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Some suggestions and tips that should help you to catch more Carp and Coarse Fish everywhere, and especially here at Nine Oaks.
Nineoak’s has 3 Coarse lakes holding a mixed head of quality fish. In the autumn of 2011 a number of small barbel were stocked in the Main Pool. These have since grown well (see pictures above) and are providing some surprisingly good sport, even though they are not yet fully grown. Their power and speed is fabulous. Like Carp they like fresh or frozen mussel, prawns and cockles in the margins and Luncheon meat too; These baits can be fished on the bottom and with a method mix too.
Note: NOT mussels in jars of pickle or jars and tins of mussels in various sauces or flavourings! Just plain, unflavoured fresh or frozen mussels. If you’re not sure how to put them on the hook, see Bill (owner) and it will be a pleasure for him to show you.
Before we start, just remember that when you have caught one you are handling a live animal - so treat it with care and consideration. A little story of what one boy did, when Bill (the owner) started fishing again after he became a Dad. He caught a little Perch which was deeply hooked. He struggled to get the hook out as he was trying to be careful with it, and not damage the fish, as he struggled. Near to him was a young lad fishing, seeing that Bill was struggling he called over.“are you struggling mister?” “yes, I’m having difficulty getting this hook out” “Oh, I can do that” “Can you?” thinking he knew of some special way of carefully removing the hook. “there y’are!” The little lad came over, took hold of the fish and literally yanked the hook out pulling out the fishes guts in one swift movement! He had absolutely no idea what he had actually done. As the fish swam away (dying) he thought all was well with the fish. He had turned the fish completely inside out, and was totally oblivious to what he had done!
So, please don’t repeat the unhooking method of this young lad? Think about it, when you're poking a disgorger down the throat of any fish you are technically operating on it without anaesthetic. If you can’t quickly and easily remove the hook, cut your line as near to it as possible and let the fish swim off. It may have a tummy ache for a day or two but it should still live. While you’re digging down it’s throat or stomach with forceps or a disgorger, remember you’re actually operating on it without anaesthetic. To the fish, your tool is nothing more than a broom handle being stuffed down it’s throat - would you like it done to you? So, please be considerate with your capture.
The thing about flavourings is to entice the fish. But, when most angler's use them they don't catch at all and wonder what's going wrong!
Think of your flavourings like this! If you were standing in a line of fellas and one had too much aftershave, cologne or whatever on and it was overpowering - what would you do? You would give them a wide berth wouldn't you? Anything to get away from the overpowering smell! It's the same for fish. What they want is a hint of something to entice them to have a looksee, not overpowering them with stench. So, when using flavourings - less is better, so go easy, just a drop or two not half a bottle!
Found hanging in a bush was a large, heavy method feeder, attached to it was about 20 yards of ½lb monofilament line. The business end had a large, heavy hook suitable almost for Shark fishing. The point of the hook was almost blunt!
What is the point of a hook (pun intended) but to penetrate the bony area of the mouth of a fish? Fish have soft, tough and rubbery lips and especially tough bony mouths. A blunt hook will provide them with feed but it won’t provide you with any fish in the net - fact! A sharp hook helps when the fish picks up your bait and you strike in to the bite for it aids the hook to penetrate and gain a hold. So, for your fishing you will have spent money, time and effort stalking or waiting for a bite, so what is the "point" if you lose the best fish of the day all because your hook is blunt? Hooks need to be needle sharp otherwise they can not work properly. Hooks do not necessarily need a barb but they do need to be sharp.
Frequently, check that you hook remains sharp and doesn’t have a little bur (or bent tip) where the point should be. If you keep on losing fish then it is highly likely that you hook is blunt - and that includes new hooks straight out of the packet. So, if you’re losing fish either sharpen your hook or swap it for a new one.
We believe that fishing is about having a “brain dump” session - unwinding and enjoying nature, and having an adrenaline rush when a fish takes your bait and puts a good bend in your rod and gives a good scrap. Fishing is about fun, about enjoying yourself and catching a fish, any fish. Otherwise, fishing can be boring.
Enjoy the fish but also have care and consideration for them. Don't treat them carelessly and literally “throw” them back, release them carefully back into the water ideally using a landing net to do so;
Now, where’s the fun fishing with an ultra stiff, thick rigid rod, when all you do is wind in when the fish has taken your bait? That’s not fishing that’ hauling them out, without sport, without a scrap and without any fun to it.
To have some sport, put a bend in your rod and an “adrenalin rush” what you really need, for most anglers, is a rod that almost every fish can bend. Not a sloppy rod but a forgiving rod. When a fish puts a bend in the rod and gives you that adrenaline rush as it puts up a scrap. No fight equates to no real enjoyment. When you’re fishing you may as well enjoy it! Here in the UK we don’t usually have 60lb Carp so why tackle and equip your self to catch a 100lb fish?
A fish can not give a good account of it self if caught on a rigid rod, with no feel in it, so that all you do is wind or winch it in. That’s not fishing! You need to feel the fight and see the bend in your rod.
