Dis­cov­er­ing Day Tick­ets

Loz East con­tin­ues his look at some of the na­tion’s best day-ticket wa­ters and this month turns his at­ten­tion to RH Fish­eries’ Monument venues

Carpworld - - CONTENTS - -Loz East

Loz East con­tin­ues his look at some of the na­tion’s best day-ticket wa­ters and this month turns his at­ten­tion to RH Fish­eries’ Monument venues

This su­perb venue holds two big-fish wa­ters named Monument One (M1) and Monument Two (M2). M1 is around 8 acres in size with 15 fish­able swims and holds around 300 carp. It has about 80 fish over the 30lb bar­rier with a lake record of 49lb. M2 is ap­prox­i­mately 10 acres in size with 18 fish­able swims and holds around 500 carp to 47lb. Both M1 and M2 of­fer dis­abled fa­cil­i­ties with two swims avail­able on both lakes, along with a dis­abled toi­let and wheel­chair ac­cess to the fish­ery lodge and shop.

You can ring and re­serve your pegs in ad­vance of your ses­sion, which are 36-hours long and start from 6.30am (7am in win­ter) on the first day of the ses­sion and fin­ishes at 7pm (dusk in win­ter) of the even­ing on the sec­ond day of the ses­sion. The ses­sions run from Mon­day-tues­day, Thurs­day-

Friday and Satur­day-sun­day. If you wish to fish for longer than 36 hours, it is pos­si­ble, by book­ing two ses­sions that run back to back. If you wished to do so, how­ever, you would have to reel in and stay in the overnight bivvy area un­til the ses­sion com­menced on the fol­low­ing morn­ing. Show­ers and toi­lets for both men and women are also avail­able on site.

Cost-wise, from March 1st un­til the end of Novem­ber it is £60 per 36-hour ses­sion and from De­cem­ber 1st un­til the end of Fe­bru­ary it is £40 per 36-hour ses­sion.

An­glers fish­ing the Monument com­plex can only use bait pro­vided by RH fish­eries, this is for the wel­fare of the fish. Bait can be added to your book­ing fee and col­lected on the day of your ses­sion or, al­ter­na­tively, you can just buy it on the day. They pro­vide boilies in a range of dif­fer­ent flavours and sizes, along with mixed par­ti­cles, pel­lets and hook­baits. De­spite this, an­glers may use their own hook­baits but this doesn’t in­clude plas­tic baits or zig rigs, as these are both banned. A full list of fish­ery rules can be found on the Monument web­site: www.rhfish­eries.com.

The on-site fa­cil­i­ties are amongst the very best I have ever ex­pe­ri­enced. The fish­ery has 24/7 on­site sur­veil­lance which in­cludes CCTV on the car park which is next to the fish­ery lodge. The car park is also se­curely locked dur­ing the night-time pe­riod. The lodge it­self also stores lim­ited ter­mi­nal tackle and es­sen­tials should you need fur­ther sup­plies. The fish­ery makes use of a lo­cal café called Box­wood who de­liver daily to the fish­ery just af­ter 9am, not in­clud­ing Sun­days, should you want to treat your­self to break­fast. The fish­ery is con­ve­niently sit­u­ated less than a three minute drive from Shif­nal should you need to pop out dur­ing your stay.

The ac­tual lakes and sur­round­ings are al­ways main­tained to an ex­cep­tion­ally high stan­dard. Each swim along with the paths around the lake are stone-chipped so you don’t have to worry about get­ting any­thing muddy. It’s also im­por­tant to note that you must use the on-site fish­ery land­ing nets, slings and un­hook­ing mats which are pro­vided for you. This is to pre­vent the spread of dis­ease which ul­ti­mately does you a favour with not hav­ing to bring your own. There are also spare bar­rows avail­able should you need to use them to get ev­ery­thing around to your cho­sen swim.

RH fish­eries also of­fer four other carp fish­ing venues, rang­ing from day-ticket wa­ters to syn­di­cate lakes, which are al­ways in­vested in by adding new big fish ev­ery year to en­sure the pro­gres­sion of the fish­eries. To book on, or find out more in­for­ma­tion in re­la­tion to those venues, you can again visit the web­site I have men­tioned above.

