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   Old Thread  #11 14 Oct 2016 at 8.46am Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #10
Awesome read Ken
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   Old Thread  #10 13 Oct 2016 at 9.21pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
Ken ,this is awesome reading,keep it up...I can remember Tony Chipman very well and i also recall Bodmin sports trophy shop which i believe was owned by Tonys dad...

I wonder if Peter Mohan was integral to the stocking of Alder quarry and Stone farm both on the old A30...There is of course Stowford Grange another quarry nearby with an interesting back story...

And Beechmere ....well,thats the `Pinnacle`for me,nothing will ever come close except for Tredidon Barton manor and the feral commons.........
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   Old Thread  #9 13 Oct 2016 at 2.00pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #8
With the hair and the bait I was really catching well…Too well by all accounts!



Now come on, Pete! Kick me out for either one thing or the other but not both. How can I nick fish when my motor is a rusting Renault 4, that is also my bed? And how can I be nicking fish when I live in a flat and don’t have a garden? Simple reason was, we caught too bloody many, and that’s the kiss of death on many syndicates even today. It was a sad ending to a great bit of fishing.

I shall always be grateful to Bill for so many things, not least the hair and Robin Red, but also for giving me a chance to fish Ockenham, where I learnt so much that would stand me in good stead for a career in carp fishing that followed a decade or so later.

Those few months at Ockenham set alight the carp fishing bug in a big way. Simply pulling into the car park was enough to get the pulse racing.



Jealously of others success was rife at the time - probably still is - and I have no doubt that it was simply because I ignored Peter's advice on how to fish the lake, which was supposed to be rock hard, and did my own thing, as did Bill. We made the rock hard look easy and that does not win you any friends. It certainly didn't put me in Mr Mohan's good books, but he relented many years later when he proofed my bait book for me!

I have no idea of the history of the fish in Ockenham. We met Roger Bowskill, an old Redmire angler, up there one day. He wasn't fishing but he seemed to know a lot about the lake. He told us that it had once belonged to Exeter AC but that Peter had managed to get the lease for the three lakes, which he then made syndicate. He also told us that the lake was actually BB's Beachmere or Bradmere Pool as it was also known. It certainly held the kind of stock for which Beachmere was known, and it was also in Devon, as is Beachmere, however, we were not impressed with Mr Bowskill and took what he told us with a tablespoonful of salt.

I don't think Ockenham was rich enough to grow on really big carp (by today's standards) but don't forget, at the time a double was considered big and a twenty would make headlines. A double from Ockenham was a big fish.



My memories of fishing at Ockenham are still among the dearest I hold. True there were no monsters in there, at least, none that we caught, but it was perhaps the purest way to go carp fishing; relaxed, simple, rewarding. How I wish I could return to those roots I loved so well, but time is now against me and the expansion of carp fishing means that there are few, if any truly unknown lakes around, though I know my mate Adam will disagree with me!
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   Old Thread  #8 13 Oct 2016 at 1.57pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #7
Then one weekend Bill came down to join me with a couple of very interesting secrets up his sleeve, secrets that he very decently shared with me. Our fishing was about to get even easier! The secrets in questions were the very first version of the hair rig, and a boiled bait that incorporated Robin Red. I shall never forget when Bill first brought up the hair rig.

We were enjoying a lazy lunch at the Seven Stars when Bill brought from his wallet the result of his very first encounter with the hair. He had been fishing one of his local lakes, where the great and the good of the era were also fishing. By chance, one day he reeled in some lost gear, and very curious lost gear it was. The nylon hooklink was tied directly to the hook but there was also a section of very fine line attached to the bend of the hook. It was this that he dug out of his wallet with the comment, “what do your reckon this is all about, then?” To be honest with you neither of us had a clue but we speculated that is was perhaps an alternative method of attaching bait. To our shame we then ignored this glimpse of the future completely, relying on our standard side-hooking rig.

