is on a quest for a big carp – will he catch one for the cam­era?

Fish are feed­ing up ready for win­ter so take ad­van­tage now

Angling Times (UK) - - WELCOME -

THERE was fire in the sky as the sun set the hori­zon alight in vivid shades of orange and red.

The pit lay calm and still un­til a broad head with tints of pur­ple to its gill cov­ers broke sur­face.

The breach­ing carp hung in the air just long enough for me to glimpse a chalky smear down its flank, ev­i­dence of last night’s feed­ing ac­tiv­i­ties. Then she was gone, leav­ing a per­fect cir­cle of furled wa­ter.

The au­tumn feed­ing orgy en­joyed by fish and small mam­mals alike, when sloe berries are rich and plump and fungi ap­pear like magic ev­ery morn­ing, was on. This is a spe­cial time, and one no an­gler wants to miss – my only prob­lem was which species to tar­get.

A few weeks on and carp will be­come un­catch­able, or at the very least re­quire an in­vest­ment in time that I’m not pre­pared to make. Fish­ing is all about grab­bing win­dows of op­por­tu­nity, and cur­rently the carp have left theirs wide open!

This is why I had left home at an un­godly hour. I knew just where to fish, as the carp I had just wit­nessed told me ev­ery­thing I needed. The bar­row was packed and I was on my way.

Deep wa­ter lay be­fore me, with no fea­tures show­ing within cast­ing range, so in­stead I looked for a change in the com­po­si­tion of the

lakebed. At around 95 yards the ground be­came bro­ken, with patches of gravel be­tween heavy silk­weed. The nor­mal op­tion would have been to fish the clear ar­eas, but I’m a great fan of silk­weed, re­gard­less of how thick it is. The stuff is packed with snails and mus­sels, but an­glers tend to avoid it.

Un­like Cana­dian pond weed, it doesn’t grow up­wards, but in bil­lows across the bot­tom, and it can eat hook­baits if you use the wrong ter­mi­nal rig.

The chod rig, how­ever, over­comes this and I am able to present a popup on top of it, so it was no sur­prise that I chose this rig for both rods. Gen­er­ally lead­core plays a part too, but I’m not a great fan of it in this sit­u­a­tion. Dur­ing my un­der­wa­ter photography ses­sions I have been shocked how con­spic­u­ous it is, even when you think you have matched the colour to the lakebed.

For me the naked chod is far more sub­tle than what looks like a popup sit­ting over a length of string!

There are still is­sues to over­come, though. Un­less I’m us­ing 20lb main­line or heav­ier I won’t fish the uni-link swivel el­e­ment of the chod di­rectly on to it, for fear of a break­age due to abra­sion dur­ing the fight. Naked chod line pro­tec­tors are sold com­mer­cially but I think they are too ob­tru­sive and don’t work 100 per cent of the

time. For these rea­sons I won’t risk us­ing them.

I reckon it’s far bet­ter to con­nect a ta­pered leader to the main­line via a Mahin knot.

It runs all the way up from 15lb to 40lb break­ing strain – now, if I hook a fish, there is no way the heav­i­est part will break.

Fish wel­fare is of para­mount im­por­tance to me, and is re­flected in how I con­struct the rig. First, a nar­row float stop sets the dis­tance at which the chod will fish – gen­er­ally 6ft. Next on goes a soft, wide bore E-S-P bead that, if pushed with any force, will slide over the stop, al­low­ing safe travel for the chod it­self, which is the next com­po­nent to be slipped on.

The bead will not over­ride the stop dur­ing the cast, how­ever.

E-S-P ready-tied ch­ods are so good that I don’t need to do any work. I pre­fer the short ver­sions.

Another soft bead and a stop are threaded on, en­abling me to swap rigs with­out cut­ting the leader. At the 40lb end of this I tie a loop, which is con­nected to a large swivel. This can be eas­ily un­done, al­low­ing me to re­move the chod be­fore slip­ping another one on.

The lead sits on a 6ins link off the other end of the swivel. On most chod rigs the lead hangs very close to the hook when a carp is be­ing played, but I have lost too many fish like this. By cre­at­ing a longer link, the lead is kept out out of harm’s way dur­ing the bat­tle. Con­fi­dence plays a mas­sive part in fish­ing, and with this rig I made my casts over the silk­weed with­out a qualm.

Two Sticky Krill pop-ups sat proud of the dense green weed while my leader merged into the back­ground. A semi-slack main­line en­sured there was no taut mono to spook the carp and now, sat­is­fied with my traps, I in­tro­duced 2kg of boilies to draw the carp in.

I must have cov­ered an area the size of a tennis court, rather than cre­ate the tight pat­tern I would use with most other rigs. The whole process had taken 45 min­utes, and while things set­tled down it was time for me to en­joy my break­fast!

The two indicators hang­ing be­fore me could pull up at any mo­ment. In au­tumn the ten­sion is height­ened fur­ther, as you can al­most guar­an­tee that the carp will be feed­ing. While I ate, I knew the fish would be too.

Right on my last mouth­ful the rod-tip pulled down and held po­si­tion as 95 yards away a 34lb com­mon twisted and turned, flex­ing golden flanks in a bid to shed the rig.

I picked up the rod and struck – the carp an­gler’s sea­son of plenty was in full swing.

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