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   Old Thread  #68 13 Nov 2016 at 3.01pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #67
As we progressed along the learning curve we became a bit more adventurous by putting baits all over the area covered from the Bar Swim; in front of the bar, off to the sides, mid way across in the deep water, even in the near margins, where the depth fell away very quickly, giving 20 feet just a couple of rod lengths out. Clearly the fish loved to patrol all over the area in front of the swim and hot spots were not limited to the far side of the bar or under the tree canopy. Tat was the master at margin fishing that particular swim and she it was who began to use chopped bait on the lake in an attempt to prevent our round boiled baits from rolling down the slope. Not rocket science for sure, but at the time such a trick never occurred to me and Steve. You could bait up with chops by hand, so close in did the carp venture.

4. Tat plays a margin-caught carp in the Bar Swim.

It turned out to be her first and only encounter with the biggest carp in the lake at the time, dear old Busted Tail. Sadly all the originals lost weight thanks to an ill-advised stocking by the Club, which I'll touch on directly.

5. Tat with Busted Tail.

The tree lined far bank behind and to the left of the bar was obviously an area to be explored so we cleared the branches and overgrown bank side in an area next to the Bar swim. This not only gave us overhead casting clearance but also a cleared area to put the rods and from which to play fish, though it was pretty precarious as this pic of Steve adjusting his rods shows. It was really deep right under you feet so falling in would not have been a great idea!

6. Steep bank.

However, going further round into the far bay - to the left of the bar - meant you encountered a snaggy area as we found out to our cost. There was a slight bend or corner on the far side where a cast tight to the far bank was OK but if you went any further to your left as you looked across, the underwater snags would grab you every time. Again it was a case of getting takes being easy, landing them a much more difficult proposition.

7. The corner of the southern bay marked in green and the snags marked in black that lined the far bank close to it. Also marked in black are the major snags situated at the far end of the Southern Bay.

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   Old Thread  #67 13 Nov 2016 at 3.00pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #66
My mind is jumping about all over the place; so many memories it's hard to know how best to get them into some sort of order. I think it's best if I just let my fingers wander and rely on my fading brain power to retrieve what is relevant. So forgive me if I return to the Roche AC venues for a while, concentrating on the lessons we leaned while fishing them.

Wheal Rashleigh aerial shot. The bar is marked in red while the Bar Swim is in blue.

Rashleigh was our favourite Club venue at the time, simply because we were on a roll. Steve, Tat and myself had got the lake more or less sorted and having the hair and the Robin Red boiled bait was a massive advantage. If you have followed this account from the start you will know that by pure chance and the Mk 1 eyeball I had dropped onto arguably the hottest (at the time) swim on the lake, the Bar Swim.

For the most part the lake was characterised by its deep water. Being an old clay mine it had depths of up to fifty feet and in places the lake bed was dotted with steep slopes and contrasting shallow bars and plateaux. The deepest parts of the lake lay at the far (southern) end of the valley in which the lake lay. The south bay, particularly the western part, was also deep and tree lined with some really vicious snags in the far corner. The fish would congregate in these snags in numbers but fishing for them was truly perilous.

1. The fallen trees created a tangle of really vicious snags.

Sure, you could get a dozen takes in an afternoon but you'd be lucky to land a single one. Of course, the secret was to get around the back of the snags and fish down the edge, which is what we did, more of that in a minute.

2. The Bar was situated at the far end of the lake on the right hand side in this photo, its rough position marked in red and the Bar Swim in blue.

The swim that covered the bar had no name when we started fishing Rashleigh, we simply called it the Bar Swim, but as the lake became much more popular others began to name the swims and the Bar became the Lounge, or the Reception, or something equally silly. The swim is marked in blue on the image above and the cast to the top of the bar itself was some 45-50 yards. This side of the bar the depth quickly dropped away to 35-40 feet or so, while to the right as you looked at it, the slope was even steeper and the depth fell away to fifty feet or more.

However, it was the far side of the bar that was the most promising, as here the depth between the top of the bar and the far bank - a distance of no more than six or seven yards - was less than twenty feet. In addition the far bank was heavily tree lined, the overhanging branches creating a natural canopy under which the carp loved to patrol. As they did so they would often venture out onto the bar and at times you could even see them as dark shadows as they passed over the light, golden sand of the bar. The trees behind the bar and the bar itself formed a perfect ambush point to intercept patrolling carp and a bait positioned anywhere on top of or to the side of the bar would stand a chance. But the best chances came to baits cast just across to the back of the bar. I couldn't begin to tell you how many carp we caught from that swim. It must have been a hundred or more.

