Mike Lyddon enjoyed a red letter day when he banked his season’s greatest mixed bag... made up of crucians to almost 4lb, roach, tench and a personal-best carp.
The Gardner Tackle-backed rod spodded out a bed of groundbait at 50 yards and dropped a Method feeder over the top.
Then, in a breathtaking 48-hour stint, he netted an amazing 29 crucians over 3lb, the best of them going 3lb 15oz.
That was only part of the tale, though. Half-a-dozen tench to 6lb, stacks of quality rudd to almost 2lb, roach to 1lb 8oz and a UK personal-best carp of 34lb also muscled in on the act.
All Mike’s fish were beaten on a rig made up with 6lb Gardner Hydroflo mainline to a 4lb Mirage fluorocarbon hooklength and a size 16 Target hook.
One week after landing a new personal-best barbel, James Thomson upped the ante with the capture of this 16lb 9oz fish.
The 32-year-old operations administrator from Lincoln followed up a 14lb 9oz fish in his previous session by slipping the net under the latest giant, which he tempted on a Jason Haywood MPX boilie from the River Trent.
James, who also banked five other barbel to over 14lb during the same session, is enjoying what he called ‘his best-ever season’ after netting eel, rudd and zander personal bests.
The Environment Agency has revealed that more than £500,000 worth of fines were issued to rod licence cheats during 2015 and 2016 – the most successful crackdown on illegal fishing ever.
Enforcement has been given a huge boost this year with the national roll-out of the Voluntary Bailiff Service. Additionally, countless police forces have pledged their support to battling angling crime.
More than 62,000 licences were checked in the last two years, resulting in 1,987 prosecution cases being filed for those caught without one.
Dilip Sarkar, the Angling Trust’s National Enforcement Manager, said: “The team effort by the EA, police, fishery owners and anglers from all over the country has been immensely effective.
“We have been able to empower anglers via the Voluntary Bailiff Service, train the police and courts, address the migrant angler issue and initiate multi-agency operations which have increased intelligence and support available to the EA.
“As a result, angling has never been in a stronger position to protect fish and fisheries and crack down on licence cheats.”
Among the most effective forces on the ground in 2015 and 2016 were the Environment Agency patrol teams, deployed weekly to check that anglers are obeying the law.
Angling Times was invited to join an enforcement patrol day at Bedfordshire’s Manor Farm Fisheries to witness what happens during a routine sweep of a fishery.
Of the 30-plus anglers checked on the day, all had valid rod licences – although EA Fisheries and Biodiversity Team Leader Kye Jerrom warns that it’s not always plain sailing.
He said: “Today’s result came back 100 per cent positive but this isn’t always the case. Some days we’ll issue fines into double figures, so it’s important we conduct patrols like this.
“However, our job isn’t all about taking people to court – it’s about securing as much money as possible for fisheries by encouraging people to buy licences, working closely with fisheries and partners to spread the word. We’re now reaping the rewards for our efforts.”
Sarah Chare, Head of Fisheries at the Environment Agency, was equally positive about the new face of enforcement.
“Through working with our partners and taking an intelligence-led approach we are clamping down hard on those who are cheating the sport.
“The vast majority of anglers who fish legally deserve to see those who flout the law brought to account.
“To that criminal minority, our message is clear – we won’t hesitate to take action to stop illegal fishing.”
The Box Common, one of the most sought-after day-ticket carp in the country, has been banked at 45lb 12oz.
Luke Thornett caught the fish during a three-night session at St John’s, on the Linear Fisheries complex in Oxfordshire.
The 30-year-old from Oxford also snared two 20lb mirrors during his session in the Point swim at the popular gravel pit.
He told Angling Times: “When I arrived it was flat calm and the fish were fizzing like mad – there were pinprick bubbles all over so I knew the fish were there.”
The electrician fished to a gravel bar just 30 yards out and baited with boilies and hemp.
He said: “On the first night the bar was covered with floating weed that had been cut by the weed-cutting boat and had anchored on the bar. But by the second night the wind had picked up and cleared it.”
The Box Common appeared at 6.30am on Luke’s final day. He said. “It was an absolute one-toner, but when I hit into it it just kited straight into the weed, which wasn’t attached to anything, so it covered its eyes and the fish just came straight in.
“When I got it in the net I expected it to be a little pasty, but when I pulled the weed away I knew it was a big common.
“I don’t usually fish these sorts of waters – I prefer low-stock pits where I can be left alone – so it’s mad that I only went down for a social and had this one!”
