Nutcracker Sweet!

Monster mash-up

Back to the estate lake for a short afternoon / early evening session with Jim and Mel plus a new bait – Dynamite Monster Tiger nut Red Amo boilies, plus matching glug and harden hook baits. 

In for a penny in for a pound!

I picked the harden baits to get 22mm (ers) to hopefully snare the larger girls. I explained to Mel these were designed for ‘monstrous’ carp hence the name.

Either way the bait read well in reviews, in videos online and looked good (slightly washed out) so why not – having said that I could not resist my own edge, Dunn River Coconut Milk, half a tin per kilo.

Now the snag from the previous visit was still fresh in my mind so I set up casting to “the” spot from a different angle and if I got a take the carp should arc left, and by keeping a tight(ish) clutch it should sail passed the snag thereby solving that little carppuzzle.

Out went two different set ups.

  • A Combi Rig with a drilled and cork plugged 22mm bait to help reduce its weight, and
  • The KD (which I have great confidence in), drilled 15mm plus buoyant corn snowman style to produce a gently wafting (natural) presentation.

Then scattered (that’s what happens when a seven year gets her hands on the catapult) 30 or so baits near the spot, kettle on, and then we settled down to watch the water.

The more I think about this lake the less likely I think there is anything over 20lb. It’s quite shallow all over, probably only six feet at its deepest and having chatted to the bailiff, it was restocked about three years ago, high doubles are the most likely outcome.

And finally, that snag is an old fence, posts and all.

Just then the left rod bleeped into life and as predicted the carp headed for the fence line, slowing the clutch with my hand it swept passed the snag and headed for the margin to my left. I had to apply more pressure to get her around the trees and into the net – a good looking mirror. Great to get off the mark with a new bait.

Mel fired out a few more coconut enriched boilies while the mirror rested. Then as I was breaking the net down the right rod left out a solid tone and something was taking line.

Jim grabbed the rod and luckily this carp headed right along the reed line. Unhooking the mirror on the net I was then able to net Jim’s common as it came in easily.

Sweet – two upper doubles but no monsters to match our baits from Dymamite.

Not sure if we’ll be back but I’m confident these boilies will solve the carppuzzle and produce good fish wherever we next visit.

Tight lines.


Pugil Sticks

Stick it to ’em

Korda’s new product launch and Fox’s online retort got me thinking. [Insert Rocky theme music here.]

In the ‘green’ corner we have Elliot Grey from Korda: and in the ‘orange’ corner we have Mark Pitchers from FoxInternational:

Best of three rounds. Ding ding, seconds out.

  1. Functionality – both are straight bank sticks, both black, both have a coloured top which can take an isotope. Korda does win on the isotope housing, some funky grooves on the stick plus the end point that looks like something out of Thunderbirds. Korda takes the first  round.
  2. Record – both have a loyal following and offer the carp angler almost everything. But Fox has the edge with rods, reels, luggage and the like, so you can be well and truly brand loyal. Fox takes second round.
  3. Price – wallop !! Knock out blow by Fox (£8.99), Korda is on the deck (£59.99). Even with the extras on Korda the price is out of whack. Fox takes the third and the bout.

But still, could this least offering from Korda be a hit?

We are all collectors and tackle tarts to a degree but I think these sticks are a bit over priced.

Avid and Cygnet offer something similar with their own twist and bend on the humble stick.

I hope this Korda offering is not the thin edge of the wedge when the trendy marketeers move in on a pastime and make it fashionable for the hipsters, producing the same stuff but at inflated prices all be it with a slight product edge over the competition.

I’m thinking RidgeMonkey carbon throwing stick here. [Ed.]

The resulting surge of interest could see already long syndicate waiting lists grow and with more pressure on day ticket venues you’ll be lucky to get your bank sticks out without tripping over someone else’s or mine, pictured.

Tight lines (between your sticks)

Barrow Boys

Beast of burden

Back on the estate lake for an over night session and the wife insists one of the kids goes along; this time Jim, thirteen. 

An overnighter and an extra body means more kit; bivvy, bags, buckets, bait etc. So to solve this Carppuzzle we invested in a new JRC Compact Barrow . At the lake it is loaded up with everything bar the kitchen sink.

The big girls of the lake are rumoured to be upper twenties and a mythical thirty. It’s just a question of finding them and with the new barrow we easily lapped the lake looking; plus a delight without my ear being bent – “can we stop here Dad, my arms hurt”.

We picked our spot having seen a show in a snaggy corner where the setting sun would cast its last rays, plus the swim gave us a fifty yard cast to the bushes on the other aside of the lake which would catch the morning rays. The forecast was good and this end of the lake would be sheltered if the wind picked up from the south west. Expectations were high.

Having dropped a few boilies into the snags, out went the tried, tested and trusted KD but no pop-up, instead a bottom bait with buoyant corn on top.

I set about casting and counting wraps for the morning spot. Before putting the second road in the margin snags.

A couple of low doubles kept us busy in the early evening but the girls remained elusive.

With the light fading and Jim retreating to his sleeping bag I baited the far bank with boilies, corn and hemp via the Spomb. Out went the first rig closely followed be the second and I too retreated to the bivvy to play cards whilst keeping an eye one the lake.

The night was quiet and in the morning the lake was too. I feared the rigs may be sitting badly, but do I wind in, recast and disturb the spots or wait? This is the Carppuzzle.