3. This is the bar, clear to see even in dull conditions. Doesn't that area look inviting?

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   Old Thread  #66 8 Nov 2016 at 3.01pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #65
The Beach swim more or less became our second home for most of 1984. This was before the lake became well known and the competition for swims - especially the 'going' swims - became intense. Prior to the arrival of the hordes we could fish just about anywhere we liked as we had the run of the place. Which makes it all the more blinkered an attitude that Tat and myself could not drag ourselves away from the west bank.

12. The lake opened to night fishing in 1984 and invariably Tat and I would make a beeline for the Beach. I don't know why Tat is looking so miserable, as she caught countless carp in there!

13. This is the following morning and as usual Tat is away at first light in an early morning fog that has drifted in from the coast.

The Little Bench swim was largely ignored for some strange reason even after the invaders arrived. I have no idea why as the close in bar ran right across the front of the swim at less than 25 yards out. It was the biggest of the main bars and was easy to find even without marked lines. The fishing could be fantastic but it was a tight swim, no room for a bivvy, but as a day session swim it was fantastic. If you could get a rod in there at first light you could almost guarantee a take or two…or three. Strange it was so unpopular. I guess it was because it was such a restricted swim in terms of bivvy room and overhead clearance for casting.

13. Tat fishing the Little Bench.

14. Glorious College sunset.

That's it for now. More to come...

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   Old Thread  #65 8 Nov 2016 at 2.59pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #64
A group of Cornish mates, Graham Orchard, Tony Chipman, Steve Churchill and Nigel Britton started fishing College in about 1986/7. They were the first to use tigers properly on the water and they soon became known as the Tiger Nut Kids. Their technique was simplicity itself, using tigers very sparingly to catch a huge number of fish before eventually the tigers stopped working. They used no more than a pint of tigers for a long weekend session, placing them with great accuracy – often by hand - in holes in the weed, on the gravelly areas to the right and left of the Swamp, or on the shallow bars that could be found at the southern end of the lake. Tigers had an amazing run on the lake but did eventually stop working when a group of dickheads from up country filled the lake in with the stripeys. As anyone with any gumption will tell you, tigers, like peanuts should be used frugally. Without these idiots’ intervention I am certain that the T.N.Kids would have enjoyed even greater success, so effectively did they position their hookbaits and free offerings.

8. Steve and Nige plus Nige's springer spaniel fishing the Ponderosa.

Talking of bars, when we first started on College we had no idea of the underwater contours or features that lay in front of us. For the first four of five months, through the winter of 1983/4 we concentrated on the three main swims in the middle of the west bank. In fact it wasn't until Steve did a session on the NE Point, and caught well, that we managed to drag ourselves away from the west bank. I guess we figured that we had dropped on the mother lode as we always seems to catch in the Ponderosa, the Beach and the Little Bench. The Ponderosa is on the extreme left in this photo and cannot really be seen but the Beach (middle) and the Little Bench (right) can be seen.


What we didn't know was exactly what we were actually fishing to. Yes, we knew it was predominantly silty but we had no real idea about feature finding so any other features out there were largely a guessed-at mystery until they were revealed during the drought years. It was pure serendipity that we plonked ourselves down in the Beach on the west bank that very first time we fished there. It was not until I made another midnight swim that I discovered the gravelly areas the location of which we then marked on our reel lines - seriously advanced stuff for 1984! How did we do this? Simple: I took three baited rigs out with me in the middle of the night and dropped then on the close in (30 yard) bar, the middle (70 yard) bar and the far (100 yard) bar. Then Tat tied a marker on the line and also on the rod, so that we knew which rod was marked for which bar. Funnily enough, we caught more off the middle and far bars but if it was blowing a hoolie and waves were marching up the lake on a strong south or south west wind, the close in bar really produced fantastically well.

10. Here you can see the bars in front of those three swims. Not surprising the carp liked it!

This photo shows the two swims to the right (south) of the beach. The Ponderosa is on the right while the Swamp is on the left. The large area between the two was one huge weed bed during the summer months, which the carp loved. On a sunny day you could see them plain as anything as they cruised lazily below, through or over the weed. In fact, watching their movements it was easy to locate and isolate their patrol routes and also note areas where they fed as opposed to areas where they did not.

