Weedy Swim

Leaf it out, mate!

Most of us use or have used hemp in our carp fishing but usually as a bait. So when I visited a new venue I did not expect to find hemp in a very different form. 

The lake complex looked great online so I decided to pay a visit. Something was up from the off, a young lad was happily smoking outside the ‘club house’.  The smell was unmistakable and the management seemed unperturbed.

First impressions count but I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt perhaps I was wrong. I then set off to walk the main lake only to find the small bag pictured.

Whatever you care to call it; weed, cannabis, skunk, ganga, marijuana etc at the end of the day it’s hemp but with higher levels of the psychoactive component tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and depending on your stance, good or bad for you medically in combination with concentrations of cannabidiol (CBD), which decreases or eliminates the psychoactive effects.

Now judging by the smell this little bag was giving off, it was the former and you would have struggled to fish, tie a hair, cast straight, and quickly run out of tea and biscuits to munch on!

Seriously though; what does concern me is drugs and also alcohol by the lake are potentially lethal. Too much of one or the order and you’ll struggle to get out of the water, if you fell in, and at this time of year potentially put others at risk; should you be lucky enough they heard the splash!

I’m guessing all lakes have a ban on recreational drug use but do they enforce it – not in this case.

Best leave this “gear” at home and just get high on hauling carp. A hard earned winter warrior will last long in your memory – and that’s the best drug and/or addiction; that and buying carp tackle – see earlier blog post; Balance Sheet.

And if you’re wondering what happened to the contents of the bag; it ended down the chemical toilet in the car park as I made my exit, never to return.

Tight lines (not white lines!)


Balance Sheet

“You’ve got mail – again!” [Wife]

I seem to have got into a rut. I’ll buy some carp gear for the feel good factor especially if I don’t fish a weekend. Is this the norm for carp anglers? Or can I blame the online tackle giants and their weekly offers that are feeding this new addiction. 

Plus using click and collect at Argos for eBay purchases has allowed me to sneak stuff into the shed under the wife’s ‘gearadar’.

Now having just bought a pair of new rods – see Big Butts blog post – I decided to do a quick audit on the gear, if anything to prove to myself that I was not addicted to buying carp gear.

Or convince the wife I should fish more and therefore save money. Smart eh?

So armed with my phone I ventured into the shed and its darkest corners.

Seven rods, seven reels, two landing nets, two hold-alls, two buckets, one bivvy, one umbrella, one barrow, unhooking mat; and that was just the stuff I could see!

Delving into the ESP hold-all and subsequent Bits Bag revealed a treasure trove of Korda, Gardner, Fox, Enterprise, Korum, et al terminal gear.

And then add in the Prologic alarms ‘n’ bank sticks, bait, clothing, beanies (three and counting), stove, mugs and finally the very carpy perch lures – a winter must have, and by now my head was spinning – no pun intended.

The whole exercise was turning into an episode of the Generation Game and I could hear Bruce saying …

“Didn’t he do well!”

I won’t say what the grand total is because as a novice, I’m sure I would be laughed off the lake having not mortgaged the house for some Daiwa Basiair Tournaments but it was a useful exercise if only for insurance.

Which begs the questions; what does the house insurance cover? and, are tackle specific policy’s worth the money?

Your comments would be much appreciated.

In the meantime I’ll try and keep my hands in my pockets unless of course I’m holding one of the seven rods and hopefully landing a carp!

Tight lines.

Big Butts

Le grand rond derrière

Kim Kardashian broke the internet with hers and depending on your age, you may remember MC Hammer singing about then, or Spinal Tap “big bottoms [butts] drive me out of my mind”. Actually listening to the charts now these pale into insignificance but I digress. 

Big is beautiful and this seems to be the case with carp rods and their butt rings. Carppuzzle asks why? 

It’s all about casting, or so it seems.

The logic is that larger rings allow the line to travel faster unhindered by friction as it reduces the line running/rubbing against the ring(s). Also with the spool size of big pit reels and the angle that the line enters the ring, a wider butt aperture (!) will reduce this angle, so again, reducing the friction, speed the line and therefore aid distance casting. Having said that, most rings are super smooth Fiji silicon carbide and the like lined, so is there really anything to be gained from big butt rings when casting?

Now, how many times do you have to cast over 100m?

