Sunday, 25 January 2009

Winter Carping Pt6

I can’t believe just how cold its been over Christmas and new year!. Prior to this fishing session I’m writing about now, which took place on Saturday 17th January, my last winter carp session was on boxing day!. With the lakes iced over for a few weeks I eventually decided to make a start on reviewing some of the fishing gear I use and I published my first review on kryston silkworm braid last week. I’ve also added a few new links to this blog, notably Mo's Co Pva, mo has been supplying carp anglers with pva for years and I use his gear myself, you’ll find a link to mo’s ebay shop in the right hand navigation under ‘recommended sites’. Also added to this section are a few north west based ebay shops, northern monkeys owner Julian Grattidge has a new ebay shop called ‘Darkside Tackle’, Trafford Angling Supplies and the Cheshire based Koala Products. Ebay is a great source of cheap fishing tackle and these guys are local to the north west area so give them your support!.

Saturday 17th January was a cold day, if it wasn’t for the fact that we’d had wind and rain prior to the weekend I wouldn’t have bothered going but I suspected the lakes would be ice free and as I pulled into the car park my thoughts were proved right, the water was bendy and that was enough for me.
I wasn’t alone on this session, there was another carp angler on the water and he had beaten me to the fish. The carp were stacked up at the entrance to the bay and he was just about on them, I couldn’t really drop in on his left hand side as my own angling etiquette wouldn’t allow it, I wouldn’t have been happy if it was done to me so I wasn’t going to do it to someone else!.

I had very little choice but to set up in the main area of the lake, this at least gave me access to my faithful hotspot so I covered this area with one rig and I put the other just off to one side, both rods were just fished with pellet hookbaits and a small pva mesh bag. I was in for a struggle today, the other guy had the fish covered and he was first into a carp, he was also second and third into the carp as well as he picked them off from the bay entrance. My swim remained quiet, nothing showed in front or on my right but I had the hotspot covered and this spot has very rarely failed to produce at least one carp on each winter session!.

The first few hours of my 6th winter session had been quiet, I was sitting watching the water when I had a single bleep came from the delkim. I sat and watched but nothing happened for a few seconds, I wasn’t sure if it was a carp or not as it was quite windy by this time, I glanced at my watch and it was 1.30pm, as I looked back up at the water my delkim started a very slow run and as I went to grab the rod I watched my monkey climber slowly pull up. I hit it and sure enough I found myself attached to my first carp of 2009. I was pleased to be into a fish, I’d have hated to start the new year with a blank!.

The fish didn’t do much, it just kited from side to side all the way in and after a few minutes in the margins I eventually slipped the net under an ‘average for the water’ common carp. That’ll do me I thought, I gathered my unhooking mat and scales, set up the camera and got on with weighing and photographing the fish. The common turned the scales to 14lb 6oz, not a small fish and not a big one either but it was my first fish of 2009 so I was happy to at least get myself ‘off the mark’ so to speak.

First winter carp of 2009, a common of 14lb 6oz

I covered the hotspot again, 1.30pm was an hour earlier than my boxing day capture from the same spot so I had a bit longer left this time and I was hopeful of another fish. Once I was settled down it was back to the waiting, I was slowly getting more and more restless as time ticked by. My reason for this was that evening time is usually regarded as the best time on my winter carp water and I was convinced a second run would come. I held on and held on in the hope that the hotspot would give up a second fish but it never did. I even stayed an extra 15 minutes until 16.45pm but it was all in vain and I couldn’t add another carp to my now running 2009 tally.

I even left the rods as late as possible before spodding in some pellets ready for next week, doing this put me at risk of getting wet as the rainy clouds where looming in the distance. I managed to get my gear in the car just in time and as I pulled out of the car park the heavens opened and it lashed down!. Despite only catching one fish I left feeling lucky I was still dry!