11. The area between the Swamp (extreme left) and the Ponderosa (extreme right).

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   Old Thread  #64 8 Nov 2016 at 2.55pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #63
Decades later I would write a series for Carpworld called Spot Fishing and to a large extent it was my experiences on College that gave me the confidence to write such technical pieces without getting laughed at! All in all, the key to success was finding the hard patches on the so-called bars, even though these were not proper bars as you would probably know them. Ours came up six inches to a foot at most and some were only a few feet long and maybe a foot or so wide.

As if this wasn’t enough of a challenge, the fish definitely had favourite feeding areas, so not only did you need to find the general area they favored but also the spot within a spot where they fed more confidently. Once such area was off the point of the smaller island that could only effectively be fished from the Swamp. For obvious reasons this was one of the most popular swims on the lake, not surprising when you consider the features in front of it. In the photo, taken from the swim called the Clearing when the lake was at it’s lowest in the summer of 1991, you can see what made the Swamp so hot.

6. Looking back at the Swamp from the opposite side of the lake, in a swim called the Clearing. You can see the features clearly.

The swim itself is in the centre of the photo with the point of the small island just entering the photo from the left hand side. In the background, behind the point of the island you can see the thick bank of mares tails growing out from the bank and you can also see the gravel areas at the foot of that weed. By wading out and actually placing the bait by hand on the gravel in front of the mares tail you stood a very good chance of a pick up. The funny thing was that the bait had to be almost touching the weed stems. If it was say six inches away you would not get a pick up, even though it was clear that there were fish in the area by the way the mares tails used to sway and bump as the fish moved through them. That was why it was so important to place the bait by hand, as it were. Casting simply wasn’t accurate enough. A bait cast or placed in the Channel also stood an excellent chance of being taken and the good thing about this area was that it was deep enough that the swans couldn’t reach the bait on the lakebed as it was just a foot or so too deep for them.

7. The rods in the Swamp. You can just see the point of the island on the right.

In front of the swim, off the point of the island you can see the four main “bars” (I’ll call them that for want of a better word as they only come up no more than a foot or so) that formed the main hot spots for the swim. These lie at about 80 yards but at that sort of range they were often hard to find if there was any kind of a crosswind blowing. However, if you landed on the top of any of the four bars you were well in with a chance. If you landed in the middle or to the left and right your chances were drastically reduced.

Then there are the larger gravelly areas that lay to the left of the Swamp extending as far as the Ponderosa swim, which is just out of picture to the right in this photo. You will note that there are quite a few of them but funnily enough not all of them were anything like ‘hot’. In fact the gravelly areas closest in by the weed beds were more likely to produce that other in slightly deeper water. Again the trick was to wade the baits out and drop them where your feet scratched on the gravel, and it helped if you stirred up the bottom with your feet while you were there! The best spot I found was tight to the bank in less than two feet of water. I caught shed loads of carp off this tiny little hump especially when the weed was up.”

You will have heard how many anglers set great store in the strength and direction of the wind. Well let me tell you, those College fish were so set in their ways as far as feeding hot spots were concerned that even if it was blowing a hoolie from the south west with waves piling into the North Bay, the fish would hang resolutely around the islands at the tail of the wind, refusing to move however hard it blew. That was why so many visiting anglers came unstuck as they always assumed that the fish would follow the wind. They could never understand why we locals would be fishing the southern end of the lake when the wind was pushing hard up towards the other end.
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   Old Thread  #63 8 Nov 2016 at 2.53pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #62
We were still using The Device (see Peanuts section) to get the baits out but when we first started fishing the two swims at the southern end of the lake, trying to reach the gap in the two islands, we found ourselves well short of the required distance. Home made botch-jobs of throwing sticks were too heavy and cumbersome, but The Device could just about reach given a following wind from the east. Even so, we still fell well short with both the casts and the freebies if there was any west in the wind.

Then someone had the bright idea of going around to the other side of the lake in front of the swim that would become known as the Swamp, where the islands lay only a matter of 50-60 yards away. Here with the west wind behind us whoever was doing the baiting would stick them out ‘blind’ firing them over the top of the island’s trees and hopefully landing near or near about to the Gap.

3. The rods are pointing at the Gap, though at this distance the actual gap itself is not really noticeable unless you know what you are looking for.

Later, as we got more effective at long-range casting using our updated rods and reels, we began to hit the Gap even with a westerly blowing. Mind you, the real casters at the time were Gary and Mark who could put their baits up the trees on the islands if they felt so inclined and even though such a cast was in reality a cock-up, when they hit the trees they did so with annoying smugness! Good technique and Armalite 3.0lb 13-footers doing the business for the guys.