Weeks later, however, Bill rang me to say that he had found out more, revealing that it was indeed a very special way of attaching a boiled bait specifically. This emphasis on using a boiled bait with the hair was thought to be important at the time, the belief being that the rig would not work so well with particles for fear of bite-offs. Bill told me the mechanics of the rig, explaining how to set it up and everything, and saying that the Robin Red birdfood baits we had started using at Ockenham were really working well with this hair rig.

Many of the carp were small and we though of them as true wildies because of their very short almost non-existent barbules. Whether they were or not is anybody's guess, but all I know is that they fought like crazy on the gear we were using at the time. This comprised home-made fibreglass rods built on North Western SS5 blanks or Sportex 1.5lb test that Jim Gibbinson was using and writing about at the time. Reels were Mitchell 300s or 330s, or when real excitement was the order of the day, a Match Aerial or Rapidex centerpin. Line was 8lb Maxima. You can imagine the fight a true wildie can give on that sort of tackle. Heart-stopping to say the least.



At the time I am almost 100% certain I was the only carper in Cornwall that knew about the hair rig so you can imagine the edge it gave me, never mind the additional edge that the Robin Red boiled baits gave me.

Now that we were both using the hair and the Robin Red bait we really began to catch well, and I would often pop up by myself just to keep the bait going in and catch a few more carp. We fished single rods and each of used the same stalking tactics, which were amazingly successful, so much so that we (myself in particular) attracted the wrath of Peter Mohan, with the result that I was kicked out of the syndicate after my first full year. Reason? Ostensibly because I was, “stealing carp to put in my own lake in my garden!” It was also considered bad form to sleep in the car so I was also kicked out for that! Sleeping in the car! When was that ever illegal?
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   Old Thread  #7 13 Oct 2016 at 1.56pm Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
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I was still fishing College and the RAC lakes but my mate Bill had tole me about a little syndicate lake he'd been fishing that he could get me into. I bit his hand off! So now as we move towards the end of the 70s here is the story of my time at Ockenham Lake in Devon.

If I go back far enough in my carping history – not an easy thing to do at my age – I will find in its dusty recesses the fond memories of a cherished moment in my carp fishing life. They concern a Devon lake I called Ockenham that lies in thick woodland not far from the A30 in the village of South Tawton.

In fact there used to be three lakes hidden deep in the woods; Ockenham, The Spit Lake and the Cliff Lake. Sadly when they turned the A30 into a dual carriageway to bypass Oakhampton, the route kicked seven bells out of the Lakes and now even the original Ockenham is no longer worth fishing.

I wrote about Ockenham in Tim’s second book in a chapter called Looking in on Carp, which was well named as it was on the Devon lake that I learnt more about carping in a few day sessions that I could have done in several seasons spent behind a battery of rods. Watching the way those fish behaved was a real eye opener to me and not only did I learn how carp feed in different baiting situations, I also learnt how to stalk fish in the margins. From that moment I became a stalking addict. It was here too that I first came to terms with proper boiled baits, and also got into particle bait fishing, Rod Hutchinson’s articles in Angling magazine having sparked my interest.

My mate Bill got me into the lakes in 1978, which were run at the time as a syndicate controlled by Pete Mohan. We would usually meet up at the Seven Stars pub late of a Friday evening, Bill having driven down from Surrey after work, me up from Cornwall. There was no night fishing but that was no problem as we would either stay B&B at the pub, or when the landlord was feeling kind and we had bought copious pints and a meal each, in the car in the pub’s car park.

I drove a really dilapidated old Renault 4 at the time, and I stripped all the seats out bar the driver's seat and shoved a single bed mattress in through the tailgate. Sleeping bag and a pillow on top, a few beers in the pub, and I slept like a baby! Here are our carping chariots at that time in the lane leading down to the lakes.



...and here's my living accommodation!



Bill and I then spent the whole weekend stalking the carp all around the lake, fishing single rods and a float, either fishing straight down the edge or free lining. We caught upwards of two dozen a day, and this on a lake that was supposed to be rock hard!

