Carpworld - - CONTENTS - -Carp­world

Mike Kavanagh re­turns with a new look, quar­terly for­mat and this month sees him con­duct an in­ter­view with Lee Jack­son, an old friend from the Dar­enth Com­plex

THIS MONTH: Af­ter a sab­bat­i­cal from the magazine, Mike Kavanagh re­turns with a new-look, quar­terly piece, start­ing with an in­ter­view of Lee Jack­son and their time spent on the Dar­enth com­plex in Kent

Apart from the new Fox Heli-buf­fer Bead and my thoughts on the new DP rig fea­tured in Septem­ber’s is­sue, I’m pleased to say for this, the first of hope­fully a more re­al­is­tic quar­terly con­tri­bu­tion on my part, I’ve man­aged to line up one of the nicest, most down-to-earth and knowl­edge­able guys in carp fish­ing that you’d ever wish to meet, none other than Lee Jack­son. One thing we both have in com­mon is we’ve both fished the Tip Lake in Dar­enth dur­ing a time when rig de­vel­op­ment, pre­vi­ously over­shad­owed by the science of HNV bait, was start­ing to play a more ac­tive role in our ap­proach to catch­ing carp. Just re­cently I’d heard that Lee is back on the Tip Lake, so nat­u­rally I was in­ter­ested to find out how he’s tack­ling it rig-wise, com­pared to the old days of the orig­i­nal hair rig. A quick phone call saw me wing­ing my way over the QEII bridge to meet up with him at the Tackle Box where he works and this is what I found out... Mike Kavanagh: What year did you start fish­ing the Tip Lake Lee?

Lee Jack­son: I can’t re­mem­ber ex­actly, but it was some­time in the late 70s and I fished it through un­til 1984 which, apart from this cur­rent pe­riod, was the last time I fished the lake. Prior to that I fished the Big Lake, mainly be­cause back in those days we were a bit scared of fish­ing weedy wa­ters if we’d never fished one be­fore. I can re­mem­ber look­ing at the weed in the Tip Lake next door and think­ing it was far too weedy and walk­ing straight past it. Then one day I had a walk along the bank, saw a cou­ple of fish, had an af­ter­noon’s fish­ing and caught one. So I thought well, maybe the Tip Lake isn’t quite as dif­fi­cult as I first thought, and I sup­pose my love af­fair with the place started then. That bit of en­cour­age­ment and the photos I saw of the lovely old, dark and charis­matic carp re­ally took a hold of me. Back then I think it was the best lake I’d ever fished, no doubt about it. The only rea­son I came off the Tip was when I started to fish Har­row in the sum­mer of ’83 – so my last ses­sion on there was when I went back for the win­ter of ’83/84.

MK: As you know the Tip in its hey­day was well known for be­ing one of the hard­est cir­cuit wa­ters to crack. You ob­vi­ously did well when you fished there; they even named a swim af­ter you! Do you have any par­tic­u­lar mem­o­ries of the place and those dif­fi­cult times?

LJ: I ob­vi­ously have a lot of mem­o­ries of the place, but there is one that does stand out. I was fish­ing a short ses­sion in Book­ers one af­ter­noon (a swim named af­ter pro­lific carp-catcher Ian Booker), in the win­ter af­ter work. I was a dust­man back then, so as soon as I fin­ished my round I’d get down

there and fish into the even­ing. Luck­ily you could only use two rods in those days, but this par­tic­u­lar af­ter­noon I had a bite on one rod and just as I net­ted the fish the other rod took off. I man­aged to crouch down and un­hook it in the net while play­ing the sec­ond fish and flick that rod back out just any­where to get it out of the way. I got the sec­ond fish in the net along­side the first one and thought thank Christ for that. But then the rod I flicked out rat­tled off as well! Luck­ily, Jimmy Burns came along and helped me net the third fish, so I caught three carp all within about 10 min­utes. You weren’t al­lowed to sack fish back then, so I had a quick, triple fish photo and slipped them back.

MK: What did the three of them weigh?

LJ: They were all around 16lb, which was un­lucky on the Tip be­cause most of the carp were over 20lb, but I wasn’t com­plain­ing.

MK: Can you re­mem­ber what the go­ing rigs were when you started fish­ing there?

LJ: Well I can only tell you what I was us­ing be­cause un­less you hap­pened to see what oth­ers were do­ing or they wanted to tell you, you wouldn’t ask or pry. I did my own thing, but it was the early days of the hair rig so I was us­ing the con­ven­tional hair, made with light 2lb line, tied onto the bend of the hook – so noth­ing more than that re­ally. I did use quite small hooks though, size 10 Ka­mat­sus, which af­ter a later name change be­came Ka­masan. I did well us­ing those size tens and that’s what sold me on us­ing small hooks for carp. I’d done a lot of other types of fish­ing in my time and I found scal­ing down my end tackle gen­er­ally got me more bites, so I shouldn’t have been sur­prised re­ally. I’ve more or less stuck with that the­ory – the more nat­u­ral move­ment you can give the hook­bait, the more bites you get, in my opin­ion.

