First up for our new written pieces is Crew Member Jimmy Hibbard, here is part one to his first written piece for us here at Wofte Clothing… Enjoy!
At the Beginning of April saw me join a new water with a few fish in it that I’ve wanted in my album for some time. A plus side is that it’s only ten minutes from work meaning I could fit in a few more quick overnighters. The lake is 18 acres and full to the brim with weed…lovely. So, without any second thoughts, I began my spring campaign on the opening night of the ticket – the 1st of April. All excitable and raring to go, I arrived down the lake after work. This gave me an hour or so to find a few fish and get the rods out before sunset. Try as I might, I struggled to see anything. Consequently, I dropped in a swim I’ve been told a few regularly get caught from. I got the rods out on some clear areas, which proved harder than anticipated as the lakes mega weedy and clear areas are hard to come by. Come dark, I was settled for the night, with eyes fixed on the water hoping one would poke its head out. Sadly, it was a quiet night and the morning soon came round with the 5am alarm ringing in my ears. I watched the water, fixated on the place before me. I had just enough time to make a brew and begin the arduous task of packing up for work.
The next five overnighters where tough going, the lake was getting a lot of pressure and the fish weren’t playing ball. What I needed was to sit back and think about a plan of attack. So, without a further ado, I started to choose areas around the lake, have a good lead about, and find a few secret spots. I wasn’t going to look for the real clear areas as I was targeting the silty spots with freshly growing weed on them. I decided to stay away from the clear areas – as the fish got hammered off them and I thought that they had soon wised up to them, associating them with danger. I wanted to be a bit different and set aside from the normal tactics. I found these by firstly casting a bare lead into areas looking for the softer drops when feeling the lead down. However, I still wanted a slight thud as it hit the bottom and the odd bit of silk weed on the lead after retrieval. Finding a few spots saw the start of me baiting them religiously and ‘priming’ those areas. The next time I was down the lake, I only had a few hours to play. The Mrs wanted me home that night and so when I got down the lake, I immediately jumped in one of the swims I’d been baiting. The spot itself had a large weed bed close to it.
The rig I had chosen to use was a stiff hinge rig on a lead clip set-up. I chose this so I could drop the lead on the take. By doing that, it would eliminate any weed problems on the line whilst playing a fish. Instead of using a stiff boom section on the hinge rig, I replaced it with 30lb N-Trap as this enables the rig to take the contours of the bottom better. I also balanced the pop up so it sank slowly to let it settle on top of any stray weed strands still present after my baiting ,and then to finish the rig off a god man pva versacast tube to keep it from tangling on the cast . I soon had the rods out and it wasn’t long until the left hand rod was away. After a short battle, I slipped my first carp from the lake, into the net. A stunning 21lb fully scaled was my prize; one of just many carp the lake contained. It was a gorgeous fish for first blood. On the following overnighter, I managed 6 fish. I fished another area that I had been baiting.
The bites came more or less instantly as when I arrived in the swim, the fish were very active. Out of the 6, I ended up landing two target fish both 25lb+, one known as the Double Row Linear and the other was one of the three original commons. This was then followed with four stunning upper doubles. Finally, things where falling into place nicely. I knew the big ’un was due out soon and it regularly comes from one certain area of the lake. Naturally, I decided to start baiting that area over the next few days. A full moon was due and also to coincide with a band of low pressure coming in. It couldn’t have been more carpy, and I was dying to get down there. I planned my trip to fit in with the full moon and forecast low pressure band. After work, I rushed down the lake, and to my surprise, there was no one else there. Needless to say, I headed straight to the swim I so badly wanted to be in. The rods went out without fault. This was then followed with 2kg of boilie over the area, luckily managing to do this before the heavens opened. Later that evening, I was on the phone to a friend. The conversation soon came up about ‘One Pec’ – the biggie. We were just talking about it when all of a sudden, the left hand rod let out a single bleep, soon followed by another. As I put the phone down, it bleeped a couple more times. At that point, I picked the rod up and I leant into something solid. It plodded out in the lake, up and down the reed line on the far side.