Ockenham lakes are deep and gin clear and the best tactic was to bait up right in the margins in 12-14 feet of water, using a carpet of any brightly coloured bait – sweetcorn or for preference black eyed beans – with the hookbait of two black-eyed beans side hooked and placed just off the carpet. Then you kept your eyes glued to the hookbait until it disappeared. This meant that a carp had snaffled it! This was pre-hair fishing at it’s most difficult, or so we were told, but we found them deliciously easy and obliging. Single rod stalking was exciting and hugely effective.



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   Old Thread  #6 13 Oct 2016 at 11.58am Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
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One of the first changes to the original hair rig was a shift in the position of the hair itself. I think Lenny had already figured that having the hair coming off the bend of the hook was not the most effective way to fish the rig and in an article in Carp Fisher 4 he revealed that the up-through-the-eye hair rig was proving a lot more effective. Steve, Carole and myself switched to the new set up and it was immediately obvious that Lenny as usual, was right!



We also started fishing with a backstop positioned some 12 inches up the line from the lead. This took the form of a little plastic ledger stop with a rig bead behind the lead, the idea being that the lead would hit the stop and help pr1ck the fish on the take. (I believe the modern day name for this rig is the Shocker Rig! Just goes to show that there is very little that is ‘new’ in carp fishing).

This Backstop Rig as we called it proved so effective that we secret squirrels took every precaution to stop the cat escaping from the bag, and once again the pub rigs were dug out. In effect the only change we made was to put the old hairs back on, as this was well known by now, and remove the ledger stop completely, but with the bead behind the lead remaining on place. Once again I had the satisfaction of seeing a guy cast out, watching as his back bead flew up the line totally unhindered by the back stop!
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   Old Thread  #5 13 Oct 2016 at 11.54am Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #4
You couldn’t keep me away from Rashleigh that year and the bailiff at the time, a grumpy bugger known as Smithy, became more and more intrigued to find out how I was getting all those chances. He knew about my ‘little red balls’ but he didn’t know about the hair, a secret I was determined to keep to myself for as long as possible!

By now I had made friend with a few other carpers including a guy called Steve Westbury. Steve was a passionate carper and was making his own boiled baits. We kind of teamed up, but not in the share-everything sort of way that is common in this day and age. However we did share info about bait and I put him onto Haith's and the Robin Red/Nectarblend recipe that was being so successful for me. Mind you, I still kept the hair under wraps!

At the time Steve was fishing for twitchers using washing up bottle tops as indicators. To see him sitting over his rods, tensed like a coiled spring, ready to strike the head off the first carp to lift the bobbin more than an inch, had me itching to reveal all but I let him suffer for a while. Eventually I took pity on him and showed him the hair, but once a twitcher-hitter, always a twitcher-hitter. The fist time Steve’s indicators leapt up the needle and smacked seven bells out of his rod Steve whacked at it as if he was still hitting twitches…His line parted with an almighty ‘snap’! “Are all the takes like that?” he asked me. “Yep,” I said. “Your days of sitting hunched over your rods hitting tiny twitches are over!” This is Steve playing a fish in a badly timed rain storm. It was torrential!



Steve and I formed a great team and our success at Rashleigh was very enjoyable. In fact we caught virtually all the bigger carp in there several times over, and when my lass Carole joined the team we had some great times on the banks of the Club’s lakes and later on College Reservoir. It didn’t take long for Carole to catch either but then again, she did have the hair and Robin Red! This is her first carp from Rashleigh...her first carp from anywhere come to that!



I shall always recall those days with great fondness as our little team became almost a fixture on Rashleigh. In fact, when we discovered another lake down west, College, and began catching even bigger fish, we told anyone who asked that we had packed up carping. The fact was that the secret squirrel attitude had us in its grip and we didn’t want anyone to know that we had landed on College. Can you blame us!



In fact a couple of club members had fished the ressy the weekend before our first trip, but the weather had been so awful that they couldn’t hold bottom with 3oz leads and it had put them off going again anytime soon. How different it would have been if they had decided to come down with us the following weekend, when the weather was balmy and the fish went crazy. But that’s another story.

