3 is the magic number



9/7/17 – Suffolk Water Park (Big Lake)

Unlike most sessions, there was absolutely no doubt where I was heading today. I had only big fish on my mind (which roughly translates as a blank). Another fair weather session meant limited swim choice but I was determined to do a proper recce of the available spots, rather than just being lazy and jumping into the nearest swim to the car park. This did however involve quite a bit of trekking. There are some beautiful feature-rich areas adjacent to the car park, but I could see no signs of life and I finally settled for what is normally a very popular location, right at the end of the inner spur of the large horseshoe.


I had spotted a couple of fish about 10′ off the far bank, plus a single fish crashed out right in front of me. That was enough to make my mind up. Almost two hours after arriving, I finally had three rods out. The first time, incidentally, that I’ve fished three rods! I found a gravel bar about halfway out and sat the two main rods out on this after spombing out a bucket full of hemp, pellet and crushed boilie (# first mistake). The right rod was flicked out just a couple of rod lengths on the spot where the fish crashed out.

It was the middle rod’s day today. When the alarm first sprung into life, the only thing going through my mind as I leapt from my chair, was ‘it’s gonna be a new pb!’, and you know what? – I was right!


Not quite what I had in mind, but at just under 6lb a new pb bream.

Two hours later, when i’d just about removed all the slime from my hands, middle rod was off again resulting in a new pb of 6lb 12oz, and half an hour later, yet another improvement on that with another of exactly 7lb.


Yes, in hindsight, with the spomb contents, I probably asked for their attention (#lessonlearned) but it sure beats a blank.




Sweet Sixteen

25/6/17 – Somewhere in Suffolk.

A nice early start. A brief pause to sweep up the layer of bird feathers from the kitchen floor and a quick ‘wheelie-bin-burial’ for the previous owner of the feathers, before hitting the road north-bound with a choice of two locations.

Deciding not to take any punishment Melton had in store for me today, I headed for my little hideaway out in the sticks. In my very first post about this location, I mentioned a conversation with the bailiff where he had told me about two young lads who had caught fifty carp between them in one session! At the time I took this tale with the pinch of salt I thought it deserved but I’ve since come to learn the possibilities this lake has to offer.14

My prayers for an empty lake were answered when I arrived to find not another soul around. I set one rod up on the ledger which I cast to the far margin (where the larger fish usually lurk due to it being inaccessible from that side of the lake). The other rod was to be my surface rod for the day. I’d brought my bucket of dog biscuits and within a few minutes I was in to my first sprightly young carp. To be honest, I wasn’t totally prepared for a day of surface fishing and was somewhat limited with my hook bait options. While these carp are incredibly greedy and confident feeders, they still spook quite easily at poorly presented hook bait. Boilies are mouthed or just ignored, so my remaining options were hair-rigged biscuits or the crust from my sandwiches (which was all I was prepared to sacrifice). Neither of these options like to stay on the hook for long so it proved to be a busy day re-baiting. Nevertheless, it was still a very fruitful day.

Sixteen fish made it into the net. About five slipped the hook. I had one run on the ledger rod which I lost in the far snags. Not quite as bad as the other bloke who turned up halfway through the day and watched as the rod and reel he’d borrowed from a friend was snatched out of his hands as he was setting it on the rest, and disappeared into the depths, despite a frantic scrabble around in the shallows before it vanished. I couldn’t help chuckle, and as he packed and left, I promised to keep an eye out for it.

Some you win.

Sticking to my guns

10/6/17 – Hintlesham Specimen Lake

With spawning just about finished, there were once again more than a few choices of destination available to me this morning as I left the house, and it was only while loading the van that I settled on Hintlesham.
A momentary en route wobble brought about deja-vu caused by a previous trips last minute change of tack, only this time I stuck to my guns and Hintlesham remained the target.
The lake was pretty busy but after chatting with a few bleary-eyed bivvy dwellers, i realised that a few swims would be vacated around midday freeing up some more options should the need arise.
I got straight to work feeding the gravel bar and sat both rigs on the near side edge of the bar, then sat back and waited for what would surely be inevitable action. The action turned out to be the sitting back and waiting so when the far corner swim became available I jumped at the opportunity and knowing how much the locals seem to favour this swim (including my mate Ben of Wrappers delight fame) I was feeling pretty excited. When my first speculative cast practically brushed the lower branches of the far overhanging tree and plopped just about as inch perfect as you could ever hope to get without the aid of a toy boat, then I could have gone home a happy man there and then. I decided to spoilt it though and wait for a bite. photo
Both rods let themselves down today and despite sticking to my guns, they both contained blanks.


