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Rolling back the years!

As some of you may know, I have set up “The Fishing Experience” mainly aimed at giving children the opportunity to learn to fish under my guidance.

It’s an absolute joy to watch children enjoying themselves catching fish, getting excited about seeing their float disappear under, and the anticipation of catching another!

What that has also done, is reignite my passion for float fishing! Something that I haven’t done in well over 20 years.

Things have massively changed though from when I did it, it seems it’s all about the carp in this game too! Right up my street I thought :)

Especially when a work colleague told me there’s a match taking place at Colemans fishery, wood lake, which is a commercial, full of carp. Yep you guessed it.

My name went down in a flash and it was time to do some homework on the place and get myself kitted out. Tony Curd a professional match angler at Bait-Tech who has won numerous matches there, was my first point of call and he filled me in on all the necessary tactics needed. I felt confident, but having not done anything like this before, I decided to have a practice day the week before. The plan was to fish a method feeder to begin with filled with Bait-Tech 2mm carp & coarse pellets with a 6mm banded pellet on the hook, towards the middle of the lake.

While fishing that, I would feed a 5m line with 6mm pellets which I would fish later on the pole at various depths, from shallow 18 inches to hard on the bottom.

The last couple of hours I was planning on fishing the edges, baited with a kilo of Special G Gold groundbait, sweetcorn and hemp with either corn or a 8mm pellet on the hook.

The edge line I was told holds the bigger fish so I was not messing about with either tackle or bait!

Peg 15 was my chosen swim for my practice session, it had two sets of lily pads in the middle of the lake, either side of where I was going to cast my feeder.

My pre soaked 2mm pellets were ready to mould around the feeder, reel all clipped up, first cast of the day, gently sinking the line, rod on rest and the anticipation began. Within a minute the tip started tapping away, and probably a minute after that, round it went, first carp on! Well, I thought, this is different! I normally wait all day for some action! A nice carp around 6lb.

Before recasting I baited my other lines for later, and out went the feeder again. Tip tapping away, and it wasn’t long before carp number 2 was netted. I kept at it for couple of hours catching 15 on this method while continuously baiting the other lines. I was now itching the get the pole out as by now my 5m line was looking like a Jacuzzi!

I was not surprised to get a bite on the drop, my black hydro elastic disappearing in the depth of the lake…a bit scary if you’ve not done this before! Soon got it under control and carried on catching another 15 or so before finishing on the edge catching a few better sized fish.

Keep Nets are not allowed on non match days, but I can tell you I caught all day long and guessed my weight around 150lb

The match day had arrived…

Draw took place at 9am, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit nervous! I pulled out Peg 18, not a fantastic swim from what I’ve seen but nevertheless I was going to give it my best shot.

All rigged up similar to my practice session, again a nice set of lily pads was my target for the feeder, while feeding my 5m pole line and the edges for later on.

2mm pellets had been soaking with water for over an hour and I then drizzled sweet molasses over them for added attraction and extra stickiness.

Using a Preston mould, you get a perfect amount of pellets every time. I was all set, pole rigs depths adjusted, feeder rod in hand, reel clipped up and the whistle blew bang on 10am.

My method feeder landed inches from the pads within a second. It wasn’t long before a few twitches began on the rod tip and sure enough I had my first carp hooked and in the net in the first couple of minutes.

My adrenaline kicked it and I had a job composing myself as I was struggling to re-band my next pellet! I calmed down, got myself together and got the feeder back out.

Twitches followed but no bites! Recast after recast and a change of hook bait managed to get me another one but I felt I was being left behind. I was keeping an eye on the others and Peg 8 had at least 5 in the net by now. I stuck to my plan, while heavily baiting the other lines. As I was about to move on to my 5m line, my rod almost came off the rest! Yes! A good fish for sure.

Praying I wasn’t going to lose it, I managed to net it!

Easily 10lb and that was my turning point. I gave it another 5 mins on the feeder but that was my last fish from there. Out came the pole, I started on a shallow rig 18 inches with a 6mm banded pellet on a B1789 x size 18 hook. The float went under on the drop with an F1.

I carried on shallow and was catching every few minutes ranging from F1’s to 4lb carp. I now felt I was in this match and I was buzzing. When bites slowed up, I would go on a deeper rig and would catch there too. The only difference from my practice session was the average size of fish were much smaller. I was banking on the edges producing a few lumps but unfortunately I struggled and felt like I wasted time there.

Time was running out and finished off shallow again for couple more to hear the final whistle. I felt I done well in the end but of course the weighing would reveal all. I packed up and waited my turn to see the scales totaling 89lb for 2nd overall!

I was delighted. I collected some cash and drove home with a sense of satisfaction. Will I have another go? You bet I will!

Until then…

Good Angling John Bassili

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