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Carp Tackle Review - Kryston Silkworm

I first started using kryston silkworm in 1994!. At the time, I’d moved onto a small north wales club water that had a pretty severe weed problem. Prior to fishing this club water I was quite happy with my merlin/multistrand combi link, I was catching a lot of fish on the combi link but when I came up against the weed I started to struggle a little.
The weed I was fishing in was silkweed and a hooklength material like multi-strand was a complete nightmare when fishing in it. As the strands separated the last few inches of my rig would get clogged with silkweed and clearing the weed off my rig became a real problem. Once the fibres of multi-strand were damaged the last few inches of my rig would be weakened and I just couldn't risk a loss of breaking strain, after all, those last few inches of your rig down to the hook are vitally important!.

Krytson Silkworm, use it with confidence!

I was desperate for an answer to the multi-strand and silkweed problem so I began to look at alternative hooklength materials. At the time one particular braided hooklink material seemed to be very popular and it seemed to be standing head and shoulders above everything else, that hooklength was the famous kryston silkworm.
I had nothing to loose so I went out and bought silkworm in a couple of different breaking strains. The one I eventually settled on was the 25lb version and the day I bought my first spool started a long association with kryston silkworm that is still going strong today!.
I could make a few quotes about kryston silkworm based on the information on the kryston website but this is a blog and I’m reviewing silkworm based on my own findings. Nearly 16 years after I first used kryston silkworm I’m still on the very same hooklength material. Yes I’ve tried other materials for short periods but carp fishing is about confidence and I keep coming back to the products I find the most reliable and I promise you, kryston silkworm is one of the very best, it’s just a superb hooklength material.

Lovely Capesthorne hall carp that fell to kryston silkworm

I like 25lb silkworm because its so supple, coated braids seem to be all the fashion in carp fishing at the moment and yes, they work very well but they lack the suppleness that allows for a more natural movement of your hookbait and for me, this natural movement is a big plus because I want my hookbait to behave as naturally as possible when a carp sucks and blows at the bait. I believe carp reject your hookbait because they've worked out that its attached to something and without suppleness this is far easier for them to do hence me preferring silkworm over a more popular coated braid.
Not only is silkworm supple, its actually quite thick in diameter compared to most hooklength materials and I think this thickness is actually a benefit if your using it as part of a basic knotless knot setup. Used in conjunction with a nice down turned eye hook like the kamasan b175, kryston silkworm helps create an extremely effective carp rig that turns and hooks carp easily.

Use with a pva stringer or mesh bag to avoid the odd tangle

The only problem I've had with silkworm is the odd tangle, tangles can be reduced by using a coated braid but you also loose the suppleness of your hooklength thats so important. The answer to tangles with silkworm is to use a pva stringer or mesh bag, pva is quite cheap these days and theres a link to Mo's Co in the recommended sites section of this blog, buying from mo is cheaper than paying top price for your pva in the tackle shop, ditto for kryston silkworm, i buy mine from ebay to save money!.

20lb 8oz mirror from 1994/5, silkworm proved to be superb for fishing in weed!

Silkworm certainly helped me unlock that small north wales club water all those years ago, being braid it was easier to get the silkweed off my rigs without damaging them and being so strong I had no problem landing all of my fish from some very weedy areas. Any doubts I had about silkworm rapidly disappeared and my confidence in this hook length material is now so great that I just don’t bother fishing with anything else. I took most of the residents of capesthorne hall on 25lb silkworm and capes is one of the most pressured carp waters I’ve ever fished!. I also use silkworm when I visit heavily pressured day ticket waters like linear fisheries and yateley sandhurst lake. Silkworm has worked brilliantly on all of these waters and a whole host of others too. If you’re just starting out in carp fishing and are confused by all the different materials available to make carp rigs, try kryston silkworm!, I promise you it really is one of the best hooklength materials out there.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Winter Carping Pt5

After 4 nice doubles on the 22nd December I was keen to get back to the lake on Christmas eve, I set the alarm for 8am and when it went off I woke up with a splitting headache and I felt sick. There wasn’t going to be any Christmas eve fishing session for me this year so I rolled over and went back to sleep in the hope that a few more hours might see me right.

The next chance to get out fishing again was 2 days later, I was fully recovered by then but unfortunately the weather had taken another turn for the worse, gone was the mild weather and lovely westerly wind that had brought me 7 carp in the last 2 trips. Instead, bright sunny conditions and a bitingly cold easterly wind were the conditions that greeted me when I rolled into the car park on boxing day morning.