MK: What sort of hook­link ma­te­rial were you us­ing in those days – mono?

LJ: Yeah, it was straight mono – like I say, noth­ing fancy. I came off it to­wards the end of my fish­ing on the Tip and start­ing to mess around with a braid un­der my own la­bel called Python Braid – a white braid later sold by Krys­ton as 14lb Su­per Silk. But I pre­dom­i­nantly used mono hook­links and stay­ing with my scaled-down the­ory, it was light mono as well. It was usu­ally a fairly long 8lb to 10lb hook­link even when the lake was weedy. MK: When you say long, how long are we talk­ing?

LJ: About 18 inches. I fished my hook­links that long mainly be­cause, like I said, the hook­bait would then be­have more like a free of­fer­ing.

MK: Given the weed sit­u­a­tion, did you have a prob­lem pre­sent­ing a rig that long or were you fish­ing it on clear spots? LJ: Not re­ally, back then we didn’t use marker floats or even feel the lead down to find a clear spot. Ba­si­cally, where you could see weed you would cast over it and most of the time it was clear enough. Bear in mind I was only fish­ing short ses­sions and I’d be cast­ing fairly reg­u­larly, so I’d know if the rig was caught up in weed. But I was never too wor­ried be­cause, don’t for­get, when we bait up with free of­fer­ings in weed some of them get caught up in it and some find their way to the bot­tom. Carp eat all of them, so I wasn’t too fussed if the hook­link and the hook­bait weren’t ly­ing per­fectly flat on the bot­tom. I think we worry about that a bit too much.

MK: Have you’ve been in­flu­enced by any­one rig-wise since you started carp fish­ing?

LJ: Not re­ally, for me it was al­ways bait. My in­flu­ences were peo­ple like Fred Wil­ton, who taught us the HNV bait the­ory, and an­glers I fished with. Peo­ple like Colin Swaden, Den­nis Davies and the late Alan Smith. Alan and I were good mates and I was hugely in­flu­enced by him, in par­tic­u­lar his abil­ity to get a bait go­ing, es­pe­cially on the Tip Lake. He was a mas­ter at it. I was also ob­vi­ously in­flu­enced by Lenny Mid­dle­ton and the hair rig, as I think we all were...

MK: Alan was still on the Tip when I started fish­ing it in the mid-80s and I learnt so much from him my­self. His rigs were sim­ple, but he re­lied to­tally on the at­trac­tion of his bait to catch those carp and it didn’t let him down. As you say he was a mas­ter when it came to bait and when and where to ap­ply it.

Am I right in think­ing you were one of the first few an­glers to use the he­li­copter rig on the Tip?

LJ: To be hon­est the he­li­copter rig was sim­i­lar to one I was us­ing when I was go­ing sea fish­ing, but I think it was Zenon Bo­jko who first used it for carp fish­ing with beads and rig tub­ing. I did like­wise and so did my mate, Micky Dor­ton, who I was fish­ing with, and as we didn’t see any­one else use that rig

on there, we were pos­si­bly the first to use it on the Tip. Hav­ing said that, we did ques­tion whether it was the right rig be­cause of the weed. The trou­ble was, with the lead per­ma­nently fixed at the end of the line, if it got caught up in the weed the hook would some­times pull out. Nowa­days, with the safety re­lease com­po­nents avail­able that prob­lem can be over­come – there­fore I do still like to use a he­li­copter rig pre­sen­ta­tion.

MK: Did the he­li­copter rig make a sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence to your catches at the time?

LJ: It cer­tainly did in the sense that you didn’t get any tan­gles us­ing it in con­junc­tion with rig tube. I think it prob­a­bly did make a dif­fer­ence to the num­ber of bites we got be­cause it was new at the time and we were pos­si­bly the only ones us­ing it.

MK: Given the Tip could switch off for up to two weeks at a time, look­ing back do you think the rigs be­ing used were of­ten de­tected and the rea­son for those quite spells?

