Matt heads out into the teeth of a storm to test some new products and banks 6 x carp to 37lbs inc. 4 x 30’s.
With Christmas and the New Year done and dusted, early January is when I really get the itch to go fishing again. I know that January isn’t exactly well known as a great time of year to fish for carp but it’s always been kind to me.
It’s all a question of timing. During December the lake temperature dropped steadily down to a low of 4.7 C but by the New Year, with a spell of mild weather, it had climbed to 8.7 C. With a big low pressure system set to come in for a number of days bringing big winds and loads of a rain, it was time to get the rods out and see if I could trick a few.
On arrival there was nothing to go at but I knew exactly where I needed to be early season. Point ‘C’ has always been where I start each year and it’s never let me down. Tactics were as simple as always, pick three known marks and drop bait boat traps of whole and crushed boilies sticks along with a handful of house pellet. I was all set about an hour before dusk and 1hr hour into darkness I was into my first carp of the year. Named Batman with a set of shoulders to rival his namesake he fought long and hard as the wind blew and the rain lashed the water’s surface. Batman is one of the new Czech Royale and was introduced in February of 2017 at 27lbs. He obviously loves his new home and the bait we roll as he tipped the scales at 32lbs!
New additions to the bait range
The main purpose of this session was to test some new baits and dips that we are introducing for the 2018 season. Last year we made some large cylindrical baits 30mm long x 25mm diameter called the nuggets. Although they worked I don’t think most anglers could get over the fact that they were massive baits! This year I wanted to use the same technology to make something smaller that was perfectly adapted for use in a bait boat, or for baiting by hand or by rowing boat. We have called them boilie sticks (not very original I know but that is exactly what they are!). They measure 30mm by 20mm and are the perfect partner for a size 4 wide gape hook. They are also different in hardness to our regular baits. I made them much softer so that although they do have a firm outer skin, their centre remains soft and gooey.
A simple crush between the fingers exposes that wonderful centre which will release attraction into the water that much faster. They are not designed to be fished on the hair at this hardness but if you want to do so just ask when ordering and I’ll do you some as hookers. I made myself some tougher hookers for the session and just threaded them onto the hair in lengthways. All fish fell to the boilie stick method. I fished both flavours 50/50 and it really didn’t matter which I chose as the results were the same… fish on!
We are also introducing our own range of bait dips this year. Made using a minimum of 50% by volume of the original human food grade flavour that goes into our bait, these dips really pack a punch. The finished result is a beautifully clear, viscous liquid that clings easily to the bait in good thickness. Baits can be left in the dips for as long as you want or you can just dip them after loading them into a bait boat (which is the method I used for my session.) The liquid creates a powerful food signal in the immediate vicinity of your rig and it certainly got the attention of our carp that have only just started to move about in search for food in these true winter conditions. I used both the nutty dip and the crayfish dip on all the rigs I placed and it was basically just a matter of hours before the trap was sprung and I was into my next carp!
New Beausoleil carp n’ cat link
Also on test this session was a new hook link material that will be available to our guests this year. It accounted for a number of 100lb plus specimens already last year but I hadn’t had the chance to fish for our carp with it yet. For years I’ve struggled to find the perfect hook link for the venue that suits the delicacy of our carp and the power of our catfish. Regular 25lbs carp hook link still fail from time to time and although Kryston’s 45lbs quicksilver has never failed on a catfish it’s just too stiff to make a subtle carp rig in my opinion.
The material I’ve chosen is a 0.35mm diameter braid (similar in thickness to other commercially available 35lb carp braids) but it’s much stronger! It’s much suppler than 45lb Quicksilver and doesn’t have that odd smell to it either! The result is a massively strong, neutral buoyancy material that enables you to create a range of rigs that will trick our wily carp and still control our massively powerful cats. I’ll be using this material to create all our ready tied supple rigs this year. It will also be available to order on our bait order form.
For this session I fished my classic Beausoleil bottom bait rig alongside a new blow back rig I’m experimenting with. I was really pleased with all the hook holds (absolutely nailed in the bottom lip at least 15mm back). All carp were released with nothing more than a pin-prick hole with no sign that the hook link had in anyway cut into the mouth (which is exactly how it should be.)
When it all comes together in terms of, timing, location, bait and bait strategy, rigs it’s a wonderful feeling and the three night session went like clockwork. I only fished from 1 hour before dusk to 1 hr after and most of the fish came during the hours of darkness.
I was really impressed by how hard they all fought and they all looked in mint condition with uber clean mouths and clean flanks. I’ve been feeding them our boilie feed mix all winter and I didn’t see any sign of parasites which is a sure fire sign that the fish have been feeding right through the colder weeks.
Two of the originals came out at their heaviest recorded weights. The Big Apple at 37lbs and Monkfaire at 35lbs 8oz . It was great to see some of our original stock still growing well and with some of the new stock such as Batman and The dark Knight piling on as much as 5lbs per year the future of the fishery looks very bright indeed.