Carp Fishing - Atomic Tackle Carp Diary 2
Rob Marsh is back with his monthly diary feature and this time, with his first choice of venue slowing right up, he is on a short ‘away day’ to Abbey Lakes.
With my September so prolific on the Southern Park Lake my hopes were high for October but after several blank overnighters it became apparent the fish had different ideas! Carp fishing is never a forgone conclusion and just when you think you have a lake cracked the fish turn all your winning methods on their head! But this is what keeps us on our toes thinking up new rigs, methods and tactics.
With no fish coming out and the lake having totally switched off me and a couple of mates practically had the whole lake to ourselves but still there were no carp. It was very quiet and with October nearly over I needed to get some fish on the bank so this seemed like a perfect time for me to have a short session to Abbey Lakes in France and, being only two hours from Calais, it’s perfect for a long weekend session. This fits in perfectly with my work as I find it hard to get away for much longer without problems.
After a quick chat with Rob Hughes, the English booking agent, he arranged for me to squeeze on an almost fully booked complex from Thursday night to Monday morning so the next couple of evenings were spent preparing for the trip including loading new Ultima 16lb Power Carp line onto the reels and spare spools.
Having fished Abbey regularly on short sessions during the winter months and having seen how effective a bait boat could be when one was used correctly by the lake regulars I had got myself an all singing and all dancing one from Blue Sky Angling. This particular boat comes with twin hoppers and a worm drive that allows you to trickle bait around the swim but the most important factor is the echo sounder built into the remote handset which allows you to place your baited rig on the chosen spot every time. This method is deadly on Abbey as it allows you to fish with minimum disturbance to clear areas in the gin clear and sometimes very weedy lakes.
Using a bait boat to drop off your rigs and bait can be a massive edge but rig choice is still very important and I have found that a Parachute Rig gives the best presentation for this style of fishing. I use an Atomic leadcore setup with a Choppa Droppa lead system allowing the lead to release on a take. Rigs are nine inches of 25lb Atomic Jel e Wyre in weedy green with size 6 Atomic Grabba hooks fished KD style with a Mainline Cell bait tipped with a pineapple pop up.
With the Parachute Rig the hooklink is put inside a solid Atomic Grenade PVA bag with a mixture of different sized pellets. I use Mainline response pellets in Cell flavour with Hinders Mini-combi, Halibut and Little Jems, it’s a mixture which few carp can resist! The bag is then packed tight with just the quick-release clip showing and this is then simply clipped to my leadcore rig. Once dropped off the boat the rig sinks to the bottom but the PVA bag acts as a parachute, allowing the rig to rest slowly on the lake bed to give perfect presentation.
After speaking to my Dutch friend, Jerone, he informed me that Fox Lake on the complex was fishing well but that Heron Lake was fishing very slowly. It’s quite strange as the two lakes are right next to each other yet they can be very different. On Fox, for example, the crays can be a real problem but on Heron it never seems to be the case. With this in mind I tied up some rigs with plastic imitation baits to help with the crays, as well as my usual Cell dumb-bell rigs. I made up ten of each in solid bags so I could fish as soon as I arrived at the lake. Bait boat batteries were charged and the van packed and I also took a small Bic boat with me in case a fish got weeded up.
Thursday soon arrived, I was booked on the Channel Tunnel at 2pm and arrived at the lake just before 6pm and, after a chat with Jerone, decided to fish swim 17 on Fox. My plan was to catch a few carp – hopefully - then move onto Heron and sit it out for one of the really big fish that reside in that lake and maybe even the stunning ‘Shoulders’ which could be over 80lb at this time of year!
I saw several fish show just to the right of my swim whilst setting up and I placed three rods in different depths ranging from 13ft to 17ft with the bait a small amount of mixed pellet and chopped Cell in one hopper to stop the PVA bag melting.
It was dark before I was totally sorted but I was soon sitting on my chair watching fish topping to my right and moving towards the middle of the lake so I wound in two rods and placed them where the fish were showing. It was now 11pm and with the rods on fish I decided to get my head down but I had not been in the bag long when my middle rod ripped away; after several minutes the fish locked up solid at around 50m out. Just then my right hand rod was away as well...
I put the weeded-up rod back on the rests with the clutch on and started to play the other fish and after a good battle I slid the net under an Abbey Lake common. I was sorting out the slings and scales when the weeded rod started taking line again and within seconds I was back in control and soon had the fish in the margins. I caught a glimpse of it as it rolled in front of the swim, it was a pretty hefty mirror, but as it was tiring it made one last attempt for freedom and the rod pinged back as it slipped the hook and was off. Gutted I weighed the common at 26lb 12oz, took a few photos and slipped her back.
I got the rods back on the spots and I climbed back in the bag. The temperatures were plummeting and it was a bit of a shock to the system as it had been really mild during the nights back in England.
At 4.30am my right hand rod was away again and after another good battle I soon had an upper 20lb common in the net and the mat and sling were white with frost as I dealt with it! The Cell hookbaits were doing the business again and the crays did not seem to be very active so there was no need for the plastic baits. With the rod back out I got back in the bag to warm up.
At 7am I had a blistering take on my right hand rod and soon I was playing another angry carp. It felt a better fish and as it rolled in front of the swim I could see it was a very good common, looking every bit 40lb plus and on the scales she went 41lb 6oz.
