Prac­tice time!

Anglers Mail - - Carp Crew - Billy Jamie

next few weeks are full-on for my­self and Jamie, with the UK Carp Champs Fi­nal, fish­ing/film­ing for Shi­mano and then we’re off to Hun­gary to rep­re­sent Eng­land for the tenth year in a row at the World Carp Champs.

A lot of bait and rig work is needed, in be­tween our fam­ily and work com­mit­ments. Prepa­ra­tion is a huge fac­tor for any match, be­ing geared up for ev­ery oc­ca­sion and po­ten­tially any swim, as cer­tain spots may re­quire dif­fer­ent tac­tics, due to depths, snags or weed. Ev­ery­thing must be cov­ered, in­clud­ing nu­mer­ous rigs, from pop-ups and bot­tom baits to zigs and sur­face fish­ing.

Last week we were both over at Far­lows for a cou­ple of quick prac­tice ses­sions for the UK Carp Fi­nal. This pop­u­lar, longestab­lished fish­ery, near to the top of Lon­don’s M25 mo­tor­way and just in Buck­ing­hamshire, is some­where that we’ve man­aged to land some lovely old carp.

We’ve had fish to 27 lb-plus from dif­fer­ent ar­eas of the main lake here, called Lake 1 these days. What made it bet­ter is we’ve caught on var­i­ous tac­tics. That’s a con­fi­dent booster when it comes to any com­pet­i­tive sit­u­a­tion, as it means we have a few things in our ar­mory that we can try, de­pend­ing on the swim that we get drawn on the day.

TSwim suss­ing

There are a lot of is­lands at Far­lows, and open wa­ter and bays that give the carp places where they can hide. It is known to get very weedy, but cer­tain swims are al­ways favoured.

Bait goes into them reg­u­larly, which cre­ates clear spots and feeding ar­eas.

As for the swims that aren’t fished as of­ten, the chances are that these will be very weedy. The plus side is that carp love weed and will be present, but that heavy green stuff makes it hard work to po­ten­tially land any­thing. You must rig up with stronger tackle and, though not every­body will agree, dump the lead on the take.

So when it comes to us mak­ing our swim choice, a lot comes into our thoughts, and high on that list is fish that we see or hear the night be­fore and early morn­ing be­fore the draw. This could just be enough to give away the where­abouts of the carp at Far­lows.

Plan­ning is one thing, but how the draw pans out can de­ter­mine a lot. Wher­ever Jamie and I end up, we al­ways give it our best shot and fish hard through­out the whole event.

Triple suc­cess

When suss­ing a wa­ter out, we usu­ally like to de­ploy dif­fer­ent tac­tics, to see what might work best, and that was the case here.

I opted for a 'one bite at a time' ap­proach. I started with two rods on hinge stiff rigs with ei­ther Es­sen­tial Cell or Pineap­ple pop-ups over a mix­ture of boilies. The other rod was used in a more rov­ing style, with solid PVA bags that were re­cast ev­ery few hours.

I man­aged to get a bite on one of the hinge stiff rigs over the top of some light silk­weed. I also had a few fish feeding early morn­ing off the top, but be­fore I knew it, it was 7.30am and I had to shoot off to work – very an­noy­ing as I re­ally had them com­pet­ing on those Mix­ers.

Jamie prop­erly put in some bait to see if he could get more bites this way. He found a clear spot amongst the heavy weed, where he launched around 20 Spombs of of hemp, par­ti­cles, sweet­corn and 10 mm Es­sen­tial Cell. He man­aged three bites, two on multi rigs and the other com­ing on a rig with two pieces of imitation corn.

Over­all, we were happy with suc­cess on three tac­tics, and it was clear that the fish wanted bait. But what about in match con­di­tions? We’ll tell you how the Fi­nal went in next week’s An­gler’s Mail.

HE ■ Billy and a Far­lows war­rior of 27 lb 8 oz. He re­veals here how he and Jamie like to prac­tice. ■ Jamie’s bait­ing at­tack to a clear spot at Far­lows brought him fish, in­clud­ing this 23-pounder.

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