Targeting overhanging vegetation on his local section of canal worked a treat for Matthew Perring when he netted this 3lb 3oz perch.
The Banbury based, Marukyu and Deeper sponsored angler roved a relatively under-fished section of the Oxford Canal using white coloured, three inch Ecogear Bug Ant lures.
In just a few hours he had netted a total of six perch and one zander including a 2lb 6oz stripey. All the fish were caught using a 3-12gram Tronix Rockfish Pro jig rod with 10lb braided mainline and 8lb Berkley flourocarbon hooklink and a size two, five gram jig head.
It’s been another golden summer for the aptly-named Somerset bagger Andy Power.
Old Ghost UK Angling Champs glory was swiftly followed up with another £1,000 being added to his bank balance when the Preston Innovations star took the annual All-Winners Final event at Bait-Tech Viaduct Fishery.
Fished by winners of open matches throughout the spring and summer at the Somerton complex, 68 anglers turned out for the straight shoot-out.
And Andy, who lives in Wells but has an enviable big match record around the UK, tipped a double ton on to the scales to take the cash.
From peg 105 on Cary Lake, Andy went down the meat route, fishing it on the long pole on the deck to pick off 23 carp well into double figures to finish with 226-11-0.
That gave him a winning margin of over 33lb from Steve Shaw’s 193-6-0 of carp off peg 115 on Campbell Lake.
Twenty four hours later it was the turn of the silverfish anglers to see what the fishery could produce with the opening round of the Silverfish Winter League. Sport was just as good from the roach and skimmers, Bobby Gullick opening up with 40-14-0 off peg 124 for victory on Campbell Lake.
That was a net of big skimmers plus roach on chopped worm and caster with groundbait at 14.5m. The same tactics gave Frenzee man Dan Squires second on 38-14-0 and frame weights were good too, with 32-10-0 needed to make the top six.
Elsewhere, the RiverFest bandwagon rolled on as the Trent at Burton hosted another big match, won by Bait-Tech’s Richie Reynolds with 19-5-0.
Two bream backed by roach on polefished maggot booked him a place in next month’s final.
Second in the frame was England boss Mark Downes with 10-12-0 of small roach although, unfortunately for him, he was in the same zone as Richie and so missed out on the final!
Fish O’Mania organisers have unveiled a series of major changes to the tournament, including a guaranteed ticket for every entrant.
The mega-money tournament is widely regarded as the number-one crown in match fishing but frustrations have grown as a result of the unpredictable lottery that dictates how tickets for the qualifiers are distributed.
In a bid to guarantee every angler at least one ticket to the heats, organisers are set to scrap theballot system, and are currently working on a brand new format.
Changes have also been made to the final, with 28 anglers instead of the usual 16 set to battle it out on Cudmore Fisheries’ Arena Pool in 2017.
And that’s not all. Fish O’Mania is set to go global for the first time in its history, with plans to run four overseas qualifiers out of a total of 28. The winner of each will go straight through to the final, as the controversial semi-final that was introduced this year is being abolished.
Fish O’Mania owner Matchroom Sport believes the overhaul will spell an even brighter future for the competition, and company chief Barry Hearn told Angling Times: “Fish O’Mania remains the biggest and best event in match fishing, and 2017 is going to be a very exciting year for the tournament.
“The qualifiers have been amended due to feedback from the competitors, and the system for obtaining tickets is also overhauled, giving everyone at least one of the 3,920 tickets on offer and possibly more.
“Scrapping the semi-final seemed like the right thing to do, and expanding the final on the Saturday makes sure everyone gets to go to the party.
“Having international qualifiers will also add to the event, as we plan to grow the Fish O’Mania brand across Europe.”
A whopping £50,000 will once again be handed to the overall winner, and this year’s champion Andy May is looking forward
to defending his title under the new format.
He said: “I loved every minute of this year’s final and I think the increased number of anglers next year will make it a really exciting event for both competitors and spectators.
“Every match angler in the country wants a shot at winning Fish O’Mania and I think it’s great that the organisers are working on a way to guarantee everyone a chance to get into the limelight.”
Tickets are set to be made available in the early part of next year, with full details of the brand new allocation system set to be revealed in the coming months.
River records and personal bests have been smashed again as Britain’s barbel continue their autumn feeding spree.
Best of the week fell to Peterborough’s Martin Gray, whose 17lb 8oz fish from the River Nene ended a five-year quest to beat his previous pb of 16lb 10oz.
He introduced a handful of boilies in the central channel and cast a running rig with a home-made 12 mm boilie over the top.
