Dis­cov­er­ing Day-tick­ets

Loz has re­ally spread his wings for this month’s fea­ture, trav­el­ling all the way down to Dorset, mix­ing busi­ness and plea­sure into a sin­gle trip to sam­ple one of THE west Coun­try’s LEAD­ING fish­eries...

Carpworld - - CONTENTS - - Loz East

Loz has re­ally spread his wings for this month’s fea­ture, trav­el­ling all the way down to Dorset, mix­ing busi­ness and plea­sure into a sin­gle trip to sam­ple one of the west coun­try’s lead­ing fish­eries...

Ofish­ingn-site there are 11 lakes to­talling 28-acres, which in­cludes four spec­i­men carp lakes, a ‘runs wa­ter’ and six match/plea­sure

lakes. The lakes are well known for their carp fish­ing but they also pro­vide one of the few places in Dorset to catch a cat­fish. The match lakes pro­vide 90 pegs which are avail­able for match book­ings. The on-site tackle shop is one of the big­gest in the UK and stocks all ma­jor brands, with open­ing times of Mon­day to Satur­day from 8am un­til 6pm and Sun­day 8am un­til 2:30pm. To com­ple­ment the lakes they also of­fer self-cater­ing hol­i­day cot­tages which are ideal for an­glers. The site also pro­vide ac­cess to a shower block with a shower, toi­let, wash­ing ma­chine and tum­ble dryer, so it’s per­fect should you wish to fish a lengthy ses­sion, or even have a short hol­i­day break.

The com­plex has a su­perb, up to date and cur­rent web­site with a clear list of both the rules and prices for fish­ing. They also keep an ac­cu­rate catch re­port go­ing, so it may be worth keep­ing an eye on this be­fore book­ing your ses­sion so you know which lakes are pro­duc­ing fish. The rules are pretty self-ex­plana­tory to be hon­est and they are: Strictly no lit­ter to be left, fish from des­ig­nated ar­eas only, you must have a min­i­mum 42-inch land­ing net, a large padded un­hook­ing mat must be used, no chil­dren un­der the age of 16 with­out prior ar­range­ment, carp-friendly non-tether rigs only, all carp must be re­turned to the wa­ter via sling or zip mat, strictly no driv­ing on the grass, three rod limit, bait boats may be used sen­si­bly, all day-tick­ets must be pur­chased from the shop be­fore com­menc­ing fish­ing, pike fish­ing from 1st Oc­to­ber to 1st March and an EA rod li­cence is re­quired.

Some­thing I would ad­vise any­one think­ing of vis­it­ing the venue to do is book your place prior to turn­ing up for your ses­sion. You can do this by call­ing the num­ber I have al­ready men­tioned but with the lakes be­ing a premier carp fish­ery for the area, they do get busy and the only way

Tod­ber Manor is set in 125-acres of Dorset coun­try­side and is home to some of the finest carp and coarse fish­ing in the south-west. The venue can be found by us­ing the fol­low­ing ad­dress: Tod­ber Manor Fish­eries, Manor Farm, Stur­min­ster New­ton, Dorset DT10 1JB. You can also con­tact the fish­ery by us­ing the tele­phone num­ber (01258) 820384 or al­ter­na­tively by email on: [email protected]­ber­manor.co.uk

of guar­an­tee­ing a place to fish is by pre­book­ing in ad­vance, this will also re­quire a full, up­front pay­ment.

Now, where do I start with my visit to the venue? So much hap­pened dur­ing the trip it’s hard to put it all into this ar­ti­cle, but we will give it a go from when I ar­rived at Tod­ber in the first week of Au­gust for the Korda Carp Acad­emy. The event was sched­uled to run on ‘Big Hayes’ lake from Tues­day to Thurs­day and I de­cided rather than make the long five-hour drive back up north af­ter­wards, I’d stay on and do a cou­ple of nights for my own per­sonal fish­ing. For the event, my­self and my two stu­dents, Joe and Ja­cob, had been given peg 4 which con­trolled a great area of open wa­ter in the cen­tre of the lake. To sum­marise the 48-hour event, ev­ery­body in­volved in the acad­emy com­pletely ‘smashed’ it. I think over­all there were 206 carp caught in 48-hours and I be­lieve the lake holds some­where in the re­gion of 800.