I mentioned earlier how inept we actually were when we started serious carping on Ockenham, the Roche AC waters, Salamander Lake, and the SW ressies but necessity is the mother of invention and somehow we muddled by!

4. Roche AC's Wheal Rashleigh.

Even when we went on College we really did not have much of a clue as to how to use a lead for ‘feeling’ the bottom. As for marker floats, what are they? How we managed to catch anything is beyond me. Just goes to show how huge an edge it was having the hair and Robin Red boiled baits in our, at the time, rather limited armoury.

I can recall when we first fished what later became the Swamp at College. At the time there wasn’t an actual swim there and so Steve and I created one, just a small area where you could squeeze in, hidden from the path, and chuck a couple of rods out towards the point of the island and to the channel that ran tight to the island margins. We had a clear idea in our heads as to why we were casting where we were casting, but to be honest, mostly it was guesswork. It was only after a few sessions (and a few years) that we actually managed to get a better idea of the lakebed that lay off the point of the island and the general area in front of the Swamp.

I had taken to doing the odd midnight swim, not to put bait out or to place baited hooks (that would come later!), but solely to try to get a better idea of what we were actually fishing on/to. As we had long suspected there was indeed a significant channel running close to the facing margins of the island. In addition there were loads of tiny gravel bars off the point while in between these little strips of gravel, that came up no more than a foot, the silt was deep and sweet-smelling. You can just about see the start of the features and the channel itself in this photo, which was taken during 1991, one of the drought years. The scene looks out from the Ponderosa towards the point of the island.

The area from the Ponderosa down to the Swamp was often clogged with water milfoil, and it was clear that the carp just loved it in there; we knew they did coz we could see them! Though wading was supposedly strictly forbidden nobody said anything if you wanted to wade out to cast or bait up at longer range, or even if you wanted to drop a hookbait on a clear area. There used to be several tiny gravelly hot spots in the weed between the two swims and a bait and a few freebies carefully placed on one was almost certain to get a take. It was fishing these two swims that actually rammed home to me the importance of finding hot spots where the fish seemed to feel more relaxed and therefore more likely to feed and to get caught!
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   Old Thread  #62 8 Nov 2016 at 12.14pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #61
Fishing at College back in the early 80s put you on a very steep learning curve. When I think of how crudely we used to fish, it amazes me we ever caught a thing! The tackle we used, though ostensibly supposed to be top notch, was in reality a far cry from the carp tackle of today. Back then before the days of Nash and Fox, and heaven forfend, of Korda, we made most of our own tackle. Luckily Gardner had begun to offer decent bank side gear in the shape of tough ally banksticks and buzz bars, and reels were now coming out that were much more suitable for carping. However, eleven-foot so-called ‘casting’ rods, were actually nothing of the sort and while the Mitchell 300 was decent enough reel, it was not big enough to allow really big casts unless you compromised on the strength of your main line. We had a pair of 300s and the auto-flick bale arm Mitchell 330 but that was it, nothing else compared, unless you counted the old Intrepids, which were terrible.

Eventually we added a pair of Abu 155 reels to the mix – we couldn’t afford the much better 55 models – and these allowed us to cast a lot further.
To be honest and with hindsight I am far from convinced it was necessary for the long chucks, but remember, this was our first big water and it never occurred to us to fish the margins in such a “huge” expanse of water.

The rods we used we built ourselves on 11 foot Sportex fibreglass blanks bought in 1978 or from Going Bros in Southend, who also supplied all the rings, reel seats, whipping thread and so on. We also had two 1.75lb test Jim Gibbinson ‘Clooper’ long range (I wish) rods, and two 1.5lb test general-purpose carp rods. The Clooper had a very stiff action, whereas the lighter rod was a joy to play fish on.

A few years later when carbon fibre rods were becoming all the range with the early Sportex KM1 selling like hot cakes out of Simpson’s of Turnford’s shop, we changed over to carbons. What a difference! We were not taken by the KM1 and went instead for a pair of the 2lb test through action eleven footers. (I think these were the Sportex 3332 blanks but I am not sure.) Again we built the rods up from scratch using full cork handles for the first time. These were lovely rods with a nice through action but with power to spare in the butt. Tat loves them and we and we still have them to this day.

1. Our 1st carbons, the 11 foot Sportex in action at Rashleigh.

By 1986 we had realised the severe limitations of the gear we were using and had splashed out on a set of decent distance casting rods, I believe they were also Sportex blanks, but this time we bought them ready built from Jack Simpson. Later we augmented the first carbons with a set of Geoff Kemp rods, built by Vic Gillings if I remember rightly.