The conditions may have been poor for catching carp but they were very good for spotting them and I found the fish within minutes of getting out of the car, they were occupying the centre of the lake just off the back of the cold easterly wind. Occasionally a carp would poke its head out of the water and I even saw the odd back breaking surface as the fish tried to take advantage of any warmth the sun had to offer. The carp were well within casting range of my open water swim so I set up there and slowly put my rods together.

I put my first rig on my prebaited hotspot at 40 yards along with a few freebies, this spot was proving to be very consistent as usual and my intention was to keep a rod here whilst I would drop the other rig in areas I could see the fish in order to pick them off. With conditions being so bad I wasn’t very confident in the roving approach, it always seems to work best when there is a big wind on the water to disguise any lead splash.

On my last session I had set up on a huge shoal of carp that had eventually vacated the area I was fishing, I had caught two of them before they left but leave they did. These carp were not liking lead weights on their heads at the moment and sure enough, just 10 minutes after casting a 2oz lead in amongst the showing carp, they had disappeared. It was an hour later when I spotted the carp again, they had moved off towards the out of bounds area and they seemed to be holding in an area that was around 90-100 yards out and slightly to the left of where my first cast went. I decided to try again so I wound the rig in, clipped on another small pva mesh bag and tried again. I planted my feet when casting and stepped into the cast to generate the extra power I needed to reach the fish as they were right on the edge of my casting range. My 2oz lead weight landed around 90 yards out and this was the near side of where the carp could be seen.

With my cast made I sat down to see if the fish would move again. I was disappointed when they did, the next time I spotted a carp they had moved out of range and I was left scratching my head wondering how to get a bait anywhere near them. Today, they just didn’t seem to want to know. A change of tactics was called for so I simply left each rod where it had been cast. It was going to be a waiting game today and I simply had to keep quiet and wait it out.

Having abandoned the roving style I just sat and watched the water, I had a bite to eat and a drink from my flask and around 1pm I fell asleep!. I slept for around an hour and when I woke up and had another look for the fish I found nothing had changed. I was sitting and thinking about blanking when at 2.30pm the hotspot rod suddenly let out a single bleep, before I had chance to focus on the rod my monkey climber pulled up to the top of the needle as a full blooded run developed.

That good old hotspot, its such a consistent area, it had saved me from blanking on numerous occasions over the last few winters and the area had come up trumps again!. I hit the rod and sure enough it arched over and took on its battle curve. The fish took very little in the way of line, just the occasional shake of the head before it began kiting to the right. Steady side strain kept things on track and in the margins I had a great fight with a common that just didn’t want to give up. Eventually the carp had no choice and as the fish tired, I slipped the landing net under a nice mid double that at least meant I hadn’t blanked.

I secured the net and got the camera and weighing gear ready, once set up I lifted the fish out onto the unhooking mat for a closer look, the carp was nailed in the bottom lip as usual, a clear example of just how effective my basic carp rig actually is. With the carp unhooked I weighed it in at 16lb 2oz, a nice common that was slightly bigger than average for the water and a nice result on what was a very very poor day for carp fishing!.

16lb 2oz Boxing day common that saved a blank!

After a few quick pictures in the sunshine I returned the carp to the lake and got on with trying to catch another one. I still had a few hours left so it was well worth trying the hotspot again. I recast my rod and again topped up the swim with a small handful of pellets that I just scattered around the area to try and pull in any passing fish.

Unfortunately nothing else occurred, the carp that had moved out of range of my roving rod decided to stay there and as they didn’t drift back over as the day went on it became obvious that I wasn’t going to have any luck on that rod. The hotspot also stayed quiet and I had no more action from that area either. At 4.30pm I got the spod rod out and deposited another kilo of bait onto the hotspot. By now the temperatures where already below zero and I reckoned my kilo of feed would probably be the last food these carp would see for a while as a frozen lake would be the most likely outcome of the heavy frost that was now falling around me. I packed up and headed for home not knowing how long it would be before I returned again, this cold weather front looks to be in for a few days so this boxing day session may well turn out to be my last carp session of 2008.

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