Monthly Archives: May 2014

Beautiful natural surrounings

Out on test with Pathull Park Squid and Orange

I was due to put a couple of new baits out to test on an Angling Lines trip to yet another venue that was on test. These baits have been put on hold until later in the year, so after some discussion with Simon my bait choice was the ever famous, Patshull  Park Squid and Orange.39lb 7oz (1)

The lake that I was due to visit lies deep in the forests in the Champagne region, close to the great lakes of Lac du Temple and Lac D’Orient. This lake is around 22 acres in size, totally natural, reed lined and surrounded by deciduous woodland. On site is a hunting/fishing lodge, with shower and toilet facilities. I couldn’t have asked for anything more. Just a few big carp, perhaps!

My camp for the week

My camp for the week

On our arrival we were expecting a couple of French guys to be bivvied up for the week-end, but what we found was indeed French anglers, but 4 of them, accompanied by their families. They occupied the whole of the West bank, so off we trundled to the opposite side of the lake on the East bank. Fortunately, the wind was hacking into the North East corner so this is where we set up.  By Sunday lunch time we were all alone, as the French contingent vacated the lake. The fishing started off very well for me as I was in the thick of some 25 mile an hour winds, head on. Jim was set up slightly to my left but and managed to escape the brunt of the heavy gusts. It did me a favour as by Wednesday morning I had landed eighteen carp to 39lb 7oz, and Jim had taken just one low double. All was about to change!

52lb 4oz. One of Jim's many big mommers

52lb 4oz. One of Jim’s many big mommers

Having spoken to the French owner, he informed us that more strong winds were due, but with a change of direction from the North West, blowing into the corner up to Jim’s left hand side. A few fish began to show off the South East dam and Jim was on the move.

What a brilliant decision. In the next 48 hours Jim landed 15 carp, including a 52lb 4oz specimen, 4 forties and 6 thirties, all coming to bottom baits provided by Quality Baits. I ended the week with 24 carp, with all mine responding to 18mil Squid and Orange bottom baits. A fantastic weeks fishing on what will no doubt be a new angling Lines venue in the very near future.

Once again a big thank you to Quality Baits for providing some great bait.

Paul Cooper

40lb 14oz Common on HG All Seasons

Ramblings of a carp angler-Jewellery and fish safety.

There are lots of objects that we either wear as jewellery or are part of our clothing that are potentially a threat to a fish whilst it is in our care.

What do I mean by in our care?

As soon as a fish is netted we are now responsible for its well being before it is returned safely back to the water.

During a fishing session, nets can easily get torn or develop holes from debris in the margins, branches and even from the fins of a carp. It is important to check and maintain the net during a session to ensure that if a hole develops, it gets fixed immediately, sewn up with fishing line or a piece of braid with the prospect of being replaced at some stage in the near future.

I have talked about the dangers of old weigh slings and unhooking mats and how to treat injuries to fish in the past, but what about our everyday clothing and jewellery. I personally do not wear any, but lots of anglers do, such as bracelets, rings and neck-chains. All these items are a potential hazard that can damage fins, skin or the eyes of a carp.

For years I always owned and wore a watch, no other jewellery, just a watch. For as long as I can remember one of the things that I always did was to remove the watch as soon as a fish was in the net. Countless times I have spent hours searching for my watch, as I would just remove it and chuck it down somewhere in the under growth. I never learnt, just kept on losing the dam thing. If I was the owner of other smaller jewellery I would still be searching now for them. So what is the answer. Before a fishing session remove all items and leave them in the car. Now I rarely wear watches as I have my mobile phone that I use for the time etc, so that danger has been illuminated.

So am I safe to handle a fish still? No! Long finger nails can also be a hazard. Zips on coats and in fact on any outer garments. The list goes on. All that we can do is reduce the risks as best as we can, So the next time that you are out on the bank, think before you fish, and remove potential sharp objects from your body and always have the unhooking mat placed on a soft piece of ground to create that extra cushioned effect.

Paul Cooper

Ramblings of a Carp Angler. Short or long hook links.

 

Slack line to semi fixed lead at close range with short hook link and a January caught 28lb 4oz carp

Slack line to semi fixed lead at close range with short hook link and a January caught 28lb 4oz carp

How long should I make my hook links and does it effect my catch rate.

What are the main materials available to create hook links—–Firstly I do not want to go into naming brands and makes, as I believe that this section of fishing can be a very personal choice. I will therefore, talk generally about the different types available.

Monofilament —————-  The first material is the obvious one and that is monofilament line, the main line that is used for spooling up our fishing reels. Obviously the strength and thickness of the line depends on how it behaves as a hooklink in the water.

Fluorocarbon and amnesia line which are designed for making up hook links ———-  These types of material are generally used to make up stiff rigs due to the low memory make up of the line making them far less subtle than ordinary monofilament usually fished in BS’s of between 15 and 30lb.

