Frant Lakes is a beautiful fishery on the border of Kent and East Sussex. It has eight lakes-two of which are the speci lakes (lakes 7 and 8). It will always have a special place in my heart as it is the first fishing venue my other half took me to.
My last two trips there have resulted in seven fish being caught. We have only ever been out on speci lake 7 where it has a nice couple of features you can fish to-there are snags and lilly pads out in the middle and over to the far right a small island.
I booked a 48hr session over there in April and I was determined to rely on myself to find the fish rather than just cast out to the edge of the snags and hope for the best. Got myself all set up-2 Sonik Vader RS rods, my brand new Sonik SKX bite alarms (a big improvement on my first alarms, Saber) and my Leeda pod. Unfortunately the weather was all over the shop and relatively cold and the fish were not showing. No splashes, hardly any fizzing on the water-nothing.
About 5 hours later we had the lake to ourselves after the other anglers left. An hour after that I saw a fish, splashing away over to my right in the next swim. I thought right you, you’re mine! I reeled in my right hand rod, stuck a fresh 12mm Mainline banoffe pop up on my hair rig and made up a PVA bag using my Crafty Catcher 15mm chocolate and nut boilies and casted out to the swim on my right (having the lake to yourself has some advantages I guess!). Then I sat back and waited. 40 minutes later my bite alarm on the right screamed off and I was on! He took a while to bring in as he decided to take me into the snags but I got him and landed him all by myself. Beautiful common weighing in about 14lb if I remember rightly. That day I felt a bit more like an angler.
With the amount of rain we have had lashing down, it really does put you off Fishing, certainly put me off driving a fairly long way to try and catch some Tench, instead, I stayed at home, warm and dry, and when there was a break in the conditions had the short stroll to my little local pond which has been providing me plenty of fun and bites recently with the numbers of Fish in it, and definetly some true surprises.
My approach for fishing a small pond like this would normally be a light float setup, then fishing over micros with soft expanders or corn on the hook. However, I just used what I was going to go Tench Fishing with, which was a hybrid feeder, with a sweet berry groundbait mixed with micros and corn on the hook. Sure on a small pond, a few fish would fall to this sweet mix.
In the past from this pond, I have had hybrids, Carp to around 5-6lb, and seen even bigger at, a few doubles which is a shock! But these small ponds do throw odd shocks. They do have some crucian/goldfish hybrids too, which are always lovely fish to catch. And I’m sure there is other species in here I have no clue about.
My plan was only to spend an hour, maybe less here just between the rain as a way to get out and catch a few Fish. If I got one, I was happy, I setup, and had a short underarm chuck, and straight away a few fish where there with indications on my feeder straight away. Always a great sign!
From then, the tip went round in my first bite of the day, and I connected to the Fish! A small, perfect condition common carp.
The one thing I so often find with these little ponds, is the the fish are always in such beautiful condition, no damage on them at all, and they have the tendancy to be a bit scrapier than your usual little Carp too! Which really adds to it, especially on a light rod, these little Fish will try and dart into the reeds and snags and really make a go of it. Afterall, a lot of us grew up fishing these little ponds, catching fish like this, and it’s always fun to roll back the years and do it again. Especially if you do have venues like this on your doorstep.
Back to the action, well, it got a bit quiet, clearly the disruption from this guy had caused a few others to back off maybe, and it was a quiet 10-15 minute wait. And then the tip went round again, for another little energetic Carp. And again, another 15 minutes or so, I managed another one.
So, for under an hour, 3 little Carp, I was quite happy, and satisified the fishing bug for the day! And for a day where I was just on a quick run out, I can’t complain. However, next week, onto a change and hunting some more Tench!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Two blanks on the trot!… Bloody weather!……not only is this frustrating as an angler it also means that I’ve very little to write about this week, so let me ask you a question.
How dedicated are you when it comes to fishing?
When you have blanked you sit at home staring into the distance whilst deep inside you are contemplating what you could have done better rigs, tactics, choice of bait?
Do persevere when things aren’t going well or you are not catching?
How many blanks would you tolerate at a venue before you decided to fish elsewhere 3?.. 5?.. 7?
How about 18 consecutive blanks at the same venue?
Dear readers allow mw to introduce you to my very good friend Mr Richard Barber.
Back in Sheffield in the 1960’s I was but a small boy and my Father & Grandfather introduced me to out noble art and luckily enough a few doors down lived Richard whose Dad was equally keen on fishing so most weekends we were whisked off to local pond for some kiddie perch bashing. As we grew older, we would get home from school on a Friday and Richards Dad would drive us an hour to such exotic places as the Fossdyke and River Till in Lincolnshire for a few hours fishing. Richard and I became firm friends and not only fishing buddies but also travelling the country in pursuit of our other passions, Trainspotting (not as dull as it sounds) and Football (less said about that the better). But fishing was always our first love.
