers were added to the mix and duly spombed into the margin, with the first rod cast tight to the reeds I settled down to watch the lake and hoped for the “frenzied feeding” to begin.

8am and the lake was still very quite but I had had a couple of liners, bleeps and knocks, which always makes you wonder about presentation. The margin rod was on a heli set up, but as I still had not cast out the second I changed it to a standard lead clip and whilst getting ready a large fish boiled roughly between the middle and the reeds.

Out went rod two with a boilie stringer toward the receding ripples from the show.

The conditions very perfect, we had just come of the back of some very hot weather and this mornings the pressure was dropping, the sky was heavy with rain and the odd rumble of thunder gave me great confidence the carp gods would bless me on this visit, but this feeling ebbed away as the minutes and hours ticked by.

I fiddled around with tiger, boilie and buoyant corn kebab combinations but to no avail the bobbins refused to budge and the lake was quiet . The session ended, and as I packed away leaving the margin rod to the last, ever hopeful. Two anglers have arrived four day session and I think half the problem I have is that if you are not on the fish a short session is never going to be long enough to see the carp arrive in your swim regardless of location, bait or presentation.

So far I have fished this water a total of 28 hours over seven visits (It’s Show Time, Off On A Tangent, Bucket List, Target Practice and Blankety Blank), not a lot when you read of 24 hour, 48 hour, and longer sessions ending in blanks. Frustrating as it is, it does not look so bad when you crunch the numbers or the nuts. But I need an overnighter here! I’ll crack it then.

I still have great confidence in the Dynamite Tigernut boilies but an offer from Carpology caught my eye and so I shelled out on a three month subscription and have now added BaitTech Triple N to the arsenal as continue this years nut crunching frenzy.

First impressions are great, they smell superb and the Stick Mix Liquid will be perfect for glugging the pop-ups and dumbells. I went for the 18mm’ers, more of a mouth full for the lakes crafty carp. Now to get another session in the diary – a long session.