Of course, we still kept in touch with the Club’s waters and Steve went prospecting on Bilberry, where he enjoyed great success. Meanwhile we alternated between College and the Club’s lakes, still with the bait and the rig, and still, by a miracle, closely guarded secrets. OK, maybe a few other guys had the rig now, but thinking they were the only ones in on the secret they too kept it close. There was a lot of sneaky stuff going on in those days!

I have always been a social angler and would often pull off the lake, even on a day session, to go to the pub for lunch. Being a nasty little secret squirrel I would always change my rigs before leaving, substituting the short, hair-rigged bolt rigs for long mono hooklinks with a tiny hook on the end – NO HAIR! I knew my devious pub rig ploy had worked when I saw a member cast out his own version of this ludicrous set up, a look of great smugness written all over his face. Oh how we laughed!

Of course once the full info about the hair was out we gradually found the going a bit tougher, but the suicide squad (our name for the hordes of 6-8lb carp that abounded in Rashleigh) could generally be relied upon to provide good sport.


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   Old Thread  #4 13 Oct 2016 at 11.51am Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #3
John was right. It WAS living with them. The lake, of course, was Wheal Rashleigh, and he wasn’t kidding about it being stuffed! There were carp everywhere you looked and some were clearly pretty big. The Club Chairman at the time, a guy called Derrick Runnalls was then working at the tackle shop in St Austell where they sold tickets and he signed me up as a member right away. Next thing I knew I was preparing for my first session



I had done a fair bit of a recce the previous weekend and had spotted a very distinctive bar in a swim down at the end of the lake, and I decided to make a start there. However, the best laid plans and all that…There was a guy in the swim when I arrived and he had caught a fish, a big fish for those days, a common of 15lb or so. The guy then told me that he was packing up and that I should jump into the swim immediately. Can you see that happening to a total stranger walking onto a modern carp water! The guy in question was Tony Chipman a Club committee member and keen carper. As if allowing me to jump right into his swim was not enough, he also gave me some of the trout pellet paste he was using. Nice guy!



I fired out about 50 Robin Red freebies to the bar and cast my two rods out spaced about 20m apart, one at the back of the bar, the other on the top of it. As before at the pond when I had caught Big Daddy the response was almost instant and after a dogged fight I slipped the net under a right bruiser of a fish with a very distinctive tail. It was the fish that came to be known as Busted Tail! I later found out that this old mirror was the largest carp in the lake. So, within a few minutes of casting out on two different venues, I had landed the biggest carp in each one! Thank you Robin Red: Thank you hair rig!

As if that wasn’t enough, while I was weighing the first fish the other rod went off resulting an a common of 17lb +. Though I did not know it at the time, this was the biggest common in the lake! I was alone, as Tony was driving out of the car park as the first take happened so I did a quick photo of the two fish on the ground. It was only later that I became aware of what I had achieved that day, the biggest mirror and biggest common on the very first visit!


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   Old Thread  #3 13 Oct 2016 at 11.49am Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #2
We were enjoying a lazy lunch at the Seven Stars in South Tawton when Bill brought from his wallet my very first encounter with the hair. He had been fishing at Cut Mill when one of the regulars took him into his confidence and showed him the hair rig, and it was this Holy Grail that Bill showed me in the pub. Naturally I thought he was taking the pi$$ and to my lasting shame I ignored this glimpse of the future completely. What a moron!

It was weeks later, when I again fished with Bill at Ockenham that I told him I had not been using the hair. He called me several choice names and kicked me up the arse, (metaphorically I hasten to add) and when we got back to the lake after another pub lunch, Bill showed me exactly how to set it up. This was the original tying of the hair.



Naturally, in conjunction with the RR boilies AND the hair, we now enjoyed phenomenal sport at Ockenham, so much so that Peter Mohan dreamt up a stupid excuse to kick me out of the syndicate. I brought the two secrets back home to Cornwall with me and I am almost 100% certain I was the only carp angler in the county that knew about the rig, or about Robin Red come to that.

