ANDY MURRAY BLOG E03
Veteran Mainline carper, Andy Murray is back with another blog to keep you updated with his angling...
Hi all, I don’t know how you have all been getting on fishing, after such a lovely spring weather wise, it seems to have rained every time I have stepped outside just lately. I know I’m fed up of getting soaked. I have managed to get out twice this month in between Sal’s chemo sessions. A big milestone was achieved though, she had her last chemo session last week, a few weeks rest then its three weeks of radio therapy, after that the final scans and hopefully all will be ok. She can focus on getting her health back from all the treatment, which looks like it will take some time, it will be time for a big holiday then I think. Anyway, back to the fishing.
As I mentioned last month, I had been invited down to Trent View Fisheries at Nottingham by my friend Jay, for a weekend charity event. I usually attend one or two Charity events a year, it's a good way to meet others and it’s also a change from the norm as well. The event was the Rob Mclean memorial in aid of Sepsis, Rob was a regular there, who passed away just over a couple of years ago after contracting Sepsis. He now has a peg named after him on the lake, so each year they hold a fund-raising event on the lake and have a bit of a social in his swim, now I say a bit of a social, that’s putting it mildly! The regulars went into a draw to have a match, I opted to have a swim allocated near to the social event and would just fish and chat with whoever wandered along, Clint came along as well. Trent View is a relatively new and well-run fishery and you can drive to most swims which appeals to me. It is a good size as well. It is well stocked, with a good head of growing carp, and already holds a number of good-sized fish. When you get it right, there are some good numbers of carp to be caught. The rules are sensible, and everyone takes heed, which is always good. The Head Bailiffs name is Ian Harley who takes time to try to look after all who fish there. They do have a shop on site and can supply a various range of bait as well as the pellets that the fish are fed on. They also have an excellent food wagon on site that delivers food to your swim, the full breakfast we had was outstanding and kept me going all day.
I arrived early Friday morning and the food wagon was in full swing, so Clint and I had a coffee, bacon sarnie and a bit of a chat before setting off for the swims, after dipping nets, mats etc. My swim, like most had a marginal shelf that fell away pretty quickly and was quite deep a few rod lengths out. I eventually saw that the carp were coming close in, very close! Fixed Zigs and imitation baits are banned here, so I opted to fish one rod on the adjustable Zig with a trimmed down boilie as a hookbait, the other rods I was going to have a play with a few bits to see what I needed to do to get a bite. The weather was warm and still, and some storms were forecast for later that day. Bait wise I had taken the Essential Cell and sweetcorn. I had also bought some of the feed pellets from Ian to mix in with the other baits. I spent a while with the marker rod and found a couple of gravel runs, one at 40 yards or so and one at seventy yards, as the lake was going to be busy I opted to fish the furthest gravel spot as my main baited area and then tricks and traps in the edge (I didn’t say it was a great plan!). My spod mix was made up of chopped Essential Cell, sweetcorn and pellets, I also mixed in some Souper Zig Mix and some floating pellets as there were carp mooching around on the surface. My plan being to fish one rod on the hard deck, one on the adjustable Zig and also set up a floater rod if needed, although I could lift the Zig to the surface if needed. So, I was trying to see which would work best. The idea was to put a few Spombs out every 30 minutes or so and create a column in the water and see which produced.
Having got the bottom bait and the Zig in place, I put a few Spombs of bait out, and the carp started to home in on it, not long after the wind started to get up and it was coming straight in at me. The carp started to feed on the surface pretty quickly but were following the surface baits on the wind. So, I switched to putting more surface baits out so they would drift into me and I could use the floater rod. By midafternoon I had carp all over me, but could I get a bite, could I heck! They would take the floating baits readily but wouldn’t go near the line at all, even with a 10-foot hooklink. I positioned the Zig, so the floaters went over it, but again nothing. Then the heavens opened, I put on my poncho, stood in the pouring rain, and continued to feed the floaters as the carp were still taking them. I was getting soaked but was enjoying trying to snare one of these beasts, they were just taking the micky. The storm passed as evening approached and the carp seemed to drift off, Clint had joined me for some tea, so we opened a bottle of something red and alcoholic and had some food while we watched the light fade. The main social of the weekend was on the Saturday afternoon in the swim named after Rob, but quite a few of the guys gathered in his swim on the Friday night as that would have been on his birthday. We were invited but chose to save ourselves for the Saturday, which turned out to be a very wise decision in the end, as they partied well into the night. There were some sorry heads the following day. I had thought I would get a bite or two from the baited area during the night, but it was very quiet. There were one or two fish caught around the lake at first which picked up as the carp settled to a lake full of anglers, just about every swim was taken.
The following morning, I was up early as I always am when fishing, I always try to get up just before first light to watch and see what is occurring, I was seeing the occasional flat spot coming off my baited area but nothing else. Why wasn’t I getting any action? I was clearly not getting this right, especially as I had so many carp in front of me the previous afternoon. Time to get the little grey cells working. In my regular columns in Talking Carp I have been recently focusing on rigs and presenting bait as it’s something I felt I have needed to work on a bit more. This lake was so different to my regular water, as on the big pit I fish regularly, location is the main key, here, I have carp in front of me, so a bit more thought in getting a bite was needed. I decided to keep feeding the baited area all day until we wound in for the social, and spent some time tying up some new presentations for when I cast back out later. I have attached a picture of my little bag rigs that I was going to use, along with a dollop of the new Smart Liquid, with both hooklinks I tend to use in the main. A couple of points about the little bags here, always have plenty tied up so you are not delaying your fishing because you have to stop to tie up some more. Also, I know a lot of anglers simply nick the bag on the side with the hook and cast out, I feel the presentation is much better when the bag is threaded on the hooklink, firstly it casts much straighter, secondly it lays better, the little pile of pellets covers the lead and the hooklink, the carp tend to just suck the lot on one go. It also works better with a wafter or small pop-up, so the hook goes in easy, I also think it works better on a short hooklink, so you hook the carp in the edge of the mouth and not further back in the soft tissue, so there are less hook pulls. I have finally succumbed and joined the super sharp hook revolution as opposed to the meat hooks I have used for many years. I do like these Korda hooks, although on my regular gravel pit I fish, they are taking a bit of a bashing, and I am having to check and replace them a lot more than I normally would. Also, as a regular Yorkshireman, who can be described as careful with his brass, the price did make me gasp a bit, especially as I am having to change them so regularly.
