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Fly Joe Chappell

Another Angle

The other month, I turned 18. It’s not every day that someone turns 18 and therefore, my Grandparents wanted to get me something special for my birthday. I wanted to get something that I’d always remember and something that I could take into later life. After many hours pondering over what to get, I decided that I would like a days fly fishing tuition. There’s a few different fly fishing tutors around Essex but I decided to go with Iain Fraser. He has nearly 50 years of fly fishing experience and seemed like a fantastic option. After exchanging a few emails, we decided on Wednesday the 2 of July. I couldn’t wait.

I had only ever been fly fishing once before and that was a couple of years ago. Iain recommended that our session take place at Chigborough fisheries as it’s perfect for anglers of all abilities. I’ve been carp fishing at Chigborough a couple of times and it’s absolutely stunning, the fishery is set in acres of beautiful woodland and on site there’s 3 trout lakes and 3 course lakes. There really is something to suit every anglers.

Wednesday morning arrived and I was so excited. The sky was blue and temperatures were set to reach the mid 20’s. My mum and I arrived about half an hour before we were meant to and spent the time watching the water. We saw many trout around and even an absolute monster fish which looked about 7lb. It was hugging the bottom and we couldn’t tell weather it was a trout or a tench. This made me even more excited and before long, Iain had arrived and my mum had left.

Iain started the day by explaining watercraft to me. We went through the different things the trout feed on and where and when they can be found. He explained how the trout feed and it was really fascinating. It amazed me just how different they were from the fish I usually catch.

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We then went through all the different types of flies. There’s so many different types of flies for different situations it’s crazy. They can be so minimalistic or so majestic.

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After a short break, we moved on to casting. I’ve done a little casting before but not much. It really is difficult but luckily I managed to pick it up quite quickly. Apparently my timing was great but I need to work on my technique. Iain said that I had the same problem that many coarse anglers do. I was putting too much effort into my cast. Casting a fly should be almost effortless, it’s all about technique and timing unlike casting a conventional fishing rod where distance is more about the amount of power you put into the cast.

Iain said that he thought my casting was ready. We stopped for lunch before heading out onto the water.

We went walking and looking for the fish. Glasses are a must when fly fishing to protect your eyes from the fly. Polarized glasses are even better as they cut the glair from the water. We spotted the odd fish rising and swimming but we kept walking. In the corner, we found a huge group of trout shoaled together.

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Iain picked out a dry fly for me to try and I had my first cast. There was a hedgerow not too far behind us so I wasn’t able to cast too far. Fortunately, the trout were only about 20ft out. I missed one bite but it was quickly followed by a second, which I missed again and a third which I hooked into. The initial burst of power caught me off guard and I held onto the line too tightly. TWANG. The line had snapped.

We tied on another leader and fly before making another cast. It didn’t take long for a trout to gobble up my fly. The fight was fantastic and I’d finally caught my first trout. It was also another species in the Essex Anglers species hunt which was great. We humanely dispatched of my catch before drying off the fly by blowing on it hard and casting out again.

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Within 5 minutes, my second fish of the day was on. This fish was a bit bigger and put up a great fight. The disturbance of catching those two fish had caused the rest of the shoal to push further out into the lake out of casting distance. Fortunately, because we were fishing he corner we were able to move round a little and reach the fish.

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I spent a little while decorating trees before the fish moved further down the bank and I was able to cast from a position which was clear of trees. I missed a few more bites before finally connecting with a fish. Unfortunately it spat the hook. Iain had ran out of tea, and the fish had stopped feeding. We headed back to the fishing lodge for a break and a chat. We were watching the lake the whole time and it was devoid of showing fish. The heat had caused fly activity and the fish to slow down.

As I mentioned before, the complex has three trout lakes. Two of which we were yet to explore. We decided to take a walk over to the larger of the two lakes. There was a few fish showing and we spent around half an hour fishing. We weren’t feeling it and decided to head back to Home Water, the lake we were fishing originally.

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We only had about 45 minutes before it was time to go and on our way to the swim where we had our previous success, we spotted a couple of fish rising and nebbing. I had a few casts towards them but being unsure of what was ahead, we decided to keep walking and to maybe return if we didn’t see anything. It was a good job that we did move on. Just around from where I’d caught my previous 2 fish, there was a large shoal of fish.

I cast out and missed the first couple of bites. When fly fishing, you don’t actually strike, you just pull back the line. I was really struggling with this technique. Finally, I hooked into another trout. It was the smallest of the day but still more than welcome.

After a couple more casts and about five minutes, I did an absolutely fantastic cast. The line straightened out perfectly and the fly landed right in the middle of the shoal. A trout came up and engulfed my fly. I resisted the urge to strike and I pulled back on the line to tighten it. I felt the resistance of the trout and raised the rod ready for the fight. It put up the best fight of the day and after a little while, it was in the net. I didn’t have time for another cast as it was time to go.

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My grandparents were picking me up and they enjoyed a nice chat and cuppa with Iain. It was a fantastic day and I learnt so much thanks to Iain. It’s a skill that I will hopefully never forget (as long as I keep up practice) and I’m so grateful. Thanks to Iain for an enjoyable and informative day, and thanks nan and grandad for a fantastic present.

Iain’s Website is linked below if you’d like to check it out.

https://www.flyfishingwithfraser.co.uk/home/iain-fraser/

Categories
Joe Chappell Carp

Well, That Was Unexpected.

