Heavy Metal

The weighting game

How heavy is too heavy. An exchange to tweets with carp guru Julian Cundiff got Carppuzzle thinking out loud on the subject to leads and their weight. 

I was surprised that Julian used a 2oz lead for 95% of his fishing (not that heavy for an old rocker like him, haha) and so I asked over what distance he fished:  “1-60 yards normally” he replied.

I’m guessing that for the other 5% the rig changes due to presentation on the lake bed or the lead is heavier due to longer distance or weather conditions i.e. a cross wind for improved accuracy. Otherwise 2oz is preferable which seems at odds with the general carpy con census that is, you need heavy leads to ‘drive’ the hook home or use a lead system where the carp picks up the ‘heaviest’ part of the lead.

Korda’s COG system and the new Fox In-line Impact Leads for fill this criteria but this only works on a hard bottom where these flat pear shaped leads are most effective with the particular manufacturers lead clip. Over silk weed or chod , you’ll want a heli set up and therefore there is no ‘heavy’ part to the lead, so ‘driving’ the hook home is really down to the sharpness of the point.

This is where Julian scores, as looking at his pictures the hook is sharpen to within an inch of its life and that 2oz lead is more than enough to secure a deep and fine hold.

Also with a light lead where is not the need to drop the lead which seems to be another fashion. I don’t understand the thinking behind dropping the lead, I very much doubt a 2oz to 4oz lead would prevent a 20lb carp from coming to the surface or whether it could use it as leverage to stay deep – but that’s another blog.

So Julian’s set-up looks near perfect and his track record and standing in the carp community speaks volumes.  Now it’s time to turn up the volume but less heavy metal more good old metal – rock on!



Bucket List

Tea break 

We all have one, mine includes seeing the Northern Lights and travelling to the Andes in South America, but it also includes a 30lb carp; common or mirror will do, preferably both!

Back on my winter venue, not that I have fished it this year – stress of work, but that’s another post – anyway I arrive two-ish for a quick mid week session.

I thought midweek would be quiet, wrong, four other carpers had the same idea. The spring weather had brought them out of their winter hibernation and with eight lines in the water already the pressure was on.

The first lad I spoke hadn’t caught but said the fella at the southern end had had a 31lb mirror. I stopped to chat to the only carp captor in swim ‘Seven’ as I circumnavigated the lake. His prize had come from the very spot I had fished the first time on this water – It’s Show Time – knew it was a good’un! Always good to see someone catch and the pictures proved the baliff’s stock take was correct – Off On A Tangent.

Continuing on I settled on “Thirteen” at the northern end and opposite a line of reeds and two swims down from the previous visit – Off On A Tangent. Plus this was where I had seen the only show and a location where I could walk to and bait by hand with half a kilo of Dynamite Monster Tigernut Red Amo, plus some corn and krill pellets, all glugged.

Out went the right rod (KD rig) onto the baited area, about a meter off the reeds and the left rod (Withy Pool rig) was lobbed onto an area I knew would grow into pads by the summer. And relax, work has been a mare so this was the perfect tonic.

After an hour of so the liners started on the right and I was hopeful but it was the left that dropped back suddenly but I lifted into nothing. As I was winding in to recast the right rod screamed off. I dropped the left and picked up the right but in my hassle did not tighten the clutch before trying to wind down and settling the hook and therefore lifted into nothing. I paused for a moment hoping the carp was still on but no – novice mistake.

At least the areas were right and the carp approved of the boilies and I recast and rang then dinner bell by scattering boilies along the reed line with the catapult. Another hour passed with the odd bleep but nothing of substance.

I then Spombed some bait out and placed the left rod along the reed line but silence, six o’clock and with the sun setting super time was over.

As before – It’s Show Time – 4-6pm was bite time, and despite a missed take I was happy in the knowledge that the two locations I had fished previously were and would no doubt be fruitful plus the Dynamite boilies produced a positive reaction.

Packed up and away by 7pm, but looking forward to the next visit before the Summer club ticket arrives. Hopefully fourth visit, in the fourth month (April) at 4pm will bring fourth a carp.