Cruel Summer

28/5/17 – Melton Specimen Lake

IMG_0540So today saw another fruitless trip out for  The Leaf Catcher.
The Carp were spawning at pretty much every other lake locally but Melton is always a few degrees lower, due to it’s dark & mysterious depths. The lake was pretty busy and although I couldn’t get into the swim I would normally opt for on such a glorious day, I was still on the same bank, with access to the end of the island.
The whole 12 hours produced just a few knocks and a couple of tentative pickups. I should imagine, had I opted for a slightly smaller hook bait, I could have at least tempted a tench or one of the pretty sizeable bream present, but no. I’m such a ‘bird in the hand’ kind of guy and as such I find myself empty handed far too often.
The day’s entertainment was provided by a small cormorant which spent the afternoon diving and surfacing with eels, some of which it took up to 10mins to finally swallow without them wriggling back out again.
Sadly, I now make that 11-1 in Melton’s favour.


It started with a bream

6/5/17 – Kirton Hall Lake

The scene from peg 5 where I was trying to snatch a last minute bonus, while packing up.

A busy day at the lake dictated swim choice today and as the wider end of the lake appeared to be shoulder to shoulder, I opted for the narrow end and peg 6, which as it happens is something of a favourite for me, despite not producing any of the larger inhabitants, it usually doesn’t fail to come up with some sort of reward.

Tactics in this swim, if casting to lily pads in either adjoining swim are ruled out, are basically to hit the far reed-lined margin and if you’re not within a couple of feet forget it. This was proven instantly as on casting out the right hand rod and starting to set it down I realised the line and rig was already ripping off and reed-bound. Unfortunately this was too much of a head start and I ended up 1 rig down right from the off.

A short while later the left hand rod was off but it turned out to be a rogue bream.

It looks like I’m using some ridiculously wide diameter line but it’s actually the fluorocarbon leader link I’m currently using.

Not the intended quarry although in my mind it would serve as the blank saver, in the event that the carp stayed away.

Turns out it was right-hand-Rod’s day today and he totally redeemed himself with five feisty carp over the course of the day.

Another perfect day at Kirton proving that they don’t need to be monsters of the deep to make it a worthwhile session.

Won’t be long now before the carp start spawning so fingers crossed I’ll squeeze in another session before they do.

Tight lines people.



Magnificent Seven

18/4/17 – Kirton Hall Lake


I made it to the top of the membership waiting list for Kirton (£65 a year and basically a no-brainer) so I’m therefore able to fish whenever I want, even if there’s a match (they always keep at least a dozen pegs available for members).  I’m pretty sure, without checking the blog posts, I haven’t been to Kirton since January 1st so this trip felt long overdue and I was buzzing at the prospect of tackling the lake on a favourable late spring day, and a mid-week session at that.image

For me, it doesn’t get much better than turning up at a six acre 54 peg lake and discovering it’s just you and one other sharing the lake (awkward bastard!) . I made the most of it by putting the new toys to use again and whacked out a dozen spombs full of a mix of crushed boilies, hemp and mini pellets, over my right hand rod which was clipped up on a clear spot three quarters of the way out (it’s actually pretty weed free all over apart from the pads in between each swim).  The left hand rod was used in a slightly less disciplined fashion, with a single white pop-up, and was just flicked out randomly in various closer in spots.

Within an hour the left hand rod had managed to bag a 7lb mirror and 8lb common. Not so much as a sniff on the right hand rod.

Plus another couple of smaller mirrors for the left hand rod.

Of course I didn’t want to move the right hand rod, after committing so much bait to one spot, but after forgetting myself and reeling in without first clipping up, then guessing the spot for a bit and finally giving in and playing the wrap game, it all got a bit messy on right hand rod. All he could manage were two half hearted runs which pretty quickly dropped the hook and a more positive take which instantly snapped the hook link. Forget right hand rod. He’s an idiot! An expensive idiot!

Meanwhile, left hand rod was having a field day. Over 10lb’s calls for ‘timer-cam’ piccies.

These fish were three of the hardest fighting fish I’ve ever had. It sounds ridiculous for fish of this meagre size, but Kirton’s commons fight like fish twice their size from any other lake round here. Perhaps the time of year was also a factor in their current peak fitness levels. I must get back to the bank in the next couple of weeks and see if I can’t tempt one of the bigger specimen commons which are now running into the early twenties!

Till next time. Thanks for reading.



Wrappers delight

11 & 12 /3/17 – Hintlesham specimen lake (overnighter)

I had arranged a 24hr session (only my second ever) with my mate Ben (from the aborted Catch 22 mission fame), and the plan was originally to try a new venue some distance away, but at the last minute, time constraints forced a change and we found ourselves rocking up at Hintlesham at the crack of dawn  on the Saturday. If I thought my sessions already involved wheeling a shed load of gear around, then this was Sheds R Us on wheels, and the planning and packing the night before – Holy crap!