Last week, I only managed to get out fishing once for the afternoon. I thought the conditions were perfect, a warm wind, low pressure, and a temperature of about 14 degrees.

After dropping my dad off at Heathrow airport, I headed to my local park lake for a quick session. Upon arriving at 2 and talking to a couple of other anglers including the bailiff Graham, it became apparent that the fish weren’t feeding. Only a couple of fish had been caught all morning and all but one swim was occupied. Apparently someone had been fishing the last swim available just half an hour before I arrived too.

I pushed my barrow over to the only free swim on the lake and prepared my rods. It was a swim tucked away in the corner which only commanded a small amount of water. Thankfully, I had large overhanging and fallen trees either side of me which gave me options to place my rods.

I decided to fish one rod on a Ronnie claw rig with an 11mm Pink Secret Sauce pop-up. I placed this rig and a large handful of11mm Gods Gift boilies by the overhanging tree to my right with my baiting pole. On my other rod, I fished a small solid pva made up of crushed Gods Gift boilies, pellet and I used a 15mm secret sauce wafter on the hook.

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My rods had been in the water for about an hour and the fishing showed no sign of picking up. A few people around the lake had packed up and I was thinking about doing the same. My mum was at my nans doing some gardening and I called her to ask if she could pick me up on her way back. Seconds after she picked up the phone, I had a bite on my right hand rod. It was fish on! It put up a decent fight for its size. I got some photos and slipped it back.

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I called my mum back and explained to her what had happened. I decided that I would stick it out for a while longer and asked her to pick me up at around 7.

Around the lake, other people seemed to be catching too. I noticed one angler a few swims down had a double take and was playing a fish for quite a while. I was thinking of re-doing the rods so I reeled in and took a walk over. He’d caught two lovely commons, the biggest being mid doubles. He said that he thought it was a 20 the way it was fighting! He said both fish came from using his bait boat to get tight under the island.

I headed back to my swim and re-did my rods. Just after, I got a call from my friend Jack. He was catfishing on the opposite bank and had just caught something special. Luckily, I had my camera with me so brought my rods in again and headed round. When I got there, I was expecting to see a huge catfish. Instead there was a fat carp sitting on his landing mat. It was his new PB and weighed in at 21lb 10 oz. We got some fantastic photos and I let Jack borrow my waders so that we could get some water shots.

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Jack With his PB

After chatting, it became apparent that Jack thought that he was hooked into a catfish too. The carp had taken 3 14mm halibut pellets intended for a catfish and fought exceptionally hard too. It was a well deserved PB even though it came by accident. Jack’s really been putting the hours in over at that lake over the last year.

I headed back to my swim with a couple of hours to go before my mum was going to pick me up. Unfortunately, the rest of the evening passed uneventfully. Even though I only had the one, it was more than I expected when I first arrived and to see one of my closest mates catch a new PB was fantastic.

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Joe Chappell Carp

Back in The Game – Park Lake Carping

It’s safe to say that this year, I’ve been out of the carping game. Over the winter I dedicated my time to some pike and river fishing. Once the weather warmed up, I was overloaded with revision for my A levels and only managed to hit the bank once for a quick overnighter at my local park lake. That session resulted in 3 lovely looking fish, two of which were caught in the last hour out of the 26 hours that I was fishing. Last weekend, I finally managed to catch up with my friend Jack and catch a few carp.

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One of the fish I caught last month on my overnight session.

The previous night, I had made up some spod mix. It consisted of crushed up God’s Gift economy boilies, whole 11mm regular Baylys Baits God’s Gift boilies, breadcrumb, pellet, and some leftover white rice from dinner. I gave it all a good soaking of Secret Sauce Glug+ to add even more attraction, it’s not only a glug but also a liquid food & Lysine Amino Acid. When adding many boilies to my mixes or crushing them up, the economy boilies are fantastic. They’re affordably priced but still offer lots of attraction. I think that by using them in conjunction with the regular boilies, it can make the regular boilies which I will use on the hook stand out more too. I also made up a stick mix and a few pva bags which consisted of crushed up God’s Gift boilies, pellets, and Glug+.

With my bait and rigs prepared, I was up early and at the lake by 7. Jack had arrived before and picked out a likely looking swim. To our left was a large fallen tree, out in front of us was the island and to our right was a large overhanging weeping willow. Jack had picked the right hand side of the swim which left me with the left hand side which I actually prefer.

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My side of the swim. (An old photo from last winter, don’t have a recent one)

I started by throwing a few handfuls of my spod mix about 15 ft out next to the fallen tree. I then prepared my rods. I decided to fish a Ronnie rig with a yellow God’s Gift boilie on my margin spot, and a simple snowman rig with a God’s gift Boilie and 11mm Secret Sauce pop-up towards the island. I fished just a few feet off the island and used one of the pva mesh bags that I had prepared the previous night. Around the island, the bottom is quite firm, so I opted to use a 3oz lead to help drive the hook home.

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The Ronnie Rig

It took about an hour for the first bite to come. It came from my rod over the baited spot to my left but was rather twitchy, probably because I was fishing slack lines. The fish took me on a short run before shaking the hook, never to be seen again. Although slightly disheartened, I looked at the positives. My rig, bait, and spot were working and the fish were obviously hungry for me to get such a quick bite over quite a bit of bait. I re-cast and threw another couple of handfuls of bait over my spot in the hopes of getting the fish feeding. I’d also brought with me my new spod rod which I was eager to try. After getting the first bite, I decided to spod some bait towards the Island. It didn’t quite go to plan and using the stiffer rod was harder than expected. I think some practice is needed.