The downside was trying to keep the rig and the bait secret! For instance, if another angler came over to chat and you had a flyer, this was bound to increase the guy’s suspicion. Flyers simply did not happen pre-hair! As if that wasn’t bad enough, if the guy the offered to net the fish for you, it was only right and proper that you told him to F*** off as the last thing you wanted was him spotting the rig! However, some guys can be very thick skinned and even after ripping the net out off his hand and landing the fish yourself, you had to be pretty quick to tear off the hair and the hookbait before he clocked it.

Meanwhile, back in Cornwall I set about finding some decent carp fishing locally. A local guy was fishing a small lake I had heard contained a few carp. I went down to this lake to meet him and was astonished at how small it was. Ian then set about trying to blind me off the place, but I wasn’t fooled for long. A flock of seagulls flew in, screaming for some bread that had been thrown onto the surface of the pond, and as the did so they spooked several carp.

Later I went down for a look around with a stalking rod and a bag or RR boilies. It was a bright sunny day and the fish were plain to see. I put and handful of bait in the margins by the lifebelt, popped a hookbait on the hair and cast out just off to the side of the freebies. Almost immediately a fish swam up to the baits and began wolfing them down. Next thing I knew there was a huge swirl, the rod tip jerked around and the reel screamed and a few minutes later I had a large carp in the net, a fish that was later to claim fame throughout the country as the fabled ‘Big Daddy’, at the time my personal best.



My skipper at the time was a great friend called John Affleck, an old school carper from up country. John asked me if I had taken a look at some of the other lakes in the area, especially those of the local angling club, Roche AC. He said that the club controlled the fishing on a lake "up the Luxulyan road" (his description) and told me that this particular lake was "living with carp".cYeah! Right!


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   Old Thread  #2 13 Oct 2016 at 11.46am Login so you can post / reply  Register so you can join in!
In reply to Post #1
I started fishing at a very early age under the watchful eye of my Grandpa, a pretty inept teacher if the truth be known. However I will always be grateful to him for igniting the spark that turned me into an angler. Thanks Grandpa!



I first cast a line for carp in 1965, at Keston Ponds in Kent. Needless to say, I was hopelessly inexperienced for those Leney warriors and failed miserably. But that didn’t stop me trying and after getting married we moved to Ash Vale in Surrey, not far from the famous Cut Mill, a lake that belonged to Farnham AS. It was here that I really got into carp fishing in a big way, catching my first double on anchored floating crust, the upside down set up as it was called. This is a very young KT fishing the crust at Cut Mill in around 1968.



Then in 1971 we moved down to Fowey and I started work on a commercial fishing boat and carp fishing was shoved aside for several years. At weekends we took out parties to fish the wrecks and one of our regular groups was a bunch of mates I used to carp fish with in Surrey. Their chat about the goings on in the carp world “up country” rekindled my interest in carping and in 1977 my mate Bill got me into the Ockenham Lakes syndicate in Devon that was run by Peter Mohan. It was here that I first came to terms with proper boiled baits, and also got into particle bait fishing, Rod Hutchinson’s articles in Angling magazine having sparked my interest. Living the alternative life, far removed from the suit and tie brigade meant that I was now a bit of a wild looking hippy.



Ockenham lakes are deep and gin clear and the best tactic was to bait up right in the margins in 12-14 feet of water, using a carpet of any brightly coloured bait – sweetcorn or black eyed beans – with the hookbait of two black-eyed beans side hooked and placed just off the carpet. Then you kept your eyes glued to the hookbait until it disappeared. This meant that a carp had snaffled it! This was pre-hair fishing at it’s most difficult, for if you didn’t strike the moment the hookbait disappeared you missed the take. This is Bill at Ockenham fishing the single rod tactic that we always used there.



Then in 1978 Bill came down to join me on the Lakes with a couple of very interesting “secrets” up his sleeve, secrets that he very decently shared with me. These were the very first version of the hair rig and a boiled bait that incorporated Robin Red. I shall never forget when Bill first brought up the hair rig…
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