One thing I look forward to most each year is my annual trip to France and more often than not, this will be to Les Teillatts. The majority of my time spent when I was a student was on local club waters and syndicates but now I'm in the real world with a full time job, my trips to France are definitely more appreciated due to limited time in England. The group of lads I go with are what make the trip for me but obviously we all go out there to catch fish and the fact all 12 of us caught, made it a memorable one.
For me one of the worst parts of the trip is the draw, as it can make a huge difference to your weeks fishing. I usually come out in the top 10 but when I pulled out number one, I knew the pressure was on! I choose a swim which had previously done me well, called New Biffos and I was soon setting about getting my rigs in the zone. MC Nut was my bait of choice, which I had full confidence in due to my recent success on the same venue, where I’d caught mirrors to 68lb and commons to 81lb. MC Nut pellets and chilli hemp completed my mix and I was soon spombing this out to a plateaux at 110 yards.
Two nights in and all was quiet and although a few fish had been out I still felt confident, as there were clearly fish out in front of me. From previous experience at les Teillatts, I knew how important it was to stick to your spots and to not start panicking and changing things around. More often than not on these heavily pressured venues, the fish will turn up at some point and once they do, you can be fairly confident of a few more. Two awesome looking mirrors that morning eased the pressure. One went 35lb and the other 44lb, so it was a good start! The first fish or 2 of a week-long trip always help to settle the nerves and ease the pressure somewhat, so the rest of the day was spent drinking everyone else’s beer!
After those 2 fish, it all went quiet until the following afternoon. A take just after midday in scorching heat took me by surprise and after a hectic battle in the 30 degrees heat a long leathery looking mid 40 mirror was in the net. I wiped the sweat from my face as a crowd had gathered in my swim by this point. We were all in agreement that it was an awesome looking fish and at 44lb 8 I was more than happy. The week before the trip I'd actually put an Instagram post up of a carp I'd caught 2 years previously saying that 'I wouldn't mind seeing this one again'. As soon as it went in the net I knew it was exactly the same fish and although I don't normally like recaptures, when they look like this I'm not too bothered!
A few hours later and for the first time that week my right hand rod was away, which on a different spot, so all 3 rods had now done bites. Ideal!
It was a weird fight, with the fish just waddling around. It wasn't until we bundled it in the net that I realised why it gave such a weird fight. It was undoubtedly one of the most ugliest and demented looking carp I'd ever caught and me and Dougers next door had a right old laugh at its expense. Poor thing! We decided to name it 'Ricky' as it held a lot of similarities to one of the lads on our trip and that was his name.
The following day only one mid 30 slipped up from the 110 mark on the plateaux. The Thursday was the most productive day of the week for me. Late afternoon I noticed a lot of activity over my right hand rod with numerous fish crashing right over the top of it. I'd introduced about 15k of mc Nut over the course of the week and they were clearly loving it, after eventually finding it. I knew it was only a matter of time before one got nailed and a frustrating couple of hours followed and finally the Neville started screaming. This spot had only done 1 fish all week but within a few hours I caught three fish from it, topped by a banger of a common at 41lb and my one and only common of the week.
It was clear that the fish in the lake had a routine as and come mid-afternoon, there were always fish over me before the moved down into the bay in the evening, so I just hoped they would return the following as I was still yet to catch anything over 50 and considering I’d now had 7 bites I felt confident that my luck my change. I was praying one of the big girls turned before I left but it wasn't to be. One more mid 30 completed yet another memorable week on the incredible les Teillatts.
Somehow the place just keeps getting better and better! All 12 of us caught with 9 PBs smashed, so it has to be up there with one of the best trips yet. Loads of carp caught, loads of beer drank and loads of laughs had- what's it's all about! Roll on the next one...
After a short 4 days at work and the pressure set to drop, I thought a trip to a club water I fished most weekends back in spring was worth a return. Usually I do next to no night fishing between the end of June and end of August as I love my floater fishing, but mostly because I don't like mosquitoes as much as they like me! With the weather we've had this July it's knocked the surface fishing on the head on the venues I fancy most so a couple of friday nights have been spent in the bivvy swatting flies.
I turned up to the lake on Friday mid-day and saw plenty of fizzers in front of the high numbered pegs. I quickly cast a few singles out with a light lead past the bubbles and wound back dropping beside them. One on a Scopex and Peach, the other on an MC Nut. I'd had success on a whittled Scopex and Peach earlier on in the spring with 2 of the 'A Team 30's' banked along with some of the other residents.
