Si traps Single!

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The magnificent Single — the smile says it all!

Affable Si Croft had an incredible ‘holiday’ last week, the trip was the result of a last minute decision to see if there was any space available on Ashmead. His tentative enquiry recieved a positive response — and what a week that followed. Read on…

I had the good fortune last week to enjoy four nights on the beautiful Ashmead fishery in the depths of Somerset. As someone who loves his margin fishing the place is bordering on perfection, there’s margins everywhere, and the complex is littered with reed lined banks, islands and back channels; carpy heaven!

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First blood — the Long Common

Setting up just off the fish in a deep corner of the lake known as Tom’s, my session was already made when I slipped the net under the lovely ‘Long Common’ at a new pb of 39.10 just as darkness drew in on my second night. Over the moon with this result I had little idea of what was to come.

The next day I was treated to some jaw dropping viewing as I watched the biggest mirror in the lake smashing against some reeds on the island in Tom’s, sending up huge clouds of clay in its wake. The atmosphere was electric. The pressure was dropping, rain was scheduled for the next morning and a lovely 22 mirror gave me an early evening surprise on the island rod. Facebook banter was rife, Single was in the building. Surely It couldn’t happen……could it….???

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The 22lb Mirror

A little common, one of the successfully spawned fish, had me up at first light, and I sat on the bed chair and watched the best of spring weather pass slowly overhead on the warm south-westerly breeze. A about 11am, just when I was thinking the bay looked a bit dead, I watched the water against the island drop, and a tell-tale inky boil spread across the surface. God. She was back……..

10 minutes later and the right hand rod fished ‘washing line’ against the deep far margin dropped back slack. My mind racing the fish juddered back towards me through the weed. Suddenly it was free and about the third of the way out from me, a deep flash of belly had me in no doubt as to what I was attached to.

Slowly, slowly I inched it towards me, a large ball of weed about six foot up the line and a small hippo wallowing beyond it. I’d no sooner thought “this is going to be interesting” than she came up in the water and swam slowly towards me.

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The other side of Single

Dipping the net I looked on in amazement as she gently meandered into it. Safe in the folds I leant back against the tree behind me and started shaking, laughing uncontrollably. Luckily Mark, Brian and Geoff were on hand to assist in what happened next as it was a blur to me. Single Scale was stunning. Unblemished, scale perfect, and at 56.14 she was huge!! What a week. What a fish, what a lake. Massive thanks to the guys who were there and shared the moment (and those that weren’t, you know who you are!).

A good helping of Perfection Ground baits Bloodworm did the trick, along with a size 6 Drennan Continental fished stiff hinge style to an ESP lead clip, ESP lead core and 15lb ESP Syncro XT Loaded.

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New — Stash Camo Waterproofs!

camo7Made using the same outer shell material as the original Stash clothing but with a ‘DPM’ style camo pattern in just the right blend of colours — Stash clothing just got a whole lot carpier!

The material is tough yet soft and ‘quiet’ and features 5,000mm waterproof and 3,000 breathable coatings. Water simply beads off the material making them excellent lightweight waterproof garments.

Stash Camo Jacket

A comfortable cut with various key features including nylon lining, adjustable peaked hood with high draught resistant collar, full length YKK zip with rain baffle, roomy hand warmer pockets, internal zipped security pockets, adjustable neoprene lined cuffs and a scooped rear hem.

An excellent wind and waterproof and breathable jacket which is light enough to compress and ‘stash’ until required.

Available in sizes from S – XXXL

Stash Camo Salopettes

camo11These salopettes provide exceptional protection from the elements. The clever water resistant size zip makes the salopettes easy to put on and remove and because there is no long central zip down the body, this has allowed room for a capacious zipped chest pocket which is protected by a rain baffle. There is also a baffled zip fly. Other features include adjustable elasticated shoulder straps, hand warmer pockets, reinforced, double layered knees and water resistant boot zips.

Available in sizes from S — XXXL

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Gaz finds form at historic venue!

950A0933Gaz Fareham has moved onto a new syndicate this spring and sounds like he is thoroughly enjoying it! Here he gives us a round up so far:

After an enjoyable winter season chasing the Avon and Stour chub around, as soon as those first few warm rays of sun were breaking through and the buds and daffodils appearing, I was excitedly prepping the carp kit and readying things for a spring on my new syndicate lake.

For a few seasons I have focussed on the local pits in Ringwood, and to be honest, with the pressures of my teaching work and editorial duties for Subsurface really carving into my time, it had been difficult to string much together with the intense pressure and stamp of anglers those pits receive, but this spring I knew I’d have a bit more time, and was looking forward to fishing outside of the local area for a change of scenery, and scene, as much as anything, and most importantly a bit of peace and quiet away from the crowds.

950A0464The new pit is a historic one, containing a few old Leneys and a few of the Claremonts, the same ones that went into Savay in the 80’s. It is only small, at roughly ten acres, but is a jungle of a lake with over ten islands, and the layout is almost entirely made-up of channels, tiny bays and gaps, being literally festooned with snags, dense pads and reeds and in some ways it is the perfect ‘old school’ kind of carp lake, with every single swim and spot looking like it needs a bait underarming in there.

Intimate doesn’t really do it justice, it is certainly a break from the somewhat industrial nature of the mega-range fishing on the likes of Rockford closer to home that’s for sure! I’ve employed a fairly standard approach so far, opting to stay mobile and spend as much time looking for the carp as possible; with the multitude of channels and snags for them to hide themselves in, and the abundance of climbing trees it seems the perfect option, the relatively shallow, gin clear water helping the observational approach as well.

950A1045Tactics wise, the spots aren’t that clean yet and as there’s still a bit of debris around I’ve gone for the ever faithful ‘Cobra’ pop up rigs (as Marcus coined it) which is basically a ‘soft boom’ stiff hinge, using an albright knot to join the materials, those being 20lb Tungsten Loaded, and 25lb Stiff Bristle filament. The hook end remains the eternally reliable ‘D’ set up and due to the severity of the snags, I’ve been opting for a size 4 Drennan Continental which so far haven’t let me down, and as ever I’ve gone for a nice long length of the green leadcore to complete the presentation.

Hot water and GLM powder steeped fishmeals and corkballed hook baits soaked in salmon oil completing a simple, but reliable set up. It’s been a great start, with a couple of the better fish coming my way and a few of the smaller ones too and with a handful of really special old Leney mirrors to angle for, I’m hoping to add a few more to the album as the spring and summer progresses!’

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