By the time we wound in for the social I had put the best part of a bucket of bait into the swim, which may seem a lot but it was deep water and also getting quite windy, so I always feel I need to put a bit more in to make sure I get enough down in the right spot. So, everything was ready for when we returned from the social to just cast out. Everyone gathered in peg 28 which is known as Robs swim, it was just a nice afternoon, chatting with folk and having a few drinks. Normally there would have been more people there but due to the Covid restrictions, the event was closed to the public this year. There was a raffle and some items for sale, a competition to hit the bucket with a float, made more difficult by the increasing wind strength and a lot of general banter. Over the weekend they raised just over £2,500 for the Charity which was great. Just as everyone was starting to gather, Jay, who was fishing Robs swim, had a run and in full view of everyone landed a small double to much applause. I bumped into someone I hadn’t seen for about 15 years when we had visited an army base in Germany to do a talk and demo, so we had a bit of a catch-up. I often bump into anglers who I met previously many years before, it’s a small world heh? As I said it was just a nice afternoon all round in memory of a great friend to a lot of folk there.
With relatively clear heads we made our way back to the swim after the raffle. Clint and I had some food and a glass of vino before he headed off and I got the rods out. My plan now as to put one rod on the baited area, and one rod down each margin, now I had seen where to fish in the edge by watching some of the others. I didn’t have long to wait and much to my surprise the baited area rod rattled off and a scraper twenty was landed without too much drama. A couple of quick pics and it was returned. I decided to put two rods back out onto the baited area as it had produced so early, both on little bags. During the night both rods rattled off and were high doubles. These were unhooked in the net and released. This may seem a bit cavalier to some, but I had the trophy shot for this article, no point in putting the carp through unnecessary time out of the water if needed. This is something I do a lot, I would only weigh a carp if it was a good size, by that I mean maybe looking like a thirty, and I very rarely take pics, maybe one in the net, or if there is someone about, a couple of snaps for articles like this. I know we are all at different stages of carp fishing, if some is new to fishing, then they want to record what they have caught by weighing and taking pictures, I am okay with that. For me, it’s getting the bite that is the buzz, it shows I am getting it right, and that’s enough for me. The wind really picked up the following day and it had swung round, some of the locals were on the move following the wind and the carp. My swim went quiet and looked devoid of carp, so that was it for me, a quite morning of reflection and chatting with a few anglers and then time to pack up and head for home. To be fair, three runs on my first trip was okay and I was happy with that. Jay and I had a picture taken in Robs swim for posterity and I said my goodbyes. It’s the first time I have been to Trent View and will certainly go back, perhaps when it’s a bit quieter! If you are thinking of going, it’s worth pre-booking as it can get busy at times. Ian is really helpful and will tell you what you need to know beforehand.
My other trip this month was a trip down to the A1 Pits, my regular haunt. It has been busy since the lockdown ended and this trip was no exception. Due to the lake been so busy I have been struggling to get in a swim that I fancy on most trips. I did manage to get on Pit 6 this time and in a swim, I know quite well, so I was fairly confident of catching, then again I am always optimistic about catching when going fishing… that was my first mistake! Usually by this time of year the carp are in the shallower part of the lake quite a lot, so I know that I should expect a couple of chances during my session, even if they are not there in numbers. As I have said before this pit hasn’t fished well at all since it flooded earlier in the year, the water has a brown tinge to it, whereas normally it is really clear. Due to the colour in the water there seems to have a real absence of weed growth over most of the lake, and normally the carp would be mooching around the looking for food. The lake is definitely fishing slower than I would normally expect it to. Although it is a tough lake normally due to its size, it’s not normally this hard. I was pretty confident in my approach as I had caught a few the trip before at Trent View, so armed with plenty of little bags and short rigs pre-tied I was perhaps a bit too gung-ho. The plan was to fish Zigs, little bag rigs and my old favourite, the Stiff Hinged rig with a pop-up on if needed at range, it wasn’t! Now, here’s the thing, it’s nice to catch all the time, but to be realistic that’s isn’t going to happen every trip on here, I don’t mind not catching (blanking), as long as I feel I have fished well and given it a good shot, if that’s the case then I enjoy my time on the bank. However, it’s fair to say I fished like an absolute pillock on this trip! Whereas on my previous trip at Trent View I felt I fished really well, this was the total opposite. There’s no other way to say it, the location was wrong, the spots within that swim I fished were wrong and my application was wrong. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed my time out, I was just disappointed how it had gone overall. I should have moved after 24 hours and started again. So, we will draw a veil over this session and live to fight another day. So that’s it for this month, limited fishing time due to personal circumstances, but trying to make the best of the time I have, it won’t be long before I am out again, I’ll just have to make sure I do better next time…
Catch you then. Andy