Long hook link made from Korda N-Trap, a coated braid

Long hook link made from Korda N-Trap, a coated braid

Braided hook link material —————- Braid generally comes in the form of a woven braid that is generally more subtle than the nylon type lines.

Coated braided hook link material ———— This generally comes as a fine braided material that is coated in a plastic or rubber type coating that can be peeled or stripped back if required exposing a small section of the braid.

So there you have the main materials that are available on the market to suit most carping situations. What I want to talk about is what lengths suit what line and the different fishing conditions. Firstly we need to look at the general feeding patterns of the species that we are targeting.

Carp——— Most species of carp, in particular the ones that we generally target, Commons and Mirrors, feed in a manner that can be different from other fish species. They do tend to test their food prior to eating which is done by a suck and blow method. It is when a carp is blowing, or ejecting the bait that our hook pricks it’s mouth so different lines behave in different ways.

I would say that the average sort of length for a hook rig is between 6 and 12 inches, and these can be made up of any of the materials that I have already mentioned.

Stiff rigs, made of Fluorocarbon or Amnesia type lines are best fished on longer rigs which is where they become most effective, not allowing the carp to eject the hook easily and presenting the bait further away from the rest of the more obvious carp rig.  With the coated braids and the more supple braids, a carp can eject a longer hook link very easily. Shorten it and you are into a different ball game.

There are some excellent underwater action shots available online that show carp feeding, and on most of them you can see carp picking up a bait, lead and all, with no indication at the anglers work station. A quick shake of the head or spinning on the spot and the hook is ejected.

Short hook link made up of a soft braid, my favoured hook-rig length

Short hook link made up of a soft braid, my favoured hook-rig length

I personally like to fish shorter rigs down to around 3 inches so as to reduce the amount of space that a carp has to reject the hook. I find that I get very strong takes and do tend to catch a lot of fish using this method. With the hook link being so short I get away with soft braided material and casting distances does not worry me around tangles etc.

It is in my opinion that when carp get finicky or when the colder months set in, shorter rigs work best. During these periods the carp’s metabolism slows down and there actions are much slower, so are their feeding habits. In the warmer months carp feed more freely and are quicker in their actions so longer rigs can work better, even then I will use rigs no longer than 8 inches made up of either fluorocarbon, coated braid or soft braid or a combination of 2 of the 3. I proved this on Brocard Small when I fished there last October with Jim Kelly. I was getting what I thought were liners and missed bites. It could have been crayfish activity, but I took a chance and reduced my 5 inch hook link down to around 3 inches. The change brought on immediate results, with no liners just screaming runs. I was fishing with 3 ounce leads at around a 98 metres cast, so the lead was plugging into the silt. I did not pull back after a cast so imagined the baits to be either just below or just sitting on the lake bottom. This did not deter the carp, and my tally for the week was 18 in some very difficult wet and cold conditions. Give it a try, you will be surprised at the difference it can make.

This article first appeared on the Angling Lines Blog & is reproduced with kind permission.

Paul Cooper

 

 

 

April

 

 

48lb 14oz Common caught from Castle Lake

48lb 14oz Common caught from Castle Lake

April, for me, has been a good month. Unusually I did a fair amount of fishing with 5 nights in the UK and 7 nights in France. Prior to this I had only done 10 nights in the UK and 21 nights in France since the beginning of last June. The French venue was Anglinglines Castle lake, which is destined to become a top venue, as it has been netted recently and most of the carp under 35 lbs and other species have been removed. My best capture was a beautiful common of 48 lb 14 oz.. The full article about the fishing on this lake can be read on the Anglinglines website click here.

In the UK my 5 nights have been spent on Grenville lake, in Cambridgeshire, in two separate sessions. People that know me are aware that I am not an early morning person and never arrive at the lake before 10 am. Typically, for my last session, I arrived at noon. I prefer this as all the people that have arrived before me have settled into a swim and I can assess where the best areas could be. My first job is to look in the book for areas that have been fished, of particular interest are areas where no fish have been caught. These areas have been baited up and left, hence the fish have had an area with bait in, but no lines in the water. I make a mental note of then go looking for fish. This, I believe, is the most important part of my session. Grenville is 72 acres and being in the wrong place is not an option. On my last session I spent 4 hours looking round and talking to other anglers, but could not find the fish. In the end I had to make a decision, I chose swim 5 as it had been fished, but nothing had been caught. This swim has access to deep water (35 feet) and shallower water (16 feet). I was set up by 5:30 pm, five and a half hours after arriving! The traps were set and it was time to wait. The session was slow and I only managed one fish, but it was 36 lb 7 oz, well pleased. I had another run, but the hook pulled, gutted. Whilst I was there there were only 3 fish caught on the whole lake. On my previous session in April I had 3 fish to 33 lb 13 oz using similar tactics. All fish were caught on Quality baits’ bait.

36 lb 7 oz

36 lb 7 oz

33lb 13oz

33lb 13oz