Squid and Orange, still doing the business.

37lb (1)

It’s just coming to the beginning of October and I am already looking forward to the Autumn, the best time of year in my book. I have a French trip booked for the end of this month so hopefully I can put a few last minute fish on the bank.

37lb 8oz Common from a 42 acre lake in the Champagne region

37lb 8oz Common from a 42 acre lake in the Champagne region

This year I concentrated all my efforts on an old favourite, Patshull Park Squid and Orange. I have caught on pop ups but most carp have been come to single bottom baits, both in France and at home.

39lb (2)

May saw a trip to a 72 acre lake in the North East of France. This my third trip to this lake which is run by a French syndicate and is by invite only. There are some lovely mirror and Common carp in this lake, along with some massive Grassies and a few Sturgeon. On arrival at the lake the weather turned very warm which prompted the carp to go into a full spawn, This gave me the opportunity to  observe some of the massive residents at close quarters as they found a small secluded bay to get on with the business of spawning. It lasted for 3 days, so most of the fishing action was at the latter part of the week resulting in a dozen or more big carp.

IMG_3849

My next trip was in June to a 42 acre lake in the Champagne region of France. Once again Lady luck was not on my side as the temperatures ranged from 38C to 34C all week. The very first fish that graced my net on the 1st evening was a 37lb 8oz Common which started to drop spawn on the mat as it posed for a picture. It was returned quickly and safely to the lake,

35 34lb 4oz 23rd April 2017 (2)

 

Paul Cooper

 

HG 42-Possibly the Best Bait in the World!

Recently I did a session on a secret lake somewhere East of Birmingham. Bait was HG42 naturally. Rig was very basic, just a size six hook attached knotless knot, six inch coated hook length with some of the coating stripped back and a semi-fixed 3 ounce lead.

Simple Rig

Simple Rig

Tactics were to fish a scattering of bait at 45 yards and fish a PVA bag over the top. I like to have the hook-length sticking out of the side of the bag, sticking it to the side of the bag using a PVA nugget, it just works for me.

PVA bag set up

PVA bag set up

On arrival I was disappointed to find that they had spawned and would be down in weight.
The start of the session was very slow e.g. nothing caught for three nights. However on the fourth night I had 4 fish, one twenty and three thirties to 37.5lbs, well pleased. The next night was even better, with one twenty, three thirties and two forties. I had three fish on at the same time, a forty and two thirties and managed to land all three, sheer mayhem. The last night I only had one fish, a fifty, I decided to reel in after the capture as I thought it would be a great way to end the session.

First Forty of the Session

First Forty of the Session

 

second Forty of the Session

second Forty of the Session

 

Fifty pound plus

Fifty pound plus

To summarise 2xtwenties, 6x thirties, 2x forties and a fifty. What would they have weighed before spawning? HG42, it will do for me!

Do fishmeals work in Winter?

The day before I caught this carp there was a thin ice covering on the lake. Squid and Orange of cause. It weighed in at 26lb 6oz.

The day before I caught this carp there was a thin ice covering on the lake. Squid and Orange of cause. It weighed in at 26lb 6oz.

If you listen to the experts you would never use a fishmeal boilie over the Winter months. My thinking was the same, however over the years my views have changed drastically. For the past 2 years I have continued to fish through the Winter months, feeding and fishing with Squid and Orange. My results have proved that fishmeals do work.

So lets look at the reasons given. In the early days of the boilie, the few carp anglers that were about, including myself, applied lots of oils to our self rolled baits. Not being satisfied with oils in the bait we also glugged them in oil. When it came to Winter baits then out went the Salmon and fish oils and in came the Nodd oil. It is still oil but thinner and purer. Fish are cold blooded creatures and oil can congeal in very cold conditions. Why do we need oils? We don’t! Squid and Orange is oil free. A fish meal, yes, but it is still digestible over the colder winter months and is not detrimental to the carps welfare but a good food source.