With the fish still fizzing, flanking on the bottom and a few small fish showing, I was massively confident I'd get a take soon. 30 minutes passed and I saw another angler turn up opposite me psuhing his gear followed by his two dogs stopping in every other peg to have a look at the lake. I turned up to the lake with a plan for a particular peg in mind which is often a curse, but I'd fished one peg up from this swim the weekend before in the rain and had a couple of bites fishing the same overhanging tree. With only 2 other anglers on the lake I had a feeling that the guy that had turned up would jump in the swim I wanted to be in, so with that paranoia I wound in and legged it down to the swim to settle in for the night...
I got the rods out, one on an MC Nut Special Hookbait bottom bait, and one on the faithful whittled Scopex and Peach pop up on a Ronnie rig. Both fishing up against an island with overhanging trees amongst a bed of pellet and 16mm GS Crab boilies. The depth is just over 3ft against the island so the darkness of the pellet and GS Crab boilies don't attract the eye of the coots or mallards so my bait and rig presentation stays set for any passing fish moving along the island margin.
A few hours passed, 5 o'clock on the nose and with a few beeps and a crack of the bobbin hitting the rod I was into my first fish of the session, a nice 26lb 13oz common on the left-hand rod fishing the MC Nut hookbait on the bottom.
After a few self takes I got the rod back out on the spot with another small helping of pellet and GS Crab boilies.
A few hours later and the heavens opened and it began to poor down with rain, as promised with the low pressure we were getting. Just before 8pm my left-hand rod was away again with a heavier fish on the end, after playing it most of the way in under the brolly it decided to kite left hard along the margin. After getting a soaking, I slipped it into the net only to find it was the 36lb mirror I caught back in spring, so I unhooked her and slipped her back into the lake. Again, I reset the rod, put some more pellet and GS Crab back out and tried to get some sleep.
After a rough night of fighting off mosquitoes, liners, raining heavily on and off and a 12lb ish stocky at 1am I wound both rods back in. I wasn't happy after I caught the stocky on the left-hand rod that it was presenting well, so I changed the MC Nut hookbait and put that back out on the spot. My right-hand rod hadn't had so much as a liner so I switched the Scopex & Peach pop up to an MC Nut Hookbait, still on a Ronnie rig as I've used this rig with wafters fishing over on Frimley and caught so I'm confident in the mechanics of the rig with more or less any hookbait. Within 10 minutes of the right hand blanker rod going out, it sprung to life with line being stripped from the spool. The fish kited right along the margin and then started swimming towards me pushing deep with a line of bubbles rising from the bottom as it tried to shed the hook. After a good scrap under the rod tip a quick rise and a row of scales along it's flank I recognized the fish instantly. It was one of the jewels of the lake and with wobbly knees, shaking hands and praying for her to stay on I managed to slip her into the net!
Just that night me and a friend of mine Jack, who at the time was fishing another lake nearby were teasing each other about this fish. And I don't think either of us actually beleived it when I sent him the text saying it was in the net! He obligingly came round to do the pictures and he did a good job of it too! The big mirror was in the net and we were both buzzing as we looked into the bottom of it. The fish is ounces under 40lb at the right time of year but I'll more than make do with it tipping the scales at just over 36lbs any day of the week!
After photo's and few texts went out as it was still before 7am I thought I'd get the rod back out on the right hand spot and see if my run of luck was still going for the next few hours. By this point I was scraping the bottom of my bucket to get the last few pellets and GS Crab boilies out as I had clearly underestimated the amount of bait I needed to bring! Less than an hour later my right hand rod was away again with a stocky common slipping up on the MC Nut. 9:45am and it was the left hand rods turn and after another battle under the rod tip a named 26lbs 4oz mirror swam into the block of the net. 11am came and I decided to head back home happy with the decision of moving off showing fish to make plan work.
6 bites, 6 fish and an empty bait bucket, it was time to go home...
The Spring had already been kind to me in the previous week’s, but one trip in May turned out to be particularly productive.
I turned up on the Thursday with four whole nights ahead of me. Despite my best efforts, the first two nights turned out to be fruitless, but then a stroke of luck in disguise eventually put me on some fish.
I had moved into a swim known as the Murder’s, I had done well to get in there, as it was a popular choice in Spring. A fresh Northerly had sprung up and the fish were showing out there; long on the end of it. It looked really good for a bite or two, until disaster struck.... or so I though at the time!
Basically, to cut a long story short, the wind intensified, the weed growth below the surface was higher than I expected, and unfortunately, despite several attempts, my little Baitboat just couldn’t make the range in those conditions. Frustrating at the time... Especially with fish still showing out there!
