Register
Saturday, 14 March 2009 21:19

Six Days in Heaven

By Marc Gough

Part One

A year ago two fishermen & I embarked on a quest into the unknown! Our mission, to winkle a few large carp & some of the resident Cats out of Manor Farm fisheries in Headcorn, Kent.

With very little knowledge of the complex consisting of a match lake with a few carp up to the 20lb mark, a specimen carp lake with carp to the low thirties & specimen carp/catfish Lake with fish up to 40lb we unloaded two cars & one trailer crammed full of tackle & bait.

Day One

After several walks around the Carp/Catfish Lake I decided upon a narrow swim adjacent to the island. With only about 40 metres casting distance to the island accurate baiting was easy for the three rods. The island was fringed with overhanging trees, a scattering of duckweed & reed beds, sexy & carpy or what?

Down to my right I had a lovely looking overhanging willow tree & with the marker rod I found the depth dropped considerable, a likely place to find a cat!

Wheel barrowing a week loads of tackle, bait, food, clothes & of course beer up to the swim in sunny midsummer conditions was torture, I really struggled to replace the loss of liquid in my body with lager quick enough! Not only being a fully fledged tackle tart, any excuse getting my kit off & strip down to shorts is a must!

Three hopefully areas were explored & plotted with the marker rod, an extra area was selected just in case.

Marc Tip: I like to have an alternative fishing spot primed to drop a bait onto just in case one of the other spots fails to produce or just dries up.

I decided on different approaches to each fishing spot, one would just have a pva stocking of goodies attached to the hook link, the second spot would have spodded particles, pellets & boilies over it, forming a dining table of about 2 metres square, the third of which I was dropping under the willow tree was dedicated to Mr Catfish. A bucket consisting of stinking pellets, mixed fishy boilies, tins of tuna, lambs liver & a generous amount of fish oil was mixed into balls around the size of a tennis ball; six were deposited loosely around the willow tree. In the heat of the sun, sweat of my labours & lager influenced state I was in, the smell from the bucket was unreal, nearly chuck up city.

I decided to rest the swim to enable me to get the bivvy up, sleeping quarters sorted & a general tidy up of the tackle around the swim. Bearing in mind I arrived at my chosen swim at eleven am & by 4pm not a baited rig had touched the water yet! I believe quiet, careful preparation is vital in any type of fishing you do, whether it be for a day, 24 hours or a week, a stealthy approach pays off every time!

A quick natter & lager with my companions, of whom were only fishing days during the week’s trip & I was ready for the first cast. Lines clipped to the required markers, baits in place, lines left slack to enable sinking, bobbins attached I was sorted as the sun set slowly over the island trees & stunning Kent countryside.

Life really doesn’t get much better than this?

Lager & cigarette in hand, listening to the birds sing, occasional fish flop out of the water & a very unusual noise? Unusual wasn’t strictly true, I recognised it as a frogs call but it was so loud, so near & very repetitive! Curiosity got the better of me & I just had to investigate more! I couldn’t see, locate a frog of any description around the bank side within the swim? The occasional rustle in nearby reeds & grass but that was it, not a Kermit in sight? I was starting to wonder if my ears were playing tricks on me or one of my colleagues was having a joke.

After a hot, exhausting, rare summers day in southern England I decided to hit the sack as the last rays of sunlight burnt away. Sleep wasn’t exactly easy with a good dose of sunburn, over tiredness & Kermit’s chorus echoing out!

I am not sure if my surroundings went totally quiet or I passed out? Probably the later because the next thing I remember was the delkim screaming at me, the middle rod was lurching to my left as a fish sped off down the lake, kiting hard to gain more line towards the island snags. My 3 ½ tc rod soon had the angry fish subdued & looking sorry for its self in the bottom of the landing net. Not a massive carp but 15lb of hard fighting common carp was very welcomed.

A few pictures later, rod back in position & little trickle of loose feed over the bait I was all set again.

Time for a beer, lager at just gone mid night?

Yeah too right, im on holiday, celebrating my first fish from an unknown venue, do I need to say more?

An hour quickly passed as a sat on my spod bucket taking in the atmosphere, savouring the memory of my first carp from Manor, hoping for many more during my weeks stay.

Two fifteen am & the right hand rod nestled under the willow is off, talk about clutch stripping, line ripping; what ever was on the end wasn’t happy. Lifting the rod & engaging the bait runner I really didn’t know what to expect? The rod hooped over, line still poured from spool, this had to be my first catfish?

Ten minutes in & I am still not making much head way with this fish! As you maybe aware I have successfully landed some very respectable carp from France & here in the UK but none have compared to this! I am really concerned about tackle, from the rods, reels right down to hook! The 18lb bs fluorocarbon main line is absolutely singing through the early morning breeze, rod butt resting upon my thigh to take some of the strain from my aching forearm & shoulder when suddenly I have won! The fish has giving up after some twenty five minutes & ready for the waiting landing net, this is when the fun really started!