Another February carp, caught a couple of days ago in freezing cold conditions at 24lb+

Another February carp, caught a couple of days ago in freezing cold conditions at 24lb+

So how do I approach the Winter period. Firstly I have to decide on a venue that does produce good sized carp in Winter. I do not want to sit out in all weathers for singles or doubles so a water with reasonable sized carp is my target. I limit my time down to short sessions of 2 to 4 hours and try and be selective with the weather, low pressure and mild temps are the obvious. The secret is a steady trickle of boiles spread over the lake. I rarely fish the same swim so the baiting is easy. As I pack up I put in around 1/2 a kilo of boilies in the swim I have just vacated. It might be a couple of weeks before I return to that swim but every so often it works.

My hook baits are 12 or 14 mil bottom baits to a size 6 or 8 hooks with extra short hook links, The bite are sometimes very timid so just a single bleep on the indicator and a slight rod knock is a run which I will hit. The 2016/2017 Winter has been a hard one, however I have still managed to put 5 carp on the bank in some very difficult conditions. The 2015/2016 Winter was a very productive one which for me resulting in 10 carp to 32lb 4oz. For both winters I have applied the same methods and bait. The Winter is not over yet and there are still a few opurtunities around the corner to bank another winter carp. Roll on March and a new Spring. I will be continuing this year once again with my old faithful, Quality Baits Squid and Orange.

Paul Cooper

Squid and Orange hits the mark at La Fonte

27lb 12oz (3) What do you want out of a French fishing adventure. Is it sitting it out for that one special carp or do you like action with the chance of picking up the odd big carp. If it is the latter I have found the perfect lake for you!

I have not long returned from a new Angling Lines water called La Fonte. The lake itself is around 6 acres and has depths ranging from around a meter in the shallows down to 3 meters at its deepest point off the dam. It is an old mature lake surrounded by trees with a silty lake bed. There are 3 well maintained double carp swims, with ample room to bivvy up on large gravelled areas with each one having a wooden stage by the lakeside for all the fishing business. The facilities are excellent, with cooker, freezers, fridge, English TV, plenty of hot water for the showers and sinks and clean toilet/shower room.IMG_3393

This was the initial test for Angling Lines and my partner in crime for the week, once again was my good friend Jim Kelly. When testing a lake, generally one of us moves around as much as possible so that we can get an idea of all the features and feeding areas of the lake. We are not at the lake simply to catch fish but to establish the quality of the lake, to ascertain the potential of individual swims and to try and get an idea of the stocking density of the venue.30lb 4oz (4)

The weather the week prior to our arrival had been extremely warm and pleasant. This however changed overnight prior to our arrival with a cold northerly wind blowing reducing the temperature drastically, bringing with it rain and snow. It was the last week in April so it can be hit and miss with the weather so we were both prepared for the all seasons.

So what were the tactics that Jim and I decided on.

The fishing log from the previous week was our starting point, where a sole angler had managed a late booking on the lake and had caught around 70 carp off the first swim giving access to the deeper part off the lake nearest the dam. Jim had the first choice of swim and decided to settle in this swim.IMG_3388

I initially headed for the middle of the lake on swim 2. Prior to our arrival it was our intention to fish days only, so as to rest the lake and swims overnight. We would fish daylight hours only, reeling all our rods in for meals and for shower room duties.

Jim’s choice of boilies was Quality Baits HG42 and mine Quality Baits Patshull Park Squid and Orange.

