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Andy Murray Blog E02
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Andy Murray Blog E02 Posted by Mainline Baits,

Veteran Mainline carper, Andy Murray is back with another blog to keep you updated with his angling...

Hi all, firstly, thanks to those of you who contacted me after my first blog on here, it was great to get some feedback and hear from you, and yes, I will talk more about my fishing going forward. I hope you are all managing to get out on the bank a bit more regularly now. I don’t know about where you are fishing but around here the lakes are pretty busy! My own fishing this month has been patchy to say the least due to a few factors. The main issue has been fitting in my fishing sessions along with my wife’s ongoing Chemotherapy. She was diagnosed with Breast Cancer at Christmas and had major surgery in February which went well. She then started an 18-week course of Chemo at the beginning of the lockdown. So, she has been poorly at times and due to the lockdown rules, we are not allowed any visitors because of the risk of infection. So, like so many we have been isolated from all our family and friends. Since the restrictions have been lifted I have been fitting my sessions in when she has been feeling okay in the three-week cycle of treatment. I must admit it has been a bit of a dilemma. As anglers we all have to be out there on the bank doing it, but then feeling guilty about leaving her at home. Fortunately, she has always understood the pull of the water and knows that I need to be out as I (like most), have been cooped up for too long. It’s likely she will have finished the main treatment by the end of August and things are looking okay, so for now I will take my sessions as and when I can.

Back to the fishing. Due to the lockdown and travel ban our planned trip to Jurassik in April had to be put back to October. Then our planned trip to Eastern Europe in October had to be put back to next May. I guess that’s what most have had to do this year, change plans for the next 12 months or so. I have attached a picture of a carp that cropped up on my memories from two years ago. We had a trip out to Hungary, I always look forward to all my foreign trips, as each one is always an adventure into the unknown. Eastern Europe always has a special draw for me as it really is going into to the unknown. I guess it will have to wait until next year now, we have a number of lakes we want to visit in Croatia, Hungary and Slovakia.

Over the last few weeks I have been having a sort through my old pictures and slides to see what were usable for future articles from the old days where relevant. I even found an old video that was on Sky, I’m currently having that put onto digital format. A lot of my older pictures were damaged in a flood, very fortunately my good friend Rikard from Sweden had some pics from when I did a slideshow over there, which he very kindly sent me. I have put one in here it’s when the Mainline Team took all the top honors at the first ever BCAC, happy days they were.

A clean sweep at the first BCAC
A clean sweep at the first BCAC

Let’s take a look at a couple of sessions since my last post. As I’m self-employed I tend to have my sessions Sunday to Tuesday. This really helps me to avoid the crowds. I arrived at the A1 Pits on the Sunday and the whole complex, that’s all six lakes in total were really busy. Pit 6 was fairly solid with anglers, the few swims that were free wouldn’t be my preferred choice for this time of year. My next option was to take a look around Pit 5 where a few anglers were in the process of packing down. Pit 5 is much smaller at just over 20 acres, it’s still a good cast to the middle at around 150 yards or so. A swim had just come free on the railway bank. It was one I hadn’t fished before either and Dale, who was fishing in the middle swim had been getting a few carp. I quite like fishing a new swim as it gives me chance to expand my knowledge overall of the lakes for future reference. If I don’t catch I don’t see it as a waste, I see it as a learning curve. In future sessions I know the spots to look for without needing so much marker work. In this swim Dale told me there was a plateau in front of me that was well out (around 120 yards or so). I decided to get the marker rod out and spend an hour having a good search around before I started fishing. With my marker set up I can cast 130 yards or so comfortably, one of the things that makes this easier is having a well-balanced set-up. I find a lot of the marker floats on the market are not built for distance casting. I use the floats from Rig-It Tackle, they are longer and carry the lead well so fly further. I also use Fox sinking braid, which is essential for feeling the lakebed for gravel, silkweed etc. I see less and less anglers using marker rods these days, relying on wrap sticks and being told where the spots are, then relying on equations as to how to clip up the spod due to the trajectory blah, blah. I am still old school in this respect. I find the spot with the marker, then have a cast around with the fishing rod and a bare lead. Then bait and fish to it as a visual aid, it helps me see how to position the hookbait with regards to where the bait is falling exactly. I then use the wrap sticks to identify the distance if I need to recast to the spot. The spod is clipped to hit the marker so I can rebait as needed accurately. It didn’t take too long to find the plateau I was looking for. It came up to just about three feet under the surface, perfect for this time of year. The carp were sure to be getting on it. If it was later in the year, I might have fished down the slopes into the deeper water a bit. So, the main spot to fish was located. I opted to fish a Stiff Hinge Rig pop-up on one rod and a Zig just under the surface on the other rod. My third rod was moving around and alternating between the Feeder at night and Zig during the day as the carp started to cruise the surface. I’ll come back to Feeder fishing in a future article, as it’s something I am bringing back into my fishing this year.