While waiting for a bite, Jack and I baited a couple of marginal spots in the swims next to us in case a stalking opportunity arose. We soon noticed lots of swirls coming up along the bank under the willow tree. Armed with sweetcorn, Jack lowered his improvised float setup into place. After a little while, he received a bite from a bream. The bream was covered in spawning tubercles and was oozing milt. We thought that although we had caught a bream, there may be carp feeding on the eggs, so we persevered. Suddenly, a huge sheet of bubbles came up and the massive disturbance patterns came up. We suspected that it was one of the dozen or so catfish in the lake. Jack decided to reel in one of his rods and switch it over to a catfish rig. I’ve never really catfished properly however Jack is quite a competent catfish angler. Unfortunately, nothing came of Jack’s efforts and the fish weren’t playing ball.

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The willow which the bream were spawning under. (Once again an old photo)

I was receiving frequent line bites on my rod to the island and suspected that the fish might be feeding on the bait which I’d spodded just short of my rod. After receiving no indication on my rod in the margin, I decided to move it to just off the island where a few of the spombs landed. I also decided to change the rig on my rod towards the island. I changed to a Ronnie claw rig and used a pink Secret Sauce pop-up as a hook bait.

At around 2 o’clock, I received an absolute screaming take. It was fish on! After a great battle, I had the first fish of the day in the net. It was a beautiful mirror and weighed in at 14 lbs 8 oz. The fish looked familiar and after examining some photos, I realised that it was a fish I’d already caught the previous year. Last year it weighed 12lb 12oz so I was pleased with the increase in weight. I slipped the fish back, and got the rod straight back on the spot.

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14lb 8oz

The fishing around the lake was starting to pick up, Louie who was fishing a couple of swims down managed to catch a nice looking mirror and a couple of other fish were being caught around the lake.

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A beauty caught by Louie

Before long, I was into another fish on my rod towards the Island. It was a very shy drop back bite and at first, I thought that the fish had escaped me. Fortunately, it hadn’t and before long, I had my third fish of the day on the bank. It was a chunky common which we estimated as around 8lb.

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My second fish of the day

Jack was starting to lose confidence in his bait so I offered him some God’s Gift to try. He cast his rig perfectly under the overhanging tree on the island. A fish showed over his spot and a bite was inevitable. Finally, he received the bite he was after. It wasn’t quite the size he was after but it was better than a blank. The action continued all around the lake, Louie who was a couple swims down from us had a bite not long after slipping Jack’s fish back and his rod was almost pulled in.

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The Smallest of the day for Jack

By about 5, the bites were slowing down. I’d lost one which I think must have been foul hooked because I brought back a scale on my hook. Eventually I received another bite and managed to catch my third fish of the day. It was another common, this time slightly bigger than the previous one and around 12lb.

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My final fish of the session

Jack’s dad arrived at around 6 and brought with him some catfish gear. The conditions were apparently perfect for catfish. Unfortunately, the last couple of hours were quiet. All in all it was a good day’s fishing in good company. I’d recommend getting yourself some Bayly’s Baits, the proofs in the pudding. All the fish were caught using Bayly’s Baits.

Click Below to head over to the Baylys Baits Website. Enter code BB10 at checkout to get 10% off your first order.

cropped Baylys Baits Carp 2

Categories
Joe Chappell Sea

More Hounds Than Battersea

As some of you may know, my dad recently moved to Switzerland for work. Due to travel restrictions and lockdowns, we hadn’t fished together since last year. Fortunately, last month he returned home and finally, after all my sixth form exams, we managed to go fishing together earlier this week. We wanted to do something special since we probably won’t be fishing together again for a while.

We wanted to find a charter boat but all the boats out of Essex were fully booked. After a quick search on the net for charters less than 2 hours away, we found Bonwey Charters out of Ramsgate which was very reasonably priced at £50 each including all frozen baits of squid, herring and shrimp. We also wanted some fresh crab so the day before we were due to fish, we headed down to Southend in search of some crabs. We’re unsure whether it was the recent poor weather or something else, but we only managed to find a few crabs of the right size. Despite the lack of crabs, we did find a dead pipefish and caught a little goby in our net which was pretty cool.

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We set off early at half 5 to ensure we made it to Ramsgate for 8. We arrived about half an hour early and met with the skipper Paul and the two other lads who were fishing Jay and Mick. The boat had plenty of space, it’s licensed for 10 anglers however there were only 4 of us fishing on the day. This meant that we were able to use two rods each. The harbour itself was beautiful and unlike anything near to us on the Essex coast. The sea was flat calm, the sky was blue, and the sun was beaming down on us. It really was a beautiful day. We left the harbour at about quarter to eight and made the journey to the mark we would be fishing. It took about an hour to get there and on the way, we had a chat with Paul and the other two lads as they had been on Pauls boat previously.

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We prepared our rods on the journey so once at the mark, all we had to do was bait up drop in. We opted to use up and over rigs & pulley pennel rigs with huge 6/0 hooks while Jay and Mick were using a running ledger. The tide runs so fast around the mark that we were all using 12oz leads to hold bottom, which even increased to 16oz later in the day. It was only my second time fishing on a boat and Paul was very helpful showing me a few bits. It didn’t take long for the fish to find our baits and within five minutes, my dad was bringing up the first fish of the day. Unsurprisingly it was a dogfish. The target of the day was smoothhounds so although the dogfish was an encouraging start, it wasn’t quite what we were after.