LJ: The Tip Lake has al­ways been a rich wa­ter and there was lots of nat­u­ral food in there, and I per­son­ally think that from time to time, and es­pe­cially so in the sum­mer, the carp were pre­oc­cu­pied with eat­ing things like fry – a far more nu­tri­tious food source than what we were of­fer­ing them as food. I think they did that then, and although they are a dif­fer­ent stock of carp now, I think they still do it now. Fry and the oc­ca­sional other booms of nat­u­ral food are all it takes for them to switch off from an­glers’ baits, and last year was a good ex­am­ple on the Tip, be­cause the wa­ter was black with roach fry and very lit­tle was caught. Un­less you’re do­ing some­thing badly wrong I don’t think it’s got any­thing to do with the rigs we’re us­ing, be­cause when the carp start feed­ing on bait again, we start catch­ing again. To be hon­est I sub­scribe to the thought that carp fish­ing is a sim­plis­tic pur­suit for com­pli­cated peo­ple, es­pe­cially when it comes to rigs! MK: Mov­ing for­ward 30 odd years, now you’re back on the Tip Lake. Apart from maybe nos­tal­gia, what per­suaded you to go back on there?

LJ: Well, it started about 18 months ago. Paul Davis who owns most of the Dar­enth Lake com­plex asked me if I’d like to run a syn­di­cate on there. It was the last year for the guy who’d been run­ning it, but I asked Paul to ask me again nearer the time, so I didn’t give it a lot of thought. He asked me again in July 2017, threw me the key and said be­fore you make your mind up go down there and have a look. I hadn’t seen the lake since I left, so when I ar­rived it took a lit­tle while. I was a bit dis­ori­en­tated at first be­cause the back chan­nel had gone and that had ob­vi­ously al­tered the lake. But I must say I was im­pressed be­cause the banks and the swims had been im­proved. I don’t know if you re­mem­ber but the path be­tween Jack­son’s and Jimmy’s along the fence bank was full of mud when we fished there?

MK: I re­mem­ber it well!

LJ: Hav­ing walked round I had to ad­mit it looked su­perb and brought back fond mem­o­ries, so I went back to Paul and said, “Yeah, I’ll run it” and have done ever since with a guy called Daren Ven­ables. We’ve made fur­ther im­prove­ments around the lake since, the syn­di­cate is smaller now, which is bet­ter, and it’s just a lovely place to fish. Not only that, the dou­ble­fig­ure carp that have been stocked in re­cent years have grown on to be big, dark, beau­ti­ful-look­ing crea­tures that any carp an­gler would be de­lighted with if they graced their net. It also suits my short-ses­sion fish­ing style as well. It’s only two miles from the shop and two miles from home, so it’s all good. I’ve caught a few to just un­der 40lb and, to be hon­est, it’s a joy to be back on there.

MK: Now that ter­mi­nal tackle has been im­proved so much and rig mak­ing ma­te­ri­als are in many cases far su­pe­rior, are the

rigs you’re us­ing on the Tip now ba­si­cally the same, or are you ap­proach­ing the fish­ing dif­fer­ently?

LJ: You’re right, com­po­nents and rig mak­ing ma­te­ri­als are bet­ter and safer now – lead clips and other lead-re­lease sys­tems have rev­o­lu­tionised that side of things. Hook­link ma­te­ri­als have ob­vi­ously im­proved and there’s plenty of choice, but my per­sonal favourite for some time has been Krys­ton’s 15lb Man­tis. In fact, apart from mono, coated braids like Man­tis can only be used on the Tip and that’s a syn­di­cate rule now. Paul won’t al­low bare braid, which I agree with. These days with braid tech­nol­ogy and im­proved strength, hook­links can be ex­tremely thin and the flat pro­file braids in par­tic­u­lar have the abil­ity to cut into a carp’s lip, es­pe­cially if it’s deep hooked – so coated braid is a strict rule. You can ob­vi­ously peel a small sec­tion of the coat­ing to hinge a hook­link, but the rest has to be coated. The rig I use on there at the mo­ment is a sim­ple ful­ly­coated Man­tis hook­link, and as you can see, it’s noth­ing out of the or­di­nary. The hook­baits are mounted with blobbed floss onto a Think­ing An­glers mi­cro ring swivel that slides up and down the shank be­tween the eye of the hook and one of their hook beads. It’s a sim­ple but ef­fi­cient hook­ing ar­range­ment and gives my hook­bait plenty of nat­u­ral move­ment, whether it’s bot­tom baits, pop-ups, wafters or snow­man pre­sen­ta­tions – and that’s all I need re­ally. If I use a pop-up, rather than bal­ance it with tung­sten putty which is prone to falling off, be­fore I tie the hook on, I slide a small float stop onto the hook­link fol­lowed by a tung­sten shot that has a hole through it. Af­ter I tie my hook on I slide the float stop up be­hind the tung­sten shot and push it along the hook­link to­wards the hook, and po­si­tion the weight ac­cord­ing to the height I want the pop-up to sit off the bot­tom. That works well, and I know for cer­tain the pop-up is pre­sented spot on ev­ery time, no mat­ter what the bot­tom is like. The hook I’m us­ing at the mo­ment is a Carp Spirit Ra­zor Point size 7, but I do use dif­fer­ent sizes and pat­terns from time to time.

