Jim Shelley has a reputation as being one of the best big carp catchers in the business, and he’s certainly lived up to that title so far this winter landing three 30lb-plus commons to 34lb 12oz during a 24 hour period on the Woolpack Fishery Lake 7.
The biggest of the trio was taken on one of the Suffolk-based carp tutor’s ‘salty meshed specials’ – a hookbait which he has used to great effect over the years but previously kept under wraps.
“Carp love salt and will actively search it out,” explained the Sticky and Vision consultant. “Therefore if you can incorporate it into your hookbaits you’re onto a winner. I use pop-up hookbaits for most of my fishing and to give them a salty boost I wrap a thin layer of paste around the pop-up which I then coat with rock salt and mesh with a section of women’s tights.”
On his first session Jim landed a 33lb 12oz mirror from a silty channel next to a weedbed – the first fish to be caught from the nine-acre Cambridgeshire venue for three months. Before leaving he scattered 5kg of Sticky Vortex boilies around the area in preparation for his next session.
“When I returned the next week the swim looked dead, so I set up in a different peg where I could see most of the lake and waited for the carp to give their location away. After dark they started showing fairly close in and I moved my gear round to another swim where I could target them with a slightly different line angle because I didn’t want to set up right on top of them.”
All four rods were fished with his favoured running chod rig approach, two of which were baited with Sticky Vortex ‘salty meshed specials,’ and the others with Buchu Berry and White Chocolate pop-ups.
The first couple of nights passed without event but following another change of swims to where he’d seen a patch of fizzing, and a change in wind direction, one of his rods eventually tore off resulting in the 34lb 12oz common.
Shortly afterwards he received a drop-back bite which produced a fish of 32lb 8oz, and he then rounded off the trip with another specimen of 30lb 2oz.
“The fizzing was really concentrated in one spot, so I positioned three rods close together, which is pretty rare for me, so that if one rod went off in the night I’d still have two bang on the money. It was a memorable session as it is the first time I’ve ever landed three 30lb-plus commons in such a short space of time,” he added.