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Joe Chappell

A Very Pleasant Surprise

Recently The Tackle Box, one of our kind sponsors, had reached out to Bailey asking who would be well suited to testing out their new baiting pole and I guess it was my lucky day.

The pole arrived a few days later and I was eager to test it out. However, last week I had a few exams at sixth form, so as much as I wanted to get on the water, I did the sensible thing and revised the afternoons I had off school. However, I couldn’t resist unpacking it and seeing how it looked and worked as this was the first time I had seen one up close. I went into the garden with my dad for a better look. The main section was telescopic, and extension poles fitted to the end. It was long, really long and with the 8m extension section that they had kindly supplied too, it nearly reached the end of the garden.

All 26m of it

I finished sixth form on Friday at 11:30 and after a KFC for lunch, headed straight down to my local park lake Rochford Reservoir. After far too much chatting with some fellow anglers, the couple of swims I was hoping to jump in became taken by other anglers (this is what you get for talking too much!). There were only a couple of swims left on the lake and after bumping into Paul, I decided to fish 2 swims up from him as another fisherman was in the swim next to him. The swim that I was in had access to the island and some small snags to the right. The man who I had just jumped in behind had managed a few throughout the morning and had been using a baitboat to get some bait out to the island. I used my baiting pole to fish in the marginal snags but the snags in my swim weren’t massive, just small overhanging trees. I cast my other rod tight to the island in the hope that I might catch some fish still feeding on the bait that had been put out.

After an hour or so the guy fishing in the swim to my left, which had much better snags left. Graham the bailiff came around and recommended I move down the bank a little and put a rod just off the edge of the snags. It was a good call and an ideal scenario to use my baiting pole. I edged the pole out, with my hook bait and a small handful of pellet and sweetcorn in the cup. The hook bait of choice was a Shimano RN20 wafter with a maggot clip used as a bait stop and a freshly dug worm threaded onto the maggot clip. I gently turned the cup so that the hook bait, pellet and corn mix all fell through the water together to ensure the entire mix would settle on the bottom in close proximity. I then retrieved the baiting pole and waited for the action to start.

Time passed slowly with no action to report of. The rain had started and although I had my brolly, I was soaked. For some reason I hadn’t moved my brolly when I had moved swims. I was sitting by my rods the whole time in the rain as I was fishing the snags because I knew I wouldn’t be able to give the fish an inch.  The light rain wasn’t bothering me at first but suddenly, the heavens absolutely opened and I got soaked. I tightened my drag a little and retreated to the brolly which I had now moved into my swim. No sooner had I sat down under the cover of my brolly and Mr Carp had picked up my bait and ran me right into the snags. Even though I was on the rod in seconds, my efforts to get the fish free were futile. After 5 minutes of keeping constant pressure on the rod and then 10 minutes of letting the line go slack in the hope that the fish would swim free, nothing had happened. After picking up the rod again and being unable to feel any movement on the other end, I concluded that the fish had spat the hook and got me caught. I tried to pull free but in the end my line snapped. Another rig lost!

After losing my fish and rig, I trudged down the bank to Paul’s swim to see how he was getting on. He explained that he had just lost one too, but his friend had just caught one. While I was there, he caught his first fish of the day. He gave me a few baits to try and I made my way back to my swim.

Slightly disheartened, I re-rigged and using the baiting pole, slipped the bait out a little further past the snags. I had filled the spoon with some sweetcorn and boilies as well as my rig. I was hoping this little bit of extra bait would encourage a bite. Thankfully, the rain had now stopped so I could sit right on top of the rods without getting soaked. The rod was in the water enough time for Paul to catch his 2nd, before it was my turn. This one didn’t head straight for the snags but did give me a good fight. The result was a nice low double common.

I put the rod back out on the same spot and fished a single hook bait on the other rod. I wanted to see weather the tight bit of bait that I could get on the spot with the baiting spoon was making any difference.  The light faded and nightfall engulfed the lake. I was hoping the fading light would encourage the fish to start biting but the time passed uneventful and eventually, Paul decided to leave. Eventually I started packing up myself, ready for my mum to pick me up at eight. I had packed away the alarms and everything else was in the barrow leaving just the rods in the water as we all know we want to give ourselves every moment we can to catch a fish.

I was just pushing my barrow up the steep bank to the path when I heard the clicking of the drag that I had been waiting for. The barrow went over, gear falling everywhere and I nearly did too as I scrambled down the bank to grab my rod. I grabbed the net nearest to me but it got stuck in the brambles. Thankfully, my other net was still set up, so I grabbed that one instead. Just as I was about to net the fish my rig flew into the air. Oh no, Had I lost the fish just as I was about to net it? I swooped my net up in the hope that the fish was inside before the rig had slipped out of its mouth. Thankfully, it was! I lifted the net onto my mat to inspect it. The poor thing had another hook stuck inside it’s gill plate. It was micro barbed and I struggled to get it out but eventually I did. I dried off the area and applied some Nash wound seal, which Graham and Nick provided for all members. I took a few quick photos and slipped the poor thing back into the water before making my way over to the fire station where my mum was waiting for me.

This was the first time in my life I had ever used a baiting pole and this one from The Tackle Box is absolutely fantastic. Seriously, I wish I had bought one myself sooner, but I always thought this bit of kit was a luxury, not a necessity. If you fish lakes where you don’t have to cast far then I would really think about getting one. Yes, you can use a boat, but lots of lakes don’t allow them and they cost a lot more than a baiting pole. In the four sessions before using the baiting pole I was on a bit of a bad run I had caught one carp, which was pure luck really as I found about 50 fish stacked up in the corner of the lake. I went fishing on Sunday too and managed to catch another two carp using the pole meaning so far, it has 100% improved my catch rate. I’ll catch up with you next week about that trip when I used the pole again.

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