Carp Girls

Carp Girls

Carp Girls

09 September 2013

Well, after a long unplanned break away from the bank, the Carpgirls are back.

The year started off far from perfect, an unexpected major operation was on the cards and future unknown. So now, more than ever (if that's possible), I have fishing as my aim and we both grab on to it with both hands and never let go! We hit the bank with big plans and big goals for the future, life is for living and carp are for seeking.

After spending our first session back on the bank; 3 days on our new syndicate, we came back refreshed and revitalised. Our hunger and passion had not diminished during our absence from the bank, never thought for one second it would have….

We arrived at the lake and decided to walk round first to have a chat to others fishing and see where best to head for. The weather was scorching and it looked tricky to get a bite in an already hard lake.

We saw plenty of large lumps cruising the surface but no signs of feeding and having spoken with the others on the lake, it seemed it was going to be hard, but none the less we were glad to be bankside!

We choose a double swim away from most on the opposite bank, a long walk round but our Powawalker Trolleys made light work of getting all the gear to the swim.

Setting up was humorous...well, at the time tempers were fraught but looking back we can laugh now…. Debbie set her bivvy up backwards, I only knew this by the cursing I could hear coming from the other side of the large willow tree which sat in the middle of the double swim - it was ideal to bivvy up under to get some shade from the sun - then after she had got her bivvy problem sorted I heard round two of cursing again, this time she had set up her carp cradle upside down. Biting my lip, trying not to laugh in her face, I went to see if she was ok but on second thoughts thought it best just to leave her to it. Once we had got the rods out we sat back and settled down for the night, our sleep disturbed by single beeps from the crays playing with our hook baits...

We listened to advice from others on the lake and tried various rigs to combat the crays but, alas, they seemed up for eating anything on our session. It makes you wonder whether the fish get a look in - do the crays beat the fish to your bait? Would the fish push them off? time will hopefully answer these questions for us as we spend it on the bank and learn to combat these little pests......

I was quite happy passing the time away by watching their habits in the margins. Debbie's margin was much ‘cleaner’ - no stones or weed just clear clay banks and a handful of crays, whereas my margin was far more ‘cluttered’ - sunken bark chippings, weed, pebbles...and plenty of crays. I worked out that they seemed to favour the margin with more camouflage. Could this be the same out there in the lake? I think it could be the way to approach it.

Experimenting across my rods with different rigs and locations, I found that the clearer spots could be a better approach whilst wrapping your bait or using plastic looked to best protection against the crays and to give the fish a chance to move in if they decided to get their heads down.

We had the best carpy looking particle bait we had ever cooked, it was almost good enough to eat - but it wasn't meant to be, the weather was just too hot, and even fishing with zigs didn't pick anything up.

Debbie discovered after reeling in... her 5ft rig wasn’t cray proof. They had also had a go at the foam popping it up. I guess they pulled or walked it down.

Alas, the 3 days passed without a sniff of a carp, but plenty learnt and more pieces of the jigsaw were coming to together ready for next time……


On our return to the lake the following weekend (this time for a longer session) we approached it with the same positive attitude. This time we had left the particle at home but bought pellets and boilies.

The weather was yet again scorching so we knew times were going to be hard to buy a bite, but 'she who dares...'. We luckily got in the same swim again, which can be an advantage, learning the swim and spending enough hours there watching the fish movements.  Tactics were going to be much the same just tweaking small things so we could gauge what might or might not work.

Debbie took the same side of the swim next to the island - a small cast to a clear hard spot, which had given her problems with the crays previously but an ideal spot for carp hugging the contours of the island. I had the longer cast 80+yards over and past the wide weed bed. I noticed that from our last session the weed had grown and the small clearer spots in the weed had grown over and no longer there.

I planned to spread my rods apart on different bottoms - silt, weed and clay spots - to try and gauge where the crays were or were not and to try and keep and bait there for an opportunist carp swimming by to gulp up.

I found the crays were definitely not as active in the margins, only the odd stray cray in Debbie's margin that was clean, but my margin being more cluttered with debris had less than previously but still a few.

The first couple of days and nights were very uneventful, as they were for all on the lake. I was getting hammered by crays - especially the rod in the weed. So all 3 were going to be banged out and I would make a bar of bait to fish on and hopefully draw a carp in. Debbie stuck with her spots as she hadn't really suffered much trouble from the crays... but hadn't had a take yet either.

The carp were cruising with their backs out the water just under our rod tips patrolling up and down towards the island.

Getting frustrated. I went for a wander and saw a couple of large carp in a channel between the near bank and island, chucking a few dog biscuits out to see how they responded, with the idea of running and getting a rod if they start taking - but the ducks and tetchy swans had other ideas. I watched the carp circle a few times, eying up the floating biscuits, they turned back to them but as soon as a swan got near the carp spooked and were out of the area. Even the cootes were having paddies, I watched them regularly standing on the backs of carp and pounding their feet up and down while protecting their young.

It was clear that I had no hope of contending with a family of tetchy swans and cootes beating the fish away. So back to my swim to have a think of an avenue I had yet to try.

Time was running out but the night before last Debbie managed a 34lb12oz mirror off her island rod - a hardened hook bait worked while baiting in a fairly tight pattern.

There were only 3-4 fish out that week, and all but one came from a very small belt of water across the lake from the island to the far bank. My thoughts swayed to the idea the fish were holding down deep unless they were cruising - the weather was hot! And even after a fantastic storm and flash rain the bites didn't follow from the fish. The Storm was amazing it was a real tropical belter we don't normally get here in the UK. It stayed over head for hours and the lightening show was breathtaking!! I'm disappointed I didn't get a few photos.

I may not have been lucky enough to land a carp but capturing magical moments in a photo of nature is a close second and brings almost as much of a reward. I took these moonlight shots on two consecutive nights; right swim, right time, right conditions.... something of a motto to carp anglers.