Thinking back to the way we were, it is astonishing to think of how far the tackle trade has come in just a few short years. For instance, carp sacks were none existent when I first started and we used Hessian sacks instead. Ghastly horrible things they were, and I am sure they didn’t do the carp much good. Mind you, I guess my old mate Big Daddy didn’t suffer any ill effects of his incarceration as he was still coming out of Salamander some 15 years later! Unhooking mats were also yet to be born. I used an old sack or the top of whatever waterproofs I had with me at the time.

2. Early unhooking mat…my waterproofs!

Rigs too were largely pretty crude, being mostly short nylon bolt rigs with a big hook (size 4, sometimes even a size 2) and a short hair tied with sewing cotton. I have already described our baits earlier in the thread, but in time we began to experiment with nuts and particles.

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   Old Thread  #61 8 Nov 2016 at 12.05pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #60
No doubt there will be sceptics who say that peanuts do no harm, and they are correct, provided they are used responsibly and also provided that not everybody on the lake is using them…and thereby comes the problem.

On a busy water it soon becomes apparent if one man is catching more than another and it doesn’t take long for the successful bait to be identified. Even though the original angler may only have been using a very conservative amount of peanuts, there is no guarantee that those who would emulate him will do the same. This soon has a knock-on and in next to no time the lake is being bombarded with peanuts.

So good though they may be, and though they do no harm if used in moderation, I still believe peanuts should be used very lightly. They should most definitely not be piled in, as can be the case with other pulses, beans or seeds. It is not rocket science: when used to excess peanuts cause serious problems and if you are looking for proof here are some sorry tales from College.

The most tragic case involved the lake’s first thirty which I caught at a weight of 31lb 3oz in March 1985.

Baz Griffiths caught it in June 1985 at 26lb.

It came out again at 17lb in August and was never seen on the bank again. We are all certain that it died.

Next consider this most friendly of College carp, a fish we called Two Scales. This fish came out often and was everybody’s friend. Indeed, it was the second fish Tat and I caught on peanuts in the summer of ’84. It came out in the spring of 1985 to my mate Steve at 23lb and ounces.

I caught it again in July of the same year at 23lb 4oz.

Look at the poor Two Scales in this, the final photo ever taken of her when she weighed less than fifteen pounds. Soon after this pic was taken she was found dead.

Finally I ask you to look at this once gorgeous fish. In it's day this fish was known as Wembley, not because she was as big as a football, as seen here, but because she was a real trophy fish, a prefect linear. Now look at her; riddled with disease and bloated beyond belief. Were peanuts the cause? Almost certainly.

Before I close this chapter I want to quote Tim Paisley again as he makes a point against those who would point at peanuts and say that the problems caused by their over-use contradicts the principle of nutritional recognition.

"One final point on peanuts. As a rule a carp will stop feeding on a food source that is of little use to it, or which makes it ill - as with baits containing excessive flavour levels. But the metabolic processes involved in the vitamin E deficiency syndrome (caused by excessive consumption of peanuts) are apparently too complex for the carp’s system to cope with. Peanuts are not a natural part of the carp’s diet and their effect is unique. Mother Nature cannot have envisaged their availability, and She provided no defense mechanism in the carp’s system.”

Right or wrong, whatever the argument, the fact is that carp cannot take, and should never be given, an excessive amount of peanuts.

More South West Memories to come...
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   Old Thread  #60 8 Nov 2016 at 12.04pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #59
We should always examine the results of our actions. It may be that we think we are using the safest rig ever and that our baits do the fish nothing but good: certainly that they don't do them any harm. But do they? Having looked at the success Tat and I enjoyed using peanuts in the summer of 1984 we must also consider the other side of the coin and look at the repercussions of over use of any peanuts.

When Rod Hutchinson first made popular the use of what are now generally termed particle baits, anglers were then, as they are now, forever searching for a particular bait that would give them an ‘edge’. By the early 80s the secret bait was peanuts. Sadly it was not to remain secret for long and soon the world and his wife were piling peanuts into lakes all over the country, and with no consideration whatsoever about the long and short term consequences of such an oil-rich diet.

When the scare stories began: fish were going back in weight and some fish were actually dying, the finger of suspicion pointed at peanuts. The weeklies picked up on this and a few lurid exposes hit the streets, but they were ill informed and inconclusive. It wasn’t until first Fred Wilton and then Tim Paisley wrote in detail about the damage that peanuts could cause that carp anglers began to sit up and take notice. Tim and Fred pointed out that peanuts intended for use a bird food contains aflatoxins that were carcinogenic (cancer causing) and nobody in their right mind should be using them for carp fishing.

