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 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.

The Name Game

White label 

Rather like old skool dj’s, bait companies will have their testers receiving ‘white label’ bait to get the carpy crowd jumping and whet the appetite before its arrival on the shelves. 

Ali Hamidi posted the picture above on instagram for a soon to be released Goo, quickly followed by Pecky.

But what struck me was the name: succulent, mouthwatering and very tempting for the angler, let along the carp.

A catchy name will certainly grab your attention, for example Dynamite Baits Mulberry and Florentine. I saw a tweet from Sharp Tackle advertising these pop-ups – what a combination, got my attention!

Some names are pretty straight forward; pineapple, strawberry, GLM, marine halibut, or white chocolate. Others go a step further with a play on words Royal Marine, Nutcracker, and Manilla.

Then we get a bit more scientific; The Cell, XLR8, System X, or CompleX-T. Whilst some will just big it up; Monster Tigernut or Monster Squid.

And finally there are those that appear to be the answers to your prayers – The Key, The Source, or 24/7.

One thing I have noticed is as you read down the menu, because often the tackle shop shelves read like a Saturday night takeaway, the price goes up. Exclusive ingredients and fancy branding comes at a cost; cost for us, the carp angler.

But one thing to bear in mind when shopping for bait is what an old tackle shop owner once said to me;

Some of those baits have caught more anglers than fish!

Still, I do like the sound of Scent from Hell by Baitworks this winter, appeals to the old rocker in me, whether the carp dance to that beat is another matter!


In Pole Position

Two’s company, [is] three a crowd?

This thread started when carppuzzle saw someone selling one Delkin on Trackle-trader. Why one, down sizing from three to two rods perhaps? And where does this sit on the carpy scale?

Three seems to be the norm, and the instagram pictures prove this but there are plenty of doubles, plus double set ups with a third rod on a bankstick off at a jaunty angle.

Thinking back to an old Terry Hearn article in Carpology about rods, spots and positioning, he concluded that you know the best spot, “that’s the last one you wind in at the end of a session”, so what are the other rods doing?

Number two is often either side of number one to catch that wary carp that often hangs back on its approach to the baited area. Now you could put the third opposite the second but often there is one main route into the baited area (due to snags, weed, gravel bars, and observed carp habits) therefore, more often than not the third is flung out into the lake with a pop-up on the end or dropped in the margin.

Back with Terry and now playing the percentage game, you would hope for 70% of bites on rod one, 25% on two. and less than 5% on three. 95% over two rods, as a betting man the third is a long shot at best and in my view redundant.

People often argue the third rod is reserved for showing fish, but why not use rod two? The odds are still in your favour with the prime rod, rod one on the chosen spot.

Next is mobility, less on the barrow, quicker to set up and break down; logic says two is better but there is not much in it.

Then cost, it’s not just the rod; add in the reel, line and terminal gear and despite tackle shop deals a three rod set up is the pricey option for the novice.

And finally aesthetics, personally two is balanced, symmetrical and less cluttered. But I am sure plenty will disagree, that’s carp life.

Having said all that, last year I bought a pair of Sonik S3’s (Big Butts) so now have four rods in the armoury, if need be I can upset my carpy karma and drop a third in the margin or sling a pop-up at whoever pokes their nose out of the water.

So to be in pole position this winter I’ll stick with two, but never say never!


Cold [carp] Calling

The iceman cometh 

The lakes are frozen and there seems to be another icey lid over the carpy parallel social media world. What’s going on?

Twitter seems very quiet bar the shops and manufacturers pushing January sales and new gear. #TBT’s and #FF’s keep things ticking over, but tweet volume is markedly down.

Instagram is full of pictures from 2016 reliving personal bests, old black warriors, boiling kettles and beautiful sunsets. Plus the obligatory perch, or are garyling carpy(er)?

Again Facebook is the same but with the odd competition thrown into the mix to maintain our interest in all things carpy.

So where have all the carp gone or perhaps carppuzzle should ask where have all anglers gone?

Simple really, cold weather and frozen lakes makes for poor carp action and despite the magazines pushing the “cold water” secrets of various celebrity anglers there are warmer ways to spend a day.

Add in a few hours of daylight and the very real likelihood of blanking and you can see why anglers have switched off (but not the carp).

They are still out there feeding so time to pencil in a couple of dates into the diary before this winter ends.

And finally, it’s nice to see that I’m not the only one who blanks and struggles to break through that icey lid either side of the computer screen!


Twenty Seventeen 

Monkey see, monkey do!

With 2016 having been and gone, time to review my year on the bank and set targets for 2017. What do I want from my fishing next year?

Firstly, a massive thank you to all of you who took the time to read the carppuzzle blog.

A diary of sorts; fishing trips, thoughts and a general light  (highlights being – Double Take) hearted sideways view on the world of carping, carpcrews and carplife (for example – Bean(ie) Counters). And I hope you have enjoyed it.

But I did not get as much bankside time as I had wished for, therefore:

Target One; get more time on the bank; keep it real and keep blogging with more “thinking out loud” nonsense.

Secondly; I’ve been learning along the way, reading the water, the weathers conditions, seasonal feeding variations and fishing appropriately but not always catching – Show Time.

Fingers crossed as these skills are howned more carp should grace the net.

Target Two; get more fish in the net, be consistent and in the process push the PB ever higher.

Thirdly; explore some new waters. The old estate lake didn’t possess the mythical behemoth, and the winter venue is proving a tough nut to crack but I will give it until April when a new “club” ticket will start.

Target Three; get more overnighters on the club waters, perhaps some prebaiting for shorter guerilla sessions during the summer.

In a (monkey) nutshell – it’s fish more, learn more, catch more, and not necessarily in that order. And try not to buy too much gear – Balance Sheet!

Time to take aim on 2017.