Once ev­ery­thing was fi­nalised and ev­ery­one headed off for home it was time to get the rods out – and I’m sure you can imag­ine 48-hours watch­ing the whole lake lit­er­ally empty of carp cer­tainly whet my ap­petite! Rich Shen­ton, who is the spon­sored an­glers co-or­di­na­tor for Korda, de­cided to stay on with me and get some ex­tra film­ing done around how I ap­proach these types of day-ticket venues. We de­cided to set up in peg 12, which was lo­cated around the back of one of the is­lands. There were lit­er­ally two pegs that con­trolled the wa­ter in front of us and with the lake open­ing back up to the gen­eral pub­lic this was im­por­tant. Day-ticket lakes can get very busy and it was prob­a­bly even more likely this par­tic­u­lar week­end due to the pub­lic­ity on so­cial me­dia around the suc­cess of the Carp Acad­emy.

By the time we had both man­aged to get ev­ery­thing set up it was get­ting on for late af­ter­noon and we were both pretty ex­hausted from the past cou­ple of days. None­the­less, we went about find­ing spots in each of our swims be­fore get­ting a much needed early night. In front of my swim I had the is­land around 70 yards away and it had a cou­ple of lit­tle al­coves, and a gap be­tween the edge of some reeds and the is­lands which the fish would have to pass through. I de­cided to hedge my bets and stag­ger the rods across the swim – the bot­tom was pretty uni­form in depth around 6ft which came up to around 3ft tight to the is­land. There was lit­tle in the way of de­bris and the bot­tom was mainly com­prised of clay with the odd hard spot here and there, which the fish had clearly fed on at some point. I fished my right-hand rod at 16 wraps close to the is­land in around 3ft of wa­ter; my mid­dle rod was po­si­tioned at 15 wraps in 4ft of wa­ter and my left-hand rod was at 14 wraps in 6ft of wa­ter. In re­la­tion to bait­ing up I de­cided to put a spread of bait out with the cat­a­pult, 60 yards is a com­fort­able dis­tance to fire a few boilies out just to give the fish some­thing to feed on. We were told be­fore ar­riv­ing at the venue that spod­ding lit­er­ally ‘kills’ the lake and the fish seem to shut up shop – maybe it’s be­cause the lake is shal­low; who knows? In the end it was a no brainer to give spod­ding a miss. I went about put­ting out 20 Main­line Cell and Link boilies on each spot be­fore cast­ing my rigs over the top for a cou­ple of hours be­fore dark.

On the rig front I de­cided to start with a sim­ple IQ D-rig which would not only of­fer great anti-

tan­gle prop­er­ties when cast­ing but the rig would also re­set it­self should it get in­ter­fered with when pre­sented on the bot­tom. The lake does con­tain a whole host of other species from bream to cat­fish so there’s al­ways the pos­si­bil­ity that the bait will bring ev­ery­thing to the party. My IQ D-rig is con­structed from 20lb IQ2 fluoro­car­bon and used in con­junc­tion with a size 4 Kurv shank hook. I like to use a large sinker in the cen­tre of the hook­link to keep the rig pinned down – and I fin­ish it off with an anti-tan­gle sleeve which cov­ers the quick change swivel. I al­ways like to use a sinker in­stead of putty when us­ing fluoro­car­bon be­cause you can be con­fi­dent the sinker will re­main in place and also not mark the hook­link. If you use putty it can tend to move as it has noth­ing to pur­chase onto.

I de­cided dur­ing this ses­sion that I would cast sin­gle hook­baits, and to com­pli­ment my rigs I used Main­line’s Cell cork dust Wafters which would im­i­tate my free of­fer­ings out in the lake and also take away the weight of the hook when the fish picked up my hook­bait. By us­ing some­thing which imi­tates what I’m feed­ing, it’s also less likely to ap­pear as dan­ger to the fish – whereas if I was to use a bright flu­oro bait this may look out of place. Nor­mally, in my day to day fish­ing, I like to add a small PVA bag of Re­sponse Pel­lets to my rig when I cast out just to en­sure ev­ery­thing lands cor­rectly but again I chose not to do this be­cause the pel­lets would likely bring in the bream and the cats.

