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Sunday, 10 September 2006 00:00

Gold Valley Lakes

The weather man was right for a change ! Highs of 27 deg c were on the cards and I felt like another fishing trip coming on. I knew jenny would need little or no persuasion to sit in the sun for afew hours and I desperately need to redeem myself after my woeful performance at Lizard last week. [See diary 07-09-06]

After a leisurely start, we decided on a visit to Gold Valley lakes in Aldershot, hants, where you are almost guaranteed some fine sport. It was midday by the time we arrived, the sun was high in the sky and the main lake was almost full. We had little choice of swims, although fortuntely one of the few availble was nearest the car park.

Mirror carp - Gold valley main lakeJenny adopted the "quantity" approach fishing up in the water for the many silver fish using a waggler, alternating between corn and banded pellets. I adopted the "quality" approach and determined to break by PB [15lb common] set up a method feeder, burying a 15mm pineapple boilie in the mix and casting to the central island. It didn't take Jenny long to find the hungry roach and rudd and it wasn;t much longer before I was playing the first carp of the day, a 7lb common which was soon safely in the net. That was quickly followed by a 9lb 8oz mirror. Meanwhile, Jenny continued to heave out the roach and rudd.

As the heat of the day really kicked in, the fish undertsandably decided that a rest was in order and things went very quiet for a while. It wasn't until about 4pm that things started to liven up again. I decided to ring the changes and opted for the splasher waggler approach using a banded pellet and feeding 6 or 7 pellets every cast.

Mirror carp - Gold valley main lakeThis bought some immediate success. Almost immediately by skud waggler hit the water, my pellet was devoured by a hungry carp which hurtled off into deeper water. Over the next hour or so, I couldn't go wrong and banked another 7 carp, the best tipping the scales at 11lb. They then switched off the feed again and I could only manage one more carp of 9lb before we decided to call it a day as dusk fell.

Gold valley had certainly lived up to its reputation once again as a fisrt class commercial fishery. Despite its various drawbacks [£10 for only 1 rod, a host of bait bans, some poor quality fish and a disappointing attitude to disabled access that we once encountered], it is still worth a visit and you probably won't go away with an empty net !!

Til next time, happy fishing!! Paul @ UK Fisherman

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Published in Diary
Tuesday, 22 January 2008 00:00

Luckiest fisherman on earth

How to become the ‘luckiest fisherman on earth!’:

Source: Tim Richardson, author of Big Carp Bait Secrets

Have you ever wondered why one ‘lucky guy’ seems to catch the biggest fish again and again, while the majority of other fishermen just seem to get the average catches? Why is that?

Many of us would love to catch those big catfish, carp, bass, trout etc, every time we go fishing. It may just be that the guy is a genius angler, but real fishing success is often simply about using bait that is more effective than most other anglers baits at getting round fishes natural fears and resistance to eating it!...

But how can we achieve this? Well here’s a few of some of the best most proven methods of increasing your catches, especially for carp and catfish, but can be applied very effectively to many other species:

1. Try taking a look at the most popular baits where you fish and eliminate any similarity your homemade bait has with them. This especially applies to your own unique fishing bait recipe or formulas. This removes the fishes ‘danger reference points’. This gives your bait a massive ‘edge’ because the fish will not associate your bait with danger, anything like as much as with the baits everyone else are using - afterall , the whole point of a bait is simply to fool the fish into taking a hook into it’s mouth!

2. Make your bait different sizes, odd shapes, density, colors, flavors, with different attractors and additives, the more different to the usual bait the fish experience, the more effective your bait will be potentially be. Making your own bait puts the odds back in your favor and the power back into your hands - literally!

3. Absolutely pack your baits with “powerful ‘free amino acids’ (the type bodybuilders use as a liquid protein food supplement.) Even if you’re making a proprietary bait using a ‘commercial base mix’ that anyone can purchase, this will really set your bait apart and make it preferable to fish!

4. Pack bait with minerals, vitamins and trace elements - get a health tonic supplement from your local drug store. Very few people realize that these are in fact amazing attractors in their own right! An astounding edge is to massively increase the attractiveness and soluble nutritional message leaking from your bait, by soaking your hook bait in a mixture if fresh liquidized sweet corn, molasses and liquid protein food (so-called ‘free amino acids.)

5. It has been proven that when tested carp were provided with a number of complete foods providing all their nutritional requirements, preferred the food that had been sweetened. Eg, try sweetening honey and molasses , fruit sugar (fructose), or saccharin.

6. Add Sea salt to your bait - this is one of the most proven and unbelievable fish feeding triggers, and a great nutritional taste enhancer full of minerals. Nearly every animal and fish cannot live without salt!

