Planes, Trains and Orig­i­nals

Jack takes us back over a su­perb sea­son, fish­ing on both Wrays­bury’s North Lake and at Frim­ley Pit 4, where he en­joyed some amaz­ing re­sults

Carpworld - - CONTENTS - - Jack Fun­nell

Jack takes us back over a su­perb sea­son, fish­ing on both Wrays­bury’s North Lake and at Frim­ley Pit 4, where he en­joyed some amaz­ing re­sults

Wrays­bury needs lit­tle in­tro­duc­tion, with it be­ing one of the most his­toric wa­ters in the coun­try. It still has that in­cred­i­ble draw and with a healthy stock of carp, the na­ture of the pit is en­cap­su­lat­ing and a joy to fish. There are quite a few fish in the lake now, with plenty of big fish to go at too, which makes for some fun fish­ing all told. It has around 45 older fish, with the rest be­ing made up by stocked carp, some of which have climbed to just shy of 39lb in weight over the five years since they were in­tro­duced. Not only have they grown big, they are in­cred­i­bly scaly fish too – and with the gin clear and weedy wa­ter, they have taken on some lovely, dark colours too.

What drew me to the lake was the hand­ful of older carp. I knew they would be tough to catch and that I would have to wade through a lot of stocked fish along the way, but that small chance of catch­ing one was enough to make me re­ally want to fish the lake. I love get­ting bites and to be able to do that, along­side a chance of catch­ing one of the older ones, made for the per­fect sce­nario. You can split the lake in to two halves, with one end be­ing deep and the other quite shal­low. I soon as­cer­tained that the deeper end was some 15-20 feet deep on av­er­age, al­low­ing for a cou­ple of feet ei­ther way and that the shal­low end held 8-10 feet for the most part. The lakebed was so up and down too, that, mixed in with a rich weed growth, meant there was never a short­age of spots to fish. There is also an abun­dance of over­hang­ing trees present, along with snags and even an out of bounds area too, which the fish spent a lot of time fre­quent­ing.

The ticket started in April, but, due to a long fish­ing trip abroad, I didn’t get the chance to fish it that month. I did a cou­ple of nights, but the lake was busy, and I couldn’t get on the fish. Dur­ing that time I tried to keep in touch with the wa­ter – quite of­ten I would nip over be­fore and af­ter work for a walk and to see a friend, just to get an idea of what the fish were up to. I got back from my Euro­pean trip and did the odd night, blank­ing and sneak­ing out the odd one, but it was still cold, and the fish hadn’t re­ally wo­ken up prop­erly. I sup­pose it wasn’t un­til the mid­dle of May that the fish were re­ally up and about and they be­gan to con­gre­gate in the shal­low area of the lake. The weed was com­ing up pretty quickly and it was nec­es­sary to lead around and find those clear ar­eas, with the dense weed mak­ing pre­sen­ta­tion a real is­sue. I re­mem­ber fish­ing an overnighter, get­ting down on dark and the fish were start­ing to show in front of Springate’s. The swim com­mands a lot of wa­ter and luck­ily for me it was free. At this point, I didn’t know how they would re­spond to the lead­ing around. I had to de­cide on whether to flick out some ch­ods or have a lead around and risk spook­ing them. I sat back and had a think and de­cided that by lead­ing around, even if I didn’t catch, I would still have un­veiled a good area for the next trip. Af­ter a while I found a re­ally small spot, where I got an in­cred­i­ble drop and only a small drag. I put five Spombs of bait over it and fol­lowed this with a cou­ple of rigs. Over the course of the night, I landed three stocked fish to 23lb. I was top­ping up the spot with more bait af­ter each bite and the carp didn’t ap­pear to be both­ered by the dis­tur­bance. At first light, I found my­self in a bit of a predica­ment with both rods rip­ping off at the same time. The takes on Wrays­bury are sav­age and if your rod isn’t se­cured or tied down, you can lose it – they are gen­uinely that fe­ro­cious.

I think be­cause the weed was so dense, it was pos­si­ble to get away with the dis­tur­bance and the carp didn’t seem to be af­fected too much by it

Luck­ily, my friend was on hand and to­gether we landed them both. We weighed and pic­tured what turned out to be a brace of low-thir­ties, which was a real re­sult and a great way of know­ing what I was do­ing was work­ing. What I did that ses­sion shaped the sea­son on the lake and dic­tated how I was go­ing to fish it: Have a lead around, find a clear spot and don’t worry about the dis­tur­bance. I think be­cause the weed was so dense, it was pos­si­ble to get away with the dis­tur­bance and the carp didn’t seem to be af­fected too much by it.