After the initial plumbing and leading the lake, Jim chose an area on the far margins in around 8 foot of water to create his feeding area. This allowed Jim to throw any loose feed into the lake by hand or catapult. I found around 4 foot of water over fairly deep silt all the way across to the far margins. I would be using a throwing stick and spomb to create my feeding area. While messing around plumbing and leading the lake we both caught a carp each. Set up for the evening we retired to the facilities for a bit of TV watching and relaxation. Back to the bivvies for a good nights sleep.23lb 8oz (3)

Overnight I was awoken by fish crashing to my right in front of the shallows swim. I had not even cast out and decided at first light to take rods and all into the swim in front of the shallows. I had a maximum of 3 foot of water with heavy silt. I decided to create a swim around 5 yards off a fallen tree off the far bank. I was not particularly concerned about the silt as I have fished lots of silty lakes in the past without any problems. I still fished short hook-links on bottom baits and left the lead plugged into the silt at the location where the lead hit off a 72 yard cast. My theory is that if fish live in a silt, this is where they feed. By late evening I was reeling in for the night with 10 carp to 30lb 4oz under my belt. Jim had also had a successful day with a similar amount of carp.

The temperature was dropping drastically, down to -3 overnight, with ice on rods and mats for the first hour of daylight, along with snow hail and cold northerly winds. Not the ideal temperature for a French fishing trip. We plodded on fishing days only and the fish just kept coming. I was carching constently but found it too easy so by Thursday I decided to try my luck fishing off the dam in deep water. Jim Syaed put in his swim picking up the odd fish.28lb 8oz (1)

I was fishing down the margins only a yard off the dam and straight away the fish started to come. all being in the high twenties. I remained on this swim until we wrapped up early Friday evening.

The weather was awful all week and only started to improve on our departure on the Saturday morning. The proof of this lake was the results at the end of the week with 51 carp for myself and 40 for Jim. I had moved 3 times and Jim remained on his swim for the week. Our tactics worked well. Resting the swims overnight relieved the pressure off the baited areas. The results of our success was down to quality bait fed consistently through out the week. Good old Squid and Orange certainly hits the mark once again.

Paul Cooper

First Fench trip of the year

Jim Kelly and I have just returned from our first French trip of 2016. It was dropped on us at short notice by Angling Lines so that they could get an idea of the potential of the lake before taking it on as a going conscern. The lake, La Fonte, is only three and a half hours drive from Calais and is very easy to get too. While we were there we put a short video together which if you click on the picture below will take you straight to it. 28lb (5)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our tally for the week was 92 carp with the best specimen coming to Jim at 42lb 13oz. Our choice of bait was Patshull Park Squid and Orange for myself and HG42 for Jim.

Paul Cooper

What a year

Around May last year I stopped using just pop-ups as a presentation and started using either snowman or bottom bait presentation. The size of my captures has gone through the roof. Every fish was caught on a Quality Baits’ bait. I have only included fish over 35lb.

Gallery

35+ Mirror

35+ Mirror35lb + Mirror

36lb 7oz Mirror

36lb 7oz Mirror

44lb 2oz

44lb 2oz

40lb

40lb

54lb 6oz

54lb 6oz

56lb 12oz

56lb 12oz

Lets start thinking about Spring

Something to look forward too. An early spring caught carp.

Something to look forward too. An early spring caught carp.

January has been a bit of a mish-mash with the weather, with high winds, storms and periods of cold Wintery spells. We are only 7 weeks away from Spring so it is time to start thinking about getting your baiting campaign in place for the forthcoming 2016 season. With the daylight hours getting longer, the carp will soon be getting back onto the feed, ready for spawning in early summer.

1st fish of last year caught mid-Feb

1st fish of last year caught mid-Feb

I am still using the remnants of a birdy mix that I had put together for me before Xmas. The lakes have been frozen only a week ago, but hopefully we will be having the odd mild day to get out the rods.

I have put my Spring order in with Simon for a fishmeal bait with a few changes. The ingredients are top quality so it will be a matter of getting some into the water as soon as possible.

As for quantities, weather permitting, I will be introducing around 1/2 a kilo every few days just before the hours of darkness and as the weeks go by I will start increasing the amount that I feed into the lake. By putting bait into the lake just before dark the fish get the benefit of the new food source by cutting down on any free offerings for the ever expanding bird life on the lake. By the time Spring arrives the fish should be back in full feeding mode.