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My dad with the first fish of the day, a dogfish.

The action continued and within half an hour, everyone had caught a couple of dogfish. The smoothhounds were proving illusive and Paul suspected that they would show up shortly after high tide at about 2 o’clock. Jay had the first good bite of the day after an hour or so of a dogfish on every drop. The result was a nice sized thornback ray.

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The first ray of the day for Jay

Whilst the rest of us continued to bring up dogfish, Jay managed another ray, both were around the 7-8lb mark. The squid and herring that I was using was just attracting dogfish, so I decided to switch over to lugworm. It didn’t take long before my rod hooped over and I was into something different. The result was a 40cm bass which got a little too excited and shot an odd white liquid all over my leg and the boat!

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The excited bass and I

Not long after returning my bass, Jay was in again and this time, it was target acquired and the first smoothhound of the day. He caught it on frozen king prawn and as you can guess, I switched one rod over to prawn. Unsurprisingly, it was quickly devoured by a hungry dogfish.

Over the next hour, my dad and I caught a few more dogfish while Jay and Mick, who were at the back of the boat were tearing it up and each caught another skate and smoothhound. By now, the tide was rushing through and the fishing stared to die down a bit.

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Mick with his first hound of the day.

We enjoyed some lunch while it was a bit quieter and only a few dogfish, a whiting, and a pouting were boated.

As Paul predicted, the fishing started to pick up again at about half past one. By half past two, another 5 or so smoothhounds had been caught including my dad’s first of the day and a 10lber caught by Jay. I, however, still hadn’t caught one despite my best efforts. I had tried the crabs which we had gathered the previous day, herring and squid but still wasn’t catching. All of the hounds bar one were being caught with the prawn so I decided to use the prawn and stick with it.

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My dads first smoothhound of the day.

Thankfully, my turn finally came around and at about half past 3, I was into my first hound of the day. Unfortunately, it was also the last hound caught. The wind had picked up and the sea was getting choppy which made bite detection hard and our lines were starting to constantly get crossed. In addition, the fishing was also dying off. My dad managed the last fish of the day which wash two dogfish on one Pennel rig. The swell was so strong that he had no idea he’d even caught them. We headed back to harbour and I even fell asleep for the last 20 minutes of the journey lol.

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And finally I caught one.

Overall it was a fantastic days fishing in great company. Paul, the skipper was fantastic and his years of experience and wealth of knowledge showed through. Although we didn’t use any, all tackle is available to borrow for anyone that doesn’t have anything and frozen bait is also included. Hot drinks were provided all day and usually (before covid) breakfast is served on board too. As previously mentioned, the price is fantastic at £50 a head (usually £35/£40 before covid) and the whole boat can be booked for just £250 midweek or £300 weekends. Another bonus was the fantastic fishing. If you want to know more about Bonwey Charters, then I’ve linked the website below.

https://fishingchartersramsgate.co.uk/

In total, between the four of us we must have caught caught 8 smoothhounds, 5 skate and over 40 dogfish. Here’s a few more photos of some of the fish we caught.

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Categories
Carp Coarse Joe Chappell

Fishing for Pennies.

Fishing is one of those sports where you can spend thousands of pounds or nothing and have the same results. As much as I love going fishing with all the kit including the kitchen sink, sometimes it’s just not needed. Under some circumstances, expensive rods, reels, boilies, glugs, alarms and all the other trappings can result in more fish on the bank. Sometimes it’s just not needed. Last week, I enjoyed a days stalking at my local park lake and it cost me a grand total of about £1.50.

Let’s talk bait! On the day I had about half a kilo of frozen corn which cost about 50p, and about half a kilo of pellet. There are loads of different pellets out there, but generic coarse pellets are great and when bought in bulk, good value. For hook baits, I spent about half an hour digging for worms in my mum’s flowerbed the day before. This was completely free! To keep costs down, it can be a good idea to get an annual ticket for somewhere. The annual membership for my park lake was just £60, which is a bargain if you ask me.

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Armed with my corn, pellets, worms, rod and reel my mum dropped me off at the lake at about half past 7. I started as I always do when stalking, walking. I did a lap of the lake while baiting several likely looking areas in the margin before doing another couple of laps. On my third lap, I noticed fizzing over one of the spots where I’d baited so I decided to flick out my worm and wait.

My tactics were the same as I mentioned in my last blog however this time, after some advice from several fellow anglers, I fished the float dead on depth. It didn’t take long for something to slurp up my worm and pull the float under. I struck but realised I hadn’t hooked a carp. It was in fact an eel however (un)fortunately – depending on how you look at it – it came off. Undeterred, I rebaited, recast, and waited. The fizzing has died down however my float pulled under again. I struck but once again this was no carp, a perch came up to the surface before violently shaking its head, spitting the hook, and diving to the depths never to be seen again.

After standing back and giving the swim a rest for five minutes in the hope of a carp returning, I saw nothing so decided to keep walking and checking the spots I’d baited prior. After only a couple of minutes walking, I noticed some coloured water over one of the spot’s I’d baited. I adjusted the depth of my float before dropping a juicy worm over the spot. I waited longer than I expected but eventually, a carp picked up my worm and I was in. This spot is definitely the most productive for me when stalking and it didn’t fail to live up to expectations. My reward was a beautiful and plump common carp.