While at the time they were quite right, things have changed since then. These days the cancer-causing aflatoxins have been largely eradicated from peanuts intended for both human consumption and for birdfood thanks to a rigorous screening program. Nonetheless, I agree with Tim’s assertion that peanuts, regardless of whether they are intended for birds or humans, are dangerous if they become the sole source of food in a lake. When Tim wrote of his concerns back in 1990 I doubt even he could have imagined just how huge carp angling was to become, so nowadays the potential for these peanut-related problems to arise is even greater, as there are simply more carp anglers around than there was in 1990.

As Tim detailed, peanuts become a problem when they are the primary source of food whereby carp eat them almost to the exclusion of all other foods. Imagine what YOU would feel and look like if you ate peanuts for breakfast, lunch and super. Excess of any kind can be life threatening and in the case of peanuts the dangers are, as Tim pointed out, from vitamin E deficiency and excess fat build up, especially in the liver, kidneys, in the blood and in other vital organs (A similar situation arises when excess fish oils are used in boiled baits.)

Any food that is eaten to excess will cause problems as carp are simply not equipped with the mechanism to stop eating peanuts. In fact, there could even be a repeat of the oft-quoted human analogy whereby one asks oneself, “Could I eat a single peanut?” Answer is, “most definitely not”. (Apologies to those with nut allergies for bringing up temptation!).

Returning now to College. In the spring of 1985 we saw the first mass invasion of carp-starved anglers suffering withdrawal symptoms imposed by the then existing close season on lakes in the rest of England and Wales. Devon and Cornwall had no such restriction and so the invasion of College and other south west reservoirs and lakes was inevitable after the info about the carp in them first leaked onto the grapevine. We were invaded by hundreds of carpers all in search of their fishing 'fix' and with them came the first widespread use of peanuts.

I witnessed anglers introducing hundreds of kilos of peanuts, both cooked and uncooked, into a 40 acre lake. Our visitors had no idea of what the previous week’s anglers had introduced – invariably peanuts – and so a situation arose whereby the lakebed was covered in a blanket of nuts. Inevitably the carp ate their fill; many were captured, but worse, many subsequently lost weight and a few even died. Of course these problems only raised their ugly heads after the visitors had gone home, no doubt to repeat similar atrocities on their home waters after the close season ended.
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   Old Thread  #59 8 Nov 2016 at 11.56am Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #58
Anyway, that’s the story of a fantastic College summer of 1984. We concluded afterwards that we had over-baited with peanuts, hence the very noticeable slow down and eventual stop. Yes, they can be a great bait, as we discovered initially, but go in to heavy with them and they will stop dead. Peanuts in quantity can not only damage carp, they can kill them, so to temper this tale, read what followed at College 12 months later, after I tell you a strange but true story, the tale of the eleven o'clock carp.

In the early days, everything we experienced at College took us further along the learning curve. In particular we took great pains to try and establish the carp’s patrol routes. Steve was especially adept at this, as he seemed to possess a sixth sense that kept him totally clued in on where the carp were at any given point in the day. Tat and I, not as gifted as Steve, merely coat-tailed the guy and took his word as gospel. However, in time we too began to learn the tell tale signs of fish movement and began to establish their patrol routes. So good did we become that in time were actually able to anticipate with near-on perfect accuracy where the carp would be at any given time and weather conditions.

One trick we had put into practice very well was to leap-frog each other until one of us got a run – and yes, it was that kind of situation at that time; if you didn’t get a run you weren’t on fish. Don't forget, at the time I am talking about there was no night fishing so we were fishing days only.

After choosing a starting point we would set up in three different swims along the bank and after an hour or so the guy at one end would move past the other two and set up further along the bank…and so on and so on. I am sure you get the picture. Well, anyway, we had become so adept at following the fish around, especially along the west bank of the reservoir that we could virtually predict when a run might occur.

So one rather bleak early spring day, Tat and I went down for a day session. I fished in the Beach while Tat went down to the southern end of the lake some 600 yards or so to fish the Swamp, casting to the back of the island. All our previous experiences had lead us to believe that the fish would be off the Beach early on but would move down the lake to the right, gathering behind the island mid-morning, not moving out again until the afternoon, when they would make their way along the west bank, arriving in front of the Beach again around three in the afternoon.