7. For many fish including catfish and carp, pack your bait with fresh good quality digestible protein - it doesn’t need to be a large proportion, no more than a third of your bait. Ingredients such as trout pellet powder, meat and poultry meals, blood meal, fish meals and shellfish meals and liver powder are great. Add energy rich carbohydrates to provide balanced nutrition and binding. For example, soya flour, semolina, or even ordinary white or brown wheat flour. For carp try adding some wheat germ it has excellent properties!

8. Add a small amount of oil to your bait for a balanced nutritional value. For catfish this could be you favorite fish oil. For carp the best is probably pure cold pressed hemp oil -it’s natures ‘super food’ and is one of the richest and most healthy and nutritional oils known to man and fish!

9. Give your bait some protein that’s been ‘predigested’ or ‘hydrolyzed.’ This is easily achieved by adding a small amount of proprietary powder, like predigested liver, fish meal or shellfish extracts to your bait; available from bait companies all across the worldwide web. This method is incredibly effective, improving the fish attractive ‘amino acid profile of your bait. Fish are extremely efficient at detecting and utilizing amino acids, and you may well find that with the higher the rate of inclusion of these highly fish digestible ingredients, your catches and numbers of bigger fish soar too!

10. Allow your bait to ‘cure’ for 3-4 days prior to use; this allows your bait to start to ferment and lets bacterial enzymes release alcohols, sugars and increase the level of predigested proteins in your bait; all amazingly extremely good fish feeding triggers and attractors. See the difference this makes to your catches!

11. If you use ‘boilies’ rather than paste or dough baits, try chopping edges off your hook baits as if other fish have been ‘playing with your bait and taking small chunks out of it; this can really make the bigger fish ‘feel’ safer when they sample your hook baits - try piecing your hook baits right through to release the maximum attraction even from the center of your bait; it really works!

12. Try wrapping your bait and your hook (except the point) in a paste or dough. Try a mixture of ordinary flour, marmite, parmesan cheese, garlic granules, curry spices, sea salt, eggs and liquid amino acids - this mixture is pure ‘dynamite’ and really makes ‘em bite!

13. One of the most successful paste / dough baits of recent times is made from a mixture of fish meal and a couple of predigested ingredients like predigested fish meals, or predigested shellfish extracts. Try binding them together with just ordinary flour and loads of liquid amino acids / protein food supplement. ( But no eggs.) Experiment with different proportions to get your dough / pate to hold and last on your hook for different times. When you ‘bait up’ or ‘chum your swim with free baits like this, to attract the fish - hold on to your rod/s!!!

14. Add natural ingredients to your bait, for example, bird foods contain all kinds of fantastic foods fish love, like insects, seeds, grubs and worms. Many times, these encourage smaller fish to find your bait, and these can lead the bigger ones to your hook...

15. Add a ‘crunch factor’ to your bait - many fish have food detectors inside their gills, and allowing fish to experience eating your bait like it was natural food, eg, like shrimps or snails or mussels, is a great way to ‘turn them on’ and get more confident feeding and more bites!

16. If you use ‘boilies for carp catfish, etc there is a simple method of improving them: If you buy your baits frozen in a bag, then open them up and let them defrost and ‘warm up for 3-4 days in advance of fishing. This gives bacterial enzymes the time to start breaking down your baits and releasing very attractive alcohols, sugars and amino acids for example. It really works well for better catches and can even promote quicker bites!

Making and adapting your own and readymade shop - bought baits to make them different to the rest, and far more effective than normal is a science, and a very satisfying 'art'. When you have armed yourself with a range of great baits, the confidence you feel is awesome, and especially satisfying when you’ve ‘designed them and make them yourself!

I could show you many real life examples of how using edges like these and others, have resulted in fantastic big fish catches.

I love researching and writing about fishing bait because it is one of the fastest short-cuts to success! I am into bait in a big way, having even researched the subject with a PhD biochemist to reveal the reasons why and how baits really work to catch fish. I’ve found that a little bait knowledge can catch you more fish, but the more you know - the more consistent your catches can become - and the more big fish you catch!

The truly amazing thing is, ANY angler can achieve truly amazing catches with just enough of the right bait knowledge!.. Then other anglers will wonder what his ‘secret to success’ is...

Want to learn more about the "secrets" of caching big fish,
check out Tim's website at:
www.baitbigfish.com

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To do so, please visit the CONTACT page.