The wind and rain was awful and blowing straight into my face. I began gradually gaining line and it was soon out in front me, just a rod length away from the net. One last bid for freedom exhausted the fish fully. First time attempt, the fish was securely in the bottom of my net – well and truly mine! Before even looking into the net, I already knew it was One Pec. But peering into it, confirmed all. Chuffed to bits, I made a few phone calls to try and get someone to come help me and take some photos. Sadly, no one was about. Up it went on the scales, 33lb on the button. I was ecstatic. My target fish ticked off the list, albeit a little down in weight. Of course, it wasn’t the best of weather for the photos, but I still got a couple of self-take and slipped it back with a get big smile on my face. My overnight sessions still continued. Not to mention, so did the success, landing up to sixteen fish in the month of May. I was well and truly worn out from that but I am carrying on as I have 4 more target fish to go. Fingers crossed, it won’t be long but I would have to wait until after they had spawned …
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I opted for the chod rig fishing at a range of 30 yards tight to over hanging features on the far bank, knowing the chod with nestle over any debris on the bottom giving me maximum presentation. With both rods on the dance floor with white northern special pop-ups on each rod over a good kilo of cell. I sat in the bivvy watching the sun go down after a very warm day, hoping that I was in for bite. I hit the bag and started cracking on with Kevin Nash’s demon eye, what a read I have to say! Eventually I got my head down but wasn’t easy sleeping listening to fish constantly crashing all over the lake. It was a quite night with no action. The sun was starting the rise and I was beginning to think it was not going to happen, typical!
But.. Out the blue the right hand rod ripped off with arguably the best sound a carp fisherman can hear, a delkim in full voice! I scrambled out the bivvy, reached for the rod and straight away the immense power I received was unbelievable with a very angry carp charging for the deep water and even worse a very large weed bed! Stopping this fish was inevitable as It kept going and going, eventually she slowed up, I tweaked the clutch and and starting gaining line. It was slow progress but each turn I was on the reel was a win! With the fish plodding right to left you really could feel the weight on the end, by this time my legs where like jelly knowing that I was attached to a decent fish!
A big grey mirror finally broke the surface about 10 yards in front of me, my jaw dropped, heart in my mouth as I slid the net under quite simply the biggest fish that was about the grace the my net. And she was in safe and sound I threw the rod down and peered into my net. Wait no surely not. I turned the fish on to its side and there was the 3 scales, it was only tri scale again, Max’s target. Staring in disbelief, it was a unit! I safely got her onto the mat, the sun was just coming up at a guess it would of been around 6:30. Nailed an inch back in the bottom lip really couldn’t of asked for a better hook hold! I gently lifted her into the retainer sling and let her recover In the water. Now it was time to go wake Connor and Max, oh no.
I slipped my shoes on not putting my heels in properly and set off to Connor who was about 40 odd yards away from my swim, I stumbled over to Connors swim and making enough noise skidding all over the place. I peaked into his bivvy and said “Connor you fag get up, just had Tri Scale again!” He turned over and and replied, no way! He got himself up and we both made our way to Max’s swim which was about 80 yards away from mine, again I peeked into his brolly and said “I’ve just had Tri Scale” he turned over and looked me in which can only be describes as a grumpy way. Can hardly blame him being woken up to someone saying they have just caught your target.
But being the good sport Max is he got up and we got Tri Scale out for weighing, she went 32.4oz in the end , chuffed was an understatement. Max and Connor also took some brilliant shots, proper trophy shots. Releasing her into the depths and watching her swim away for me is one of the best bits in carp fishing. Also went on the catch a stunning 22lbs common the next day to top off a brilliant session.
I had a swim in mind as I arrived, it was a corner on one side of the pit, with reeds and pads in the far margin, but there were no obvious signs of fish, so both me and Tosh carried on walking until we ended up on the other side of the pit which is the shallower end being 2ft in places. In the particular swim we were standing in, there are three sets of pads , and reeds to my right, and after 5 minutes standing there, in-between the first 2 sets of pads, a big, long fish rolled over and broke the surface. I looked at Tosh who was already looking at me nodding his head, and I knew he agreed with my mind that this was the swim for tonight.
