Just one of those days…..

index3Stu Lennox enjoyed mix fortunes at Hardwick Smiths on the Linear complex recently, including an incident which we have never heard of before! Read on…

Hardwick dawn

‘Have you ever had one of those days where one thing after another goes wrong? Well, my first session of 2016 was just one of those sessions. Not only was I subject to mishap after mishap but also one of the oddest moments I have experienced while fishing!

With our daughter having been born only three weeks ago the wife kindly suggested I head out for a quick overnighter, if only to get some sleep above all else. I wanted to stay relatively close so headed to the Linear Fisheries complex.

My chosen lake was Hardwick/Smiths simply because it is my favourite lake on the complex. I spoke to the very helpful bailiffs down there and it had been fishing hard, probably because the whole complex had been hammered over the Easter weekend. I arrived about an hour after first light and was lucky to see some fish show straight away. The peg I wanted to give me the best access to those fish was full, but he would be pulling off that day so I dropped a bucket and headed back to the van to tie some rigs.


Tied up a few hinges

A couple of hours passed and so it was time to drive to the swim and unload, I reversed out of the car park, straight over my kettle which I had been making brews with at the side of the van!



Putting that behind me I finally got to the swim and had a quick marker around in the area the fish had been showing. I found a small raised area that fell off either side into deep water and weed. I decided to try and squeeze all three rods onto the spot and for speed and ease I was going to use hinged stiff rigs using the ESP size 5 Short Chods, fluorocarbon booms and the awesome Ejector Lead clips due to the surrounding weed. Hookbaits were a white CC Moore Northern Special on one rod and two on Pacific Tuna Corkball pop ups glugged in the Tuna L030 liquid.


What are the chances?

I lined up to cast the first rod out and then experienced one of the oddest moments I’ve had while on the bank. I flicked the rod out but as it hit the 12 o’clock position above me there was a commotion, the lead landed short and the next instant a poor, tiny bird landed at my feet. Stone cold dead! Of all the sky to fly in it had to be in the exact same position as my 3oz lead!

I baited up with my take anywhere mix of fresh hemp, maize and maples from CarpParticles UK. Starting off with 20 spods and planning to top up after any fish.


Rods all sorted

With all the rods out and sorted and darkness upon me I decided to make some supper and encountered the final straw. I had forgotten a tin opener and all my food was tinned! I was forced to eat my emergency can of Spam with a ring pull lid!

With all this bad luck I was certain the night would end in a blank but three lovely, double figure stockies at first light more than made up for all the hassle!’

Stu Lennox

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Jimmy gets on the Cryogen!


The stalked mirror from the New Forest Water Park

Well respected carper James Armstrong was quick to recognise the key advantages of the new ESP Cryogen hooks and has been putting them to very good use so far this spring, catching some absolute crackers along the way. Good angling Jimmy!

Three of biggest factors in my angling — location, bait and rigs…more importantly a rig with reliable end tackle.

I am not one for harping on about specific end tackle items, so when I do it is for a reason. I have been using a certain pattern for a number of years now and have recently switched over to the Cryogen after hearing so much about them from my friends Gareth Fareham and Dave Ellyatt, both anglers who I hold in high regard and respect. Consequently, I decided to try them and boy am I happy with the results.

To me, no hook is as sharp out the packet as it is when honed with a file. Consequently, this is something that I pay particular attention to and do with ALL my points no matter what the pattern or make. I have tried all sorts of patterns and types over the years and have never really found anything as hard in the metal, or reliable, as the Drennan Continental…until now!

GRIPPER3I met Kev Hewitt over on the banks of Manor at Linear to shoot an article (me behind the camera). He shoved a packet of Cryogen Grippers in front of my nose and said have a look at these. Immediately, I was impressed with the fine beaked point and overall feel to the metal. They just looked hard as nails and when he mentioned that they were finished using a special tempering process to ensure increased strength I just had to give them a go. I just hoped that they would stay strong once honed with a sharpening stone. For me this is key!

My first outing was on a guest over to the New Forest Water Park. I was stalking within close quarters in a cheeky overgrown swim. After crumbling up a few Pacific Tuna baits I soon had a few chunks ghosting in and out, dipping down onto the bait. A few strokes with the file and I had my Cryogen Grippers, size 5, looking like hypodermic needles. I removed some of the beak by doing so, but the point was incredibly sharp. I did a few like this and placed the point into a stone I had found on the floor. I scratched it against the brittle side of the stone trying to burr it over and it really took some force to do so…spot on!!!! I had never experienced such a hard point and already my confidence in them was sky high. Don’t get me wrong, they are mega sharp straight out the packet, but I always like to increase this further.