Over the next few trips, I put to­gether an­other few hits – noth­ing huge, but it was great fun to be get­ting so many bites. I quickly learned that th­ese carp were bait an­i­mals and I had gone down the sweet and vis­ual route. I used a sim­ple mix of Manilla and corn, which was not only ex­tremely vis­ual, it also seemed to get the fish in to some sort of manic feed­ing frenzy, which al­lowed me to give them big hits of bait.

I had a cou­ple of seven-fish hits and ev­ery­thing was go­ing to plan, which was, as I said at the start, to play the num­bers game. If I kept catch­ing then hope­fully those big­ger ones would turn up at some point.

Un­for­tu­nately, the fish started their yearly rit­ual quite early and the fish­ing was put on hold for a while. Still, I had an­other ticket that I was ea­ger to check out, and that was down at the Frim­ley com­plex on Pit 4. The fish at Frim­ley had al­ready spawned, due to the un­sea­son­ally hot weather we’d been hav­ing, so the sit­u­a­tion had worked out per­fectly. Pit 4 is quite a bit smaller than Wrays­bury One, at around 25-acres, with a big round bit of open wa­ter and a small is­land. It doesn’t have lots of fish, but there are some re­ally big fish in the lake. It is con­sid­ered a dif­fi­cult lake, with ten-fish per sea­son be­ing a good re­sult. But it was a new chal­lenge for me and one that dif­fered mas­sively from Wrays­bury.

My first sight­ing of the lake was when I ar­rived to fish it. I love open wa­ter and look­ing out over an large ex­panse of it, so knew this lake would tick all the boxes for me. I spent the first few hours lap­ping the lake, walk­ing it over and over again. Those first few visits ended up be­ing mainly recce trips, plot­ting in a swim that gave me a good view of the lake so that I could watch for any carp and keep an eye out for how the other lads were fish­ing. This wasn’t to copy them as such, it was ac­tu­ally just to try and be dif­fer­ent. For ex­am­ple, if they all flicked rods in close and scat­tered boilies, I wanted to be spomb­ing out at range. As it hap­pened, a lot of the other an­glers didn’t fish at range and this was just what I was hop­ing to see. I wanted to fish at range and as it turned out, this would mean that

I would be fish­ing it dif­fer­ently to the ma­jor­ity.

Ev­ery morn­ing I was up at first light and what I fig­ured out was that the carp were ei­ther right un­der your feet, in the edge, or they would be right out in the mid­dle – which is around 140 yards out.

One af­ter­noon, with no one else fish­ing, I walked round the lake with a lead­ing rod. I wanted to fish the mid­dle of the lake and find a sweet spot. There were three swims that ac­cessed that mid­dle area. The first swim had a few sharp bars be­tween me and the mid­dle, which would have made land­ing fish an is­sue. The next was a pop­u­lar swim and it would of­ten be taken, so I kind of dis­missed it straight away. The third was on the bot­tom bank and no­body seemed to fish it, but you were able to cast to the mid­dle, around the area where I had seen lots of carp show. Af­ter about 20 casts I had found a spot that ticked the boxes. I didn’t con­firm this un­til later, but it was a raised sandy hump, about the size of a bivvy. You could see weed to the sur­face all around it but in the midst of it all was this lovely, clean, hard spot.

Once I had lo­cated it, at about 120 yards, I then had to de­cide on two key points. Firstly, what bait to use and se­condly, how much? I knew that the carp loved their bait in Frim­ley 4 and I hadn’t seen many peo­ple re­ally ap­ply­ing it in any great quan­tity – so I wanted to re­ally give it to them. I de­cided to in­tro­duce a full 15 litre bucket per day. Then, when I wasn’t fish­ing it, if I could get down and it didn’t af­fect any­one, I would give them an­other bucket too. I had al­ready caught a

30lb com­mon be­fore find­ing this spot, but once I started fish­ing it af­ter giv­ing them a hit of bait, it took off. Be­tween 6am and 10am, I would get a bite a day, which was crazy for that lake. Keep­ing that bait go­ing in, and fish­ing it as much as I could, I ended up do­ing 16 nights on the lake for 16-bites – with six of the carp go­ing over 30lb. I was us­ing the same mix that I had been us­ing on Wrays­bury, the only dif­fer­ence be­ing the ad­di­tion of some of the re­cently re­leased El­lipse pel­lets, which turned out to be the key, in my opin­ion. They are ex­tremely rich and high in oil, and, post-spawn­ing, the fish seemed to be ad­dicted to them. I could also see the flat spots com­ing off the area and could pre­dict the bites. I was giv­ing them more and more pel­lets as the trips went on and the spot just built up over time.