Then a show over the spots eased my mind I went for the latter and put a dozen boilies out with the catapult.

Kettle on, sit and wait.

Then a single bleep, a drop back, and then nothing. I waited a few more minutes and still nothing. Lifting the rod and winding down the line appeared ten yards to the left and closer in with something on that them surged and snagged itself fast on something unseen.

I put the rod down and waited – solid – applied some pressure – solid – this carp knew the lake better than me.

Jim was up now and we pondered what to do over tea and biscuits.

Pulling once more … ping … the carp and I parted company.

I counted the wraps to the break and had lost twenty foot of line to a clever carp and a large snag in the middle of the lake.

That, and the time brought the session to an end. Loading the barrow we strolled around to our baited area and dropped a few more boilies in for good measure knowing we would be back another day.

Driving home we decide next time to approach our baited area from a different angle to fool the girls and dodge THAT snag, tweak the kit, and thanks to our new found mobility bring the kitchen sink!

Tight lines.

Long Haul

A pink puff-up

After the initial excitement of starting a blog – with one post – it withered on the web and almost died a lonely death through June and July. 

Not for the lack of fishing thoughts and theories in my head but due to the lack of bankside action and the time to put those ideas into practice and crack the Carppuzzle.

Then August was upon us and a long family holiday to Australia filled the diary and knocked the fishing on the head once again.

Having said that; a long haul flight gives you plenty of time to read, so Carpology and CarpWorld travelled the world with me, much to the wifes bemusement.

More theories were formulated, ideas for rigs envisaged and a shopping list prepared for the Autumn campaign upon my return.

Always the fisherman, I kept an eye out for the scaly specimens, and found this withered fella on Tallows Beach in Queenland. It was too late for him but I realised it was not for the blog.

I vowed there and then to breathe new life into the Carppuzzle blog once home.  Watch this space.

Tight lines.

Bean(ie) Counters


With the much heralded and tweeted arrival of Trakkers new product catalog last week, and a tweet from Wofteclothing announcing their beanie came in three colours, it got me thinking. 

Is the hubble beanie the most popular item of clothing for the fashionable carper?

A quick beanie count on the web by Carppuzzle revealed that 28 companies offer 65 beanies. Plus many other styles of head gear. And that is just the big brands – with Navitas topping the table. As you know there are numerous smaller companies out there so I stopped counting as I have a proper job.

Whether you are a tackle maker, bait supplier, or product specialist you cannot be seen not to offer the beanie for that all important moody trophy shot.

Most are shades of green, Mainline bucked the trend with a grey and pink offering – bang on brand, but all have a common theme; the logo, differing in size and style to mirror the catch location:

  • Regular = day ticket
  • Small = syndicate
  • Subtle = off the beaten track
  • Distressed = forgotten pit

So take your pick, rather like a gentleman’s shoes your beanie will say a lot about you, not just your favourite company or sponsor (lucky you).

With beanies all sown (knitted) up, I think I might have found a gap in the clothing market – socks!

Admittedly not a great marketing location on your foot and more often covered with a trainer / wader, but think of how many nights you have dashed out of the bivvy, alarm screaming, onto wet grass, mud or a slug!

New socks please!

I suggest the bean counters at Vass have a look into this, might be quite fetching in yellow.

Tight lines.

Double Take

A sprinkle of pixie dust and boilies

Having secured a ticket for a local estate lake I set about thinking how to tackle the first session.

With bags, bait, rods and reels in the car and about to set off, my wife said, “Why don’t you take Mel?” Which translate to ‘if you are having an afternoon off, take one of the kids!’

So back in the shed to grab the stove, kettle, mugs and hot chocolate and we were off.

As it was late March, I decided a pop-up and combi-rig would do the trick with the lake bed unknown and also I had mastered the Albright knot and keen to see if it would hold in battle.

Lake side; brolly up, rods out with white Mainline pop-ups and a little PVA bag of goodies – the nice thing about having a little helper was explaining what I was going whilst setting up, and this gave me time to really think and consider exactly why I was approaching the session in this particular way.

After an hour and one hot chocolate the inevitable question came, “Where are the fish and why haven’t we caught anything?” So to keep Mel amused I suggested we have little walk up and down the bank dropping Dynamite Crave boilies in where she thought the fish might be – under trees next to sprouting reed beds.

Another hour passed and the biscuits were disappearing fast, as were the boilies into the margin spot.

A change was required so I reeled in both rods only for a fish to show, much to Mel’s delight, on the far bank just passed our original spots. So we switched to a pink pop-up, because “it looks pretty” and cast the right rod at the showing fish. Then on the margin spot to our left went a part drilled out Crave boilie with some cork on a KD rig. The traps were set.

Within a moment the left rod ripped off and a near double common graced the net. Trickling bait in over the last two hours had paid off and Mel and I were very happy.

Having dealt with the common, I cast out the margin rod again. I have yet to master ‘the drop’ but I think the lead hit a fish on the way down and I was just putting the rod onto the alarm when the line tighten and I was into another fish.

This was a bigger fish and while landing it Mel shouted, “Daddy, the other rods is bleeping!” A drop back on the pop-up. With a second low double common in the net I reached for the right rod not expecting anything to be there. Winding down I connected to an angry low double mirror that was not happy to be hooked or share the net once landed!

My first every double take and double smiles all around.