I was well happy with my first night’s fishing but I would need to move to the centre of the lake as a lot of anglers were turning up that morning. Decisions had to be made, and soon, should I move into the centre of Fox in pegs 6 or 15 or should I go onto Heron and sit it out for a lump? We did some filming for Abbey TV and FreeSpirit Fishing TV with the big common as I made up my mind.
I got packed up and loaded the van and after a drive around I decided to fish Peg 11 on Heron as it gave me a good amount of water to fish. I had never fished that area of lake before and I was excited at the possibility of perhaps connecting to a real biggie. Peg 11 had many weed beds showing with weed up to the surface of the lake and with the use of the echo sounder on the bait boat I soon found that clear spots were few and far between.
It was early afternoon when all three of my rods were finally sorted and I was sitting back watching for signs of fish when my left hand rod was away, the fish took line and then it went solid. I put my life jacket on and jumped into the boat and gently pulled myself out to fish that had weeded me up to the left of where I had hooked it. I pulled gently and the line pinged off the weed bed and then into another to my right - it is amazing how these fish do this. I gently applied pressure again and this time the rig came to the surface – the fish was off...
I rowed back to the bank and although I had got a take within a few hours of fishing I was gutted. The rod was placed back on the spot and I tied up some new Grenade bags ready for the night.
At 6pm the same rod was away again, same as before it weeded up and I went out in the boat and applied gentle pressure but this time I was soon back playing a very angry carp and I slid the net under a possible scraper thirty mirror. I rolled the net up, lifted the carp into the boat and onto the mat. Back on the bank she went 29lb 7oz and was a great start to my Heron Lake session.
I managed to get the rod back on the spot just at dark and it felt like it was going to be another cold night but I sat up till about 10pm listening and watching for any signs of fish. There were several shows to my left in a bay so I decided to put a rod in there. It took a while to find a clear spot but I finally found one and placed a bait on it. Time for bed, it really was chilly, but it was not long before I was out of the bag and in the boat playing another fish. This one had picked up the bay rod and was a low 20lb fish which I quickly dealt with before getting the rod back out and back into the bag.
The next rod to go was my right hand rod and after a monster battle my heart sank as I slid the net not under a carp but a massive sturgeon. I unhooked it in the net and released it straight from the boat! Two more fish graced my net that night, both upper 20lb carp. I certainly had been unlucky on weights as on previous trips I had found the average size of the fish was in the 30lb-40lb bracket but it was action and hopefully I would soon get amongst some bigger fish.
On the Saturday more anglers turned up and it was really quite busy, several anglers jumped in the swims opposite me which took my bay rod out of the equation and put lots more rods in that area of the lake. Just after breakfast I was in again though and after a good fight I landed another pretty mirror of just over 25lb.
The rest of Saturday was very quiet and with the lads opposite markering and spodding I think the fish retreated back into the weed so I took the opportunity to go for a shower and a little chill out back at the clubhouse, returning to get the rods back out just before dark.
By this time there were a few fish showing to my left but all was quiet until 1.30am when I found myself back out in the boat playing another angry carp which was determined to find every weed bed it could. After several minutes I had drifted and been pulled in front of peg 13 as I played the fish and I thought at any minute I would pick up the other angler’s lines at any second. Thankfully I managed to get it in the net without picking up any lines and it was a much better mirror, which went 38lb 14oz on the scales and it was a stunning fish which I sacked for the morning to get some filming done. Just before first light I landed another upper 20lb mirror.
In the morning Rupert came round to do some filming for me and I was informed that the angler opposite had caught ‘White Tips’ at just over 60lb. We went round and did some filming and photos and I looked on in total awe at a fish that is definitely on my wish list!
The day again was very quiet and soon passed and before I knew it my last night was upon me and my last chance to get my lump! Around 10.30pm I was in again, my hopes were pinned on this being the one but another mirror that might scrape thirty pounds slipped into the net.
I awoke at first light and started a slow pack up and although I had not caught my biggie it had been a great long weekend session. Whilst driving home I was already thinking about my next trip in mid November; the complex is just awesome, the fish are stunning and the place just has that buzz about it and allows the angler with limited time on his hands to experience the chance of catching a whacker!
On the way home I was thinking about my plans for the winter and after seeing a picture of my mate Billy Flowers with the big girl in Elphicks North Lake at 58lb+ I could not get the thought of catching that fish out of my head. I have not fished a lake in the UK with a fish that might break my personal best for a long time and as soon as I arrived back in England I found myself checking availability for November and with a few dates booked my quest will begin.
Even if I don’t catch her this winter there’s plenty of other cracking carp in the venue but that’s for November’s Diary piece!
By the Same Author
- Carp Fishing – Rob Marsh’s Atomic Tackle Diary
- Carp Fishing – Rob Marsh’s Atomic Tackle Diary
- Carp Fishing – Rob Marsh’s Atomic Tackle Carp Diary
- Carp Fishing – Atomic Tackle Carp Diary
- Carp Fishing - Atomic Tackle Carp Diary
- Carp Fishing - Atomic Tackle Carp Diary 2
- Carp Fishing - Atomic Tackle Carp Diary