Conditions seemed just about perfect. No wind, Light cloud cover but no chance of rain and with 24hrs available, the ability to just relax and take my time making sure the set up was just right was pure luxury. On the subject of the set up, there have been some new additions to the family.

A beautiful brand new pair of ProLogic Spod and Marker rods (fifty quid the pair off gumtree!), and a new Wychwood Spod reel (bought at the Brentwood Carp Show), and a cheap but solid Okuma reel for marker use. Oh, the joys of new tackle!

Ben had claimed his favourite swim in the corner, with access to the left hand overhanging tree-lined bank. He’d memorised the number of wraps for his two prime spots from a previous visit (he doesn’t get out much😋) and was brimming with confidence. Not wrongly as it turned out. Within a couple of hours he’d bagged himself a nice brace of commons.

I jumped in the swim next door which gave me easy access to the gravel bar a short way out. Air pressure was still around the 1020 mark and the general consensus was not to be pre-baiting too heavily, but unfortunately I had just bought a new spod rod, plus I like to keep busy (mess about with something) so out went a dozen spomb full of hot hemp, pellet and crushed boilies. I absolutely loved getting to grips with the new marker/spod gear and a couple of bank sticks twelve boot-lengths apart took care of the wraps.

The afternoon was quiet and without event but I was happy with rig set up and location. Just before nightfall I brought the rods in and was disappointed to see the absence of hook-bait boilie on each rig. Just the pop ups remained. I’m using a new brand of bait at the moment (Total Baits) and the consistency is very soft and obviously life on the hair is relatively short-lived. Because of this I switched to a couple of old Cell boilies I’d been soaking in hemp oil and could be more confident they would stay put. Both were sent back out on the same spots and left, hopefully, to do the business in the night.

The nocturnal soundtrack was in full effect under the gaze of a full moon. At one point I was convinced I heard A monkey from the Tomb Raider game! We both decided to get some early shut eye but no sooner had I dropped off when one of my alarms sprung into life. This was a whole new experience! I can liken it to being spun around a dozen times then shoved in the darkness towards the noise. Ben appeared, to assist with landing and photo duty and then left me to perform my wraps again before getting back on the spot and crawling back into my pit. Half an hour later I was playing musical alarms again. Ben assisted once more, the fish was returned and the wrap ritual was performed once more before retiring again.

After what I was convinced was only about 15 mins, it all kicked off yet again, but Ben was nowhere to be seen (turns out it was actually 45 mins), so I was left to my own devices (hence the fish-only photo).

The next morning, although the swim had gone quiet, I was still revelling in the previous nights antics. Ben wasn’t finished though and before we packed up he bagged two more commons including the best of the day, a 18.5lb lump. We were both well chuffed with our results, despite not being able to tempt some of the larger beasts out of hiding.

Overall it was an awesome experience and just a delight to get some fish on the bank once more (note to self – learn a thing or two about venues and successes!)


Virtual insanity

26/2/17 – Suffolk Water Park

So it’s official. I’m addicted. What is it about a seemingly impossible challenge which makes it so incredibly attractive and intriguing?


Today’s blanking masterclass showcased the shallow arm of the large horseshoe lake. I was sure my rigs were presented perfectly on a gravel bed 50 yards out and so was convinced,  yet again, that today would herald a change in fortune, the destiny of which I’ve so foolishly placed in the hands of this lake.

WTF happened to travelling light? And this is just a day session!



Cheap Thrills.

29/1/17 – Brentwood Carp Show.

A day out at a show drooling over the latest and best carp products. I was like a kid in a camo-coloured sweet shop and with a few pence burning a hole in my pocket I even treated myself to a new bait bucket, a beautiful new spod reel and numerous other little bits and bobs.

The chief product tester was immediately ‘on the case’ . I think it met with the gorgeous Sia’s approval.

Losing in front of your home crowd

30/12/16  &  1/1/17. Kirton Hall Lake

Hoping to resolve my current fish drought, I managed to squeeze in a couple of trips to Kirton. My last session of 2016 (in zero-degrees misty fog with half the lake frozen) and my first of 2017 (torrential rain with occasional breaks revealing an absolute mill-pond-calm stillness).

During two full day sessions, all I had was one tentative drop-back bite which amounted to nothing. Even a desperate attempt to bag a consolation bream resulted in failure!

I suppose the only positive is I can say is that I’ve managed to fish every single day of 2017.

Happy New Year everyone and good luck in your quests for the forthcoming year.