A sunny day on the A1 Pits
A sunny day on the A1 Pits

The first 24 hours was quiet, although there were carp about, they were definitely just mooching around, not feeding hard. Just to digress a bit here, this year I am having a change of tactics from previous years. I am fishing with minimal amounts of bait, but with a lot of liquid additives. There are a lot of long stay anglers on here and it seems sometimes that the carp are not getting caught on beds of bait until they have been there a few days. Last week the guy next to me was there for four days before he got his first bite. I just don’t have that sort of time. Talking with some of the long stay anglers has helped me come to this decision. Fishing one or two nights I don’t have the option of waiting it out. So, I am just putting three or four Spombs of bait out and topping up after a while with one or two Spombs, and trying to be pin point accurate. The thing is, one Spomb holds 25 15mm boilies, that’s a lot of bait if there aren’t many carp about or they are not feeding. Being accurate is pretty easy at 60-80 yards or so, not quite so easy at 120 yards. So, to get three or four on the spot may take 8-10 casts, especially if it is windy. I only count the ones that land on the money, which is helped much more with the use of a marker set-up. What I am looking to do is try to keep a level of smell in the water, without overdoing it with too much bait. If they do eat, they are just getting boilies and hopefully getting a taste for them so maybe I can get a bite or two. This year I am using the Essential Cell, which I am mixing with a few pellets, Stick Mix Liquid, Hempseed Oil and Smart Liquid. So, as you can see, I am going for instant attraction in the water. It does help when I have total confidence in the bait I am using. So, as I was saying I had nothing the first 24 hours but I felt there were carp about. At lunchtime the following day, never before that time on here as any time up to midday is bite time. I decided to put another couple of Spombs of bait onto the plateau, as soon as the first one hit the water, I had a massive liner on the pop-up rod. Maybe I had gone too far onto the Plateau and the line was spooking them? I decided to leave it anyway, I had an aborted take on the Zig at last light then at 4 am the pop-up rod was away. The carp had gone over the bar and I was trying to keep the rod up as the bars are covered in mussels that are razor sharp. Even with a braided leader on they can still cause problems and the carp as always, seem to know exactly what to do. The fish came away from the bar and moved over into open water, then promptly fell off! Oh well… I tend to be mostly philosophical about these things, but occasionally mutter to myself! I recast to the spot and waited, a couple of things here, the hook was ok, so I didn’t change it, so was the hookbait, I didn’t change that either. I always leave a rig as it is if it looks okay same with the hookbait. My thinking is that if it worked once, it would work again, I guess that comes from my match fishing days. The Mainline pop-ups are super buoyant so no worries about them sinking. The same rod was away again a couple of hours later and after a short but spirited fight as the carp made the tree to my left but with some steady pressure it came out, I slipped the net under a nice looking double. Sadly, I had to leave shortly after, as I had to be home in time to take my wife Sal to hospital that afternoon. The angler who followed me in had a carp each day from that spot and did as I suggested. Just putting a few baits out at a time. It really shows the importance of getting the spot right for the conditions and time of year.

Bite number two
Bite number two
An Essential Cell Theme this year
An Essential Cell Theme this year

My next trip was three weeks later, I had two days fishing planned before Sal was back for another chemo session. As I arrived I couldn’t believe it, the complex was rammed again! It really shows how many folks are not back at work yet. Lake 5 was full and the pressure was showing and not fishing well. There were a couple of spots on lake 6 that took my fancy and I spent a long while looking for signs of carp. Lake 6 is 50 acres, so getting on the carp is of primary importance here. They may not come this way for a few days. Nothing was showing at all and the water was heavy with sediment. Normally it is gin clear, it has been like since the flood water receded and not been fishing very well at all. The general feeling is that this colouration is influencing the fishing. I felt that the carp should be looking to be in the shallower water due to the rising temperature so opted for the middle of the Railway Bank. It is quite a large swim and covers quite a bit of water, it also gives a few options as well. I lightly baited an area at 80 yards where the lakebed felt a bit smoother and silty in between the silkweed. The reason I opted for this area was that I was bringing some bloodworm back on the hook when having a cast about. One rod stayed on this for both days, the other two main rods were kept roving, one on a Zig and one with a pop-up on. As we can fish four rods on here, I constantly try the margins with the fourth rod. With very little success I may add, that’s something I need to work on as they do get caught close in on here. Last year I caught a number of carp on Zigs just under the surface at around 130 yards or so. So, the two roving rods were fishing at range during the day and closer in at night. The weather was still and hot, perfect for the Zigs, and whilst the carp were mooching on the surface at range. They didn’t really seem to come in at all. The fact that I saw the odd bream show over the baited area was telling me the carp were not really about. This pit is the most difficult on the complex and the one I love to fish the most, but it is dammed frustrating at times. That’s why I like fishing it, it’s the challenge of getting a bite. Any carp from here is well earned, regardless of its size, when that buzzer sounds, it is the satisfaction of knowing I have put a piece of the jigsaw in place. I fish for my own enjoyment these days and not to someone else’s opinion of what is a great catch or not. Anyway, I never had a bleep at all, and left empty handed despite the fact I felt I had fished hard and kept active. I don’t think there was a carp caught on the whole lake all week. It is definitely out of sorts. As I packed up I was already looking forward to my next fishing trip as always which was going to be a couple of weeks away. I have been asked to attend a Charity weekend event at Trent View Fisheries in aid of the Rob Mclean Memorial fund in aid of Sepsis. In respect of a local angler who passed away and has a swim named after him, it seems a hefty social is held in the swim named after him as well, so might be a bit of the falling down water is consumed. So, it’s likely to be few weeks before I am back here on the Pits, unless I get the option for the odd night. I’ll let you know how I get on at Trent View. Seems like more of a floater water as well, so I had better get my floater gear sorted out as well.

Sunrise over Pit 5
Sunrise over Pit 5
The perfect Zig hookbait
The perfect Zig hookbait

Lastly, it’s important to me that I enjoy my fishing these days, part of that is each year I try to do different things compared to other anglers. Part of it is to experiment and look for something that will increase catch rates or get at the better carp. I don’t mind not catching but I do mind not trying and not enjoying my fishing. Now the lakes have re-opened and the silly few weeks has passed, the carp will no doubt get a bit more cagey and may be harder to catch. If you are not getting the action you think you should be or would like maybe it’s time to try something different rather than following the crowd. The thing is, when you try something different you have to give it a fair go not one session but for a year so you can evaluate things properly through the seasons. If you think about it, it’s sometimes important to try something different on any lake to what everyone else is doing. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Until next time.

Andy

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