I also still use a long Hair at times be­cause with a lot of mod­ern day rigs the hook­bait is mounted re­ally close to the hook and I think that can make it eas­ier for a carp to deal with and eject, it de­pends where I’m fish­ing re­ally. Some­thing I do of­ten is use a tight main line even in a weedy lake, I never worry about that be­cause in weed all sorts of things are go­ing on in the wa­ter col­umn. Slack lines seem to be the in thing these days, and although a slack line has its place I find a tight line im­proves rig ef­fi­ciency no end.

MK: Just a gen­eral ques­tion to fin­ish Lee – if you had to choose be­tween the two for the rest of your carp fish­ing, would you go for a bot­tom bait or a pop-up?

LJ: A bot­tom bait be­cause it’s the same as the free of­fer­ings that I’m feed­ing them with. The carp in some wa­ters, like for ex­am­ple Sut­ton 2 are very aware of be­ing fished for, so a pop-up amongst free of­fer­ings is al­most like wav­ing a flag at them. Hav­ing said that I’m not dis­count­ing pop-ups. I will fish one over bait if I think it’s nec­es­sary, on top of silk weed would be a case in point, but if I had to choose be­tween the two, it would be a bot­tom bait ev­ery time.

MK: Thanks for your time Lee, it’s much ap­pre­ci­ated. LJ: My plea­sure mate.

Lee men­tioned his use of the He­li­copter rig in our Rigtalk and how re­lated com­po­nents have been in­tro­duced that have not only im­proved rig safety but also ef­fi­ciency. These new Edges Drop Off Heli-buf­fer Beads are the per­fect ex­am­ple of that pro­gres­sion and I must say they are im­pres­sive. I re­ally like the pe­tite size of the bead and how the three com­po­nents fit to­gether. You can use the bead sys­tem with a lead core or lead free leader, but also with naked main line. If you choose the naked op­tion you sim­ply add the ta­pered in­sert that comes sup­plied to pro­tect your main line from the hook­link swivel while a fish is played. There is a fixed wire loop in­side the main bead hous­ing where you at­tach your leader, or tie your main line to. Once at­tached the top half of the buf­fer bead clips onto the bot­tom half which cov­ers the wire loop and knot.

The great thing about the Heli-buf­fer Bead is it will ac­cept any of the Fox swivel lead range. When the swivel is in­serted into the front of the bead and the T-peg is in­serted into the side of the bead, the lead is locked in. If you need to drop the lead the T-peg can sub­sti­tuted for a Fox PVA stop. The stops come sup­plied separately on strips and are tough enough to with­stand sev­eral big casts be­fore be­ing weak­ened by con­tact with wa­ter, but the in­tegrity of the stop should ob­vi­ously be checked be­tween casts. Fin­ished in the pop­u­lar Trans Khaki cam­ou­flage colour, you get six buf­fer beads, six ta­pered sleeves and six T-pegs in a pack – and when it comes to safety and stream­lined pre­sen­ta­tion I don’t think you can go wrong.

A long and il­lus­tri­ous ca­reer in carp fish­ing hasn’t changed this man one iota. Nor has it changed his free, no-non­sense ad­vice on rigs, bait and tac­tics, from be­hind the counter

Lee with his triple catch from Book­ers swim, a very un­com­mon oc­cur­rence on the Tip Lake back in the day, but what a re­sult!

The late Alan Smith, a man with a wicked wit and a unique abil­ity to per­suade carp to look for his bait wher­ever he chose to put it

The orig­i­nal hair rig Lee used, tied to the bend of the hook in his early days is taken for granted now and mostly over­looked, but it was rev­o­lu­tion­ary back then

The Tip Lake last sum­mer – is­lands, gravel bars, plateaux, reedbeds, weed, and stun­ning carp. It’s got them all

Back on the Tip and back in the game. With carp like this gor­geous com­mon Lee couldn’t be hap­pier

Man­tis and Ra­zor Points are Lee’s choice at the mo­ment, both re­li­able and per­fect for the job

Lee’s cur­rent rig for the Tip Lake – bells and whis­tles not re­quired

If you need to drop the lead in­stead of us­ing the sup­plied T-pegs, sub­sti­tute it with one of the bril­liant Fox PVA stops

When us­ing naked main line with the Heli-buf­fer Bead, add the ta­pered in­sert. For lead­core or lead free lead­ers the in­sert isn’t needed

The new and im­pres­sive Drop Off Heli-buf­fer Beads from Fox are a great ad­di­tion to the su­perb Edges range

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