I lowered in a rig and a few fish silently dipped down onto the hook bait. I watched intently, my palms were beginning to sweat as a big old mirror upended and sucked in the rig. All panic set in as it shook its head, powering into the depths as my clutch spun with anger. A mega fight ensued, and eventually I netted a wonderful fish ounces under 30. A new hook was born into my armoury, and later I was to add the Stiff Rigger!

STIFFRIGGER3As it is made using the same process, I just had to try this pattern too. Generally, I have two rigs in my attack — a bottom bait rig and a pop-up, generally a hinged stiff. As a result, I got to work with the Stiff Riggers. I employed the size 5’s on a number of venues over the past month or so with some staggering results. A few strokes on the long straight point, I had them looking dangerous and was so happy with the strong nature of the point, even though it was so thin. I managed an unbelievable 46.4 uncaught mirror from a very demanding, snaggy pit, plus others.


A Milton Abbas stunner

I then popped over to Milton Abbas in Dorset and winkled out a 33 in some heavy weed. In fact it took me around 20 minutes to land as I netted a huge weed bed…needless to say the hook held firm the whole way. I then moved onto a little forgotten pond in Cambs and managed fish of 32 and 33, two originals and fish that I have been after for a while. All on size 5 Stiff Riggers.

The hooks have found a place in my tackle box and will do for the forseeable future — they’re ultra sharp (even more so when honed), retain a very very strong, hard point, and very reliable. I am rather excited about using them on the surface too as I just know that I can get away with a tiny hook, yet feel confident of it being ultra strong when used in weed for bigger fish’.

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Happy Return for Lee Symonds!


Lee Symonds sent us this lovely account of his return to Spitfire Pool in Norfolk in search of its most prized resident, the Wood Common. And what a return it was, well done Lee!

I fished Spitfire Pool for the opening week in 2015 and didn’t manage to hook the Wood Common after seeing her clearly in the area & feeding hard. I decided to return for opening week in 2016, starting on Sunday 20th March with a new plan of attack — I decided to move away from my trusted long shank blow back rig to a stiff rig, and there was only one hook I wanted to use, the new ESP Cryogen Stiff Riggers.

So tied up my stiff rigs with a boom made out of Tungsten Loaded semi-stiff choddy silt, on a helicopter set up with the original ESP lead core, I was ready all that was left to do was to tie my washed out pink DT Baits green beast pop-ups on and flick the rods out.


First blood — the cracking 35lb 8oz mirror

I got to the lake Sunday morning and set the traps on the spots I had been pre baiting with cold water green beast, in the same area as I fished the year before, Monday morning came and as I stood watching the water with a cup of coffee, my right hand rod was away, after a short fight I slipped my net under a cracking looking mirror, which pulled the scales round to 35lb 8oz. Buzzing I had banked a fish in the first 24hours!


The Long Common

A couple more days had past, with my cousin banking a repeat capture of the Long Common on the Tuesday evening at a cracking 43lb 8oz.

Wednesday came, still no sight of the Wood Common but I was sure she was around, I decided to move one rod to a spot called the borehole where we had seen movement, with a tight scattering of fresh baits over each rod. Once again the traps were set, then just on dark the moment I was waiting for! Out popped a big commons head about 10 feet from the new spot!

I knew she was there, the night came and went and not a bleep, I decided to leave the rods where they were, then at 1pm on the Thursday afternoon the rod on the borehole pulled tight, I pulled into it and a big common hit the surface, she was on, I slowly pulled back with shaking legs, by this time my cousin Ian was round net in hand, the Wood Common is not known to put up much of a fight luckily and after a short fight she was in the net.


The awesome Wood Common!

I was totally overwhelmed, shaking with joy! I called Rich Wilby who runs the fishery to come over and enjoy the moment with us and take the pictures. We lifted her out of the water and into the cradle, nailed! The size 6 Cryogen Stiff Rigger was nailed in the bottom lip and was never coming out. She pulled the scales round to 49lb 10oz — stunning!’

For more info on the new ESP Cryogen hooks:

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