In the meantime I will be spending a few hours a week out on the bank trying to pick up the odd feeding fish. I will be picking my time to fish as the feeding window in February is very limited.

Spring is here

Spring is here

In my mind the new Season starts from the second week in March, as the days are getting longer and everything begins to wake up for the new breeding season. One of the first signs that I look for is frog spawn in my garden pond and also the swelling buds on the willow trees that turn into pussy willow. Once you see these signs, Spring is either with us or just around the corner. The carp should be moving around once more, shaking off any leaches that have gathered over the Winter. They will start feeding up ready for the annual spawn so I always try to get has many hours on the bank as possible at this time of year. So start shaking the cobwebs off your fishing gear and get prepared.

Paul Cooper

 

 

 

Winter sessions – long or short

Short session or long session
Winter is an interesting time of year for many people and rightly so. The seasons have merged into each other because of the greater numbers of anglers venturing out. Its clearly obvious that with the abolition of the old closed season and the availability of good tackle to cope with adverse conditions creates the opportunity for more and more summer only anglers to venture out.
No longer do the rods go into hiding from October to the beginning of spring or June the 16th if the old closed season was still in place.
Greater numbers of anglers are now bivvied up or doing day sessions under the brolly. There is no right or wrong way of approaching winter fishing but the golden rule is enjoyment and make sure you’re warm and dry. You’re not fishing if you’re cold and wet, you’re surviving and that’s a completely different game called staying alive.image1
Nobody needs to put themselves in dangers these days and the technology available from many different companies can keep you entertained when its grim outside. Many people take mobile phones, tables and TVs for the session so boredom can be kept at bay when there is nothing to see outside.
You can buy loads of gadgets from power packs, lights and quality cookers to keep the fires within you burning on the long dark nights. image
Tactics may alter in winter depending on which type of water you choose to fish. Many commercial venues still require you to bait often and the standard club waters tend to slow down a little.
Gone are the days when carp sit up for winter on most commonly fished waters as the banks now have anglers fishing from January to January.

More and more baits have started to enter the water because of this very situation. The fish weights have increased and the meth of carp only feeding in between spring and autumn have been dismissed greatly.
Don’t get me wrong some waters just don’t fish well through the darker nights and to be honest, unless you’re looking just to escape away from the world, you’re wasting your time.
So what’s going to be your plan of attack, now that’s the question. Remember one thing though, you must look for movement and visually see signs of moving or feeding fish. This rule never changes and in winter it’s even more important to look.
You must be mobile first before putting your tent up and making your home for the night. The day session boys might already be on the fish but be patient as this is the only way to make your visit is worthwhile. Be respectful and don’t rush in and spoil somebody else’s day just because you’ve got to set up.
The fun is in looking for the fish before baiting up in the right place and applying your knowledge of rigs and ability. You’ve got time and it’s easy enough to bait at night with distance stick and good lighting. There is no rush because remember carp are very nocturnal.image2-1
Whether you’re fishing the Boillie only approach or using particles, always remember to feed them when you feel it’s right. There is always some other angler who forgets its your session and even with good intentions forgets this. image3-1
The rules never stay the same because you never know when a feeding spell will happen. I’ve found keeping a log and taking notes helps greatly but it’s never set in stone.

Enjoy your winter’s fishing if you venture out.

It’s the last day of 2015 and weather watching produces the goods.

Well it’s New Years Eve and  I’ve just returned from a short 2 hour session on my local syndicate water. The forecast was for heavy storms early in the afternoon, so my thoughts were to try and get an hour’s fishing just prior to the storm, with the chance of a feeding window for the carp. I got it spot on. I love inclement weather in Winter as if you get the timing right, you can get a result.