Zig And Zag

Kit inspection 

“In the spring a young angler’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of carp. Spring is the season for zig rigs” apologies to Tennyson; but watching the web rather than the water this week; Carppuzzle asks why then try and ban them?

A recent post on Carpology saw Mat Woods and Simon Whiteby debate whether zigs should be banned due to foul hooking or perhaps maximum lengths should be set.

Fisheries may ban zigs sighting fish safety, as many have done with barbed hooks, braid main lines, tiger nuts, hemp, closed side umbrellas (?) the list is often more eclectic than a Danny Fairbrass spod mix!

Seriously, spring has arrived and the fishing giants are pushing zig kit from bugs to boxes. But you could argue that any hook “popped” off the bottom has the potential to foul hook a fish – i.e. a chod over a weedy bottom. Equally surface fishing could cause foul hooking. And any rig tied incorrectly has the potential to be deadly.

I think in this instance thoughts of a ban are based on the traditionalist view that carp fishing should be “hard”. Zig fishing is perceived as easy, for noddies, right. I mean where is the water craft in slinging a piece of glug foam out and waiting for a carp to bump into it!

Wrong, carp fishing, even zig fishing is hard when you think of the time you need, access to a good venue and the cost of that ticket, all the gear, and finally the mental strength to persevere after blanking even when you have found the little buggers.

Such bans actually add to an outsiders view that carp fishing is elitist and isolationist; a closed shop for odd balls if you like. Some carpers seem determined to maintain this stance in “their” sport, for example no publicity bans on waters.

With the incredible growth in the leisure fishing industry I believe educating carp anglers must be the focus as manufacturers push “must have products” for each season.

Fisheries will always want to protect their assets but education is key not just for me, the novice, but the next generation. Especially when the EA has made licences free for under sixteens.

With all the carpy magazines and online tutorials I firmly believe education is the answer to this particular debate rather than a knee jerk reaction in the form of a ban.

Tightlines, even zig zag lines?

Follow The Leader

A linear conundrum 

Lead core, lead free, shock, sinking braid, fluorocarbon … leaders, the list goes on, but how long should a leader be asks Carppuzzle

I have scoured many carp magazines for a definitive answer but it has eluded me. There is plenty about what material to use, where and when but not length.

Then I found an Adam Penning video for Prologic’s Last Meter Bulldozer K Braided Shock Leader, having watched it I was none the wiser, but I had an “in” – @AskPenners, so I tweeted:

And back came the answer:

This sounded like a question from my daughter’s school maths exam! Not to be put off I set about solving the equation.

The drop is from the rod tip to the rig? Yes? Okay a constant at 6ft.

Then add the reel turns, 12ft, on the basis the reel retrieval, ‘R‘, is approximately 0.9m per turn on Sonik Tournos 8000, but this is a variable correct? So we now have 6 + 4R.

Then don’t forget the rod tip to the reel seat, 10ft for a twelve foot rod, in my case Sonik S3, variable again. Therefore rod length L – b, butt section, another variable. Now we have 6 + 4R + (L-b).

I calculated 28ft, with my variables of reel retrieval and rod length, and as I was on the train commuting I guesstimated 30ft would do for must people but wanted clarification so tweeted:

And back can he answer:

But I don’t think that is the case. Just take the rod variable L, you could have 9ft or 13ft, and reel gearing and spool circumference will effect R. Or does Adam mean it’s the same set up (equation) on any rod?

Therefore does 6 + 4R  + (L-b) apply in all cases?

Yes, I think so, but rather like the Links Effect it comes down to personal preference, and what about other variables; should depth of water be a consideration?

I’m now guilty of over complicating things with too much mathematics. But I am keen to use a strong leader having been cut off before Nutcracker Sweet just have to decide which and how long.

Back to school then.

Tightleaders [lines]!

Don’t Rock The Boat

Storm in a tea cup [mug ed.]

Firstly congratulations to Terry Hearn in catching The Parrot at 63lb. and in February when social media was bereft of carpy captures. But why the social media backlash and trolling following the announcement asks Carppuzzle? 

The capture has opened up various seams of disagreement in carp life. For example, it may not be a record weight but is still PB, plus it is The Parrot the “true?” record UK fish or is that Big Rig, which caused its own Twitter storm and by the way sounds like a character from Disney Cars!