I fi­nally got my rigs in the wa­ter around 6pm and be­fore set­tling ev­ery­thing down on the alarms I slid a small back lead onto my main­line, be­fore slack­en­ing ev­ery­thing off. Any­one who fol­lows me reg­u­larly on so­cial me­dia will know I al­most al­ways use bow­string-tight lines, but on this oc­ca­sion I fig­ured this would do me more harm than good. That evening, good friends Nick Long­pre and fish­ery man­ager Jack Tay­lor came down to see us and we had a BBQ whilst we re­flected on the week so far. As we talked, two of my rods al­most si­mul­ta­ne­ously pulled up tight and I landed a cou­ple of lovely mid-dou­ble-fig­ure Tod­ber mir­rors, what a great start. At around 9pm we de­cided to wind the rods in for the night and pre­bait ready for the morn­ing. I cat­a­pulted 50 Cell boilies across the ar­eas in the hope the carp would be there in the morn­ing. My rea­sons for do­ing this were sim­ple – dur­ing the Acad­emy very few fish got caught dur­ing the night and most of the ac­tiv­ity was dur­ing day­light hours; it would also give the carp a pe­riod of time to feel con­fi­dent and have a free feed be­fore first light. I set my alarm for shortly after 4am, to be up bright and early in the hope of see­ing a few early morn­ing rises. I’d lit­er­ally got ev­ery­thing ready, the rods were clipped up and my baits were al­ready at­tached so it was a sim­ple case of flick­ing the rods out onto the spots and we were fish­ing. Again this is an­other lit­tle tip that peo­ple can take into their own angling – the more ef­fi­cient you can be will def­i­nitely puts more carp on the bank for you.

No sooner had I put the ket­tle on and my rod was away! The pre­bait­ing seemed to have worked as I landed an up­per-dou­ble mir­ror. Be­fore we did any of the cam­era work the fish was left se­cured in the land­ing net and I cast a fresh rig onto the spot quickly fol­lowed by an­other 20 Cell boilies. It’s im­por­tant to max­imise your fish­ing time, and time spent with­out rods in the wa­ter is not an op­tion for me. You see most peo­ple tak­ing their time set­ting the cam­era tri­pod up and weigh­ing the fish – Heck, even maybe a cup of cof­fee be­fore cast­ing their rig back out.

The rest of the morn­ing was hec­tic to say the least – both my­self and Rich lit­er­ally couldn’t keep a rod in for a good few hours and whilst we were both try­ing to fish ef­fec­tively the cam­era work had to take pri­or­ity. We ended up hav­ing a few hours rest mak­ing sure the film­ing was on point, pre­bait­ing our swims and also ty­ing a few much needed rigs. It just goes to show that if you get the tac­tics right on any given day you can en­joy plenty of suc­cess – and I be­lieve that out­come was mas­sively in­flu­enced by keep­ing the dis­tur­bance to a min­i­mum.

We put the rods back out in the af­ter­noon around 4pm but it was all quiet on the western front as if there were no carp in the lake! I de­cided

to start in­tro­duc­ing the bait on a reg­u­lar ba­sis – ev­ery 20 min­utes I’d cat­a­pult 20 baits out al­most try­ing to en­tice the fish to feed by ring­ing the din­ner bell. Even­tu­ally, my left-hand rod was away which re­sulted in a crack­ing scale-per­fect 22lb com­mon and my big­gest of the ses­sion so far. After we’d re­turned the com­mon to its home it was like a switch had been thrown and we couldn’t keep a rod in. Dou­ble takes were hap­pen­ing on both our rods and by that evening, I think we had man­aged 30 fish be­tween us – crazy fish­ing!