32lb mirror caught just prior to the storm

32lb mirror caught just prior to the storm

I set up just off the head of the wind constantly watching the water for signs of moving fish. It happened, and I saw my first fish head and shoulder into the now increasing wind. I dropped a baited rod within a rod length of where I saw the fish which was only 20 yards off the bank. On went a back lead and I settled down watching the lake and my rods. 10 minutes later and there was a single bleep on the recast rod then a one toner and I was into a strong fighting fish. As I played the fish to the bank I saw a further 2 fish head and shoulder. Into the net with my fish and I knew then that it was a low thirty mirror. Onto the scales which registered at 32lb. A few photo’s and returned the carp back to the water as a massive storm hit. Torrential rain and gale force winds. This lasted for around 1/2 an hour. As soon as the storm had passed, in came the rods. Job done I was on my way home.21lb 8oz 23rd December 2015 (2)

This is not the 1st time that I have hit it right this month, as I have caught on every other short session that I have been on the bank-side. Timing is the secret to my success as well as changing my tactics to accommodate the season. As soon as Winter approaches, I reduce the size of my hook’s, hook lengths and hook baits. Conventional knotless knot rigs with fairly long hair rigged bottom baits or really small wafters. The biggest advantage that I have is my garden pond, which has a few nice sized carp swimming around in it. Their main diet is broken up boilies, the same boilies that I feed into the lake. There are periods when the food remains untouched for days. A change in the weather or air pressure and they begin to feed. This is my trigger to load up the car and get down to the lake. This year the main feeding spell has been from 12am to 4pm, so I try and spend at least 2 hours fishing when this happens.

This 23lb 4oz common was munching heavily on the Winter Birdy mix.

This 23lb 4oz common was munching heavily on the Winter Birdy mix.

A few days before Xmas I noticed my garden pond had come to life, so off down to the lake. Within an hour I had landed a 21lb 8oz common and a 23lb 4oz common. In came the rods and I was home within the next hour. You may think that the lake is easy, but 1 fish a month is a good result and that is only if there has been time spent on the water. It has to be down to good timing and excellent bait.

Graham Rowland and I put a new bait together late November, which is mostly a birdy mix with a few highly nutritional ingredients included. I have been introducing this bait along with other my Squid and Orange all through December. It has been a toss up between the birdy mix and the Squid and Orange to which has been the better bait. With 6 fish landed and 1 lost, this December has been one of my best on record. Tomorrow is a New Year with new challenges. As for bait, I have a few ideas which I will be putting together from the Quality Bait range, I will see January and February out on the Birdy mix then look towards a new bait.

I hope you all have a Happy New Year.

Tight Lines

Paul Cooper

 

 

Short December session produces the goods on Squid and Orange

Second fish of my very shprt session at 24lb 4oz

Second fish of my very shprt session at 24lb 4oz

Earlier this week I popped down to my syndicate lake for an afternoons fishing. It was mild, around 13C, early December, and a new Southerly wind was blowing. It was 2.30pm before I cast out my first rod having spotted a couple of fish on the head of the wind some 30 yards out. Snowman style, with a squid and Orange bottom bait and pop up was my choice of bait for the short session. Short range fishing of no more than 20 yards with 2 pouches of 14 mil boilies around each rod.

One of the stockies at 15lb 10oz

One of the stockies at 15lb 10oz

I didn’t have to wait long, One of my Attx’s came to life and I had an absolute screamer of a run. A hard fighting Common had picked up my bait and it took a good 5 minutes before I took control of the fish and brought the net underneath it’s body. The fish weighed in at just 15lb 10oz but it was a prize that I had been targeting all year, one of my stock fish, that only 3 years ago was a mere 3lb. Back it went to the sanctuary of the lake. I only had to wait another 30 minutes a second rod screamed off. Yet again a common graced the net at 24lb 4oz. By 4pm I was loading up the car well chuffed at my quick session. 2 fish in one and a half hours is unheard of on the lake. I can only put my success down to good location and good bait.

Paul Cooper

 

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