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Making the most of Plan C!

09/11/2021 - Tactics & Edges

Making the most of Plan C!
Hi all, I was hoping to get to France in September for 12 days or so to fish a couple of Public Lakes we have been looking at for a while, this was plan B, this was to replace the planned trip to Eastern Europe we had already put off once, which was plan A, both those plans failed to materialise for various reasons!
As I had the time booked off, I decided to have a couple of sessions in the UK, which was now plan C! These would be longer than my usual 1-2 nighters every couple of weeks, say 3-4 days. So, I decided to have one session on the A1 Pits at Newark for four days and then the following week I would have a three days at Trent View Fisheries. They couldn’t have been more different either. So, this article will be talking about my trip to the A1 Pits, and the next article will be about the trip to Trent View.

I have wanted to do some more in-depth session pieces which will take up a bit of space, so I’ll keep them separate and hopefully do each one justice by talking through each session in some detail and some of the thoughts that go along with a session. For my trip to the A1 Pits at Newark, my initial plan was to fish Sunday to Thursday, but we were away for a long weekend at a family wedding and didn’t get back until Monday, so I would be fishing Tuesday through to Saturday, this is a long session for me in the UK, the forecast was for fair weather for the time of year, although a bit breezy at times. The big pit had been fishing well, which I had heard about on the grapevine, so I knew before I got there it would be busy and getting on the carp would be a challenge, which it was.

Usually at this time of the year, the deeper water swims are the place to be, as the carp are starting to move out into the lake, away from the margins, as they do on many large waters, not always but I have mostly found this to be true over the years. I arrived early on the Tuesday morning, the plan being to spend a lot of time looking around and chatting to other anglers before I made a decision as to where to fish. As I expected, some of the deeper water swims were fishing well and I couldn’t get near them. Looking at the split bank opposite, there were a couple of swims free, great you may think, but if they are free on a Sunday morning it could mean they haven’t been fishing very well, there always tends to be a run on hot swims on here. I know there is a saying that you shouldn’t follow the crowd, but you should certainly take notice of what is going on. The angler in the Little Gap swim had been catching but he was fishing at range (120 yards or so), he is also a very capable, hardworking angler as well, so I felt I would have to fish hard to catch from here, at least I knew the carp were coming through here though.

There was a strong South Westerly due which would make getting out to the range needed a bit of a task. I didn’t really have much option, I thought I would set up here and then I could move if I needed to, as I had four days, not my usual short trip. I had a leisurely set up in the afternoon, it seemed that all the bites were now coming during the dark and the early hours of the morning. In this swim casting from the bank is a bit awkward, so I put a post in the water as a marker where to cast from whilst wearing waders (is that carpy?), two of the lines were clipped at 120 yards, the other rod would be fished as a roving Zig set at 2-foot depth. As a starting point I put the marker out, it took a few goes with the increasing wind from the Southwest to get the distance and the right spot. Once that was done, I could clip the spod to accurately hit the spot as well. If I was just fishing for one night, I might not put much bait in, if any at all, but as I was here for a few nights I wanted some bait in and to keep it trickling in as well. I have used the N-Blend from DT baits all year since joining the firm, it has caught well for me, but I had been fancying a change though as I had been itching to have a try of some of the other baits from the DT stable. I was like a kid in a sweet shop when down at the factory, I could have taken them all! One that caught my eye was the Pukka Fish with Peach and Sour Cream, the smell, taste and colour seemed perfect to me.

So, I had a brought along a good supply of this, along with 10k of Monster Particles Hemp, this would be fed along with a handful or two of Pukka Fish small pellets. As the wind was getting up a bit, I was struggling to hit the spot at 120 yards accurately, rather than have bait going all over the place, what I did for the whole session was leave the Spod Bucket in the water along with the rod, and when there was a lull in the wind, I would wade in and put a few spods out. This worked really well over the few days. It also seemed to pay as I was only getting in 5 or 6 casts, so I could give it the bigun, without getting tired (it’s an age thing!). That was the bait and application plan sorted out.

