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Barbarpping for Carp - Part 1 by Graham Elliot

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Andy Frances

Staff member
Barbarpping for Carp - Part 1

I have fished the Lake for three seasons now. It’s fairly local and the beauty of it is that it’s not been fished much if at all for quite a few seasons.

I think I am starting to know its moods, slowly at first but each season brings greater knowledge and success.

It’s about 5-6 acres in size, a typical gravel pit layout with a solid, broken stone sloping bottom and areas of fairly tough weeds interspersed with the odd clump of beautiful flowering lilies. It has two islands, one in the centre and one just out of my fishing view. The sunsets are incredible and give the lake a stunning pink surface, rippled by the breeze that seems always present even on a day that’s still.

Over to my left, the bank is about 70 yards away, with the odd sunken tree with tips exposed. Further out, again to the left, is a large fallen tree; exposed and jutting out on the waters surface is its full 50-yard length. This has become the home of the one cormorant that perches on its branches in between fishing trips. It ignores my clapped hands and peers back in total disdain at my efforts to scare it.
The Carp move in this area, I have seen them sip the odd insect from the surface and they roll here quite often.

Slightly to my right, but straight out at about 120 yards or more is one of the islands, about 30 feet across, it has it’s own trees rising to quite a height. Well outside of my casting distance with my Barbarpping rods.

In front of me, about a third of the lake.​

The last few seasons I have float fished for the tench. The best so far going 9lb 12oz. I have had male tench over 8lb though so have every confidence that it holds good doubles.

They are pretty predictable in that they often visit my swim around 11am or 6pm.
The 6pm visit causes problems in the household, especially when I return an hour after we have arranged to go out.
When I say often, I mean about once every three fishing trips. Like most gravel pit tench, they have their routines to go through, visiting all parts of the lake as and when they feel like it. Numbers are not high, as the odd recapture seems to indicate.
It seems very hard to keep them in the swim, and three or four bites would be a good result over maybe an hour or two when they deign to pay me a visit.

You can pretty much tell when they are there by the bubbles that start to drift to the surface, within the baited area. Success has been with maggots, always red, with or without corn, bread flake, pellets and mini boilies, still on the float and hair rigged.
I use a simple powerful match rod and 6lb line with a full deep spool on a Mitchell Match reel.

One at 8lb 12oz (I tried with the pin till the wind blew!!)​

I have fished a few times for the pike, especially when I can see one in the generally crystal clear water, best 18lb, but every season the whole population of baby coots, baby geese, ducks and all disappear one by one into the mouths of hungry pike. Seen it happen many times. A large splash, and a shrieking mother bird looking perplexed and wondering where one of her brood has gone.
I have reconciled this with the fact that I have never caught a roach, bream or perch in the lake despite the baits used. In the autumn there are sometimes large groups of fry fish, often small perch, I guess they eat each other all the way up the food chain.

And then there are the carp. When I contacted a pal in the Carp Society and asked a few questions, he advised me that Mr.Donald Leaney stocked them initially in 1956/7. And who am I to question that fact.

And there are certain times when they cruise into view in the clear water, especially on the left bank. And what carp! I have seem some that are a foot across the back and I estimate well over 40lb. The smallest I have seen is a common of about 12lb under my feet that picked up some dropped ground bait, watched my hook be lowered with some grains of corn in front of it, and leisurely swam past.

Most of the carp seem to be dark plated mirrors, with the few commons to maybe 30lb. I have hooked the odd carp, usually preceded by the small tench bubbles turning into large bubbles three inches across. It now scares the hell out of me.

Round one. A solid force meets the strike. The fish starts to move slowly left heading directly towards the sunken trees on the left bank. I increase the power on the rod and turn up the drag. The fish continues slowly without a break in its pace. I increase the pressure still more, as it’s now 20 yards from the trees. It continues on its way. I finger the spool, sure that the line will snap. The fish continues on its way. The fish reaches the trees and the line goes slack and I wind back to find the hook and tackle complete.

Round two. Just like the first encounter, except at 20 yards away from the tree, I open the bail arm and let the fish take free line, hoping it will stop and change direction. It doesn’t. This time the hook, again a size 12 heavy duty one has gone.

Round three. A chance at last, the fish has headed out into open water to my right. Still at no great pace, just steady pressure applied near to the limit has no effect.
It continues in a straight line, and then I realise -. Its heading toward the island, but surely it will stop before it can get that far. It travelled 120 yards without a single change of direction and took me around it. Trust me, the rod was close to snapping and how the line coped I have no idea.

Round four. Hook pulls out after a couple of minutes as the fish headed towards escape plan 1 and 2.

Round five. Into open water and the fish will NOT get into a snag. I will break everything first. Twenty-five minutes later with the fish going backwards and forwards in front of me I net it at the third attempt. Over 34lb of old scaled Mirror Carp. I’m proud and excited. I am also exhausted with the effort.

An old but beautiful warrior​

Please remember that I was float fishing for tench, hence the tackle. But now it’s going to be different.

Stepped up tackle to 1.75 tc. Barbel rods – 10lb line – bolt rigs – hair rigs – rod pod –silver paper rings on sticks. I’m going Barbarpping.

But…maples, tiger nuts, sweetcorn, plastic shiny bits, popups, maggots, partiblend, boilies, breadflake, groats, chickpeas, pellets and what an earths a snowman? (joking)

I have a few Active 8’s, a few yellow balls that smell a bit strongly of sweetcorn, some 20mm strawberry rock hard round things. All in a sealed dustbin that’s been in the shed for three years or so. I think I will try that selection first.

Now, things to consider.

The lady who owns the house I fish from is in France on a Health Spa break. I am assuming on her return she will let me fish there again.

I wont be tempted by the tench bubbles in front of me…..I won’t be tempted by the tench bubbles in front of……………

Hopefully the next part will be about success. Or a good try anyway.

Graham Elliott

Copyright retained by the Author. 2012
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