But one thread caught my eye, it screamed;

He used a bait boat

Shock and horror amongst some of the carping community. I’m surprised no one played the “sponsored” angler card as well – “never pays for his bait n tackle, y’know!”. Read Tel’s account on ESP.com you can understand why he used a bait boat.

With carp gear and tech coming in all shapes and sizes, you could view some of it as “performance enhancing” and therefore morally wrong to the purest? So, should we draw a line, for fish to “count” and if so what would it encompass?

Personally, no – it would be a waste of time and divisive. Everyone fishes within their own set of parameters whether that be equipment, bait, location, time and money; and also within the venue rules, and thereby gets immense pleasure from their passion.

So creating arbitrary unregulated lines (rules) that cannot be crossed will only alienate anglers and create resentment as we have seen with Terry and The Parrot.

Thinking about it, is Tel’s boat any different to a Cygnet baiting pole for accurately placing a bait, rowing a rig out into the lake and lowering it onto the spot, or even Danny Fairbrass in the latest Korda Masterclass 4 video using a boat to cast from and thereby gaining a extra 200m to be on the fish.

Again, no – I think if we go down that route we are all lost, save that level of scrutiny for match fishing and just enjoy The Parrot, the man and his achievements. At the end of the day he is a great angler and a font of carpy knowledge for noddy’s like me. Let technology improve your fishing, look at the advances in rod materials, lines, fabrics and baits for example.

Time to grab my high tech gear, get out and catch myself a carp – big or small.

But no bait boat for me, they’re 500 notes and having had radio controlled cars as a kid, I would not trust then not to break down!


Creature Comforts

Winter fuel allowance 

Off the back of a few tweets and instagram posts here’s this weeks “thinking out loud” from Carppuzzle. In this extreme cold weather are you carping or camping?

Firstly there was a picture of some loon out on the bank this month covered with nothing more than a sleep system, a balaclava and a layer of frost!

Carpy I hear you say, hypothermia I say.

Then the fella with astro turf in his bivvy. Reminded me of the time I spotted a bivvy with a TV aerial. Carping, camping or in these cases glamping!

Next follows some exchanges on Coleman burners to keep warm, Penning, Grey, Peck et al. I think you’d  get just as much heat burning fivers in your bivvy!

But trumping everyone was Fridays amazing steampunk shot of Northern Nev and a wood burner outside his bivvy – brilliant.

Now that is carpy!

Carplife or Tempest Life – carp or camp; this winter it is about getting away from everyday life and embracing nature, oh and catching a few carp so however you do it, stay warm in your bivvy this winter, pegged and tied down as #WinterIsComing, again.

Tight [guide] lines.

A Stream Of Ladies

Knocked off its perch (sic)

Mid winter and with the carp still being camera shy, a carpers attention often turns to other species – but which one asks Carppuzzle?

If you like lakes then perhaps get the maggots out and target roach. We are often told big roach can be found in carpy waters having grown large on boilies, particles and the like. Might even get a bonus carp!

Or perhaps the very carpy perch. Much photographed and a carpy mainstay. Again fattened up on the roach that have been feasting on the carpy nosh. Maggots, worms or consider spinning to keep you mobile in the cold.

Rather than the lake head to a river; pike, chub or barbel will put a pleasing bend into those 2 3/4 rods.

But what has caught the Carppuzzle eye on social media this winter is another river resident; the beautiful grayling, the lady of the stream.

Now the perch has a handsome dorsal fin but the grayling trumps this with an iridescent rainbow of colour.

I have never fished for and therefore never caught a grayling but seeing pictures of Mark Pitchers and the like it is very tempting. If only for the extra tackle one would need, a trotting reel, vintage of course.

Plus a flat cap, now that is carpy or do beanies still rule that clothing niche. See Beanie Counters

Or how about a fly rod, could be the next summer hit, carp off the top on a nymph!


UPDATE; having said all that how timely that Ollie Fisher, team member at Carp Particles UK, wins a weekly Drennan award with a stunning 3lb grayling, CONGRATULATIONS! #ThatsCarpy, see Angling Times.