“The bite was really tentative, but then experience told me that I was into something special as the barbel made its way upstream,”said Martin.
“There’s every possibility that the big fish in here could top 20lb this coming winter.”
On the River Derwent, a run of 12 blanks ended for Ray Williamson when he landed a 17lb barbel.
The Derby angler targeted an Earl of Harrington’s AC stretch, snaring the giant fish just 3ft from the bank on a CC Moore Pacific Tuna boilie. His 2oz feeder rig incorporated 4ft of fluoro hooklength and was backed up with loose offerings.
Said Ray: “After all those blanks you start to question your rigs and baits, so I just went back to the same tactic that caught me a 16-pounder from the same river last year – and it worked a treat.”
The second huge barbel from the in-form Derwent is a club record-breaking 16lb 10oz.
Pellets and boilies are what most anglers take with them to catch big barbel these days, but Phil Needham showed that the traditional approach can still pay.
The Derby Angling Federation bailiff fished his own club’s stretch of the river, where he tempted the prized specimen using a small cube of meat after creating a bed of hemp and caster via a bait dropper.
Phil, who set the club’s barbel record with a 15lb 12oz fish last season, used a 1½oz flat lead, 10lb fluoro mainline and a short 8lb hooklength of the same material to catch the specimen.
Most anglers can only dream of catching two 16lb barbel in one week, but that’s exactly what
Matt Hughes managed to achieve with the capture of two specimens weighing 16lb 6oz and 16lb 4oz.
Fishing an unnamed stretch of the River Trent, the Sutton Coldfield angler also netted four other doubles during two arm-aching sessions spent in a swim where he had caught fish to over 16lb last season.
After arriving to find a fairly low and clear river, Matt began his session by feeding three handfuls of boilies.
He then cast out out two rods with 4oz gripper leads on Nash weedclip systems tied to Korda Ntrap semi-stiff hooklengths with size 6 ESP Cryogen hooks.
To keep the fish interested he fed around six chopped and whole boilies every half-hour, presenting a whole version with popped-up sweetcorn on the hair.
Darran Goulder had every reason to smile about his first-ever barbel from the River Thames, a fish that scaled 13lb 10oz.
A carp fishing friends said that he’d been catching barbel, so the Shimano consultant from Kent decided to target them. But he didn’t expect a fish like this during his first evening session.
It was fooled with two 15mm Dynamite Baits Spicy Shrimp & Prawn boilies fished in conjunction with a size 8 hook.
Jon Taylor had a swarm of wasps to thank for his capture of three huge mirrors weighing 42lb, 42lb 6oz and 45lb 6oz.
Arriving at one of the Essex Carp Syndicate’s portfolio of waters, the 42-year-old found numbers of fish showing in front of a swim that was already taken. Seeing that the adjacent plot was free, he thought that his luck was in – but he soon changed his mind.
Jon explained: “There was a wasp nest in the swim, and some poor chap had suffered multiple stings over the weekend. As soon as I wandered in there I was chased off by a swarm!”
Forced into a rethink, Jon knew that the wind was due to swing round, so he decided to move to a swim that would be on the end of it. Just 10 hours later he was celebrating his best-ever session.
“I got the rods out and sprayed a couple of kilos of boilies over them. The wind then swung round into my face and the fish were instantly on it. A speedy take resulted in one of the lake’s big girls – the Scattered Lin – at 42lb 6oz, followed by a big-framed mirror called Boris at 42lb.
“I could see the spots fizzing up and shortly after recasting I was away again. This was the biggest of the lot – a fish called Brick Top – weighing 45lb 6oz,” he added.
Big Rig’s origins
The record carp was bought at a weight between 30lb and 39lb in 2011 from Fenland Fisheries, Cambridgeshire, whose boss Mike Hawes says that it was legally imported from Israel in 2009.
The carp, and three others of the Dor-70 strain, was purchased by Rob Hales and transported to his Shropshire HQ. To find out more visit: www.rhfisheries.com
For more on Fenland Fisheries, call 01487 841858.
Big Rig was weighed on two sets of scales. One gives it a weight of 69lb 13oz, but Rob will make the 69lb 3oz record claim on readings from a set of 120lb Reuben Heaton Specimen Hunter scales.
Rob Hales is without doubt the most talked about UK fishery boss in the UK after his Shropshire venue The Avenue produced the 69lb 3oz British record carp.
The fish, Big Rig, was hand reared by the RH Fisheries owner and specifically grown to become Britain’s biggest-ever carp...dividing opinion within the sport.
