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Joe Chappell

When a Plan Doesn’t Quite Come Together

If you made it as far as the end in my last blog, I said that this week I would be comparing two rigs. A standard mono hair rig, and a coated braid blowback rig complete with anti-tangle sleave and kicker. I lied. The goal of last weekend’s session was to put the two rigs up against each other and see if all these expensive additions to our rigs really made a difference. Unfortunately, they just weren’t the right rigs for the lake I was fishing.

The rigs I had prepared to test against each other.

The venue in question was North Benfleet Hall Fishery. It was the lake where I learnt lots of what I know today, experienced my first blank (it was sub-zero) and did my first night sesh. I haven’t been there much in recent years since the chance of a decent fish is low, but I decided it would be the perfect place to test out my theory.

My friend Brad was up earlier than me and was at the lake for 7am. After watching the water for a while, he picked a double swim just off of the main body of the lake with access to reed lined margins, open water and an island. I arrived not long after at about 8am and spotted fish jumping in our swim instantly. I was hopeful of a quick bite.

Brad was yet to catch however, he spotted some mud coming up in the margins not long after I arrived. He lowered his rig into position and within minutes was into a fish. It was a short stubby thing with a deformed spine, but at the end of the day a fish is a fish and he wasn’t blanking (like I was). Not long after he was away again from the same margin spot. This fish was a little bigger too!

Meanwhile, I had set up my rods. One with the mono rig, and one with the blowback rig. Both had the same hook bait, a 15mm glugged wafter (which sunk as had been glugged for about 4 years) topped with a single fake corn. Topping my baits with fake corn had proven effective here in the past so I was sure it would work well. A mesh pva bag was hooked onto each rig and the rods were cast about halfway between the bank and the island. I had seen multiple fish jump now and most were in that area. Within minutes I was getting lots of bleeps on the alarms. Were they liners? Were they fish picking up the hook bait and getting away with it? Who knows. After an hour and a half, I had a run on the blowback rig. I lifted up the rod and the fish was on! However, my joy was short lived. After playing the fish for a couple of minutes the hook came free.

I was getting impatient and had paid to use 3 rods so I decided to set up a method feeder on my third rod. I used a short 4 inch hair rig with an 8mm mainline match pink tuna wafter on the hook. I mixed up my ground bait, adding some cumin that I found in the bottom of my bait bag and a good squeeze of robin red glug. I flicked it about 20ft out, just past a dying reed bed. Ten minutes later my rod was being dragged into the water by a hard fighting carp. This one I manged to land. Within the next hour I caught another two carp on the feeder.

I was re-casting the other 2 rods with fresh pva bags every half an hour, but I was still yet to get another bite. I knew that something wasn’t right and I was certain that it was the hook bait size. I decided to ditch the hair rig and change over to a German rig on one rod. I used a size 8 curve shank hook, around 6 inches of fox camotex soft and a 12mm yellow Signature wafter made by Sticky Baits. Find out how to tie the German rig here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOQisZCJ0bU&ab

The new rig hadn’t been in the water for longer than 5 minutes before I had a screaming run. My reward was a beautiful mirror.

Seconds later Brad was in. This fish was fighting hard and taking him into the reeds to the left. Luckily, he managed to steer it away and before long it was in the net. The fished weighed in just shy of 13lb. I decided to rig up both rods with German rigs and it proved effective. Over the next hour I caught a few more carp. Brad also switched one rod over to a German rig and managed another carp in no time at all.

Brads fish which turned out to be the biggest of the day

For me, the action continued until lunchtime with fish being caught on both the method feeder and the German rigs. Brad unfortunately, wasn’t having as much fun as me. Most of the fish were around five pound with a couple being a bit smaller and one a bit bigger including a beautiful ghosty common. By 1pm, I was getting hungry so I decided to reel in my rods for a while and cook some lunch. The menu was a pork and chorizo burger for a starter and chicken super noodles for the main course. Brad, who’s studying patisserie I might add, brought the desert. It was some lovely pastries. FROM ASDA! Seriously Brad?

After some grub I put the rods back out. Usual service resumed and I started to catch fish within minutes. This continued for the next four hours, with me catching so many fish I lost count and Brad managing just a few.

At 5:30pm the bailiff came round to say goodbye and remind us that we had to be off site for 6:30. This was news to me. My mum was working and couldn’t pick me up until nearly 7. Panicking, I phoned her but there was no answer. Not long after putting my phone down I got a bite on my method feeder, fish on! I was just ready to net it when I had a hook pull and the fish swam back into the depths of the lake. I had no time to be disappointed as within seconds my alarm started to beep and I had another run. I was in again and before long the fish was in the net. I was just ready to bring him out of the water when my third and final rod in the water had a bite too. After a short battle, that fish was in too. It was a triple run, but with one fish coming off only a double bubble. I wasn’t disappointed though. I’d had a fantastic days fishing and must have caught nearly 20 carp over the course of the day.

Somehow, I had managed all of this before my mum had even rang me back. After a quick call, we decided that I would just wait outside the gate and she would pick me up from there as soon as possible.

I decided it was time to pack the feeder rod away and gave the carp rods one last cast. The last half hour before reeling them in passed uneventful for me however, Brad managed to catch another one. By now 6:30 was drawing near and we still had lots to pack up. The farmers who own the land had turned up to lock the gates but with no barrow there was no chance we would make it. Luckily, they were friendly enough, unlike Orwell’s Farmer Jones. They told us to put the gear in the back of their pickup truck and then drove us to the carpark where Brads grandad was waiting for him. I unloaded my gear ready for the farmers to lock up and then waited for my mum. It’s safe to say that it was a rather entertaining way to end the day.

Check out my instagram @joec.carp

Check our Brads instagram @brads_fishing

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