Anjou

Anjou From the Dam End

Anjou From the Dam End

Paul Cooper and I recently visited a 13 acre lake in France that had never been fished (it will be open for booking in 2019 see end). It was stocked five years ago with 20 to 30lb fish and having lots of natural food it was hoped that the fish had shown significant growth. It was thought that about 60 carp had survived, hence the fishing would be far from easy. Our target for the week was therefore one fish each.

Sunrise over my swim

Sunrise over my swim

Luckily we managed 5 fish and they were immaculate having never been caught, the smaller two fish were 33lb 15oz and 41lb 2oz, pictures not shown. Some of the fish that crashed out were far bigger than the fish we caught. One particular fish looked immense and I wouldn’t like to guess how big it was, but boy wouldn’t I like to catch it. I honestly think that there is over 50x40lb+ fish in this lake.

47lb 14oz

47lb 14oz

49lb

49lb

49lb 8oz

49lb 8oz

The larger fish were caught on either HG42 or CM60.

The plan is to significantly increase the stock for the opening in 2019. When the website has been publish details will be available at https://www.bigotlakes.co.uk

Shallow Silty Lake

It is my second season on a 20+ acre lake that is silty and only has a maximum depth of 4 feet. As the majority of fish are caught between 70 and 100 yards it is necessary to use a 3oz lead, which invariable plugs deep into the silt. The majority of the anglers on the lake, use either helicopter rigs or long hook lengths to prevent the hook bait disappearing into the silt. I wanted to do something different. Last year I used PVA bags, this overcame the problem of the lead and hook bait being masked by silt. I caught fish, but was not completely happy with my results. This year I decided to try something different. I wanted to use my usual set up as shown, but stop the lead plugging.

Normal set up

Normal set up

What I did was make some 3 oz leads and hammer them flat to increase the surface area. I then coated the lead. This worked brilliantly. I can cast them up to 100 yards and the lead rests on top of the silt providing that I clip up. My results have improved greatly. Since I started using this method at the beginning of June I have caught 17 carp, only having one blank session. Flat leads are available commercially, but mine are thinner and have a bigger surface area. All fish were caught on HG42, what else!

Bomb Before Flattening

Bomb Before Flattening

Flattened Bomb

Flattened Bomb

Rig With Flat Lead

Rig With Flat Lead

Common Caught using Flattened Lead

Common Caught using Flattened Lead

 

 

 

 

If it inna brock dunna fix it(Patshull Park Squid and Orange)

You might think that I need to get back to school and learn to spell, but my excuse is that I am from Stoke and this bit of pottery slang says it all. Patshull Park Squid and Orange is the perfect carp bait for all year round carping.

24lb 8oz January carp

24lb 8oz January carp

Now this Winter has been a difficult time on most waters. The water that I have concentrated my efforts on over the 2017/2018 winter is the same one that I have fished the last 2 previous Winters when I had some really good results. I have tried everything that I could think of to get a bite but my rods remained motionless. It is near to the end of January and I had the opportunity to get a few daylight hours fishing. I put out a snowman rig made up of a Squid and Orange bottom bait and yellow pop up on one rod, a single yellow pop up on the second rod and a single 14 mil Patshull Park Squid and Orange bottom bait  on the 3rd rod. Each rod had around 10 S&O freebies scattered tight to the hook rig. 3 hours into a 6 hour session and the single bottom bait was away, producing a pristine conditioned  24lb 8oz Common.

The  Patshull Park base mix has got to be one of the best baits on the market. It catches thousands of carp every year and Simon  has had it in production for over 20 year. The only thing that the angler needs to select is the right size boile.

Paul Cooper

 

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