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Andy Murray's Monthly Blog.
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Andy Murray's Monthly Blog. Posted by Mainline Baits,

Each month we will be bringing you a blog style update from Mainline Carper Andy Murray!

Hi all, I am looking forward to starting a regular blog on the Mainline Baits website. Some of the old timers amongst you will know me as we all go back many years with Mainline. For those of you that are a bit younger or newer to angling, a bit about me to start with. I have fished all my life for various species and started fishing for carp in 1987, when I hooked a carp by accident whilst fishing for tench on a local lake, that was it, I was hooked! Over the next few years, I fished further and further afield. It was when I started fishing Selby 3 Lakes in the early 90's that I was introduced to Mainline and the Grange bait. The catches were phenomenal once the carp got a lock on it, it was in the last year on Selby that I started writing for some magazines. Around this time came the Activ-8 and the whole world seemed to get in on it. In 1999 Keith and I won the first ever BCAC held at Horseshoe Lake. In 2000 I had a book published 'Catch Carp with Andy Murray', in 2001 Mitch and I won the Fishabil European Carp Challenge setting two new world Carp match records for 48 and 72 hours. Throughout this time, I had my own regular column in Carp Talk magazine, as well as regular articles, in Carp Fisher, Crafty Carper and occasionally Carpworld, some still joke about my series in Crafty, which was called Tank Tests. I toured many regions in the UK and Europe doing slide shows and demos. It was a busy time, especially as I fished so many of the new Carp matches that were about. From memory I fished in four BCAC finals and four of the World Carp Classic matches.

My book Catch Carp with Andy Murray.
My book Catch Carp with Andy Murray.

I had a few years off carp fishing and started again in 2011. It didn't take long to get back into the groove and I fish now more than ever, but more on my own terms these days. Having fished a lot in France and Spain over the last 25 years, I now try to have 2-3 trips abroad each year. Always looking for new challenges, taking more interest in places like Eastern Europe. Most of my fishing at home is on the A1 Pits at Newark, although I still attend a few charity matches and fish-ins during the summer months. There are six lakes on the Pits complex ranging from 1 acre up to 50 acres. I love fishing the biggest pit, always try to get on there, unless circumstances prevent. I try to get in two nights every two weeks from March through to late October. It suits what I want from my own Carp Fishing, the big pit is certainly not the easiest of waters, but I like the challenge. It has benefits in that I can fish from my T6 van. It isn't the quietest of places with a railway bank on one side and the A1 on the opposite bank, it's also a day ticket water, which brings along its own problems. I just get on with my fishing, I just love getting out on the bank now.

My trusty T6 van.
My trusty T6 van.

Having got back into Carp Fishing with a passion that I thought I would never feel again, over the last two years or so, I have started writing about my fishing on a regular basis. I am sure this monthly blog will be a bit of a challenge, especially when I see the stamp of carp featured on here. What I will try to do each month is an update of my fishing and also a tip or two for the time of year to help anyone who is looking for a pointer or two.

Image © Mainline Baits

So this year so far. I had my first trip this year to the Pits in early March, whilst it was cold it wasn't too bad for the frozen North. The Pits had flooded hugely over the winter and Pit 6 was still full to the brim. I opted to fish Pit 5 and set up in the middle where I could cover a lot of water and reach the middle if needed. I had my first carp of the year a 22lb common, caught on the Method feeder. Feeling pleased with myself and looking forward to my next trip, having caught so early in the year. I couldn't wait to get back! Then all our plans changed, we were all grounded due to the virus outbreak! I have just returned from my first trip to the pits since then, to say it was busy is an understatement! Everyone had the same idea, just to get out on the bank. With not really being able to get where I wanted, I opted for the first swim on the Railway Bank on Pit 6, hoping to nick one as that swim covers a lot of water. I had nothing the first night apart from a nice meal and glass or two of very nice red wine. It was so great to just be out on the bank! The following morning, I saw a few showing at around 130 yards or so along the first bar, I immediately set up a Zig at 4 feet, which would just sit at a foot under the surface. It had only been in for 30 minutes or so when it rattled off, I promptly managed to bump the carp off after a few minutes. That was my only bite of the trip. Whenever I pack up and leave, I am always looking forward to my next trip, which is how I think it should be.

A1 Pits 22lb common.
A1 Pits 22lb common.

Zigs get a lot of bad press and its mainly due to them been fished badly. Here are a few tips on Zig fishing as this early summer period is a great time to capitalise on the carp starting to move freely round the lake. Enjoying the sun on their backs as the water is getting much warmer. Changing the rig regularly, especially if fishing weedy waters, most certainly after landing a carp, you can't always see small marks or cuts on the line which then becomes a weakness and could cost you your next carp. The smaller the bait the better, Mainline Supa Sweet Ziggers are perfect and very buoyant. At first, I couldn't believe I was getting bites at 120-130 yards on 8-foot Zigs with such a small Hookbait. Especially in such a large expanse of water. The two weakest parts of the rig are obviously both the tied ends. Especially on weedy waters where a lot of pressure may be required when the carp get their heads into the weed. Any kinks created by knotting may give way. I prefer a Palomar Knot for the hook end rather than the Knotless Knot, it's much stronger and less likely to break. It's is a bit fiddly tying the loop for the bait to thread onto with the remaining tag, but it's worth the effort! Rather than using a loop onto the lead clip end, I use a small swivel, here I can double the line through the swivel, making it much stronger than the standard loop. Which then attaches just like the loop would to the quick link. I prefer to use a 12-15lb Hooklink, once it has been straightened out, it will fly much better and less chance of tangling than a lighter line. Again, also much stronger. I'm not convinced you need to worry about line being seen on Zigs anyway. Lastly, vary the depth in accordance with the weather conditions and time of year.

My go to Zig kit!
My go to Zig kit!
Mainline Supa Sweet Ziggers
Mainline Supa Sweet Ziggers

Anyway, thanks for taking the time to read my piece.
Catch you next month!
Andy

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