Before I start to share my current angling exploits, Here's an insight into my angling approach, honed and fine tuned over the last 30 odd years as a carp angler...
These days since ceasing self employment (self unemployment when the conditions looked good) I have set days when I can get out on the bank and gone are the days when I can move my workload to suit weather conditions, angler pressure and even moon phases. I go when I can these days and with my favourite time of year just around the corner, I like to be prepared, organised and focused when I am out angling.
My angling mentality is pretty basic and is based on 3 key areas:
Angling effectively and efficiently
Preparation for me now starts in front of the laptop, once I have my ticket I will locate and label the lake on Google earth, print out a couple of copies, using the ruler tool I will measure the distances to islands, mid-points between swims, widest points etc. I will then trawl the forums for any potentially useful information. Then the fun bit begins when I get to visit the lake, get a feel for the layout and note which way the prevailing winds will blow etc.
A few years ago I was a member of the Farmwood Pool syndicate, the lake is a large, deep, exposed sand pit, each swim has known areas of shallower water surrounded by depths up to 35 feet, I knew those features would take time to map out accurately and I didn’t want to be thrashing the water to a foam once the fish were active.
Over a cold pint discussing the water a plan was drawn up which saw me and a mate down at the lake from February onwards armed with 4 marker rods and a flask of coffee each.
We picked and noted a reference point in each swim, then cast from left to right until we found an interesting area, noted the direction on the horizon and measured the distance. Using the other 3 markers we then found the right hand edge, then the front and back of the area. These extreme edges of the area were measured, noted and eventually plotted on a swim by swim map. It took two months to map out the key swims; some of the areas found were known features which most members were aware of, however what were known as a small humps or bars turned out to be large features with lots of varied depths to explore, as it turned out it was the deeper areas which didn’t get hammered like the shallowest spots which produced the prizes. We also found a few bonus areas to consider.
We now had a few swims on each bank that we could jump in when the conditions looked good, get the relevant map out, mark and measure the rods and drop the rigs and bait on the spots with very little disturbance. Our efforts were unknown to 99% of the members; however word must have got out as members who came to visit us whilst fishing noticed the line angles were not pointing towards the usual spots. I wasn’t going to give away all our hard work that easily and soon got round that by sinking my rod tips.
More recently I employed the same tactics on the famous Bedfordshire clay pit; the only difference being was that this lake was a 260 mile round trip. Marking and measuring visits were unviable so I mapped the swims by day and fished the nights. Technology had also moved on since my days on farmwood. A lake map was printed from Google earth on which you can see some of the features, using the ruler tool I could then roughly measure their distances and direction on the far bank and note it down for each swim. The ticket started in Jan so I used my first few trips to fine tune my swim maps using the Google earth map as a base to start from.
During one of these trips in Jan, I was sat in a swim called Alcatraz with all three rods fished on a small area at around 48 metres, in this swim you bivvy up above your rods which gives you a great view of the whole lake. At some point during the night it rained, Just after first light one of my rods ripped off and the usual routine followed in a methodical, calm fashion……….NOT.
Rip the bag open, swing round, crocs on…oooopps don’t forget the glasses, run down the slope towards the rods, right hand rod is away, try to stop before the rods….
O shit…….. Holey shit……Crocs are shit on wet clay……I skilfully and elegantly , skidded past my rods into the freezing cold water upto my nuts, Picked the rod up still half submerged, wound down and picked up the slack, felt a kick on the end and hey presto a tuftie popped up nailed on my pop up rig.
Luckily my preparation also extends to taking spare clothes.
In summary deep waters are far more time consuming to map out as the float takes so much longer to surface. The clay pit added another time consuming element in that all around the shallower areas, the lake bed in deep water was covered in a dark brown strandy weed which clogged the float up and prevented it from rising. Unless you landed on the feature it was a case of wind in, clear the float and chuck it out again.
All the extra effort and prep work detailed above can give you an edge when dropping into swims when the fish start to play ball and all the other anglers are thrashing the water to a foam but is only used as a starting point, from then on the picture in my minds eye of that spot will change with sightings and captures of fish, weed growth, along with any presentation issues I have to overcome, the hot areas within the area will reveal themselves and will get noted and fine tuned accordingly.
Your chosen venue doesn’t have to be a deep and feature filled carpy paradise to benefit from some extra work as there are harder spots, clearer areas, area of fresh weed growth and snaggy areas on all lakes which are a great place to start your campaign. All of which can be located in the colder months when the swims are empty, the weed has died off and water clarity is at its best.
My new water is again a 260 mile round trip so with laminated map printed it will be a case of walking round and round looking for fish, if I don’t find any then I will set up in a swim which I can watch the majority of the water from, fish off the barrow until I am happy with my swim choice and be prepared to move if I see or hear anything carpy.
Preparation means different things to different anglers; rig tying, bait prep etc, all of which feature in my campaigns but comes after I know what is out in front of me in each swim.
How times have changed, I have recently been offered a Deeper Ambassadors position and have been using the Deeper Pro Plus to map out a new venue and wow, what a piece of kit they are. More on that in the near future. I have also just joined taska carp and iam really looking forward to using there products iam sure it will help me put more fish on the bank
et nets Ken Beech