So I decided there and then to cut my losses and pack up, although there was obviously fish out there I couldn’t see the point in fishing the swim if I couldn’t reach them. So I packed up quickly and headed up the other end, right off the back of the wind to a swim I had done a lot of time in the past and I was familiar with. Although I hadn’t seen anything here I knew I could get my rods out quickly and efficiently for the night and at least I would be fishing effectively come morning.
As it happens, the previous afternoon’s nightmare turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as in the early hours of that first morning I caught a lovely 38+ mirror, I also heard quite a few through the night as well so there was obviously a few about.
The following day the boats came out early, meaning I had to reel in for the day, but as I had caught one and heard a few throughout the night, I was more than happy to stay put. That evening I recast all the rods, fishing the middle rod slightly further than I would of done usually, as the fish I had heard the night before sounded that little further away than what my rigs were. Everything went smoothly and I settled down for my final night in anticipation....... but never did I anticipate quite what was to come the next morning.
I overslept, missing first light, instead I awoke at 5.30 am to a bite on that middle rod fishing slightly longer, this turned out to be a 41lb mirror.
Mirror rolled into the net. This one weighed almost 43lb, 42.14 to be precise. This made my first brace of 40s and as you can imagine I was buzzing, but it wasn’t to end there.
Three more bites followed in quick succession. One i unfortunately lost when the hooklink parted on an unseen snag, but the other two I managed to bundle into the same net, both being mid-20 mirrors.
So at that point I had four fish waiting to be photographed when the left hand rod was away again!
I could tell this was another good fish from the off, and with two twenty pounders already sat in the net I was a little unsure what I was going to do. I did consider letting them go at one point, as maneuvering the net into position with two fish already in there is by no means easy... especially when every time you let go of the handle they’re trying to swim away with it!. But with a little patience I somehow managed to bundle yet another big mirror in there with he’s two smaller pals.
I didn’t weigh the two smaller fish, estimating them to be around 23/24lb, but incredibly the third mirror weighed 41lb 15oz... I couldn’t believe it, a hat-trick of 40lbers in just a few short hours!
I managed two more bites later that morning, both mirrors again at 31 and 27lb, so in total I had eight bites, landing seven... plus the 38 pounder I had landed the previous morning. Quite an incredible haul for that lake, and having fished there for almost four years now I had never experienced anything quite like it before, and I doubt I ever will again... a true red letter day!
All the fish were caught over large amounts of 14mm MC Nut, with ‘Untouchaballs’ on simple hinges fished over the top due to the Crayfish issues.
The frosts had cleared for a few weeks and the time to select my campaign water for the year had come. Being 17, not able to drive yet, and working a laborious job straight from leaving school, working life hit me hard and I needed somewhere which I could get to easily on the barrow from my house on a Friday night after work. This would also allow me to keep in sync with the lake throughout the week, making the short time I actually had on the bank fishing all the more worthy. An 8 acre small urban mere, with pylon wires all over the lake, and set next to an industrial estate it's not the most aesthetic but the originals in there are different gravy for where I live in Warrington. I spent a few weeks lapping in the week after work, just learning the routines of fish, how they moved on to certain winds and in to certain areas. I held back from baiting heavily at first, the lake was fishing slow and I endured a few blank nights but I was still just getting to grips with the place. A starting point for me was the few fish that were coming out were mainly on match the hatch hookbaits, and i quickly adapted to that, fishing straight bottom baits produced my first few fish of the year, a banging 21 leathery stocky, followed by another clean big scaled linear the weekend after. I was using the Tange Marine at the time, and the fish were getting on it. Watching them feed in snags proved to me that the fish was reacting to it instantly. Another weekend provided a chunky fella known as Cyril at 22.8, and I felt momentum was on my side. But then I pulled off for a few weeks after this as the fish had began to spawn.
Once the spawning had quietened down and anglers were back on fishing, the bites were few and far between for everyone. This was around the time Joe had sent out a sample of a new red spicy fish meal test bait, and It looked brilliant and I decided to go for it, an order was made and it seemed the right time to give them some bait. As I mentioned bites were few and far between and in my mind, they just needed some top grub and a lot of it, on a dance floor where they could come and smash it up, to regain all this depleted energy they had used during spawning. Doing my normal rekkies after work I had found a good group of 15-16 different fish in a small quiet corner, I don't think I've ever seen anyone actually fish the swim in the 2-3 years I've been looking round the lake. The plan was to find a spot close in, as these fish was literally turning up boils of water within inches of the bank, and to fill it in. A small hole in a set of pads and a few kilo of the testbait along with some hemp, pellet and the rock salt was all deposited for several nights under the cover of darkness. Turning up friday after work I just knew they had been on it. The whole clarity of the water in this corner was completely different to the rest of the lake. And setting up the brolly at the back of the swim I heard one fly out just yards from the bank, and then the fizzing started on the spot. I was rubbing my hands. Got the rods out mega and I was away within 20 minutes. A mid double mirror lost at the net and I thought I had ruined my chances. The lake hadn't done a bite for almost a week at this point, and I'd just lost one before I'd even got the kettle on. I stuck with it in the hope they'd move back in at first light and another bite would be on the cards. 12:30 am and the rods away, stripping line off me and heading straight in to a set of pads. After a dogged fight in the darkness I could just make out a big gob and head roll over the net cord. Get in there "it's Split Tail" I said to myself and giving it the big fist pump to myself, like a kid at Christmas. I was straight on the hooter to my mate who was fishing a lake a few miles away. I'd had full confidence in the test bait from this moment on.
Over the next month or so I continued this success and over in the adjacent swims, which was basically a mirrored style of fishing from the current swim. None of the big girls turned up unfortunately. Until after a few stalking sessions I was checking my spots and the big girl, my target fish cruised over. I spent the next few weekends in that swim to no avail and the area turned stale. I fished a central swim the following week and was giving some yellow 12mm test bait pop ups a go, fishing snowman style with a 2 bait stringer and I managed one of my targets 2 scale, spawned out but still buzzing all the same, and this just gave me such belief in the bait, knowing if I put it in the right area the fish would 100% feed on it.
I went to Leeds festival the following weekend and after a long day in a sweaty tent I was running low on energy to say the least. On the train journey home I just knew I had to get back out, and once home Id packed the barrow after a relieving shower and made the 2 mile walk. The rods were set in a central swim of the lake and the place was rather empty, I decided to fill it in and started off with 3kg of bait, hoping to get a long well needed kip and a bite at first light. How wrong was I! I think I was playing my 5th fish at around 8am the next morning! A few mid doubles and a cracking 23lb linear being the pick of the bunch. I was buzzing as the spot had done 2 scale the week before and this proved it wasn't just a fluke. I stuck it out in that area of the lake for the next few weekends and only managed one more fish. During the time I'd been fishing this small area of the lake, I'd noticed how a certain end of the lake had been getting completely ignored, and a few evenings sat down there revealed how many fish was actually down there! The fact the swims are the furthest walk from the car park might be the reason for this. After a week of prebaiting I went down and a fresh new wind was hacking down there, and the next morning there was 1 fish in the sack, which turned out to be a repeat of a stockie from early on in the year once I'd looked at all the pics, and another fish in the retainer which turned out to be a banging old original linear! Not on my list but one I really wanted to catch just to get some awesome pics of it.
The following weekend produced a low 20 from the same swim and then I pulled off as I was going to a gig in Manchester. I told my mate Nabs the wraps to the spot and he dropped in that weekend having a small common. So I knew the spot was still producing. Me and Nabs decided to have a social the following weekend down that bank, as it was still empty 9 out of 10 times when we was doing laps in the week. We dropped on after work on the Friday and after dropping the rigs on to the spots I was away within 20 mins with a lovely old leathery low 20. Fresh rig back on and the spot topped up i got about doing some photos when halfway through the same rod was melting off! With Nabs on net duty and another of my mates who had come down to get involved with pics looking after the fish and returning her, I was bent in to another fish, which turned out to be a heavily full scaled fish which none of us even know was in the lake! While the mats and slings were all sorted we got him out quickly and got the pics sorted. I finally managed to get an hour of peace and get the kettle on and have some food, until halfway through my pot noodle the rod pulled up tight and I could see the tip pulling round as the fish kited. After a heavy and long fight the fish rolled over the cord and Nabs straight away called it as 2 scale! But with a full belly on her this time. 24.1 she went and I got some top trophy shots before slipping her back. That's the same fish on the test bait for a second time, she certainly likes it...
The swim went quiet for a while and the next bite came around 3 am ended up being a nice mid double linear stocked fish so she got slipped back quickly so I could get some more shut eye. The following weekend I travelled down to the Warwickshire Avon for 2 nights with my old mate Whitham for some barbel and chub fishing before heading out to Australia for a holiday. We managed a few fish, all mine taken on the 10mm test bait, proving to be quality for all situations of specimen fishing. That just about brings me up to date as I'm sat writing this on the sandy beach of Perth. This year so far has totally opened my eyes to how much a good top quality bait can really make such a big difference to your angling and the way in which you apply it, let's not forget alongside your watercraft and rig mechanics! But it's certainly a huge part of it! I'm looking forward to a good winter on the MC Nut and Banoffee, 2 quality winter baits which I'm 100% sure will bring the results coming! Then getting back on to the testbait in the spring of 2018. If your not on the Oxford Carp Baits already, then get on it!