I moved ‘Dar’n saaaf’ in the late 80’s and our fishing since took different paths with myself getting into Carp and then Match fishing whilst Richard likes targeting many specific species. These days my fishing, although quite varied is predominantly river fishing for Chub whilst my poor friend has sadly developed an acute case of OCD which is beginning to look like it may be a terminal illness. I shall explain.
Richard now lives in Nottingham and has a large gravel pit close by that has a few good-sized Carp in it but little else. These are of no interest to Richard but he heard of huge bream being caught by the carp anglers, only maybe once or twice a year but these were BIG fish, 16-18-20lb and maybe bigger. He has convinced himself that there is a small shoal of these massive old fish, maybe 6 -12, in this huge gravel pit and he is determined to catch one. He has fished day sessions, night sessions, short sessions and long sessions. Fishes light, fished heavy. Used boilies, worm maggots, pellets and sweetcorn. Fed heavy and fed little. Fished close and at range. He bought a Deeper Sonar to map out the contours of the whole gravel pit. He has invested an obscene amount of money in tackle to enable him to fish at extreme range if needed and to date he has been rewarded with a total of 18 blanks… Eighteen!! But wait it gets worse… Not only is fishless but in those eighteen sessions he has not had a bite, that’s right not a single one. No Carp and even when fishing with maggots no bites off silver fish. I am undecided as to whether he needs a medal for perseverance or help from a therapist.
We are still in touch and chat regularly and he is currently preparing for his ‘spring assault’ on the water. To give you a better idea of this man’s genius/insanity below is an excerpt from this week’s WhatsApp discussion on rigs……. Enjoy.
Me…………………….“Richard, have you considered free-lining? 😂
I knew you would say that LOL. Well free lined corn would be great, but I can’t watch for a bite for 8 hours. When I know there’s a 95% chance I won’t get one.
So there you have it, I have left out the videos of the rig testing to check how it lands on the bottom and the ones showing how to load a PVA bag so the bunch of worms or maggots on a ‘Medusa’ rig will present themselves ‘just right’, but I think its a good insight to the mind of a truly dedicated top angler who deserves to catch his monster Bream, and I truly think that he will succeed. And if/when he does I guarantee you two things firstly that he will never fish that water again, ever!, he will move on to another challenge,he’s ticked off Pike so maybe a big Chub or Roach or maybe a 1lb Dace or a 6oz Gudgeon… who knows. Secondly, you will not see any mention or picture of the capture on social media or in the press, he fishes only for his own ‘enjoyment’ however I will, with Richards permission, keep you posted.
Just reading this blog back it makes me ashamed of my ultra simple Chub fishing rigs consisting of a hook and SSG shot. However last night we discussed at length some interesting, and fairy radical, ideas for catching Chub that I shall be testing over the next few weeks. After all I can’t do any worse than my recent sessions.
Evening Anglers and a Happy New Year. Well kind of. With the new lockdown now in force, 1000’s of anglers now have to live in the workshop, garage or shed avoiding a divorce sorting out tackle. Your tackle is never going to be so organised and clean.
I am about to move home, but have been avoiding the packing of fishing gear until the last moment. I have no excuse anymore and will now have to pack it away, to be ready after lockdown to get back out there.
In my last blog I spoke about Black Spot and it seemed to go down well. I have spoken to a few of you and I was asked to discuss KHV. Most of us know about this dreaded disease, but thankfully if the fishery is run properly and measures are put in place you will never come across this nasty infection.
So, Cyprinid herpesvirus 3 (also CyHV-3, koi herpes virus or KHV) is a species of virus causing a viral disease that is very contagious to the common carp (Cyprinus carpio).
The disease is mostly found in ornamental koi, which are often used in outdoor ponds or as feeder stock. Unfortulantly we see Koi be added to fisheries as a dream fish to catch. Which I must admit I have caught a few in my time and they are amazing. But this is where we put our other stocks at risk and the heart break seeing a dead 40lb mirror or common is devastating to the angler, but more so to the owner.
The first case of KHV was confirmed in 1999, after a report in 1998. KHV is a DNA-based virus. After discovery, it was identified as a strain of herpesvirus. Like other strains, KHV stays with the infected fish for the duration of their lives, making the recovered and exposed fish potential carriers of the virus. Fish infected with KHV may die within the first 24–48 hours of exposure.
Evening fellow anglers and what a day. So, after a few jobs this morning I decided to have a few hours fishing at a venue recommended and blogged about by fellow blogger Andrew Pilgrim. I arrived at Bobby Georges lakes at 10:30 and I was the only one there. I went to the back lake where the island runs down the middle of it.