A lot of the guys were fish­ing with a ‘match the hatch’ bait, so I went for bright ones – with the 12mm Sig­na­tures prov­ing the most pro­duc­tive. They hadn’t re­ally been used that much be­fore and they seemed to be get­ting me plenty of bites.

I ab­so­lutely loved my time at Frim­ley, it re­ally was a pe­riod in my fish­ing that I will al­ways look back at with fond­ness, but I knew I had to get back to Wrays­bury. This was around the end of Au­gust and an al­gae bloom on Frim­ley helped speed up that de­ci­sion.

On my re­turn to Wrays­bury I tried var­i­ous op­tions, even beds of nat­u­ral baits such as mag­gots – but the method that worked best was what had been suc­cess­ful for me in the spring, Manilla boilies and corn. Af­ter the BCAC fi­nal, I car­ried on fish­ing the lake and a good friend had been fish­ing

a swim called The Stile. Ev­ery time I called in to see him there were carp show­ing at around 20 yards past a small is­land, close in and to the right of his swim. I asked him why he hadn’t put a rod there and he didn’t re­ally know, so the plan was to fol­low him in and have a go at this area. I found a large weed bed, but just in front of it was an area of low-ly­ing weed. It wasn’t ideal, but with pop­ups it could be fished ef­fec­tively. I put 20 spombs of bait over it and it was only about three hours later when the rod went. It turned out to be a fish called Mike’s Pet, and de­spite clearly hav­ing spawned right out, it still weighed over 44lb. I was ab­so­lutely blown away and the ob­ser­va­tions had paid off with one of the big­gest carp in the lake.

I sensed this spot had po­ten­tial – carp were show­ing reg­u­larly in the area and so it would be worth per­se­ver­ing with it. Within an­other hour I had had an­other bite and the spot was rock­ing. Over the next few days there was a big drop in pres­sure, and the wind and rain spurred the fish on to feed harder. I opted to stay and fish my full quota of days (four) and in the end I man­aged 15 fish – in­clud­ing an­other A-team mem­ber at over 38lb, a fish known as Paw Print.

It ap­peared to be a spot fre­quented by big fish and I did my best to keep it quiet. I fished the same swim the fol­low­ing week but the clear area seemed to have in­creased con­sid­er­able in size – per­haps to the detri­ment of the fish­ing. As it hap­pened it had, and the carp no longer fed as con­fi­dently. I did catch a few though, one of which was an in­cred­i­ble scaly 30lb mir­ror, but I felt the ac­tion had slowed right down and with it my time at the lake had come to an end. I had thor­oughly en­joyed my sea­son and am itch­ing to get back to Frim­ley next year, in search of those elu­sive, large com­mons.

BE­LOW TOP Re­turn­ing a chunky Wrays­bury mir­ror BE­LOW BOT­TOM Giv­ing them a large help­ing of Manilla and sweet­corn seemed to be the way for­ward

RIGHT THE STOCK fish WERE beau­ti­ful scaly MIR­RORS


RIGHT The lake is well known for its dark, old com­mons

LEFT A new chal­lenge, Frim­ley Pit 4, and Jack got off to a good start

ABOVE TOP An old, slate grey mir­ror that came from the spot at range ABOVE An­other chunky 30lb-plus com­mon LEFT Jack added some El­lipse pel­lets to his mix and the fish went crazy!

ABOVE A ‘breeze block’ of a com­mon that tran­spired to be one of the big­gest caught from the lake dur­ing the pe­riod Jack was on there

ABOVE TOP Ev­ery­thing was go­ing to plan

RIGHT A deep-bod­ied, grey mir­ror that is a sure sign the stocked fish will se­cure a great fu­ture for Wrays­bury

LEFT The new spot pro­duced Mike’s Pet as the first bite LEFT One of the Scot­ties – Paw Print at 38lb

LEFT Hav­ing tri­alled var­i­ous meth­ods, Jack found that a mix­ture of boilies and corn was still favourite TOP RIGHT A sim­ply im­mense carp and a fit­ting way to sign off on his time at Wrays­bury MID­DLE RIGHT A chunky, young com­mon. Yet an­other vic­tim of the boilie/corn ap­proach BOT­TOM RIGHT An­other scaly one in per­fect con­di­tion

ABOVE Ron­nie rigs and Sticky Sig­na­ture pop-ups were used through­out his sea­son on both wa­ters

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