One of the things I play around a lot with is hookbaits as well as the occasional rig change, as I am a bit of an experimenter, although I have fished for carp for over 30 years, I’m still looking for that set-up that really proves the ultimate rig (if only!). When fishing over bait I will always start with two different rigs, this is because at different times one rig will out-fish the other, the carp will trip up on one more than the other if you get my meaning, so if I get one bite from a baited area on one rod, I have found it might be worth switching the rig on the other rod to match. On this complex I have seen the little bag rig out fish a pop-up and Vice-Versa, and other times the solid bag will out fish them all! I nearly always fish one rod on a Stiff Hinge Rig with a Pop-up, this is dependent on the make up of the lake bed in front of me, this rig is perfect if there is some weed or detritus on the bottom, if it is totally clear I might use a wafter on a Combi-rig, which is becoming a favourite now. My alternative to the Stiff Hinge pop-up rig for this trip was a double bait consisting of a Pukka Fish boosted bottom bait and a high attract Peach and orange pop-up, so in effect I was using Orange and Brown balanced wafter hookbait, this had a small amount of paste moulded into the joint of the hookbait, for extra leakage.

All was in place as dark fell and I sat watching the water looking for showing carp with a very nice glass of 15% red wine (only a glass or two mind), very little was showing in front of me, but on the opposite bank in the deep water, there were a number of carp showing. Just after 1am I had a one toner! I was on it pretty quickly as I only had to put my boots on to get to the rods, it had taken a fair bit of line though. I stopped the run and was starting to gain line on the carp, which felt like a good fish, but as I retrieved the line it started to grate on something, that’s worrying on here as the gravel bottom is very severe, as well as the Zebra Mussels that attach to anything, even a small sunken branch can become a real snag in very little time. The use of a lengthy, strong braided leader is needed to counter act this and the heavy repeated casting, so I always make sure the lead can drop off easily in the event of a breakage. Anyway after a few minutes of me having to give line and then gain line, the line parted, gutted… One of the things I do on here is have a spare rod rigged up, so I don’t have to rush to put on a new leader and rig, and I can get back out there quickly. As the wind had dropped, I was able to recast fairly easily, it was really bright and I knew I was back on the spot. That rod produced two more bites that night which I landed without too much trouble, though they were both doubles, call me greedy but I was after something bigger!

The following day was quiet, I spend the day watching, putting more bait out and moving the roving zig around a bit, to no avail. I tend to find on here, if the Zig is put in the right place i.e. Showing carp, it goes pretty quickly. That night I was set-up and in position again, I had switched both rods to the double hookbait, I had nothing during the night, but just before first light both rods rattled off, one just after the other, the first carp was another double and the second one a scraper 20 common. Although I was catching, I was still expecting a bit bigger, I know, I know, that’s just been plain greedy, and this is a tough water, any carp is a result. Now I had a real dilemma…a swim had come free on the opposite bank in the deep water, the angler here hadn’t caught anything though, there were also a few anglers along there. I would mostly rather be on my own as much as possible, do I move onto more showing carp? Or stay put and hope the bigger carp would turn up here. I chose to stay where I was as I was catching, and it did look as if the carp were moving away from that area a bit (they didn’t really in the end!), it just looked they were going to. Ultimately it proved to be a poor decision, I had no more action on the last two nights, and my bank got busier as others heard I was catching, which probably moved the fish on a bit. I had hoped with steady baiting up I would draw carp into the area, but I think they were moving through all the time onto the windward side as the wind had moved more Westerly now. With hindsight I should have moved after two days, that’s a tough call after catching both nights, still-you pays your money…The four days passed in a flash, when I’m on here usually one or two lads drop by for a chat, so I enjoyed my session overall.

But I felt I hadn’t made the extra 2 days really count in the carp catching stakes, apart from being out on the bank that is, which I always enjoy. If I had moved, who knows…so I caught four carp and lost one, which is ok, but I felt I should have done a bit better really. Next month I’ll go into my Trent View trip in detail, which was a totally different trip altogether.

Catch you then.