Driving test passed!!! NO FISH IS SAFE!!

Alex passes his driving test, we go float fishing and also we stalk some big scaley carp on bread, one of the cheapest and most effective baits out there!

The Freedom of Driving – Alex

A couple of weeks ago I finally passed my driving test and as fisherman this is a massive step forward and I knew it would help me with pre baiting venues every day, doing short evening session here and there and most importantly overnighters between college!

The Res is somewhere I needed to do as many overnighters as possible to give me the best chance of landing one of it’s amazing carp so after getting the insurance for the car sorted it was the first place I was heading. The way I have been fishing The Res recently is by getting into my chosen swim up by the nature reserve and casting the rods out on dark, fishing throughout the night and reeling in early morning and getting to get to college in time. I managed about 6 nights last week and it was so worth it as the fish moved out the nature reserve onto my bait and I caught a number of commons. The best night was when I was awoken twice throughout the hours of darkness with a 19lb common and a 20lb common. The others were only small but they were all extra fish I would never have caught if it weren’t for those short overnight sessions between college! 

I have also done some very short sessions (very short being 10 minutes) where I have arrived at our local park lake or day ticket with a rod and some bread and quickly managed to nab a really quick bite on either floating crust or sinking bread. The ones that have stood out have been a 20lb koi and three mirrors of 26lb, 25lb and 29lb! All extra fish I would never have caught if I weren’t able to get to places fish for 10 minutes and then get to college! I love being able to drive and I think my mum who used to be my fishing taxi, is also enjoying her well-earned break.

Waggler Fishing - Alex

10 years ago when Carl and I first went fishing the only method we used was float fished maggots with a waggler, it was the method that got us hooked and we had so much fun catching roach, perch, bream and often we’d be lucky enough to catch an elusive carp!

However in recent years we have pretty much left float fishing behind and the specimen carp fishing has taken over. But in the last few weeks we have realised the need to go back to our roots and head to the bank with a waggler and maggots, targeting any thing that swims, not caring weather the fish is large or small. 

Our first float fishing session Carl and I have done recently was at Weirwood Reservoir which offers some brilliant coarse fishing. We turned up after all our work was done at around 6 o’clock in the evening, just as the wind was dying down and there were plenty of small roach, skimmers and the odd bream rolling. It looked good for a bite or two and whilst setting up my float rod I kept catapulting maggots out in front of me to draw plenty of fish into the swim. This certainly worked as first cast I managed a small skimmer. I set the rig up with a shirt button style shotting pattern to let the bait slowly sink through all the layers in the water to pick up any fish whether it be near the surface or at bottom. For the next hour the bites were pretty consistent and a few better skimmers showed up. It was a very pleasant evening session apart from the big pike that decided to make a meal of one of my skimmers on the way in giving me a massive run around before biting me off! I was very happy and that evening reminded me that there’s nothing better that watching the float dip beneath the surface!
 

Just a few days later we did a day session on a lake contrasting massively to the 300 acre reservoir. We had turned up at a shallow, weedy little pond about an acre in size on the edge of a bluebell filled forest. We had seen plenty of mud clouds and bubbles rising to the surface. As we new we would have a chance of a carp, the first thing I did was bait up with a few balls of wetted down pellet to create a ground bait on the lake bed for the carp to settle over, I then catapulted maggots little and often to draw fish into the area. 

After baiting up I set up my float rod and in the mean time the carp would hopefully be getting on the bait! The rig varied from the reservoir fishing we had done and although we were using the same rod, reel and float, the shotting pattern needed to be changed. We wanted the bait to reach the lakebed quickly before the small rudd could snatch at the maggots so rather than spreading out the shot we placed one large shot down by the hook that would set the float down just above to surface. By using a large shot and laying it on the lake bed, the carp will pick up the bait and lift the shot off the bottom and the float will rise up and I will know it's bite, rather than the float going under and moving side to side when the carp are just brushing the line with their fins. It’s just a great way to see proper bites and not be striking a line bites all day.

20 minutes later the rig was ready, I had plumbed up just over depth and now I could cast my hook bait out. Three maggots, (1 red, 2 white) were lightly hooked on to the size 16 hook and I made the first cast of the day. The float settled down perfectly and the tip was just showing. There were now swirls and large mud clouds coming up right over the bait and whilst I stared at the float my eyes started to water and I was extremely exited! The float then started bouncing around and moving vigorously as the carp were heavily feeding on the pellet and maggots. It didn’t take long for one of the carp to find my hook bait though as soon the float lifted right up so I struck and bow wave shot off in all directions as they spooked from the area. I had hooked my first fish of the day that put an immense bend in the float rod despite only being a 2lb common!

I knew it would be a productive day and after baiting up again, the fish were back and the bites were quick! In all I believe I had over 10 carp, including some beautiful scaly mirrors and long, dark commons! A real mixture of fish on a beautiful spring day.


I love float fishing and I will never forget about it however much I get drawn into the specimen fishing. Get out there, give it a go and have an enjoyable days fishing and be happy with what ever takes your bait!


Surface fishing with bread – Carl
Unlike Alex, I left college a couple of years ago and have since worked full time as a cameraman and video editor. Having a job is surprisingly time consuming and I quite often find myself sat at work receiving texts from Alex with photos of big fish attached! There’s nothing worse than being stuck at work, except of course having someone constantly reminding you what you could be catching!

Being busy lately has made me quite impatient when it comes to my time on the bank. Couple my lack of patience to sit and wait with the ridiculously hot weather we have experienced over the last couple of weeks, it made absolute sense to start floater fishing.  Instead of covering the surface with mixers I have chosen to creep around quietly with a bag of bread and simply freeline small bits of crust to carp sat in the weed or pads. This tactic either works instantly or fails miserably and luckily for me the last couple of sessions have been productive to say the least. The first session was with Alex after college at an old estate lake we used to fish years ago. The lake holds 100s of small commons, but by selective casting we picked out a few of the old mirrors; fish which we used to see and occasionally catch 5 years ago. The carp in the old estate lake are relatively easy to catch, they are hungry and don’t receive much angling pressure. On the other end of the spectrum you have Tanyard Fishery another venue we have fished for over 5 years, but this time holding very wise old carp that can be incredibly tricky to catch. On one particular day I had an hour free so popped down there, only to find the lake quite busy. Talking to the bailiff and some other anglers, nothing had been caught by anyone for 24 hours, not ideal! Not to be disheartened I snuck quietly along the margins lowering tiny bits of crust into the weed where the carp were sunbathing. Luck was on my side that day as two of the best looking carp decided they wanted to feed, one being a smaller heavily scaled mirror and the other fish the biggest carp in the whole fishery at 35lb 3oz! It was a fish I had wanted to catch for years, and finally with the simplest tactics and bait imaginable I had landed it. The weather has taken a turn for the worse lately and the surface fishing action has dropped off, yet it won’t be too long till we can get down the river after chub so it’s probably time to go buy some more bread!

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