I have never caught a cat fish in my career so this was all new to me & in total darkness. With the cats head up against the spreader block the headlight torch picked out two foot of tail overhanging the draw string, “Dam, that isn’t going in there” echoed across the night sky. Plan B? & it had to be a quick plan too! With eighty percent of the fish in the net, raise the net & slacken off at the same time hoping the fish will slide in, went thru my head?

“Woohoo, I love it when a plan comes together”

At this point proceedings became a bit blurred! I remember calling my colleagues on the walkie & saying “Bob I have got one, its massive, what do I do with it next”? I don’t remember if Bob & Gary came to assist or not?

I do remember lifting four & half foot of fish on to the mat, looking at it in amazement, nervously extracting the hook from it’s a massive mouth, sliding its bulky length into the weigh sling expecting thirty pounds plus as the scales swung round to a mere eighteen pounds, totally amazed again, I checked & rechecked the scales! Eighteen pound eight ounces from two different sets of scales. Self portrait photographs safely taken & my first catfish disappeared back into the depths of Manor Farm fisheries.

Marc Tip: Cat fish will test your tackle to the utter most limits & beyond, so be prepared!

Re-positioning the rod as quickly as possible & a few unhealthy scoops of the delightful ground bait dropped under the bush I was back in the doss bag gagging for some decent shut eye.

Day Two

After a restless but fruitful first night I began to unload Bob’s gear from the trailer behind me, gentle placing his equipment in his desired swim I noticed a row or should I say large stream of bubbles travelling up the lake, followed by another & another. These aint no carp feeding patterns unless they are huge! I thought to myself.

I watched the activity for an hour or two noting the positions, times, weather & temperature conditions. When all had ceased out with the marker rod to have a feel around! What ever the culprits were (Catfish) seem to be following a small channel that ran directly thru the middle of my swim down to the deep end of the lake, what a find.

Depths carefully taken & noted I decided upon a plan of attack! Of which I would employ late afternoon.

Marc Tip: I had over looked this channel when mapping the swim out yesterday; despite it only being a metre wide, six to eight inches deeper I had missed it! This is why it’s vital when using the marker to log, note everything from where the lead & float lands right up to the margin. An hour or so later Bob & Gary joined me; excitedly I began

to narrate my catfish battle with them, accompanied by photographs. Neither Bob nor Gary could believe the length of this fish.

After a brew, few fags the guys started fishing & the lake started filling up rapidly with day ticket anglers, great time to reel in, wonder down to the wash room for spruce up.

Bearing in mind I had only been gone thirty to forty five minutes, the lake was packed, really packed, non fishing swims now had anglers fighting to wet a line, my margin rod was now unusable as an angler had set up on my door step. With this much activity I opted to only fish with two rods, so a hopeful bait was cast to the channel I had been watching earlier. My new neighbour watched shaking his head & smiling as I let the line sink & drop some spod mix over the top.

Bob wondered up the bank around ten o’clock, “Busy init Bro”? I could only reply with a “Hhhhmmmm”.

We sat there chatting tactics, bait placements etc when one of my rods burst into life, a short tussle later & a carp of around 12lb was safely in the net. This activity continued right up until late afternoon, literally loads of carp around the ten pound stamp were coming out, I don’t think anyone failed to catch! I started to prepare for the coming nights fishing as the day anglers started to pack up & disappear leaving just Bob, Gary & myself to enjoy the lakes beauty once again.

With the sun setting, birds settling for the night, Bob & Gary safely back at their apartment, leaving myself & one other angler on the lake (Nathan). Things had returned back to tranquillity of the night past.

Before setting the rods for the night, I took a wonder around the lake via the toilets. I paused for a good half hour chatting to Nathan, picking his brains for any information, tactics he could give about the lakes & their inhabitants? Safely back to my bivvy, settled for the night & thought it was a good idea to catch a few hours sleep hoping for some action during the night. As I dosed I wondered if I was to be woken by a catfish or a really lumpy carp in the early hours. I still had my plan of attack at daylight! Presuming the culprits that travelled up the channel would return tomorrow?

All these things bounced around within my head as I listened to the recently started rain fall on top of the bivvy.

Marc Tip: It is always a good idea to politely ask other anglers for any information, background knowledge they know of the venue.

Day Three

The night passed uneventful but come first light the bubbles started at the far end of the channel, I quickly repositioned two rods, one baited for carp the other baited with four 25mm halibut pellets for cats. I dropped half a dozen spods of the smelly bucket mixture around the pellets & patiently watched as the bubbles came closer & closer.

To my amazement it was the carp rod that ripped off first but it was no carp pulling my arm from its socket, a cat had picked up a single 14mm KG1 boilie & was now tearing down the lake at a ridiculous speed! Being as cautious as I could I played & wore out the 16lb cat on a size 8 korda hook attached to 12lb braided hook link.

After photographing, weighing & returning the fish I carefully inspected the hook link, as I expected it was shredded with at least half of its fibres torn in half! Marc Tip: After many years of fishing I always replace the hook & hook link after every fish with the exception if I am pasty bashing.