As the dust settles on one of the most controversial captures of recent times, Angling Times caught up with Rob to gain an insight into the world of big carp.
You bought Big Rig at 39lb as one of a hand-selected group of fish. Do you have any other carp from this batch in your lakes?
When I bought Big Rig she was one of a group of fish that were all bigger than she was, with amazing potential to grow huge.
I bought those too.
All my lakes contain fish-of-a-lifetime and I just keep adding to them, giving more anglers a shot at the fish of their dreams.
How big do you think carp can get in a UK water?
I think Big Rig has the potential to reach 75lb… possibly more.
But there’s no doubt that a quality strain of carp in the right environment could break the 80lb barrier.
In my opinion that’s great for carp fishing in the country and the fishing industry as a whole.
You use state-of-the-art feeders set on timers to optimise the growth of carp at some of your waters. What does this cost?
I can spend up to £15,000 on feed for just one lake during the course of a year.
This includes pellets and medicated boilies just before the winter which keep the fish in top condition throughout the colder months.
I’ve put 100 kilos of these boilies into one of our lakes in the last week alone. This is what it takes.
What is your message to those people who say that purposely growing carp to break records is wrong?
People must think that all I do is buy big fish and force-feed them bait until they reach massive weights. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The fish I buy and raise are from the highest quality strains. People don’t understand how much time, dedication and hard work it takes to grow so many huge carp. Anglers want to catch big fish and I meet this demand.
Those who criticise this need to wake up, because it’s fisheries like mine that hold the future for the British carp record.
Were you surprised by some of the negative reactions after the capture of Big Rig?
Not really. Sadly, it’s often the uneducated minority that tend to spout off and don’t realise the harm they can do.
The national papers picked up on this and all the coverage did was to paint angling and anglers in a very bad light.
Some of the comments that were aimed at the captor, Tom, were shocking and those responsible should be very ashamed of themselves. They should take up another sport.
Did you regret the way in which the record story played out?
The only thing I would have done differently was not to speak to the daily papers, because it ’s now clear that they didn’t want a good fishing story.
Instead they focused on all the negativity that came from small-minded and, in some cases, vicious individuals.
At the end of the day a great guy caught the biggest carp in the country and it’s an achievement that should be celebrated, not denigrated.
Is the demand for catching big, commercially-stocked carp still on the rise?
The appetite among anglers for catching huge carp is just getting bigger and bigger. There’s no sign of this trend slowing down at all.
Have you and your team been inundated since the capture of Big Rig?
Put it this way, our website usually gets around 350 hits a day. Since Big Rig was caught we’ve had over 5,000 a day.
It’s crazy – the phone hasn’t stopped ringing and our email boxes have been filling up fast.
Now you’ve grown the biggest carp in the UK, what comes next for RH Fisheries?
To continue to provide huge carp for UK anglers. It’s my passion. We now have thousands of Big Rig’s offspring that all have the potential to grow to massive proportions.
Not only will I grow and nurture these fast-growing carp for my own waters, but I will sell them to other venues so they will have carp bearing the genes of this record-breaking carp.
Lewis Read continued his remarkable autumn run by banking this 49lb 4oz mirror from Wellington Country Park this week.
The impressive fish, which is bizarrely called the The Unknown, fell to a pop-up boilie presented over 1.5kg of freebies at 120 yards range and helped Gardner Tackle employee Lewis to forget about the loss of a big fish earlier in the day.
“To be honest, it was a really lucky cast. I was aiming to get my rig close to the overhanging branches of a tree on the end of an island, but it landed right under it – perfect!
“Once hooked, the fish gave a good, solid fight and I was blown away to nab another one of the lake’s big mirrors,” said Lewis.
“It was the perfect tonic following the devastating loss of a big fish on Saturday morning after it kited into a snag.”
Just a day later Lewis then rounded off the weekend in fine style by banking a chunky 30lb 8oz common carp from Pit 4 at Frimley in Surrey.
He said: “I was chuffed to bits with this one because I’ve been putting in a fair amount of effort at the venue in between my trips to Wellington Country Park.”
This pristine 4lb crucian put a smile on Chris Petter’s face during a visit to the UK’s most famous venue for the species.
Godalming Angling Society’s Marsh Farm Fishery has provided countless visiting anglers with their fish of a lifetime.
Hampshire angler Chris spent a day on Johnson’s Lake, where he fished an imitation caster on a size 16 Drennan Super Specialist hook in conjunction with helicopter rigs and 4lb hooklinks.
