Fame And Fortune 

Sound advice from Navitas

“Everyone will be famous for 15 minutes”, so said Andy Warhol, and Carppuzzle wonders how many anglers have thought their fame would lead to fortune. 

Warhol later said, “I’m bored with that line. I never use it anymore. My new line is ‘In 15 minutes everybody will be famous.’“, which is now even more applicable in the digital carp worlds of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.

Much like artists, professional carp anglers that make a good living from fishing are few and far between but that does not stop a constant flow of blogging, vlogging and such like from us ‘amateurs’, Carppuzzle being just one of the many.

Whilst many are out there chasing the sponsors and shouting loud about being a consultant and field tester; for me, my fishing and blogging is more about escapism, mental well being and mindfulness.

Sure, it is a diary of my thoughts on #carplife but it is also a means of coping with a stressful job, an arduous commute, and a means of tackling depression.

Yes; depression creeps up on you, as I found out. It exploded on the scene with a breakdown that saw me signed off work for three months.

Carp fishing was the perfect therapy as was writing about my “noddy” take on the scene, plus this coping mechanism eased the commute but it did not solve the work issues, so I find myself resigning this week on health grounds.

I’ll be back to the lakes this week to formulate a plan for the future, hopefully end my blank, but professional angling will not be on the list.

Carp fishing is here to stay and I now know when problems are piled high, a lake is the perfect place to collect my thoughts and maintain my sanity.

Tightlines – but not (too many) bylines.

PS Happy to test anyone’s bait  😉


Blankety Blank

Ten out of ten for effort

Two trips back to back is a rare treat and something to be relished. With the other half away on business and me doing the school run the opportunity was too good to miss.

This would be trip number five to the ‘usual’ lake where I have yet to catch but hopes remain high and I will crack this lake and its inhabitants.

With only a few hours on each day (9am – 2pm) the kit and bait was prepped and ready to go. My favored swim was available, wraps known and quick as a flash the rigs were out and boilies peppered the water – Dynamite Tigernut Red Amo, but with my edge form Target Practice – tuna!

Within an hour I had a tentative take on the right hand rod but lifted into nothing, as has been the case before. The carp are pressured here and crafty buggers.

Then a long slow drop back on the left rod, which I was fishing heli style. I lifted the rod and quickly realised the fish was swimming towards me. Then contact and the rod took on an aggressive bend. One big knock  and a swirl of water made me loosen the clutch and reach for the landing net. diaister changing the angle of the line and pop – the hook was out and I was left cursing my luck.

Back out went the rods and I topped up the swim with bait but the rest of the afternoon was quite. Soon it was time to collect the kids but I would be back the following day confident on location, bait and rig.

The following morning I was back at the lake but “my” swim was taken and at the time of arriving I was roped into helping a fella photograph a 26lb plump mirror. Not that I minded as this was the biggest carp I had come up close and personal with!

With “my” swim already occupied I dropped in to no.10, as during the previous day the angler here had two high doubles and told be the spot was seven wraps out front.

And with a recent Carpology post in mind – ‘How should you approach the last swim available on a busy venue this summer’ . I quickly spombed out a small amount of mixed boilies and particles and had the rigs out a moment later. One a wafter and the other a pop-up, and the same colour. It was now 10am, and from what I have seen and heard on previous visits bite time would be from now until 1ish.

The minutes and hours ticked by, liners came and went, something topped over the left spot, but nothing firm. No full on bites, it felt as though they, the carp, were getting away with it and the session ended with another blank.

As I packed away and chatting to the bailiff, according to him the spot was good, the lead 3oz was fine, the hook link length good and the bait got the nob of approval.

The only suggestion he had was shorted the hair. Could this be the last part of the puzzle on this water?

I can now see why carpers develop an OCD (obsessive carpy disorder) because I am now determined to get back to the lake and nail a fish – a big one too!

Tightlines – not frown lines!

Target Practice

Battlefield 1

Back on the “winter” venue which is fast becoming the “spring” venue while Carppuzzle waits for a new club ticket to arrive. This is visit No. 4 and on this occasion Jim joined me, swapping the X-Box for the tackle box.

Much like the X-Box the first decision to make at the lake is what game we are going to play – stalking, bait and wait, or chase the shows. Today having looked around the lake and not seen anything bar two lads with a 18lb’er on bank we decide to bait and wait a southern corner of the lake where the last few rays of the afternoon sun would warm the water, reed line and hopefully the feeding carp.

Next; weapons of choice; having got the range, the cast was only 50 yards, we stick with our favoured Sonik S3‘s and Tournos 8000‘s loaded with Fox 15lb mono plus Berkley fluorocarbon leaders – Follow The Leader. The BFG’s if you like from Doom for all you old skool gamers. And finally at the business end;  KD rigs courtesy of Gardner and Korda end tackle and 3oz leads from The Lead Shed.

Next; what ammunition to use; sticking to what you have confidence in, is what we are constantly being told, and for Carppuzzle that is Dynamite Monster Tigernut Red Amo, plus mixed particles for added crunch and sweetcorn for colour.

Now we are ready to play and with two other gamers/carpers on the lake getting that high score/PB may be difficult especially as the lake is still silent, bereft or targets, where are those carp?

It’s a short session this afternoon and bankside Jim tells me in gaming terminology we’re “camping”, sitting a corner of the “map” and waiting for the enemy or in our case the carp to take the hook bait.

Lying in wait and the kettle goes on (don’t think there is one of these in the Call of Duty armoury ) and we wait.

The minutes hours tick by and nothing, other carpers have logged off and we find ourselves alone on the lake as the sun sinks ever lower. I’m surprised we haven’t seen anything, previous blogs Show Time and Bucket List told us the lake was active late afternoon early evening but not on this occasion, not even liners.

We walk around the lake a drop some more bait in the reed margin, reload the rigs and fire then out as they may not have been presenting correctly.

Nothing – and as we run out of time it’s …


We too, logged off the lake and packed the kit away.

Driving home Jim and I agreed the carp “owned” us this time but we’ll be back and with a “patch” on that ammo. Previously I had glugged the boilies in coconut milk and thinking back to the angler who had the 31lb mirror ( Bucket List ) he said he’d put some tinned tuna in with his boilies. So hopefully with these upgrade we’ll “own” the lake on our next visit.


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]!