I ran to the car and in the process getting back down to the swim with all the gear, another fish rolled to my right hand margin. By now I was itching to get the rods out, so I quickly tied up a hinge stiff rig accompanied by a 12mm white NS1 pop up, and flicked it to the left of the pads. I left it there for 10 minutes until I put out a couple of handfuls of Live System chops over the top. I then set up the right hand rod, and because I opted to flick it out only a rod length to my right hand margin, I really focused on the camouflage of the setup , by testing the leaders and lead clips in the margin until I found the best one. The rig that followed is one that I’ve kept secret to myself, to try and get the best out of it, but a critically balanced bait is used. I flicked it out and Boilie chops followed. Tosh had to unfortunately leave at this point, as he had work early the following morning, so I put the brolly up, put the kettle on, and made myself a brew while watching the lake darken.
Nothing much happened until around 10pm when, because fishing in shallow water, the coots where diving and picking up my right hand rod constantly! I must of shooed them away 50 times an hour! At 11pm they finally left my baits alone and I recast my right rod to put a fresh hook bait on and freebies followed. I had another quick cuppa, and then hit the sack.
6am I was awoken to my right rod bleeping away and as it stopped, I turned to see that the coots were back again. They are such a nuisance! Now I’m not going to lie, I just turned my head and went back to sleep, as I had work later on and felt that with the coots there, that was it.. But it wasn’t.
Delkim owners will know what I mean when I say it’s such a great buzz when the bite alarm goes into it’s 2nd tone and doesn’t stop! Well at 8am my right rod signalled a very powerful take, I jumped out of my brolly to see that the rod was bending double, as the clutch was set fairly tight. I lifted into the fish, which had reached the 2nd set of pads. I kept steady pressure, trying to retrieve an inch of line at a time to avoid it getting in there for good. I managed to steer it clear of the pads, and it kited left just under the surface, which gave me a first glimpse to what was hanging on the other end! A GOODEN!
I took my crocs and socks off (yes, crocs and socks) and pulled the legs of my trackies up so I could wade out to get into prime netting position. While doing this, the fish suddenly shot off, shredding line off the spool. The power of this fish was spectacular! I eventually gained back yards of line until it was just in front of me, which then I reached out, grabbed and got the net prime and ready. The fish plodded and plunged around with its weight and length in front of the net cord, so I let the rod do all the work until a decent Common rose and hit the surface.
I got the rod behind me and scooped the fish in the net with relief. What a battle! I cut the rig, and put a fresh one out, zeroed the sling and then slid her into the sling and hoisted her onto my new and now christened Trakker Sanctuary mat. I instantly noticed that the rig worked well as the hook hold was dead centre of the bottom lip. Absolutely nailed! I attached the sling to my Reaben Heatons, which read… What?… No!… My first UK 30 pounder at 30lb 4oz! It was The Big Common. I was ecstatic to say the least! I quickly got on the way with the filming for EssexAnglingTV and got some stills with my new personal best! It all paid off in the end, when I thought the birds ruined my chances. But catching one of the A-Team certainly put lots of confidence in my rig!
I got in the water to hold her until she was ready to go, and she sure was, slapping the water with her tail and giving me a farewell soaking. Happy Days!
I was drinking coffee like it was on tap for around two hours whilst looking out over Cross and messing about with my new toys. I had recently purchased a set of new Delkim TXI’s and whilst sipping on a brew I was getting used to their settings. Not aware what I had done the receiver suddenly started to fearlessly vibrate in my hands? Puzzled… What an earth was going on? I switched the volume up to be met with what was only to be described as a tearing take in my hands. As a natural instinct, one that comes to all of us as carp anglers, I leaped up to my rods which were slightly out of view to be greeted with the right hand rod bending round and the clutch spinning out of control.