Should I Stay or Should I Go?

I mentioned in my first post of the year  that I would be concentrating on my Carp fishing this year with the aim of bagging my first 20lb fish.

Now being the sort of bloke who likes to do things properly (or at least I like to think I’m the sort of bloke who likes to do things properly) I’ve been immersing myself in the teachings of the great and the good of the Carp fishing world.

It seems to me that the first and most important thing is to get the location right – ‘get on the fish’ – is the Carpy way of saying it. So a bit of research came first – picking the brains of the regulars, checking out catch reports, all that sort of stuff.

I know that several of the lakes that I have a ticket for contain Carp in excess of 20lb, so that takes care of that part of the equation. I chose to kick things off at Lake 4 of the Gedges Complex, owned and run by Paddock Wood Angling Club. It’s known as the ‘speci lake’ and contains fish to just under 30lb.

Screenshot 2018-01-22 10.27.29
Gedges Lakes. Lake 4 is the one at the top – the shallower end is the lower end.

On Friday I paid the lake a quick visit in my lunch break for reconnaissance purposes. A couple of guys were just packing away after a 3 day session where they’d unfortunately drawn a blank. They were fishing the deeper end of the lake, but on that morning had seen a few fish show further up towards the shallower end.

Using my highly-tuned and well polished ‘Carpy-sense’ I deduced that the fish were heading for the shallows to take advantage of the unseasonal sunshine warming up the surface layer. Indeed, a few minutes spend watching the water at the shallow part of the lake revealed much more activity than could be seen anywhere else. Location sorted.

On the bait front I’ve heard it said that building confidence in a bait is important. Now I have a terrible habit of buying whatever bait is currently on offer, or whichever one smells the best in the shop, or the brand that recently caught the most big fish. In short, I have no favoured bait and thus have built no real confidence in any of the many brands.

I decided to go with Sticky Baits as thats what I had most of in my huge and varied stash. Everything else – pop-ups, wafters, bottom baits, stick mixes – all went into the blender. The resulting bucket of ‘fairy dust’ as I’ve decided to call it, will be used up as the basis for a spod mix or as groundbait if going after the Tench or whatever.

So Saturday morning saw me down at the lake, unloading the kit onto the barrow about an hour before sunrise. By the time I’d got setup in my chosen swim and got a rod out it was nearly 08:30. The second rod followed about 15 minutes later, with a freshly tied naked chod setup with a 16mm yellow Manilla pop-up as hookbait. This was fished just as a single bait – no feeding around this rod. The first rod out had the same chod section but fished as a stiff hinge rig with a lead clip. This time the hookbait was a smaller white Manilla pop-up over a few handfuls of maggots.

If you’re still with me at this point I think you could agree that things were going OK – I’d blatantly followed the advice of YouTube and Korda’s finest, I’d learnt some proper Carpy terminology, and had a pretty good-looking setup on my sleek black Cygnet banksticks – Delkim TXi alarms, Stow bobbins, the lovely new Greys Apex rods and Shimano X Aero reels.


Now all that was needed was a decent fish to acknowledge my angling skills and enlightened choices of both gear and bait, and impale itself on my hand sharpened size 6 Korda Kurv hook.

Unfortunately we’ve now reached the part of this post where I explain why I resolutely failed to catch any fish, let alone a 20lb + beastie…..

A couple of paragraphs ago I referred to the sunrise. To be more accurate I should really call it ‘the gradual lessening of total darkness, giving way to gloomy grey half-light.’ Not very catchy I know but there it is. I’d neglected to check the weather forecast for the day and it turned out that the only way to see the sun was to actually get into orbit. As if this wasn’t bad enough it took me a fair few hours to come to the conclusion that the shallows were highly unlikely to produce a fish.

Part of the reason for sticking at it in the ‘wrong’ place for so long (the whole day in fact) was the presence of the odd patch of bubbling. I took this to be evidence that the Carp were on the munch. Turns out I was wrong. It was probably just muck on the bottom releasing a little ‘lake bed fart.’

Although I’d been fairly brutal about reducing the amount of gear I had with me I still couldn’t face the business of packing up and moving to the other end of the lake. From my swim I was able to cast halfway down the lake, so one of the rods (the one with the yellow pop-up) was repositioned. The other rod was left fishing over the maggots as these had been topped up at various intervals throughout the day and I was loath to abandon them, just in case.

So, all in all a bit of a failure in my pursuit of Carping proficiency.

On a brighter note, as I mentioned in one of the comments of the last post I’ve found a new supplier of sausages. The Franconian Sausage Company in Paddock Wood. (I think the website is being updated but you can find them on Facebook here. ) I brought along some of their Thuringer Bratwurst for bankside munchies. All I can say is they were truly excellent. In fact I’d go as far as saying they were the best Bratwurst I’d ever had (and believe me, I’ve had a few.)

Franconian's Thuringer Bratwurst
Bratwurst for breakfast

As for music, well the title of the post says it all really……


2 thoughts on “Should I Stay or Should I Go?

  1. A nice set-up you’ve got yourself there sir, and the carp talk to back it up. The rest is generally far from easy. I too have spent a whole day being fooled by an abundance of l-b-f’s. I also remember a day watching a considerably more focussed and disciplined carp angler up-sticks and change swims about 6 times to locate his quarry, while i just hunkered down and pondered the contents of my hot dog sausages – documented in my post ‘pork-greaves-and-roving’. It’s certainly a constant learning curve. Good luck for you future trips.

    Liked by 1 person

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