Come to think of it, casting 100m will often put you in someone else’s water. Plus in most cases one rod is under armed in the margins – the lakes biggest feature.

Sticking with casting; taking the line into account will also effect efficiency (distance), with mono winning over fluoro. Then add in the terminal tackle and lead; want to cast further, then clip in a heavier or more aerodynamic lead – Korda tournament etc. Is the butt ring helping? Again very marginal.

ESP offer ‘The Classic’ with 40mm; and ‘The Distance’ (the clue is in the name!) with 50mm butt rings to cater for all tastes, as do almost all manufacturers, but I’m guessing that 50mm is the most popular; the most fashionable at this moment in #carpy evolution.

After all that, we seem to have now zeroed in on the answer to this carppuzzlefashion.

Now at this point I must hold my hand up … yes … I have recently bought a pair of Sonik S3, 3.5lb rods with 50mm rings. But not for fashion, I chose the rods for their test curve and the ability to punch out a heavy payload. Plus the sale price form Angling Direct made them irresistible . The large butt rings were a bonus, honest!

But clip on my Sonik Tournos 8000’s and once in the bank, I’m sure I will enjoy gazing at those big round butt rings. As MC Hammer said;

I like big butts and I can not lie. You other brothers can’t deny

I like’em round and big. And when I’m throwin a gig [rig Ed.]

Tight (butt) lines

It’s Show Time

Hung out to dry!

The winter will be here soon and new carpy challenges await me. I have never done a true winter campaign but intend to this year.

First challenge – the venue.

Taking the advice of Nigel Sharp in a recent Carpology feature, 5 things I’ve learnt about winter fishing. I settled on a shallowish, four ache lake with only a couple of areas of pads, which will die back as the cold sets in.

Having never fished it before the first visit was a short exploratory session walking and watching the water.

As usual, one of the kids came along for the ride and despite my attempts at not being too ambitious, Mel was firm in her belief that we would have three fish!

We arrived at 2.30pm and found a couple of anglers to chat to – nothing had been out all day.

Then bosh, big show to the right of the first fella we chatted to. Being new to the lake and not wanted to piss off a regular by settling up next to him we wandered on, eventually settling on a sheltered bay where there was some bubbling. Plus we could see the whole lake from our swim – No. 7.

Rods out, kettle on and Mel and I settled down to watch and hopeful learn a little about the lake.

Then at 4pm it was Show Time.

One in the left margin, two out front at 80yrds – one of which I could clearly see golden scales of a 25lb plus common but more importantly two over the left rod.
Then the liners stared and we waited in the edge of our seats. And we waited, and as quickly as the show had started it ended and the lake was quiet by 6pm.

With the light fading and cold penetrating our clothes we reluctantly packed up.

Mel had experienced her first blank, but as I said on the way home think of the positives.

  • We saw fish show and good one too, so we won’t be chasing mythical beast next time.
  • We could think of a different bait approach – one of the fellas thought the carp and a sweet tooth. Strawberry, Tutti or Scopex boilies perhaps.
  • The size of the lake means we can be very mobile and on fish quickly so perhaps walking and quickly casting at shows will pay dividends.
  • Also with the liners perhaps a zig rig on one rod is the way forward.
  • Finally, the net is dry so the car does not smell all fishy!

Having seen the matinee, what shows do the carp put on for the morning and evening? That is the carppuzzle which I aim to solve on the next visit.

Tight lines.

Particle Physics

Party mix

I always like to add a few particles to my boilie approach, I think it keeps the carps grubbing around and you’ll often see the water discolour and slick up as they get their heads down. 

In addition bringing other fish to the party will attract a curious carp, much like us, you see a crowd and need to know what’s up. But beside the usual suspects of hemp, tigers, corn, maple peas, grains etc are we missing a seasonal bank side feast?

During the year various trees and bushes around the lake will fruit (apple, plum, cherry, elderberries and blackberries) and produce nuts (cobs, acorns, conkers) and not forgetting rose hips and hawthorn berries, many of which will fall in the margins and be eaten by fish – carp perhaps.

Around harvest time this is especially noticeable. So with all the bait companies making fruity or nutty boilies perhaps some windfall cherries or elderberries in with your Crafty Catcher Black Cherry boilies might be the “edge” we are forever looking for.

Having said that I think this approach is only really limited to the margins.

I’m no Einstein but his theory of general relativity states.