Looked around for a while to see where the fish were and chose my spot. I used the good old Darent Valley Specialist rod by Tackle Box. Put on a simple rig and these new boilies that I’m testing out for Baylys Baits, 11mm Blackcurrant Twist. Soft but durable boilie and the smell is amazing. I took some photos obviously for my blog and sent them to the team.
First Joe noticed that my hook was bent, so back in came my tackle and sorted it out and then Andrew sent me the rules of the lake. Which clearly states no hire rigs. This is where the Plank bit comes in. WHAT A PLANK, I only looked at the rules the other day. After I spammed myself and had a word in the mirror. I reeled in again and decided to go to the float.
Before this I was getting lots of attention on my line and this was from the blackcurrant oozing out in the water. I had only put these on my hook and a few in the water. No ground bait or tones of bait piled in, small and often. This means they must be a decent bait, but had to bring in due to the rules.
Now set with a float, I only had fake sweet corn, so put that out and there wasn’t much. Until a knight in shining armour, a true and knowable angler came to the rescue. Andrew Pilgrim had arrived with worms and a tin of sweet corn. I could not let down my hair as I have none, but he managed to make it to my swim.
I put some corn on and we had a really good chat about fishing in general and some of the amazing places Andrew has fished. I had some interest but still nothing. Andrew then went of on his noble stead and left me to it.
I was in front of some Lilly’s and my reel screamed off, thank god I was in. A nice 10lb 2oz Common. What a save from blanking and thanks to Andrew for rescuing me.
What are the lessons for today, do your research, read the rules and be more prepared? Also, what a lovely fishery.
I was asked to test out this particular rod which is one of 10 in this range of Darent Valley. As an active angler I decided that I would test the rod with Carping and Float fishing. So, over the last four weeks that’s what I have done.
First let’s look at the design of the rod. When you first pick it up you notice it’s a very light rod. I like that its light, this makes it easier to carry if walking a River or equally a large Lake. The slim line length and the carbon black finish really sets the rod off in the sun. The Cork handle gives it a bit of class whilst fishing. I do like a cork handle. Its like fishing with history with you. Also, when you’re reeling in you have that soft but durable handle.
The eyes go from 25 near the handle to 8 at the tip. The line moves freely and smoothly through the eyes. Just before the cork handle is a hook keeper, which allows ease when moving swims or location depending where you’re fishing.
When transporting the rod, it folds well into two sections and comes with a rod sleeve, which has a Velcro strap near the reel area. I would like to see an extra strap at the top end of the sleeve to make it a bit more secure.
The length is 11ft 9inches which is a good size for Carping and moving up and down a River. The 2.25lb test curve is powerful and still allows that amazing bend and play for the fish. The thought in the carbon technology in this rod really does show when landing that prize.
So, the first test was Carping on one of my club waters. I used a bolt rig with a 4oz weight. The cast was good and I felt comfortable in the flex of the rod. After an hour I was in with a 7lb Common. It was a great play and the bend was good. It took me back a few years to when I caught my first Carp.
Next was the float test. Out came my Guru 0.14oz torpedo float, which goes far. There was a good flick on the cast and was fishing at about 6ft depth. I was fishing for Roach and they were coming out thick and fast. Again, a good curve in the rod and a great play bringing them in. I had 42 in total and the rod performed well with every fish.
This rod is usually £74.99 on the Tackle Box website, but at the moment there is 20% off, making it just £59.99; an absolute bargain.
Hello fellow anglers. It has come to that stage where me and fellow blogger Bailey decided to have a fish off. It had been brewing for a few weeks and a lot of banter had been dished out (mainly from Bailey) lol.
We both agreed on a venue which was Newlands Hall near Chelmsford. We wanted to fish this location as we had heard a lot of different reviews and wanted to check it out for ourselves.
Arrived at the fishery at 0730. It was heavy rain, so thank god I remembered my brolly. I got my tackle together and headed to Moat lake. Had a walk round and decided to set up in swim 30. Swim 29 was also free, but swim 30 is in a nice corner of the lake with reeds and trees over hanging. I would say a fishy spot.
Put a small bit of ground bait out and went for the Quiver. Had loads of knocks, but my boilies weren’t working so went to the trusted corn and still nothing. At 08:45 Bailey had graced me with his presence, I still had nothing. Maybe this was karma for taking the better swim.
After Bailey had finally set up his contraption of a chair (It was like an air fix kit and I really do believe glue was used at some point), he cast out. Within minutes the boy was in. My face must have been a picture. Within the first hour he must have had 5 Carp.
So, I did what any angler would do at a time of deprivation. I ordered food. I called the Rig (The tackle shop and Café). I had a Bacon, Sausage, Egg and Mushroom French stick with red & brown. They even deliver to your swim (Heaven). I also ordered the top shot one too, as I’m not bitter about the whole experience.
