Recently I thought to try somewhere completely different to where I fish locally, somewhere with larger than average fish size potential than in my area and hopefully a challenge to boot. So, as you do, I got to thinking, where can I try?
Well... not a million miles away from my home and somewhere not too busy during the week. I also asked my son if he would be interested in joining me as well. And so after much thought and looking on the laptop I decided to try Digger Lakes up in Cullompton, Devon - a venue that has a good reputation as a well-run fishery, not only this - it had the essential otter fencing running around its perimeter. (If you carp fish in the south-west, this is now a given rather than a luxury, especially if you want to fish a venue with the stock in situ... so anyone reading this will understand..).
I booked and paid up well in advance - all we had to do was assemble our gear, evaluate our tactics in our minds, and wait for the allotted time to come around.
The weeks went by fairly quickly and soon it was time to go... As always, my son and I always thoroughly prepare as much as humanly possible, and one of the things I was looking forward to was trying out some new curry recipes on my trusty Trangia stove, relaxing with the anticipation of the fishing ahead (for good or not!) and trying out an idea I had with the Haith's SuperRed mix.
On the way, we stopped off at 'Woody's Transport Cafe' for a full English breakfast, which we both really enjoyed, and on we went to Digger.
After no mishaps on the way we found the venue, which is right next to Digger Land - a family orientated park, where you can ride on some of the huge JCBs. It certainly looked like fun.
As we both had never seen the place before, as always, we did our customary walk around, evaluating each swim in turn, and after some deliberation, we settled upon an area known as the 'junction swims' (we found out the names afterwards!).
Quickly and methodically we set up our equipment; I fished three rods and my son as always with his two rods.
After a very gentle lead around with a mini esp marker (I didn't want to spook any potential image makers) I settled on a far marginal flick over a prominent and highly visible bar - the other two traps were under armed, off of two island features that looked absolutely spot on for a take or two. One of which was very close to a tree overhang and on top of the prominent bar.
My tactics were very simple, two self-setting combi links, no knotted, with a carp company, caviar/cranberry 12mm pop, sent down from the big city (my uncle being a founder of carp company) and the other a Tangerine Dream straight bottom bait by Nash. Obviously I had a small baiting plan in mind utilising my favourites from Haith's: in this case, I planned to use SuperRed ground bait, laced with sweetcorn and chopped boilies that I had left in the bucket to use up. I didn`t go mad on the baiting as I wanted to fish like a matchman and go down the little and often route, and I'm glad I did.
When we turned up we had the whole lake to ourselves but a few others were beginning to turn up, I guess for the weekend... As always I'm confident of a chance or two, my son also; we particularly liked the fact that no one could infringe on our fishing by casting into our swims (by the clever design of the lake... it's in fact very clever, and saves so much hassle on potentially pressured venues.).
We planned to angle for three nights, packing up on the weekend when others, as mentioned, would surely arrive.
Both of us by now began to relax and enjoy the session, and I was soon planning a nice meal on my 27ul Trangia... I also noted with pleasure the fishery had a proper, well-designed otter proof fence around the whole lake. Indeed it was with some satisfaction because I have been part of, in a small way, educating other anglers and fishery owners for over 27 years about the perils of released, captive-bred otters destroying local fisheries.
As I mentioned I approached the fishing like a matchman, building up my swim. So, over the next two nights, I carefully and systematically fed small balls of the trusted Haith's SuperRed ground bait on to this small bar - nothing overt maybe 5 or 6 small balls every 8 or 9 hrs.
I was confident, even though there were no signs of carp activity at all in my swim - my son, however, was by now getting some 'liners' - this to me meant that ol' cypry was on the prowl! I noted this and mentally got ready, as surely they would find my baited Haith's spot, at some point.
It was by now over the half way stage of our small adventure, and apart from Mike's liners, there was nothing to report until... Mike got a run! Now, this fish was a GTi carp and totally took him for a burton around an island - I won't mention too much as, the trailing line in the wind and a dejected son was all I need to see. He got himself together, mentally like I have taught him since he was five, and angled on, soon he did indeed get another take and our session started to take off.
Well, on this occasion I think I shall let my photos tell the remaining story.
What did we learn?
- Firstly, keep confident and stick to your chosen spots especially on intimate and tricky waters that see a lot of other anglers
- Use quality bait and be a little different with how you implement your baiting on a session
- Enjoy the anticipation as this is the key to enjoyment and progressive angling... (and life in general, probably)
We ended up with several nice fish and a couple of the twenties, not bad bearing in mind the body language of dejected anglers in the carp park heading for home. Not to mention another angler literally running into Mike's swim to fish, before his shadow had departed...oh dear...!!
Enjoy the countryside and your fishing.
Written by Adam Roots