Making time to look for fish before setting up is rarely time wasted, as James Butcher proved when he took a mammoth haul of 10 big carp during an action-packed session.
The Finchley, East London rod banked six twenties, three thirties and a cracking 44lb 2oz mirror from RK Leisure’s Horton 30-acre Kingsmead One lake in Berkshire. He targeted an area where, on arrival, he’d found a number of fish lying up in the weed.
He said: “I chose a swim called The Bream, which was the closest one to where the fish were holding up in the weedbed under the bridge at the eastern end of the lake. I then put approximately 4kg of boilies out to try to intercept them as they moved in and out of the area.”
After kicking things off with a 34lb 4oz common on his first day, shortly after first light the following morning James banked a 37lb 14oz mirror known as the Mug Sutton.
The action then continued steadily from that point on, with a further six twenties and a 32lb 2oz common, before on the last day of the session, the cherry on the cake arrived in the form of a big mirror known as Moony weighing in at 44lb 2oz.
“The weather was very warm and overcast, and when the wind got up a little I tended to get a bite or two,” said James.
“However, I had nothing at all during the hours of darkness – I think the fish moved out of the weedbed as the sun set late in the evening, before moving back into the area at dawn.
“After each fish I put around a kilo of bait out, and the more I put out, the more runs I had. I lost a couple of fish due to hook-pulls in the weed, but there’s no way I’m complaining – I was buzzing after a session like that!”
Yet another big name has been added to the RiverFest final after the latest heat on the River Severn ended in thrilling fashion.
With barbel, chub and small silverfish all present in the Bridgnorth section, it was anyone’s guess what attack would be most effective, but river fishing expert Hadrian Whittle’s big-fish gamble paid off.
The Kamasan Starlets man drew peg 30 and used the pellet feeder in the hope of having the odd bite. He got just that with a brace of barbel and three chub giving him a winning total of 19-12-0.
He didn’t have it all his own way, though, with Liam Darler – who was in the same section – piling on the pressure. He ultimately fell just short with 18-3-0 that was made up of two barbel and a chub from peg 28.
The two other anglers to qualify were Zone B winner Rich Duke, who landed 14-0-0, and Zone C champion Geoff Maguire with 14-8-0.
RiverFest action was also on show on the River Thames at Clanfield, where another full house was forced to struggle in the blustery conditions.
Only two men broke the double-figure mark. Topping the pile at the end of a tough five hours was Deron Harper on peg 8 with 11-8-0 of silvers taken on floatfishing tactics.
Second – and also going through – was Andy Johnstone with 10-2-0 from peg 43. The final qualifying spot was secured by Nick Early from peg 27.
Six more heats will be staged in the coming weeks before the big final takes place on the River Wye in Hereford on November 19 and 20.
A feeder filled with an exploding groundbait led to the capture of a dream catch of big rudd for James Champkin.
The haul was topped by a 3lb 2oz specimen, backed up by fish of 2lb 11oz, 2lb 7oz and 2lb 4oz when the fishing fanatic from Northants set his sights on a small stillwater in Lincolnshire.
Cage feeders packed with an explosive homemade groundbait, teamed with trimmed-down pop-up boilie hookbaits, were the winning combo for the campaigns officer at the Angling Trust.
“A lot of carp anglers fish this venue and consequently the rudd are accustomed to feeding over beds of particles,” James told Angling Times.
“So I put down a bed of hemp, corn and other particle baits and used a cloudy zig groundbait in the feeders to generate an explosion of particles through the water column.”
His carefully laid trap worked perfectly, and all his fish fell to rigs made from 5lb fluorocarbon hooklinks and size 16 hooks.
“I’ve managed to bank a number of big rudd over 2lb in the past, but to finally net the one fish that I’ve been after is such a big achievement for me,” James continued.
“The feeding spells of the bigger fish are incredibly compressed and the action can be very explosive – but only for maybe 10 minutes at a time.
“During these hectic periods I can catch maybe three or four big rudd, then the bites dry up completely.
“To catch a group of fish like this is something that doesn’t happen very often,” he added.
The creator of a big-money match series has set his sights on a sellout after hundreds of tickets were snapped up within days of the official launch.
Angling entrepreneur Phil Briscoe gave the angling calendar a major boost last month when he unveiled the brand new Golden Reel tournament, promising that the champion would walk away with a minimum £50,000 first prize.
With several other established big-money events such as Fish O’Mania and Maver Match This already on the agenda, question marks arose as to whether there was room for another competitor – but those doubts have been instantly quashed.