Come 12ish still nothing. I had even used Bailey’s ground bait, corn and the rod. But they weren’t having any of it. I was starting to get a complex about the whole thing really. Maybe Bailey had popped down during the week and netted my swim area.
So, I reeled in and went for a walk around the fishery. On the other side of Moat Lake there was a memorial match on. It was great to see all the guys and girls remembering a fellow angler in this way. Then I had a walk over to Brook Lake and people were catching there, which made me feel even better.
Eventually I braved it and returned to my swim. There he was the Cheshire cat himself. He had done well during the day and he was on the 16th catch of the day. I then decided I cannot blank. I went to my trusted float rod (Mirage John Wilson) and Rovex reel. Put a float set up on and caught 6 Roach. Still a lovely fish, but know desperate times call for desperate measures.
In all Bailey had 20 lovely Carp all between 3 – 5lbs all common, apart from one lovely mirror. Well done Bailey. You still owe me for the food, just saying lol.
Bank holiday Monday was upon me and after speaking to my old mate Matt Walsh who hasn’t been fishing for long, we decided to do a family day fishing. Now that’s four adults and four kids and Baby Pippa. So, in the morning I went to Clacton Angling and got 4 guest tickets for my local club water, as the Baird clan are all members and wouldn’t have it any other way.
Then we met the Walsh Clan at the chosen lake. Matt was happy and we set off down the farm track to our desired location to fish. Now the Walsh Clan haven’t surfaced fished before and have never caught anything over 2lb, so I wanted them to catch some nice Carp from the top.
On the way to our chosen swims, we spoke to a few anglers who must of thought what the hell was going on lol. Once at our swim, I threw some floating pellets out to test out the water. Bang the Carp were on a feeding frenzy. It was great to see Max and Poppy looking at all the Carp on top and they definitely couldn’t wait to catch some (fingers crossed).
As I know this water and its quite easy to catch, we only had two rods working at a time, as we would be running around like headless chickens. So Max was first to cast out, the water started to move and bang! He was in. Max had a new PB, a 6lb 5oz Common. Well done Max.
Next was Harry and it wasn’t long before he was in. Another 6lb Common. Harry loves a Carp and a photo opportunity too. Poppy was up next, it took a bit longer and we had to build up the confidence of the fish, as they had cottoned on to what was happening. Bang she was in with a lovely 8lb 7oz Common. Sophie was next and the girls were winning on weight so far. She was in another Common at 5lb 4oz.
We just kept on going around, all of them caught three fish each. Now it was Matts turn and what a turn. This man wasn’t having any luck and it looked like he was going to throw a strop. It took 7 attempts for him to land a fish, one by one they came off while trying to land them. He was blaming me, the rod and life in general lol. I could not stop laughing and then it happened. Finally, he was in and we managed to land the fish of a life time for him. A lovely little Common, which was the smallest fish of the day. But it was his fish and a new PB for Matt at 5lb 2oz.
We had so much fun and all the kids loved the afternoon fishing. We went back to mine for fish and chips and had a good catch up. Oh, and Matt while at Tesco getting some wine for the wives, accidently headbutted the safety glass at the till point. I have never seen someone jump so much than the poor shop assistant. I was crying with laughter.
So today I went fishing at our club water with my Son (Harry), my daughter (Sophie) and my Father-in-law (Stan). I like the day ticket waters and there are some really good ones out there. But I do love my club waters, you know exactly which lake does what and you get to know other anglers on the rounds. Also, you look out for each other and have a good old fashion chat.
So, todays lesson was surface fishing for Carp and I new just the place. A lovely lake in north Essex, where I knew they would catch. So, a simple set up, nothing too hard or technical. So main line then a bubble float (the one you add water too), stopper and a hook, then on the hook a rubber band. I used a floating pellet.
I always chuck a few out whilst setting up, test the water etc. Almost straight away they are on the surface, that lovely gulping sound when they are trying to eat the bait. So, cast out and within a few minutes we are in, amazing. Sophie is first in with a 9 lb common. No photos, as she doesn’t like it.
Next is Harry with another common at the 6lb mark, this boy loves a photo lol. Photos done and goes back in. That was it for a while and the kids started to get a bit bored. A little argument later and we have a float rod out with Mags on the end, 14 Perch later they are happy again and peace is back in the world, phew……
Stan and I still haven’t had anything and I could see him twitching out the corner of my eye. Then I was in, bloody lovely a nice common at 8lb 3oz. Now Stan is twitching up and down and for a 74-year-old, I have never seen him move so fast plopping his bait in everywhere. Then it happened, another common (safe to say they were all common) 9 ½ lb. He took his time, but he caught two during the day and no one has blanked. All in all, a good day fishing and that’s what’s it all about. Until next time my fellow anglers. Tight Lines…