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After that fish, I continued walking and stalking, missing a few chances. I hooked into a carp and even managed to get the bite on camera however unfortunately it came off. I also managed to catch a small eel. Despite having to re-tie my hook afterwards it was welcome because it was species number 8 for me in the species hunt.

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About an hour after catching the eel, I noticed a larger carp and a small carp feeding over one of my spots. I could just about make out the shadow of their bodies and I was so excited. I lowered my worm into position and after just a couple minutes, it shot up then under. I struck, hoping that it was the bigger carp that I had spotted. Unfortunately, it was neither the big carp nor the small carp. It was in fact a new PB perch. It wasn’t massive, maybe just over a pound but it was the first proper perch I’ve ever caught so it was more than welcome.

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Despite my patience and best efforts to temp them. The bigger carp didn’t return. I decided to continue my walk and to check the spots I’d baited. After an uneventful hour, I once again noticed some carp feeding on the spot where I’d caught the perch. After a little while with my worm in the water, I was into my fourth fish of the day which was another common carp. It wasn’t the biggest, but it put a smile on my face.

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By now the wind was picking up and it was getting cold. The fishing was getting harder, so I decided to call it a day. All in all, it was a great days fishing and I can’t wait to return.

Categories
Carp Coarse Joe Chappell

Stalking Carp Using the Lift Float Method.

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Over the past month, I haven’t had the time to go fishing or write any blogs because I’ve been revising for my A levels. My last exam was yesterday (Thursday) morning. I got home at about half past eleven and enjoyed some lunch before my mum to drop me off at my local park lake. I only packed light. 1 rod, a bit of bait and a selection of hooks, floats and shot.

The tactic of the day was the lift float, the presentation you get with this method is fantastic and it’s hard to miss bites. With the lift float, 99% of bites will result in either the float rising up or completely disappearing from view. I like to fish the float about an inch under the water, when the bait is picked up, the float will rise to the surface. The float may often knock from side to side, as tempting as it may be to strike, DON’T!

Here’s how I set up for this method.

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Now to the afternoon’s fishing.

I arrived at the lake at about half past 12 and immediately started looking for signs of carp. I baited up around 10 marginal spots around the lake. On my second lap, I spotted some bubbles coming up below a small overhanging tree. At this point, I think I should add that polarised sunglasses are a must when doing this type of fishing. They make it much easier when staring at a float for hours but more importantly, they make it so much easier to spot sings of fish such as coloured water.

I stealthily set up my rod, opting for sweetcorn on the hook. I usually like to use worms, however I had no time to dig for them in the garden. I lowered the float into place, sat back and waited. After a few minutes, I saw the flash of a tail just to the right of my spot. I received a few twitchy bites but struck into nothing. I had a feeling that maybe some roach were picking up my corn and running off with it. I decided to swap out my hook bait for a small bit of bread, just to check weather they were roach. The float twitched from site to side but after 5 minutes without any proper bites I decided to check the bait. It was gone. I decided to opt for a larger ball of bread on the hook in the hope that it would temp the carp I had seen 15 minutes or so prior.

Sure enough, after just a few minutes using the bigger hook bait, I was hooked up to a carp. Unfortunately, after only 20 or so seconds, the carp spat the hook. I caught a glimpse of the fish and it only looked a few pound (or so I told myself) so I wasn’t too bothered.

Thinking I had spooked the spot, I trickled a bit more bait in and continued walking around the lake, looking for signs of fish. On my third lap, I noticed that the water over one of my spots was ever so slightly coloured up. After standing back and observing for a few minutes, I noticed the odd bubble too. I baited my hook with corn, cast in, stood back, and waited. I waited for about half an hour, however unfortunately the fish seemed to move away. I put a little more bait in, before continuing my walk.

After failing again in another spot, I noticed some bubbles coming up from under the disabled fishing platform. I wasn’t sure how deep it was here, so set my float about 3 ft deep. I dropped my bait just past the spot and dragged the float into prime position. The float sunk and I presumed I was fishing too shallow. As I brought the float in, something pulled back and I was into a fish. The bite was literally instantaneous! The fish was only about 2lb, one of the smallest in the lake however it gave me confidence. I decided to stay in this spot for about 20 minutes in case any fish returned to the area, unfortunately they didn’t.

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I continued walking around the lake, and after a while found a fish absolutely going crazy in the corner. I could see it tail up, leaves and chod were rising to the surface and the water was noticeably murky. I think the excitement got to me because I ended up spooking the fish. Undeterred, I continued my laps. On returning to the previous spot, the fish was back feeding. I decided to switch over to bread on the hook since the sweetcorn had been proving unsuccessful. After just a few minutes, the float shot up and I was in. After a fantastic fight, I netted the fish and what a beauty it was. It wasn’t massive but it was a beautiful scaly one which was a perfect end to the afternoons fishing.

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Categories
Carp Joe Chappell

Passing Time

For Christmas, my parents bought me a DSLR camera. I’ve always loved nature and as good as our smartphones are nowadays, they can’t capture spectacular moments the same way a proper camera can when used correctly. Emphasis on the correctly here because they can be tricky to use at the best of times. Coupled with cold hands, rain, fish slime and a complete novice using them, good photos can be few and far between. In todays blog, I’m going to talk about a sessions carp fishing and my (un)successful attempts of capturing the world around me.