Early ticket sales have shocked the organisers, and Larford Lakes boss Phil told Angling Times: “We always expected the event to be popular but we never thought we’d sell as many tickets as we have in the first few days.
“The response has been fantastic and it’s clear that the Golden Reel has created a lot of excitement.
“I think we can surprise a few people and quickly become the number one tournament on offer in the UK.
“It’s early days yet, but I see no reason why the competition won’t be a sellout.”
The grand final will be staged at Larford Lakes on Saturday, August 19, 2017, with the winners of the 24 qualifiers battling it out for the title. Plans have also surfaced for a separate one-off contest to take place on the Sunday of the same weekend.
“We are planning a tackle village where the top manufacturers can display their latest gear, and those exhibitors will have the chance to enter a special four-man team event,” added Phil.
For details or to buy tickets visit www.goldenreelangling.co.uk
A group of friends have shared the session of a lifetime on the River Trent when they netted 21 double-figure barbel.
In the most prolific 24-hour spell of their angling careers, Daniel Best, George Gorst and Stephen Wall banked no fewer than 48 fish during an incredible visit to Gunthorpe Weir on the middles reaches of the river in Nottinghamshire.
After the three had built up their swim with bait, the action was so hectic that the North West-based anglers had to reel their rods in and fish with one rod between the three of them.
Even this didn’t affect their catch rate as they all set new personal bests, with 21 fish weighing between 10lb and 12lb.
Daniel Best explained to Angling Times just exactly how the frantic 24 hours panned out: “After a long drive across the Pennines we arrived at the Trent around lunchtime and things started slowly,” he said.
“I opted to fish one rod with rolling meat, but after three hours I’d had no fish and encountered plenty of snags, so it was time to get the feeder rods out. That’s when it all kicked off big time.
“At 8pm I had my third double at 11lb 4oz and at 1.30am George landed a 9lb barbel and a new personal best of 11lb 15oz followed at 6am – game on!”
Daniel proposed a move to the tip of the island and cast straight into the weir. That resulted in a further two doubles and a fish of 10lb 1oz for Stephen – his first-ever double. It was from that point on that the action stepped up yet another gear.
“By now the fishing was mental,” Daniel added. “We used one rod between us and then took it in turns to catch a fish.
“Stephen landed a new personal best at 10lb 13oz and luckily, when it was my turn, I managed to bag another double, followed by another and another. I think I had 12 doubles in the end.”
All the fish fell to 12mm ProSushi boilies fished on 4ft combi-links with size 10 Krank hooks, along with 5oz feeders loaded with broken boilies and groundbait.
“It was an unbelievable session and one that just leaves you looking at each other with wide eyes. All you can really do is shake your head and laugh,” Daniel said.
“At the final count we ended up with 48 barbel – 21 doubles and three personal bests – and Stephen finally caught his first double. It’s a day that we will never forget.”
Two bites in two hours on particles saw Duncan Arrandale bank two thirties in quick succession.
The 42-year-old Wychwood and Richworth consultant found the fish in the mood for maize at his favourite Farriers Lake in Gloucestershire.
He bagged a 39lb 12oz common, typical of the specimens found in the Carp Society-controlled venue, and a 32lb 4oz mirror.
The Evesham angler fed about half-a-kilo of the yellow grains and presented three pieces on his rigs.
He said: “I had seen fish bubbling close in and managed to locate a small, hard, clear spot amid the weed nearby.
“I baited fairly heavily, making sure the carp were aware that there was some easy food near where they’d been grubbing about in the weed, and to account for nuisance fish eating some of it.
“I had two bites in two hours the following morning and then the spot died a death, with the fish seeming to push further out into the lake.”
Gavin Watts’ predator fishing season began in style when he slipped the net under this huge pike.
He hooked it during a lure fishing session on the Western Arm of Grafham Water and it tipped the scales at 29lb 14oz.
It’s the biggest pike to be boated since the Cambridgeshire venue opened its doors to predator anglers on September 1.
Grafham’s predator season is open until the end of January. Anyone who wants to book on can do so by calling the lodge on: 01480 810531.
After blanking eight times on the Lower Severn, Adam Coterill returned for a ninth to claim this 15lb 10oz barbel.
The Worcester angler fished a 15ft-deep slack just before darkness with a free-running feeder outfit complete with pellets, groundbait and double 15mm boilies on the hook.
Said Adam: “After a missed bite I put the rod back on the rest and five minutes later the personal-best fish bolted downstream.”