Published in Carp Fishing Articles
Saturday, 27 September 2008 13:00

Piscatorial Companion

A PISCATORIAL COMPANION - By Steve Sheppard

Source: Steve Sheppard at Anglers Gifts

Now you may think from my title a friend to go fishing with well you are wrong. This is a story going back to a time when men were men, adventure, danger, excitement, was the watch word of the day for the young aristocratic gentleman bent on experiencing all life has to offer. There were many wild untamed parts in the British Isles in those days none more so than the remote lochs and little known streams of Bonnie Scotland.

Wednesday, 09 August 2006 00:00

Junior Carp Championships

Preparing for the Junior Carp Championships 2006 [Part 1]: - By Crazycarper

Seventeen minutes past eleven, Thursday 3rd of August, I'm worrying about the competition in less than two weeks time. After filtering the internet for every bit of information and tips about Linear fishery's Brasenose 1, it is looking more and more like RMC's Thorpe Lea. An action water, and a big one at that.

The competition layout is 50 competetors in each qualifier, with random swims, total weight of all fish caught and top 10 go through. So now I have to make a game plan, what am I going to do which will make me stand out from the crowd ?

Brasenose 1 is 32 acres in size with just over 3,000 carp, mostly mirrors, resident there. The articles and reports I have read present stories of mega hauls of carp in single day sessions, one of which reporting 514lbs of carp in 36 hours. Most of these mega hauls were taken by some sort of boilie with an accompanying PVA bag or mesh full of pellet.

So with only 2 rods allowed, I have my first rod sorted. For the second rod, I have decided a different approach will hopefully produce the goods, so there are a couple of options in mind.

- The first is a zig rig, or for those of you who don't know, an extended hair rig (usually about 3-6 feet in length), with a pop-up high-vis boilie cast into the same area as my other rod. With this I would be covering mutiple depths and catch the fish at whatever level they are cruising around. This was also reccomended by someone who knows the lake very well (no names lol).
- The second option is a piece of fake bouyant corn counter-balanced by a piece of fake sinking maize on the hair, and a PVA mesh bag filled with groundbait mix including, mainline fusion chopped boilie, sweetcorn, mainline fusion 2mm pellets, bird seed (tried and tested !) and heathrow baits nutty groundbait.
- And of course the other option is to use the boilie and pellet filled PVA bag the same as the first rod.

So now with the baits planned I can move on to a game-plan. Because I have never fished the water, and it is similar to Thorpe Lea, I am going to take exactly the same approach as I would at Thorpe Lea. This means getting myself into a rhythm and having everything organised so my fishing flows properly and without any distractions or complications. Using my invaluable marker rod to search for those ever important gravel bars and getting some feed and my rigs on it accuratly. After finding the gravel bar and placing the marker there, I plan to throw some balls of the groundbait mix around the marker to get that first carpet of bait down (I usually put balls of groundbait out first as it gives a cloud effect to the water which draws fish in so much quicker than just boilies or pellets, Danny Fairbrass inspired me with this). Then introduce pellets and boilies, and then finally the hook-baits.

So I have 9 hours and 49 other people to compete with, I think with a organised and strong game-plan I can qualify into the finals, or at least give everyone else a run for their money ! Thanks for reading everyone and will let you all know how it went !

Luke Thomas
Crazy_Carper

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Published in Carp Fishing Articles
Monday, 22 September 2008 19:58

Barbel fishing on the River Severn

WHAT CHANCE A SEVERN MONSTER? - By Stuart Watkins

Source: Barbel Catchers Club

It’s now almost a decade since Howard caught his former British record fish from the lower reaches of the Severn. I recently read an article by Steve Stayner in one of the angling monthlies where he briefly mentions the capture of this memorable fish. He then goes on to talk about the many people who have since tried to catch it, or a different fish of a similar size, from the lower river. In my experience these people that Steve talks about, don’t exist. The river never did see the influx of anglers that many of Britain’s smaller rivers see when a huge fish is caught. In short the Severn’s most popular period was at the very beginning of the barbel boom in the mid to late eighties. In my opinion this will always remain the case, because other rivers produce fish of an equal size, or in many cases bigger, that are in the majority of cases far easier to locate and catch. We often hear the term anyone can catch from the lower Severn, and while this is certainly true, fish of say 12.08 plus are not common, and fish of 14 plus are rare creatures indeed.

Stuart Watkins with a 13-0 from the Lower SevernSo what chances a Severn monster? Obviously location is the key factor here or is it? Most of the better fish I have caught came from swims which only produced the one fish on the day. A lack of smaller fish may indicate the opportunity for a better fish to move in on any feed present. Note I said on the day, because I feel these larger fish could turn up in any swim on any stretch between Worcester’s Diglis weir and Tewkesbury weir. I feel swim type has very little bearing on whether large barbel will or will not feed in them. The most important factor being a lack of run of the mill fish, again on the day. Could it be that these larger specimens perhaps only move around as solitary fish, or at most in groups of two or three fish of a similar size, and may prefer not to compete with other smaller barbel for any food in a given area. Another thing about these larger Severn fish is that they can turn up at any time of the day. Whilst most Severn regulars prefer to fish in the hours of darkness, myself included, my two thirteens from the river both came in daylight, and one of these in mid-July with an air temperature of 27°c under a blazing hot sun in water as low and clear as it gets on the lower river.