Gravity is a distortion of space-time. Particles still follow the straightest possible paths in that space-time.

Therefore, straight down into the lake and not out into the middle.

So “particle physics” will limit the effective “edge” of this lake side bounty’, that is of course if the carp even ate them in the first place!

Tight lines.

The Links Effect

Hook line and sinker

To tie or to buy your hook links, that is the question.

Well one of the questions for carppuzzle this week. The other being how long should your hook link be, and does a ready tied link put you at a disadvantage – okay that’s two questions.

Various companies offer ready tied rigs – Korda, ESP, Fox, Prologic, Gardner and entering the market most recently [Oct 2016] was Vardis, all using a variety of materials and hook patterns to cater for every carpy scenario.

Or do they?

Looking at what’s on offer, one thing that strikes me why are they all generally 7 to 9 inches long (I am not included Chod and PVA bag links here)? Is that the industry consensus from years of field testing or is it that at that length they conveniently fit into the respective companies rig box?

[Inset your own money making conspiracy theory here.]

I can see the convenience but where do you go to if you are heading for a blank? Different presentation, yes possible, but still the same length? This doesn’t seem like a great alternative.

Reading various articles link lengths vary between 4 to 14 inches. It seems anything goes, so why do manufacturers think 7 – 9 inches are the magic numbers?

As a novice I like to tie my own, from a simple KD to Hinge Stiff rigs and Combi’s – that’s part of the challenge, right? Plus altering the length of the hair and link itself can make or break a session.

Also I think mixing up the manufacturers of the different components is more cost effective, and allows you to cherry pick the best components for your desired presentation.

For example: I use Korda hooks, Gardner braid and BankTackle hardware (swivels etc).

And one last thought; I don’t understand the fashion for having a full rig board for a session. One or two maybe to get started but after that the tweaking should begin if the carp are getting away with it.

So my answer to this weeks carppuzzle is: tie your own as I do; a couple each for maybe three different bait presentations; and the length?

SEVEN inches of course! Just the right size to fit in the rig board!

Tight lines.

[Fish] Meal Time

Quality over quantity?

Changing the carppuzzle logo colours to reflect the Autumn got me thinking. 

Is it better to feed and bait up with fishmeal or cereal/seed/nut based boilies during the Autumn months?

Being a novice and having read various articles there seems to be generally two schools of thought, low protein in the colder conditions is easier for the carp to digest as they are less active; OR it does not matter, a quality bait will always get eaten it’s just about how much you pile in.

But I don’t think (and I’m sure you will agree) it is that clear cut.

All baits will have egg protein, but milk/nuts/cereal based boilies will also contains protein, some to a high degree, eg Sticky Manilla, with its super special proprietary peanut extract. And of course fishmeal will contain protein but much more of it – 75% more by volume for arguments sake.

So, here’s the maths; 1kg of the former with 20% protein by volume i.e. 200g, would be 375g of protein (75% increase) of the latter and equate to 0.57kg of boilies. So, if we’re using 18mm, at approximately 100 boilies per kg we’d only chuck in 57 fishmeal boilies to a packet of milk/nut/cereal, little more than half a packet.

So with fishmeal there is less food (ie boilies) in the lake and perhaps the fish feed over a shorter time and drift off once the boilies are gone compared to the other non fishmeal boilies. Therefore a non fishmeal boilie will potentially hold the carps attention for longer.

Having said that, if the fish like it they will eat it regardless of the quality/quantity [of protein] and it is down to us carpers to maximise catching in this feeding phase during the session.

But there is always an edge to be found, hence people chop and change in the colder months, think particles and naturals – but that’s another blog.

Sticking to boilies, one edge I’m going to explore is independent small batch produces. I’m not ready for home production yet! But I’m thinking don’t go local, go further afield. I’m in the South so a Northern supplier might give me the edge as the bait may not have been seen on the lake, as opposed to the usual tackle shop suspects and local manufacturers.

Having said that, it could be problematic introducing a new bait to a water and turn the fish onto the boilies in the colder weather, but then it could well lay the foundations for a successful Spring campaign!

So I’m back to which type and percentage of protein in my small batch boilie to use. I’m starting to go around in circles and beginning think I’m making a right meal out of this blog.

As with so much in carp fishing confidence is key – if your bait is catching stick with it regardless of the season and leave the maths at school!

Tight lines.