A couple of weeks ago, I met with two friends at a local commercial to have a friendly but socially distanced get together. As you can imagine, there was a whiff of competition on the wind and the fighting talk had begun the night before. It really was anyone’s to win, Jack had completely spanked me just three weeks prior catching four to my one, Brad was due some good fishing after a string of trips without much luck.

Brad was first to arrive and picked a few swims next to each other. It was quite busy considering it was midweek and some of the only swims left together were arguably some of the best on the lake. I chose to fish on the right, Brad chose the middle and Jack chose the left. We all chose different tactics too. I decided to fish small pva mesh bags filled with boilie crumb and pellet in conjunction with a 12mm wafter on one rod and an 11mm boilie and a half pop-up on the other. Brad opted for singles on one rod and solid bags with Nash citrus on the other while Jack put all his eggs in one basket and went with pva mesh bags of pellets and two 8mm robin reds on simple mono hair rigs for both rods.

After about half an hour with rods in the water, I had bite which resulted in a small common. It gave me bragging rights for the foreseeable future, so I wasn’t bothered. Lots of chatting and about an hour later, I had another bite which resulted in a mirror. I had a smug grin on my face for the next hour until Brad caught the biggest fish of the day which was closely followed by another common drawing us level on 2 fish each.

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Brads first fish of the day.

For the next few hours, nothing was being caught however I’d managed a run but lost it. As the afternoon progressed, a few more fish around the lake were being caught and soon enough I had caught my third fish of the day taking me ahead of Brad once again. Not long after slipping my third fish of the day back, the fourth one came along.

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My third fish.

With the gates shutting at 5, we only had an hour or so of fishing left at this point. Desperate to catch one, Jack jumped in the swim to my right for the last hour. He decided to stick with his robin reds despite my offer to let him try some of the bait I was using. After about half an hour in the swim and swans trying to parkour over his rods, Jack managed a screaming run. The fish was putting up a good account for itself and finally Jack managed to slip my net under it (my net was already wet and it didn’t seem logical to get another net wet with only 20 minutes left). As we were taking photos of Jack’s fish, I had a run which resulted in a lovely linear. Unfortunately due to social distancing we couldn’t get a photo together but it was a nice end to the day and we had all caught one.

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The two which came at the end of the day.

As I mentioned earlier, recently I’ve taken up photography. It’s great to pass the time whilst sitting on the bank and some of the wildlife I’ve seen is fantastic. It’s unbelievable what spectacles you miss sometimes when you’re not looking. Below are some photos I’ve managed to capture over the last couple of months.

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A not too Impressive self take in the wet just as I was packing up.
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A photo I’m actually pretty pleased with.
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Another one of the little friend I made.
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Carp Coarse Joe Chappell River

‘Chance of That?’

The Half Term Campaign Chapter 4 – ‘Chance of That?’

Last week I had a week off from online school. Me and my friend Jack decided to take advantage of our last free week before the close season to target anything which swims in our local river (except for ducks of course). This the fourth and final blog about our adventure so if you’d like to check out what else we caught throughout the week you can check out the other blogs below.

The day started early, at the same time as our other missions, 7am.  We headed straight to the pipe swim and as it was Jack’s turn to fish, he got his rod in the water armed with a few maggots on the hook. We fed a few pellets and maggots over the top and within 20 minutes a small carp had slipped up. I’m not sure whether the fish was scared, had eaten a lot, or both but it left its stool all over poor Jack.

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It was now my turn to try and catch one. I used the same tactics that we had been successfully using all week but the fish just hadn’t turned up. I think, being the fourth day in five that we had been fishing the river, the fish had been hammered at this spot and grown wary. After an hour or so without success, we baited up a little more and headed upstream to the tunnel swim.

It didn’t take long at the tunnel before my float disappeared. I was on my phone calling a friend and struck late, into nothing. I got the bait back out and then missed not one but 2 more bites. I decided my hook was too small and upped from a size 16 to a 14. I got the bait out and after 5 or so minutes waiting for a bite, I finally hooked one. The result was a small chub of under 2lb. The fish had a big dent / scar in it’s skull, my guess is that this little guy had survive an attack from a bird of some sort. I’ve seen kingfishers, herons and white ibis so it could have been any of those.

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After I caught that chub, Jack had a go in that spot but wasn’t too confident. He left me and went for a wander downstream. Just as he got back, I hooked into a little mirror. It gave me a good run around before spitting the hook and shooting back off into the depths of the river. We decided it would be best to give the tunnel some bait and a rest before heading back to where Jack caught the carp.

After my catastrophe missing 3 bites and losing a carp, I let Jack have the first cast after we moved. Unsurprisingly it didn’t take him long to catch one. It was another little common, typical of this river. I definitely think the fish were becoming wary because within the next hour, we didn’t have another bite from that spot. Consequently, we moved back up to the tunnel.

Just like usual, it didn’t take long to get a bite after giving the swim a rest. Funnily enough I missed it, AGAIN! Fortunately, I was given another chance and hooked into a little common. We persevered by the tunnel but the fishing had died off and in an hour of trying, we caught nothing. On our way to the pipe, we decided to give a few different spots along the river a go, trotting maggots about a foot under the float. In one spot, Jack managed a little roach and in another spot I managed a little chublet and a little roach, the other spots proved unsuccessful.  