Again we de­cided the most ap­pro­pri­ate cause of ac­tion would be rest the swims and pre­bait ready for the early morn­ing bite time again. At 4.30am and after some much needed sleep, I de­cided to get the rods back in po­si­tion and again it was just a case of cast­ing straight out as ev­ery­thing was al­ready set up. In com­plete con­trast to the pre­vi­ous morn­ing the lake was strangely quiet, un­til 8am when my mid­dle rod sig­nalled a cou­ple of bleeps – but noth­ing else hap­pened. So I de­cided to wind the rods in and have a re­think. My rig on the mid­dle rod had been tam­pered with and the D sec­tion had twisted around the shank of the hook which told me I’d been done! This wasn’t the first time this week I’d seen this as my stu­dents had ex­pe­ri­enced this on more than one oc­ca­sion. A change was needed. I re­sorted to my faith­ful bot­tom bait pre­sen­ta­tion, which con­sisted of a size 4 Kurv shank hook with a small piece of sil­i­con tub­ing on the shank. It was then fin­ished off with some shrink tub­ing. I used the rig as a combi rig with the IQ2 ma­te­rial and joined the 20lb Kamo to the fluoro­car­bon with an Al­bright knot. I de­cided to keep with the same hook­baits but shorten my rigs down to lit­er­ally four inches. I cast the rods

It’s im­por­tant to max­imise your fish­ing time, and time spent with­out rods in the wa­ter is not an op­tion for me. You see most peo­ple tak­ing their time set­ting the cam­era tri­pod up and weigh­ing the fish

back out and again baited with 20 Cell boilies. It didn’t take long and I had an­other dou­ble take, which sug­gested the rig change had made the dif­fer­ence.

It was sunny as mid­day ap­proached and the air tem­per­a­ture was al­most 30ºc, so I opted to try a small zig on the right-hand rod with the idea of in­ter­cept­ing any pass­ing fish – there were clear signs that they were up in the wa­ter col­umn. I started with a 3ft zig us­ing a com­bi­na­tion of or­ange and black foam, which pro­duced a take within sec­onds of cast­ing it out. I went on to have three bites in the first hour be­fore the fish wised up and moved off. I did end up try­ing to adapt and change the depths and colours to a 1ft zig with yel­low and black foam which did bring me an ex­tra bite.

By the evening my­self and Rich had man­aged al­most 60 carp be­tween us, but we pushed on into the first few hours of dark­ness and man­aged to end up with 64 fish which to­talled 1080lb in weight. The next morn­ing we de­cided to fin­ish off the film­ing we had to do and head home at 9am – the week had more than ex­ceeded our wildest ex­pec­ta­tions from the Carp Acad­emy through to our ses­sion.

Tod­ber Manor Fish­ery has some­thing for ev­ery­one and if get­ting a bend in your rod is what you’re after then this is the venue is for you. The av­er­age size of the fish is around the 15lb mark and if the fish con­tinue to grow at the rate they are do­ing then this is go­ing to be one im­pres­sive venue in the fu­ture.

One last piece of ad­vice would be to fish smart and re­main ac­tive – the fish are al­ways ac­tively hunt­ing for food so if they’re eat­ing it, give it to them. The last thing you want to do is turn up at this com­plex with a few hand­fuls of boilies. I think dur­ing our week we went through ki­los and ki­los of boilies but we were re­warded with al­most 300 carp, so it just goes to show you can ob­tain a big hit of fish by fish­ing smart. The last thing to bear in mind is that the fish are pres­sured and used to see­ing an­glers’ lines, so do what­ever you can do to keep dis­tur­bance down to a min­i­mum and your lines out of the fish’s line of sight.

Be lucky,


This mid-dou­ble mir­ror was typ­i­cal of the Big Hayes stock ABOVE

BE­LOW Ac­tion can be hec­tic at times

Dou­ble trou­ble with Richard Shen­ton

Sin­gle ‘match the hatch’ hook­baits over a scat­ter­ing of boilies were the or­der of the week TOP

ABOVE Front and cen­tre – one nailed by the FLUORO­CAR­BON IQ D-RIG

LEFT At times it was tricky to keep any rods in the wa­ter

BE­LOW Assess­ing the con­di­tions over a nice brew at first light

In amongst the mir­rors was the oc­ca­sional com­mon TOP

MID­DLE Short and dumpy...

BOT­TOM Long and lean, there’s a real mix of strains at Tod­ber Manor

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