So I am sitting there watching the world go by when along comes a mate of Steve’s who had been popping down to College for a look-see every now and again. His name was Stuart and being a sociable sort of guy I put the kettle on and made the tea and we talked about this and that. After a while I looked at my watch and then started winding my rods in.

“Going to put fresh baits on, then?” asked Stuart.

“No, mate,” I replied. “Just going down to help Tat in the Swamp.”

Stuart looked rather puzzled. “I didn’t hear a buzzer,” he said.

“No, nor did I,” I replied, “but the eleven o’clock fish will be along any moment and I want to get down there to give her a hand and do the photos."

Stuart gave me a look usually reserved for the sad, deluded or insane!

“Seriously” I said. “She’ll have a fish on by the time we get there.”

It was by now just coming up to the top of the hour and as we started the long walk down towards the Swamp the faint trill of an alarm could be heard. We both broke into a run and arrived in the Swamp to find Tat bent into a lively fish.

10. Tat bent into a lively fish.

11. “Look your watch, ” I said to Stuart.

“Bugger me! He replied. “Bang on eleven o’clock!”

Strange story, but true!

12. Sunset from the Holly Bush (SE Point) swim..

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   Old Thread  #58 8 Nov 2016 at 11.55am Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
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Now I often look back on that early summer and wonder if our experiences with using peanuts didn’t colour our vision when it came to boiled baits, HNVs and all that sort of stuff. We were not yet under fully TP’s wing as far as the bait was concerned but what happened next with the ‘nuts may well have given us a shove in the right direction as regarding the importance of nutritional baits

Basically what happened was the we enjoyed three trips on peanuts catching over seventy carp between us including ten twenties on just two rods sharing the runs. However, with each trip it became noticeable that our results were slowing down markedly – just eight fish on the third trip. The fourth trip we never had a sniff, even though the fish were still in evidence off the two point swims at the mouth of the cut and despite doubling up on the number of rods. It seemed that as quickly as the peanuts started working for us, they stopped dead! In fact, for a time nothing worked, not boilies or particles, and the only thing we could get takes on were hair-rigged slugs! The action on the peanuts was slowing down noticeably but we still managed a few.

However, the bigger carp were getting few and far between and the catch rate was noticeably slower.

I later related this to Tim Paisley who was at the time seriously concerned at the use and abuse of peanuts by carp men, and in the light of what was to happen to College later, during the close season of 1985, I became convinced that while carp adored them, they were not going to do them any good in the long run. Funnily enough, while we were using peanuts we hardly had a take on the boiled baits but soon after the nuts stopped working the boilies came back on strong. Strange!

I am sure most of you will be able to draw lessons from this little tale. Basically it is this: Don’t go mad with the nuts like we did, or they’ll blow quicker than a Plymouth tom at the sight of a fifty pound note!

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   Old Thread  #57 8 Nov 2016 at 11.53am Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
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So, there we are with the nuts out of the caty at about 30 yards, the longer range boilie bait carpet being covered by two Gibbinson fast taper Cloopers. Not wanting to over do it, we also put in about a pound of prepared sticky peanuts out of the caty and then cast the bolt rigs carrying a pair of nuts out to sit on top of the bait carpet. The 1.5lb test Sportex fibreglass rods covered the peanut-baited area.

3. This more modern pic near enough shows the rig we used.

I put the kettle on and then we set about putting up the tent, but we had no sooner started than a fish took one of the peanut rods. Tat grabbed the rod and played in a lively little mirror of 12lb, and while she was doing that the other peanut rod went off. My turn! The luck must have been with me for it was the first of several twenties we had over the course of the next few weeks. The fish was Two Scales at just over 20lb!

4. Tat's lovely little mirror.

5. Quickly followed by Two Scales at just over twenty.

Tat and I topped up the peanuts carpet with three or four caty loads then we both recast into the ripples formed by the nuts entering the water. The rods were no sooner back in the rests when they both went off more or less at the same time, Tat landing a nice little mirror and me a 21lb common that took me a hundred and fifty yards up the bank to our right. What a fight that was. To cut a long story short we carried on catching throughout the day and the night and into the next day when we ran out of nuts. And the boiled baits…? Produced absolutely nothing!

6. This is the bionic common. What a fight…!

We ended the weekend with over three dozen carp on the bank in 48 hours to just two rods! We returned home happy but exhausted but nothing was going to stop us now that we were on a roll. So it was that the following weekend we were back at College and this time we took two full buckets of prepared nuts.