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Once back at the pipe, it was Jacks turn to fish. While he was fishing, I had a wander along the river through thick brambles and brush. I found a few ok looking spots and just ahead of me I could see a perfect looking meander. It was then that I heard my name being called by Jack, he’d managed to catch a small but beautiful chub.

I really wanted to see what was upstream so I headed back through the brambles to the meander. After nearly falling down the bank, I heard my name being called yet again. Jack had managed another chub from the river. I headed back to Jack to take some pictures for him in the sun. We fished a little longer by the pipe but the fish had obviously spooked so we decided to head back to the tunnel.

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It was my turn to catch one but bites were slow. After half an hour of trickling in maggots, my float shot under like a bullet and I struck into something which felt big. The fish was holding in the deep water by the entrance of the tunnel and not showing himself. The fish felt heavy but wasn’t swimming around frantically like a carp, more slow and steady. After what felt like an age, the fish popped to the surface and I slipped the net under it. We weighed it and it weighed in at 3lb on the nose, it was a new PB chub for me.

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After taking some celebratory photos, Jack had a cast. It only took 15 minutes for him to catch one. On closer inspection, we realised it was the same chub I had caught that morning. It had the distinctive scar on its head. We couldn’t believe what we were seeing, the fish had miles of river too swim around and it had stayed in the danger zone we had caught it from. We slipped the silly thing back before heading to the pipe for the last hour of the day. Jack stayed behind and chatted with a couple of anglers fishing a neighbouring lake while I headed to the pipe.

It didn’t take me long to hook another fish, this time it was a bream. I left her in the net and gave Jack a call. After he came, we got the fish on the bank and realised it was the same fish I had caught 4 days ago in the snow. It had a black mark on its shoulder about the size of a pea and after comparing photos we realised it was the same fish. What are the chances?

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Despite fishing for another half an hour, we caught nothing and it was time to leave the river behind us. It will likely be the last time we fish the river before the closed season due to online lessons resuming, schools opening soon and me being busy with working at the garden centre. I think we’ve near enough completed the river now, Jack’s caught a 5lb chub and 10lb carp from the river and I’ve caught what we believe to be the only bream in there along with a good number of carp, chub and other species. I hope you have all enjoyed reading this series as much as I did fishing the river. Don’t forget to check out our social media links below.

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Carp Coarse Joe Chappell River

‘The Day for Firsts’

The Half Term Campaign Chapter 3 – ‘The Day for Firsts’

This is the third part in a mini-series of blogs I’ve written this week about fishing a small local river with my friend Jack. If you haven’t already, I’d suggest checking out the first couple of chapters. They can be found here.

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

We gave the fish a break on the Tuesday before heading out at 7am on Wednesday for our third session on the river. We didn’t think it could get any better but boy were we mistaken. The morning which followed was spectacular.

The previous night, I had prepared some bait which I think made all the difference that day. I liquidised a few slices of brown bread and added some sweetcorn and crushed up Baylys Baits God’s Gift boilies. I then gave the whole mix a good dose of glug before leaving it in a warm cupboard overnight to get the mix active and the bread fermenting.

As soon as we got to the pipe swim, I sprinkled in a handful of my mix and some maggots before setting up the rod, giving the fish some time to get on the bait. Within 5 minutes of lowering my maggots on the spot, my float shot under and I was hooked into a hard fighting little common. On the cycle to the spot, we had decided to take it in turns fishing the magic spot which we had found the previous day. The swim is only small therefore we thought that this would be the fairest way to fish.

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After slipping my fish back, it was Jacks turn. It only took 10 minutes before Jack had caught the second fish of the session, our first mirror from the river.

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After the second fish, it was my go again. We had put some more bait in after both fish so I’m unsure weather it was a case of overfeeding them, spooking them or both but it took another 45 minutes for the third bite of the day to come. The result was another small common, typical of the river.

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We decided to give the swim a rest and head to the tunnel swim further upstream. Within 15 minutes, Jack had caught our first gudegon of the week and a few minutes after, I caught a little roach.

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As soon as I had slipped the roach back, Jack was into a chub which weighed about 3lb. All the fish caught so far had been on maggots, so I decided to switch over to using some corn on the hook while Jack persevered with the maggots. Neither bait worked in the next hour and after out floats remained motionless, we decided to head back to where we had caught the carp just over an hour earlier in the hope that we would find them already feeding.

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Since I had caught the previous fish in the spot, it was Jacks turn to fish there. I’m not joking when I say within 10 seconds of his float hitting the water it shot towards the middle of the river. He struck and a massive shadow appeared under the surface of the river. The battle which followed was epic with the fish diving for every snag in the swim. We had no idea that fish of that proportion were in this river and so we had only brought small nets. After too long trying to scoop the fish up, I managed to get it in the net.

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We were both in complete shock, we’d only ever seen fish up to about 5lb and caught them up to 3lb. Whatever was in that net was easily twice that size. Luckily, I had brought my scales and the scales tipped round to 11lb 12oz. That meant that the fish was 10lb 10oz due to the net weighing 1lb 2oz and our first double from the river. You may be reading this thinking wow, you caught a 10lber I’ve caught hundreds. If you saw where this fish lived, you would see why we were so impressed. We took some photos before slipping the fish back.