Before I could the rod back in position the halibut pellet rod was lurching angrily to the right, spool spilling off line as another cat sped off down the lake, my arm hadn’t recovered from the last battle & I was into another straight away!

“Jeez, these fish can fight” I thought to myself, its unbelievable how they fight! This cat again tipped the scales round to a healthy 16lb; one thing I did notice was just how much the fish differ between each other! Every catfish’s skin had a totally individual mottled pattern upon it. Has to be the perfect camouflage? By the time Bob & Gary had turned up for their daily fish I had banked three cats within around an hour, with a fantastic 22lb being the biggest. With this sort of action & excitement at 6am in the morning I was enjoying a can of lager, mug of black coffee & bacon frying in the bivvies porch. “Life, what a life” I muttered to myself!

I had all most one hundred percent decided to move lakes today but I was now in two minds after my recent successes. Weighing the options up I decided upon a good look around the specimen carp lake as no real big carp were showing on the lake I was fishing.

The specimen carp lake only being around 3 acres had some lovely features, over hanging trees, marginal shelves & a gravel bar stretching across one very secluded swim. I watched & watched looking for the slightest sign of a carp when I was rewarded with some bull rushes twitching to & fro several times, as I got closer a huge common carp rolled in front of the reeds followed by a mirror of equal proportions. I all most ran back to my current swim! Excited about what I had seen & the prospect of hooking into one of the beasts I had seen earlier.

As quiet as possible I set up the three rods, carefully thinking what sort of bait, loose feed to introduce into the new swim? With activity still constant around the reed stems I gentle lowered 2 grains of glugged natural maize popped up with the plastic version as close as I dare to the reeds. Before I could get the line sunk, rod onto the delkim I was receiving liners, things looked really promising as I crouched close to the rod.

I was in two minds whether or not to bait the area, would this spook the carp off, make them search for food?

I decided to give it thirty minutes before taking any actions & went about setting up, casting out the other 2 rods. One was cast to a likely patrol route along side another reed bed, the other just off a gravel patch I had found on the first cast near to the point of the swim. I constantly watched the other rod as the line picked up & then dropped down again; it had to go soon as clouds of debris rose to the surface just inches from where I had lowered my hook bait.

Marc Tip: When carp are this active I prefer to fish slackish lines as possible & do not get the marker rod out!

My wait was over as the delkim bleeped a few times & the fish kited fast to my right into open water, I was on the rod in a flash, feeling the steady, heavy plod of a sizable fish searching for haven. After a few hair raising moments of the line pinging across the carps dorsal fin & could now see the carp just beneath the surface. Safely netted & photographed the mirror carp certainly looked a mid twenty, the scales settled at 24lb 4oz, “Result” I thought to myself.

Bob soon joined me to take a look at this stunning fish & helped me celebrate with a can of lager in the afternoon sun.

Three days still to go, what else would Manor farm fisheries have in store for me?

Author: Marc Gough

Thursday, 09 October 2008 18:30

Carp fishing with Marc

UK Fisherman is delighted to be able to bring to the angling public a series of superb carp fishing articles written exclusively for UK Fisherman.

Written by Mark Gough, a self-proclaimed carp addict with over 30 years carp fishing experience, this series of articles is sure to appeal to carp anglers and coarse anglers alike.

Below you will find a few details about Marc and below that you will find his carp fishing articles ... believe me they are well worth a read !!

Profile Of A Carp Addict:

Name:
Marc Gough
Date of Birth:
19th January 1968

Home town:

East Grinstead
Marital status:
Seperated
Occupation:
Carpenter / Full time daddy
Interests (outside fishing):
Drinking, DVDs, darts, pool and computers
Best moments:
Birth of Annalise and catching his first 30
Worst moments:
None
Quotes:

"Born to fish, forced to work"
"Life is too short, you are a long time dead"
"Treat people how you would like to be treated in return"
"Look after your fish to preserve our sport"

Feel free to click on the titles below to read the full article and if you would like to comment on any of these articles or you would like to contact Marc, you can do so via the contact page.

Marc's Carp Articles

CARP FISHING WITH MARC - SEASONAL CHANGES (Pt.2)

CARP FISHING WITH MARC - SEASONAL CHANGES (Pt.1)

Submit an Article:
UK Fisherman would be delighted to here from you if you would like to comment on any of the fishing articles or if you would like to submit an article of your own.

To do so, please visit the CONTACT page.

Published in Carp Corner

Newsletter

Receive regular updates & newsletters from UK Fisherman ...
captcha 

Recommended

Promote your Business

Advertise at UK Fisherman

FREE and PREMIUM fishery, fishing holidays, fishing club & tackle store listings.

Read more

Website Design

Website design for angling businesses

Let UK Fisherman bring your products/services to a wider angling audience.

Read more

Angling Newsletter

UK angling and fishing news

News, reviews, competition details, tackle sales & more, direct to your inbox.

Sign up now

Angling Forum

UK angling and fishing forum

You're sure to find something to rant on about in our anglers forum. Sign up today!!

Join now

Follow us

Follow us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter
×
UK Fisherman Newsletter

captcha