At the be­gin­ning of March I made the two hour drive from Not­ting­ham and ar­rived at RH Fish­eries early on a Satur­day morn­ing to be greeted by a frozen Monument 1. Be­fore do­ing any­thing I popped into the club lodge which is where you pay your day-ticket money and col­lect your bait, to see Tom For­rester who is the fish­ery man­ager. Tom ex­plained there had been the odd fish out from both Monument 1 and Monument 2 and, de­spite the lakes be­ing frozen, there was al­ways the chance of a bite.

They pro­vide boilies in a range of dif­fer­ent flavours and sizes, along with mixed par­ti­cles, pel­lets and hook­baits

Around 9.30, and af­ter a few cups of tea, I went about set­ting up in Peg 2 which is di­rectly in front of the car park and next to the lodge, which was nice and con­ve­nient. I wasn’t in any rush ei­ther as the lake still had a lid on it. Af­ter a few more hours had passed and with my rigs baited and ready to go, I man­aged to get a cou­ple of rods in the wa­ter af­ter it had thawed. Peg 2 com­mands a cor­ner of the lake where I was re­li­ably in­formed the fish like to shoal up dur­ing the win­ter pe­riod. I wasn’t go­ing to ar­gue with this. I think the big­gest ad­van­tage any­one can have when turn­ing up to a new venue, es­pe­cially day ticket wa­ters, is lis­ten to the bailiffs. At the end of the day they live and breathe their lakes and know ex­actly what has been caught and from where. Tom had told me about a spot, 10 wraps to­wards a group of trees in the dis­tance, where the lake bed was slightly deeper. He also hap­pened to men­tion this par­tic­u­lar spot had done the most bites this win­ter, which again I wasn’t go­ing to ig­nore!

I de­cided to use a rig I had the ul­ti­mate con­fi­dence in on par­tic­u­lar venues such as the Monument, where the lake bed was pretty uni­form and clear. That rig is the IQ D rig. I con­struct the rig us­ing 20lb Korda IQ2 fluoro­car­bon in con­junc­tion with a size 4 Kurv Shank hook. Half­way down my hook­link, which is usu­ally around eight inches, I add a large sinker. This is just to en­sure the fluoro­car­bon is pinned to the bot­tom and I like to use a sinker, as op­posed to putty, as you tend to find putty marks the ma­te­rial. I fin­ish the rig off with an anti-tan­gle sleeve which cov­ers the quickchange swivel on my hy­brid lead clip. By us­ing a lead clip setup, it al­lows me to dis­charge the lead if the fish­ing sit­u­a­tion dic­tates. The rea­son I have so much con­fi­dence in this rig is not only do I have a great hooked-to-landed ra­tio, but it gives you cer­tain cam­ou­flage prop­er­ties which other rigs just can’t be­cause of the fluoro­car­bon.

I use a mi­cro swivel on the D as op­posed to a mi­cro rig ring, be­liev­ing this gives the bait 360º move­ment. Hook­bait-wise, I used half a Main­line Hy­brid hooker which I trim the top off, then adding half a 10mm pop-up be­fore join­ing the two neatly to­gether to form a small snow­man

pre­sen­ta­tion. The 10mm pop-up I used on this oc­ca­sion was a Toasted Al­mond. To fin­ish the rig off prior to cast­ing out, I like to add a small PVA mesh bag with Re­sponse pel­lets to the rig and glug the whole pre­sen­ta­tion in the Hy­brid Hook­bait En­hance­ment Sys­tem.

I’m a firm be­liever that small per­cent­ages make a big dif­fer­ence in carp fish­ing and, by adding a liq­uid to your bait be­fore cast­ing out, it not only cre­ates a halo around your hook­bait but it also leaves a trail of at­trac­tion in the wa­ter col­umn and gives the fish some­thing to home in on.

I cast both rigs tight to­gether on the spots that had been shown to me and then made up five small PVA bags with the pel­lets the fish­ery sell on site. I used my cat­a­pult to fire the bags a short dis­tance around my hook­baits. My thought process be­hind this was that if the carp came across the small bags it wouldn’t look un­nat­u­ral when they came across my hook­bait. Just be­fore I set the rods in po­si­tion I de­cided to slide on a cou­ple of back leads – with the lake be­ing around 8 acres in size, the bot­tom pretty uni­form and fish­ing in a cor­ner swim, I wanted ev­ery­thing out of the way of the fish.

Dur­ing my ses­sion Jon ‘Shoes’ Jones came down to join me and jumped in Peg 1 as we had some film­ing to do for Main­line Baits. Ob­vi­ously, the hope was that be­tween us we would nick a fish for the cameras. De­spite our con­fi­dence, the first day passed un­event­fully but we were both qui­etly op­ti­mistic for the night ahead. I de­cided to re-bait and re­po­si­tion my rods just be­fore dark to freshen up the area.

That night the heav­ens opened and when I say it was tor­ren­tial, I mean it was tor­ren­tial! Ev­ery­thing was wet through from top to bot­tom and, to cut a long story short, the fish­ing was still quiet and there hadn’t been one fish caught around the lake. For­tu­nately, our spir­its were lifted when Tom brought us a cou­ple of ba­con and egg cobs down from the lo­cal shop in the morn­ing.

The rest of the day was again spent in front of the cam­era, film­ing prod­uct clips for Main­line’s so­cial me­dia ac­counts – which at least kept us busy. That af­ter­noon I de­cided to re­peat the process of re­cast­ing the rods be­fore dark and then keep my fin­gers crossed. I knew ev­ery­thing I was do­ing was right and, as ever, I had the ut­most con­fi­dence in the rigs, bait and spots.

Un­for­tu­nately, as the sun rose on the Monument the fol­low­ing morn­ing, the story was the same – not a sin­gle fish had been caught. By the time it had reached mid-morn­ing and most peo­ple started to pack their gear away and head home, I had one last trick up my sleeve to try and pos­si­bly save the ses­sion. I spoke with Tom and he men­tioned there had been a hand­ful of fish out of Monument 2 and there were a cou­ple of pegs free. Armed with just a land­ing net, two rods and a bait bucket, I set off for a few hours but again, de­spite my best ef­forts, I still had noth­ing to show for it. I guess that’s carp fish­ing and es­pe­cially as it was still win­ter and the weather was un­pre­dictable, I knew I’d have to re­turn.

Around a month or so later I made the re­turn trip and things were look­ing much bet­ter. We’d had a cou­ple of weeks’ worth of con­sis­tent tem­per­a­tures and the fish­ing had slowly but surely started to pick up. Again, af­ter con­sul­ta­tion with Tom when I ar­rived, I jumped in Peg 12 which is a peg Tom had fished a few days prior to my ar­rival where he’d had some suc­cess. De­spite the rain falling and tem­per­a­tures drop­ping again I was more than con­fi­dent. We were due to have some heavy rain (now, there’s a shock) but, at least, there had been fish caught and they were on the move.

De­spite blank­ing on my last visit I de­cided to adopt the ex­act same ap­proach with my IQ D rigs and small snow­man pre­sen­ta­tions. I think it’s im­por­tant to be­lieve in what you are con­fi­dent in and some­times it’s noth­ing you’ve done wrong but sim­ply the carp just aren’t hav­ing it. I cast two rigs out, mounted with Hy­brid hook­ers and 10mm Shell­fish pop-ups, to a spot at 17 wraps be­fore pro­ceed­ing to put 10 spombs of corn out over the top. It cer­tainly didn’t take long and just an hour af­ter spod­ding my left-hand rod was away, which re­sulted in a lovely dou­ble-fig­ure mir­ror which cer­tainly made up for its size with its scale pat­tern. Be­fore tak­ing the pho­to­graphs I tied on a fresh rig and got it back out on the spot first time. It’s im­por­tant to max­imise your time on the bank and be as ef­fi­cient as pos­si­ble, so hav­ing rigs pre­pared with baits al­ready tied on is a mas­sive edge.

At around 4pm, Tom came for a chat and as we were chew­ing the fat, my right-hand rod sig­nalled a steady take. For the next 15 min­utes I got beat up by a fish which clearly wasn’t a dou­ble, and when it fi­nally went in the net it was a carp know as the Crin­kle Tail Lin­ear at 33lb. To say I was over the moon was an un­der­state­ment, and once again I got a fresh rig back out on the spot ready for the even­ing, be­fore tak­ing some stills of my prize. It goes back to that old say­ing that, “If at first you don’t suc­ceed, try and try again”.