We were in complete awe of what we had just caught. We decided to put some more bait in and head back to the tunnel spot. We gave it 45 minutes in that spot but caught nothing. Still elated from Jacks carp we wanted to head back to the super spot by the pipe and try for another carp. It was my turn on the spot and once again bites came almost instantly. This time however it was a small perch, our first one of the week. We decided not to count the perch so it was still my turn in the swim. After waiting another 20 minutes, I was into a carp for the third time that day. The result was my biggest carp from the river, a 5 1/2lb common.

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After that fish, we returned to the tunnel and ate some lunch. Jack managed to catch a chub of about 2lb which obviously wasn’t too happy about being caught and jumped from his hands back into the river before we could take a photo. After an hour we headed back to the pipe to find someone else fishing there. He’d obviously only just got there and after a quick chat decided to head upstream to a place we hadn’t fished since the summer but knew held fish. We fished a couple of spots but only managed to tempt a couple of small roach.

After an hour or so trying our luck in the relatively new territory we headed back to the pipe to find that the man who was fishing there had left. We jumped into the swim and within minutes Jack had hooked another chub of over a pound.

It was now my turn and within 15 minutes I was hooked into a big chub. It looked bigger than anything I’d caught before and after giving it a quick weigh we realised it was a new PB for me at 2lb 10oz.

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Bites were slow for the next hour but we didn’t want to leave to try anywhere else in case the swims previous occupant returned. Just as it turned 4 pm, Jack had another bite which resulted in his eighth fish of the day. The result was his smallest chub of the week at a still respectable pound in weight.

The swim was mine once again however the following hours fishing resulted in just two rudd. It wasn’t the big carp or chub that I was hoping for but it was my first rudd of the year which meant another point in the Essex Anglers Species Hunt, taking my total to 6 and putting me in the lead. If you’d like some more information about our species hunt, then you can check out the species hunt tab at the top of the page or click here.

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That brings us to the end of the third chapter about my weeks fishing. I hope you’ve all enjoyed it, as always, any feedback is much appreciated. Don’t forget to check out our social media links below.

Chapter 4:

Also here’s the website for Bayly’s Baits (the boilies and glug I used in my mix)

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Carp Coarse Joe Chappell River

‘Poxy Carp’

The Half Term Campaign Chapter 2 – ‘Poxy Carp’

This is the second part of a little mini-series of blogs. For me, this week is half term which means no sixth form (online lessons) and therefore, lots of fishing. You can check out the first days fishing here if you missed it.

I’d checked the weather the night before, I think every fisherman does this right? and it looked like it was going to be clear.  My friend and I decided to meet at 7 again and get to the river early. When we woke up it was absolutely hacking it down. We had planned to fish for a while before cycling 10 minutes down the road to the tackle shop to pick up some maggots when he opened at 9. Due to the rain, we decided to leave at 8:15 instead and head to the tackle shop straight after putting a bit of bait in a couple of spots.

I decided to set up my rod with a small pole float and size 14 hook. The previous day I’d used a ledger with no luck while Jack had caught a few on the float. For me, switching to a float seemed the best option. I dropped my float armed with a few maggots on the hook into position and fed a few maggots over the top. I didn’t have to wait long for the float to shoot under, the result was a small chub of about a pound. It was a new species for the year which meant another point for me in the Essex Anglers Species Hunt. After that chub, the spot died off and another hours fishing resulted in nothing.

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We moved to a bridge upstream and I climbed around the precarious ledge, rod in hand and maggots in my pocket. I hoped that I would be able to fish some water which you’re unable to fish from the bank. Considering I nearly fell in, the one little chub I caught wasn’t really worth it. I have a feeling I spooked most of the fish with my monkey business but I guess it’s a lesson learnt for next time.

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After a while at the bridge without much luck, we moved back to our spot downstream. I caught a roach and another small chub however Jack was still blanking. We moved back to the bridge and within 10 minutes of moving, Jack managed to catch his first fish of the day, a nice chub of about a pound. Once again, after our initial success, it died off and after a couple hours without a bite, we moved again.

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We fished in the swim which we had first visited and I caught the chub on my first cast. We were still using a float with maggots however I had switched over to a slightly heavier waggler style float. The river was quite flooded and the tide was coming up meaning the small pole float was just getting washed away. I had baited up in the edge with maggots and corn and was fishing a few maggots on the hook. After 20 or so minutes, my float was away. I struck into the fish and it pulled back hard. I was connected to my first river carp of the year, a hard fighting common. We trickled a few more maggots in before we took some photos and slipped him back a little way downstream so as not to disturb the swim.

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The minimal disturbance obviously worked because within 20 minutes of getting my float back out, I was away again with another carp. This one was slightly bigger but a hell of a lot uglier. It had some carp pox which are harmless to the fish but don’t look too appealing.

With Jack only catching a couple of fish, I felt pretty sorry and thought I ought to return the favour he gave me the previous day when I caught the bream with his float and rig. He dropped onto my spot and 10 minutes later he was hooked into his own little river carp.

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It was getting dark so after that fish, we packed up and headed home. The next day (Tuesday) was meant to be pretty wet and miserable so we decided to give fishing a miss and give the gear a sort out ready for Wednesday when the weather was meant to be a bit dryer. Wednesday turned out to be an even better day than Monday and I’ll talk about that trip in my next blog. Hope you’ve enjoyed reading and thanks for making it to the end.

Part 3: