Month: <span>February 2022</span>

I planned a session for Wednesday this week as the forecast was for it to be very mild for the time of year. I wanted to surface fish for carp using my new £25 NGT stalker rod and reel. I had set it up at home with one of those long surface fishing floats but didn’t have a swivel small enough to fit into the recess at the front so just tied the line to the hook length. When I got to the site the car park was full so I had to be creative with my parking! I started to walk the bank where I could see rows of anglers and came across a tripod with a pair of scales on it. This gave me a clue and it was soon confirmed by one of the fishermen, it was a match! 

So, back into the car and away to a lake that I have driven by hundreds if not thousands of times. It was not far and I was soon there and could tell from the way the gate opened that it had not been fished recently. On with the wellies and time for a walk round. On one side there was a slope down to the water with some platforms. I walked the length of the lake and found that I had to retrace my steps as I couldn’t get round. None of the swims grabbed me, branches sticking out of the water, trees overhead and steep banks and when I got to the other side of the lake it was even worse! I had to walk along wooden duckboards, pallets and other odd pieces of wood to get to platforms in the swims only to find they were underwater! I decided to give this place a miss for the day and come back another time. 

By now it was getting on for lunchtime and as I would have to drive past my house to get to other places to fish I thought that I would pop home for lunch. After lunch I couldn’t be bothered to drag myself out again so I didn’t!

The next day was cooler, 10 degrees, but sunny and bright so I wrapped up warm and made my way to the lake again. This time there was no-one there and I was soon at my favourite swim, tucked down out of the wind. I decided to put some groundbait and surface feeder biscuits out and before I could even get the rods set up I could hear carp slurping. Looking round I spotted them and threw some biscuits in their direction. They quickly started sucking them up so I decided not to bother with my feeder rod or float rod and go straight to my new stalker rod. 

All shapes and colours, this one was very yellow!

I spent the rest of the day casting out to fish on the top and catching them, I caught 20 in total plus a couple that slipped the hook but they don’t count! I tried various tactics during the session including using a pop up boilie for bait from which I got very little interest, in fact the white float got more attention, far from putting the fish off they would swim up to it and give it a suck and nibble then swim right past the bait! At least the boilie stayed on the hair rig which is more than can be said for bread! The line got rather twisted so I reeled some of it off and replaced the float with another one which I picked up from the tackle shop on the way and this one did have a swivel, which seemed to help. I also went from a hair rig to a plain hook as they seemed to be shy of the hook and I also did my best to cover it up with the bait. I found white bread the best bait, it was easier to shape and stayed on the hook better than wholemeal and also seemed to attract the fish more. I noticed the same thing as before, a single fish would often ignore the bait but several together would compete for it and one would get hooked. Again, they were not worried about me playing a fish in the swim even when I put the landing net in the water!

This one was rounded in shape.

So, how about my £25 rod and reel? Well, I couldn’t be more pleased with it! The reel is smooth and the drag is even and can be gradually applied, unlike my spinning rod reel where the drag is either on or off. At 2lb test curve the rod is a bit stiff for these fish which ranged from a couple of pounds to six and a half and it would easily cope with larger fish. The rod did have a bit of a bend in it with the bigger fish and I will have no qualms about using it for larger fish on other lakes. £25 and it is a decent rod! What a bargain!

And the match from the day before? Well, the bailiff stopped by and told me that the winning weight was 23lbs with nine fish. I caught twenty and let’s underestimate and say that they weighed 3lb each, that makes 60lb! I would have smashed it! Perhaps I’ll give this match fishing lark a go!

Another video of carp feeding off the top just in front of me. Try turning your sound up!


Having had some success on my last visit I decided to try the same lake again. I waited until it was a bit warmer and didn’t mind the wind as I knew that it would be sheltered as this water is down a steep bank. I arrived late morning with my feeder rod, float rod and a cheap spinning rod which I had set up with a bubble float and hair hook size 10 in case I could get carp to come on the surface again. After my last session I decided to buy a stalking rod and ordered an 8ft NGT rod with a 4000 baitrunner reel which was being sold as a set for £25 including delivery! I had looked at several reviews and they all were positive so I went for it. I had an email that it was being delivered on the day I was going fishing and a link to a map showing where the delivery van was. It got across the county to my town but then spent ages delivering to various places so I gave up and went fishing instead. You might have guessed it, just after I arrived and was setting up I had an email to say it had been delivered! Of course, if I had waited at home for it………

Anyway, back to the lake. There were half a dozen cars there when I arrived and I wondered if my swim would be free. Fortunately it was and I quickly settled down with the feeder rod with a small method feeder with corn as a bait and the float rod out. I had put some groundbait in and decided to start fishing shallow and deepen the rig if I wasn’t getting any bites. I also threw some bread and dog mixer biscuits out to see if the carp would arrive. Not much happened except that slowly people began leaving and I wondered if it was too late to catch anything but then remembered that the carp had not arrived until later last time so didn’t give up hope.

Then the float dipped and I had my first silverfish for a few months, a little roach. I took his picture then quickly popped him back in. I was using maggots on the float and soon changed to them on the feeder as I was having no joy with the corn. The float dipped again and it was another small roach then it went quiet so I decided to have lunch. Nothing through lunch but then another roach and a few minutes later the quiver tip bent and I was into a carp of a few pounds. Looking back at my photos I saw that this one was half an hour later than my first carp on the last session but it gave me hope! By now I was hearing the distinctive sound of carp slurping but couldn’t see where they were. I threw some more bread and biscuits in and waited patiently and eventually, about an hour and a half later than last time they started feeding on the surface and coming closer towards me, time to get the surface fishing gear out.

The first roach for a few months!

I had wondered if the bubble float would spook the fish but they didn’t seem to take any notice of it, in fact they would nose up to it and see if was something they could eat! The rest of the session was much the same as the last. I found that the spinning rod was a bit heavy for the size of fish I was catching, the heaviest went up to five and a half pounds. I also found that the fish were getting easier to catch as the session went on especially if there were two or three around the same piece of bread when they became a bit competitive. Single fish would sometimes nose up to the bait and ignore it so I wondered whether the hook was spooking it and so did my best to cover it up with bread. I was also surprised that the carp would still be feeding in the swim as I was playing and netting a fish, it didn’t seem to bother them at all. By now it was mid-afternoon and everyone had gone home, even the bailiff who had dropped by earlier and expressed surprise that I had caught some roach as they hadn’t been seen since the summer.

I was thinking of calling it a day when I had another fish and was playing it when the line went slack. It had broken just where it was attached to the bubble float and looking at it, it was quite sharp where it was riveted together and had obviously worn the line, into the bin for it then! I still had a few minutes to go so decided to put the float rod back into the water while I did a bit of tidying up to see if I could catch another roach but instead the float shot away and it was another carp, quite small but easily landed on my light tackle. Then it was time to go home and reflect on an afternoon where I had caught twelve fish and further boosted my catching confidence after a poor end to last year. I could get bored with fishing like this every time but for now it is just what I need!

I will leave you today with a video of the carp feeding off the surface making that lovely slurping noise!


There is something exciting about going to a new water, a slight anxiety, “Will I be able to find it, is there somewhere to park, will I catch anything?” Then there is the anticipation of catching fish, because a new water holds out the promise of success and I haven’t blanked there yet made me really look forward to my trip. Then, of course there is the matter of not going fishing since before Christmas which made me look forward to the session even more.

The morning was fairly mild and the strong winds of the previous days had died down and there was a bit of brightness in the sky as I set off. It was getting on in the morning as I had my chores to do and it takes me a little while to get going theses days. I found it alright, thanks Google Maps and Streetview, and there was even somewhere to park next to a couple of other cars. The lake was long and thin and I saw an angler on the side nearest to the car park so strolled down to see him. In fact his friend was in the next swim and after chatting for a few minutes I found that neither of them had caught anything as they said they  were in the wrong place and they should have been a bit further back towards the car park. It being my first time and the lake not looking a lot different anywhere along its length I decided to take their advice and found a decent platform not far from the car and set up my gear. I had just brought my feeder and float rods as I wasn’t expecting to catch anything big and soon had the feeder rod out with a small hybrid feeder and a couple of maggots on the hook. Then I discovered one of the problems with fishing on a wooden platform, there was nowhere to put a rod rest so I ended up just lying my rod on its side. I was to hear more about that later!

I started getting the float rod ready when much to my surprise a carp of a few pounds swam right past my swim just a yard or two out! I carried on getting ready when I heard the distinctive slurp of a carp feeding off the surface. “Right,” I thought, “Let’s put some bread out and see if they come to it.” So I did, and a few minutes later it was being eaten by a couple of fish. These two must have called their mates as shortly after there were half a dozen fish slurping away. The float rod was set up and I cast it out near to the fish and they took no notice so I tossed a handful of maggots in and they ignored them while continuing to guzzle the bread, it was time for drastic action! I quickly took the float and split shot off the line and found the largest hook in my box, a size ten, and cast my bread upon the waters.

My first decent fish for a long time, a lovely mirror!

I have got to really like catching fish off the surface and managed quite a few over the last year but I didn’t think that I would be doing it at the beginning of February! My float rod has only got a light line on it but I know that it will deal with bigger fish if I take it gently from my experience last summer so I was confident I could land any fish in the water. The first couple of casts came to nothing with the bread coming off the hook as it was nosed by a fish but soon one had taken the hook and I was in! I took it gently and after a couple of minutes the fish was in the net and safely landed. A mirror carp, not too big, four or five pounds I guess but it was a fish and after my run of poor form I was elated! It was quickly returned but before I cast out again the quiver tip started twitching and I was soon into another fish, a common of about the same weight. Then came another on the bread before a voice behind me asked how I was getting on. It turned out to be the Bailiff but it was alright as I had a ticket so we chatted for a few minutes before he moved on but not before telling me to keep an eye on my feeder rod as the bites could be fierce and the rod would end up in the water!

After that the fishing was quite consistent, I caught another carp on the feeder and a total of five off the surface, the biggest fish weighed in at seven and a half pounds and I took a while to land it under the watchful eye of the Bailiff stood on the opposite bank. Soon the time was getting on and I decided to wrap up what had been my best day’s fishing for ages. During the day I had seen a kingfisher streak past and been visited by the obligatory robin and caught seven fish so I was well pleased with myself. As I was packing up the Bailiff stopped by again, he had been supervising a match on the other lake on the site where weights had been poor so I had chosen the right place to fish! As we were chatting the fish continued to suck up my bread and we counted eleven of them at one time.

On the way home I had plenty to think about, how well my 10ft Maver rod stood up to reasonable sized fish, how to keep the feeder rod from getting pulled off the platform and the surprise at getting carp feeding off the top in the first week of February. Later I had a look on the Internet at stalking rods and techniques for fishing off the surface. I like using bread but mine was a bit dry and crumbly and didn’t stay on the hook very well and I wonder if some brands are better than others. Also, whether or not to use a hair rig and why some fish would ignore the bait if it was on its own or if they were on their own. I seemed to get more bites when there were a few fish competing for the bread, maybe they had thrown caution to the winds and decided to go for it before their mates got there first! I used my proper carp rods for surface fishing before but maybe they are a bit heavy for the size of fish I was catching, perhaps a lighter stalking rod would be a good addition to my armoury, after all I saw on Facebook that February is, “Buy your husband a fishing rod month” so it must be true!

A nice Common of seven and a half pounds.