Just be­fore sun­set I was con­tem­plat­ing spod­ding out some more bait, when again I had a take off a dou­ble-fig­ure fish. Three bites in just a few hours told me it was def­i­nitely time to in­tro­duce more bait to the swim. As we went fur­ther into the even­ing I started to re­ceive sav­age lin­ers from about 9pm on­wards. Dur­ing the night I man­aged an­other two dou­bles and a lost fish to a hook-pull un­for­tu­nately. I woke up the fol­low­ing morn­ing feel­ing shat­tered, due to lack of sleep and my hands sting­ing from line cuts, but it was well worth it. At first light I de­cided to make the ef­fort and redo the

rods, as well as in­tro­duce some more bait, whilst it pro­ceeded to ab­so­lutely chuck it down! The rest of the day, how­ever, was un­event­ful and at lunchtime I de­cided to wind the rods in and have a walk around the lake.

I found some fish tight in a cor­ner in Peg 2 where I fished on my first ses­sion. I thought to my­self, five min­utes in the right place has got to be bet­ter than 24 hours in the wrong place. So, de­spite catch­ing fish from Peg 12 I de­cided to make the move to Peg 2 and, af­ter check­ing my weather app, it only con­firmed to me it was the right de­ci­sion. Over the next 24-hours we were due to have a steady south-west­erly wind blow­ing di­rectly into my cor­ner as well as tem­per­a­tures as high as 17ºc. With the fish­ery’s 36-hour limit rule I got my­self set-up once more, fired some bait out to the spots that were shown to me on my pre­vi­ous ses­sion, and left the rods out of the wa­ter for the night whilst I caught up on some much needed sleep in the lodge.

When I woke the next morn­ing the wind had swung to the south-west­erly as fore­cast and it looked bang on for a bite. Once Tom ar­rived and the gates opened, I pro­ceeded to cast my two rigs out and within min­utes I had a bite from one of the Monument ba­bies – a good start to say the least! The rest of the day passed qui­etly but the fish were more than ac­tive and cer­tainly in the area. I de­cided to get the rods repo­si­tioned for my last night and get ev­ery­thing set­tled. At 1.30am my right-hand rod sig­nalled an in­cred­i­bly fast take – this proved to be a scaly mir­ror around 15lb and I just thought to my­self an­other good one can’t be too far away now. The fol­low­ing morn­ing I awoke to an­other blis­ter­ing take on the same which clearly was a bet­ter fish. It kited tight into the cor­ner I was fish­ing and, un­for­tu­nately, the hook pulled. I guess you can’t win them all and you cer­tainly can’t dic­tate how the fish picks your hook­bait up.

That drew to a con­clu­sion my re­demp­tion trip to the Monument. Two nights fish­ing and I man­aged eight takes, land­ing six of them which, con­sid­er­ing only three other fish were landed whilst I was there, I was more than happy with. As far as day-ticket fish­eries go this is cer­tainly one of my favourites so far. The fact you can book your peg, buy food and drink on site, that the pegs are clear of any mud and you have ab­so­lute hip­pos out in front of you makes this venue some­thing spe­cial in­deed. For now, be lucky.

I pro­ceeded to cast my two rigs out and within min­utes I had a bite from one of the Monument ba­bies – a good start to say the least!

Monument Fish­eries was cre­ated in Novem­ber 2002 by Rob Hales and was specif­i­cally de­signed to of­fer the day-ticket carp an­gler a chance of catch­ing the fish of a life­time, in beau­ti­ful sur­round­ings. The venue is set in the heart of the Shrop­shire coun­try­side and can be lo­cated in the Shif­nal area us­ing the ad­dress: The Monument, Lam­ledge Lane, Shif­nal, TF11 8SD

ABOVE TOP The on-site lodge, which is nestled be­tween the two lakes

ABOVE BOT­TOM Fish care is of paramount im­por­tance at RH Fish­eries, so all safety equip­ment is sup­plied

ABOVE All set-up in Peg 2 on M1 dur­ing my first visit to the venue

BE­LOW Slack lines and back leads were the or­der of the day

Play­ing what proved to be A MUCH BET­TER fish, UN­DER THE WATCH­FUL EYE OF FISH­ERY MAN­AGER, TOM

MID­DLE LEFT

ABOVE THE CRIN­KLE TAIL LIN­EAR AT A weight of 33lb

BOT­TOM LEFT

THE SCALES NEVER LIE!

BE­LOW LEFT

An up­per-dou­ble com­mon to round off pro­ceed­ings

BE­LOW RIGHT

This small, scaly mir­ror is typ­i­cal of the stamp of fish RH pro­duces

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