There was a guy on the NE Point (who's he? we wondered…the first ‘foreign’ face we’d seen on the lake) so we switched out attentions to the swim opposite on the SE Point. Once again we had a big hit catching another 30 fish including no less than five twenties between us! Pinch me. I’m dreaming. Incidentally, this fish won me a KM Bedchair in the Angler's Mail photo competition courtesy of Andy Little. About 25 years later when we both worked for Fox I said thank you!

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   Old Thread  #56 8 Nov 2016 at 11.52am Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
On their day peanuts can be a fantastic bait if used responsibly. However, they can also cause serious health issues to carp if they are abused by being used excessively, as this will show towards the end.

I shall never forget those few incredible sessions in the summer of 1984. The first was in July of that year. It had been a blistering summer and the visitors had arrived in force. As a result the reservoirs were dropping daily to supply water to the tourist areas. Tat and I went down for a weekender and as the level was down a few feet we decided to bivvy up on the gravel below the wall on the NE Point. This wall was built to protect the banks preventing wave action from eroding the shoreline. You can just about see the wall in this shot. The NE Points is on the left in this pic, the SE Point on the right.

Though we are catching OK on boilies we had decided to give peanuts a try, having read about their use and abuse in Carp Fisher. Though Tim Paisley was dead set against them we wanted to see what the fuss was about. Were they the wonder bait everyone we’d talked to was raving about…would they have a good catching life at the lake? Remember, we weren’t yet privy to the bait secrets that were prevalent up-country at the time so we were casting around for an effective alternative bait.

It was the first time we had used peanuts, but we made sure that we were preparing them correctly by reading up everything we could find out about them, mainly from Rod’s book, which also includes a chapter by Dick Caldwell. In it Dick comments that nuts could fill carp up very quickly and should thus be used sparingly. Rod on the other hand, likens peanuts to sweetcorn in effectiveness and also states that they need to be baited heavily, both cooked or uncooked, flavoured or unflavoured. Confused? You will be…Do we follow Rod or do we follow Dick? Two widely differing opinions in the same book, our bible at the time, in the same chapter no less!

So there we are, set up on the nice flat gravel below the wall with half a bucket of prepared nuts that are steaming quietly and attracting flies! What next? Well, get some out there seems like a plan…

Now maybe spods were around in those days in the ‘developed’ carp world but Cornwall was basically a 3rd world country as far as carping was concerned. Yes, we had catys, but spods? Not a clue! This basically meant that we were restricted to firing the nuts out with a caty, at best maybe 30 yards? Luckily the water dips down quite quickly off the NE Point so we found ourselves with about six feet of water in front of us at 25-30 yards. Now I wouldn’t say we were brimming with confidence about the nuts so hedging our bets somewhat we also took down some boiled baits that we could put out a far way using what we called ‘The Device’.

Let me tell you about this fiendishly clever bit of gear. I had been a bit of a match angler way back in the late 60s and among the rods was a 4-piece rod called, if memory serves me right, a Match Enterprise. This fiberglass 13 footer had a stiff bottom three sections but a very whippy tip, and as we now seeing carp well out of range we wanted to extend our distance by using a throwing stick. Again you had to make your own out of a thick glass or early carbon butt section, but we also come up a much more effective idea, The Device!

Stripping the rod rings off the Enterprise, including the tip ring, left a long very fast action extended throwing stick. How it worked was like this: I would stand at the water’s edge holding the stripped down rod. Behind me Tat stood with a bag of boiled baits. I would lower the rod behind me and Carole would push a bait onto the tip. The blank at the tip was pretty thin so pushing on the bait didn’t damage it or cause it to split, but allowed it to lodge nicely in place. I would then ‘cast’ the rod and at the top of the cast the bait would fly off the tip and be thrown huge distances (comparatively at the time) out into the lake. Using ‘The Device’ we could bait up at previously unreachable distances and once again we got back among the fish thanks to the freebies going so far out into the lake.

Of course, we couldn’t actually cast anything like so far but we also supplemented the Device-launched baits with plenty of throwing stick and catapult fodder that ended up a lot closer in. Then, by casting as near as we could to the long-range freebies – probably about 30 yards short – and onto the medium-range bed of bait we encouraged the carp to come in to sample the hookbaits.
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   Old Thread  #55 7 Nov 2016 at 6.10pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
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Ouch man how that happen?
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   Old Thread  #54 7 Nov 2016 at 6.09pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
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Very sorry to learn of Carole's bad luck...hope its on the mend...

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