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.
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.
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.