So how would I go about catching one of these truly large Severn fish? As I said earlier, I feel swim type is not that important. But having said that I always feel more confident in a swim that has less of a slope on it from the margins out towards the middle of the river, say fourteen foot deep one and a half rod lengths out, to around eighteen to nineteen foot in the middle, as opposed to say only ten foot deep one and a half rod lengths out. In shallower areas of the river, say around Diglis, the same applies, the only thing that changes is the overall depth, which may only be eleven foot in the middle so eight foot of water one and a half rod lengths would be ideal. I would be looking to place my bait around two rod lengths.

One of the most useful pieces of kit that I have used over the last two seasons has been the ‘Smartcast’, Now some people may cringe at the use of this, saying that it is unfair, but believe me if like myself the lower Severn is your usual venue, you will find it invaluable. Since first using it I have discovered that in most areas the river has no shelves apart from the marginal one which may be only a few inches deep when the river is at it’s lowest. It will also find snags and you will get used to spotting these after using the unit for a period of time and getting used to it. One other thing about the ‘Smartcast’ is don’t buy one if you are expecting it to find your fish for you, in reality it’s a pretty crude piece of kit. Believe me, having worked in the marine industry for the past eighteen years, it is only really useful as a guide.

As far as baits and baiting the swim are concerned, boilies would be my first choice in daylight, with a sausage meat concoction, donkey choker size, courtesy of ‘The Cullen Guide To Anti-social Barbel Baits’, Millennium editon, as an after dark option. Feeding the swim would be done using no more than twelve to fifteen boilies, fishing only two rod lengths out makes it easy to place loose feed by hand. I would be looking to feed an area say 20’ x 10’, putting in large amounts of loose feed in my opinion, and especially after dark, only encourages smaller barbel in numbers, or bream, and believe me once they move in forget your barbel. Once you start fishing below Upton they are definitely the river’s most predominant fish, and fish approaching double figures can reasonably be expected.

Once the swim has been fed I don’t wait to put a bait in, I can’t see the point, life’s too short and past experience tells me the biggest fish invariably comes out first, especially if you have had no action in the first half hour. Always a good sign that smaller fish and the dreaded bream are not present. My theory is that if your hook bait is untouched or you have had no rod top indications your loose feed will also be uneaten and intact.

Rigs used are simple and uncomplicated. Hooklengths are braid, either or ‘Silkworm’ or ‘ESP Sinklink’, around sixteen inches long for boilies and around thirty inches for meat. I never fish with bolt rigs in the true sense of the term, although a two to three ounce running lead will, I believe, to some extent have the same effect. I don’t see the need for fancy rigs and any modifications I make are usually to make life easier for me. For example incorporating a Fox Safe-lok with a one inch long piece of rig tube placed over it for security will make it easy to change hooklengths after dark. My views on Fluro-carbon lines are that the disadvantages far outweigh the advantages. So I will not use them, even in a gin clear river. Having said that Fox Illusion seems to be getting some excellent reviews at the moment, so I will see how Martin gets on with it over this winter with a view to using it as a hooklength next season. When fishing the large meat baits everything Martin has talked about in his articles applies. To give an idea of the bait size I use, all the ingredients weigh around 1.3 kilos. This makes around fifteen baits!

So what exactly constitutes a Severn monster? Fifteen plus is probably not an unreasonable target if you fish the river week in week out, three members have all taken fish of this size. One of the most important things to note about most barbel anglers on the lower river is that none of them are from the ‘Catch at all costs’ brigade. I think if you take this misguided approach, you will be in for a very lean time. Personally I go in the hope of catching a personal best, and if I don’t then there is always next weekend. I will probably get some stick for saying this but once you get down below Severn Stoke, don’t forget the chub. They don’t come out very often, but when you do hook one it will probably be well worth catching. In barbel anging terms my biggest ambition is to catch a lower river fifteen. Who knows, one day I may just get lucky and achieve it. Now what about that double figure bream??!!

Many thanks to The Barbel Catchers Club and Stuart Watkins for allowing UK Fisherman to reproduce this article.

Visit their excellent website at: www.barbelcatchersclub.co.uk

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.

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