How good is it when you’ve had a good scrap, with the rod bent nearly double only to find that you’ve been led a merry dance by a 3lb carp, or a 2lb Roach, a 1lb Tench - but had a terrific time, that’s proper fishing!
When you start fishing you don't need these thick heavy rods, buy and use a good match rod or a good ledger rod. A rod that bends and allows the fish to fight - that’s what fishing is all about - having some sport.
At Nine Oaks, we believe that the best methods are the simple ones. Don’t over complicate your fishing gear, keep it light and simple. Don’t succumb and follow the crowd with heavy rods, overly complicated tackle. A light rod and simple gear. That way you should avoid unnecessary tangles and expense through lost gear, and you should catch more fish.
What’s the point sitting all-day not having a bite or a fish, you want to catch and enjoy yourself so tackle up accordingly.
Those anglers that come here with heavy, big pit gear rarely catch many Carp. Big Carp don’t become big by being stupid, they become big by being canny - how to get fed with out being caught. So, you will need to outwit and out think a smart animal. If you think they’re stupid then you’re not going to catch many fish. They know what you’re there for, that they’re your quarry.So start thinking about you’re fishing, about your tackle. After all it is the thinking angler that catches more fish. If you’re not catching then the fish in their own way are telling you that they don’ like what you’re offering them, the bait or the line or something else is wrong. Like I've said you will have to “out smart” a smart animal.
Fish with a light rod (for maximum experience, an adrenaline rush, and plenty of fun), ideally a maximum of 6lb bs line, or thereabouts we think is best. A fine-wire hook and fresh bait, not some old mouldy stuff. As they say “Tight Lines” and have a great days fishing.
Early mornings, in the afternoons and evenings surface fish with bread, dog biscuit’s etc. Soft hookable, floating dog biscuit’s like Baker’s Beef or Chicken or bait banded dog biscuit’s like Chum Mixer, a sharp size 10 hook with a Fly rod, Fly line and leader, it should be really good. We think it you will find it the most fun, fully fressed, standing up that you’ve ever had!
Try ledger fishing with a dog biscuit as a “pop-up” bait; which is both an excellent bait and fishing method. Other good bait’s include sweetcorn, luncheon meat, paste, beef tongue (in tins), fresh or frozen cockles, muscles or prawn in the margins (not those in preservatives) , Worm and Maggots will catch plenty of good Roach and Bream. Most anglers fish the margins, and quite a few regulars stalk the Carp throughout the day.
The stalkers are encouraged to be considerate and courteous to other anglers. One angler known as sausage man fishes the margins using a float road, pole float and fresh sausage as bait. The takes are extremely fast, so he holds the rod at all times. He misses many but he catches lots and many around 8-10lb about 12” from the bank.
The better anglers do not use pods and snooze, they have the rod close by at all times. We would recommend having the handle of your rod resting on the edge of your seat next to your thigh. That way when a fish bites the rod is immediately to hand, no stretching to a pod or down to the ground.
By the time it takes to stretch out for the rod the fish will have had your bait and spat the hook out. If you didn't know, a fishes reaction time is 10 times faster than yours. By the time you’ve spotted your float, indicator or what ever move, the Carp has had the hook and bait in his mouth, stripped it, found the hook and spat it out, and you’ve thought “oh, I’ve got a bite”! So, you have to be quick, no lazy fishing here. Although boilies are a good bait, we discourage anglers that come with large tubs of boilies. Because not many angler’s fish with them the Carp don’t see them that often, consequently fishing with them can be a little slow.
Although, those that use the smaller sizes, 8mm etc. have done exceptionally well over the winter months, especially when their bait has been tipped with sweetcorn. All the fish here, even the small Roach will take a bait on a size 10! As we’re not heavily match fished they’re not particularly hook shy.
What will change your catch rate is the presentation of your bait, no long tails from your knots. I’ve always found that the grinner knot presents the bait superbly, is a strong, small and neat knot. If you don’t know how to tie it ask me and it would be a pleasure to show you how I tie grinner knots the easy way, my way.
Usually when angler’s are not catching we find that it is usually they’re knots and how they tie them that are letting them down. Their hooks are not “in-line” but sit at an angle to the line, so when they strike instead of the hook pulling in to the fish it pulls out, away from the fish. With a grinner knot the hook is in-line with the line and so moves accordingly. Once I’ve tied a grinner knot for an angler, they usually catch before I walked 10 yards away! Presentation is everything!
Unless you are after big Cat Fish or Sturgeon, Zander or other hard fighting predatory species it is our recommendation not to fish with heavy or high breaking strain lines. To the fish these are anchor rope and they will shy away from your hook and bait and your catch-rate will drop right off.
As a rule-of-thumb for every 2lb breaking strain increase over 8lbs your catch-rate will halve. So, if you caught 8 fish on 8lb line, on 10lb you’re likely to catch 4 fish, on 12lb line - 2 fish, on 14lb 1 fish. How many fish would you likely catch on 6lb line? This is a rule-of-thumb based on experience and observing other anglers and is not far off actual results.
Further more, when does a 10lb Carp weight 10lb? Not when it’s in the water (the water supports its weight) and you’re not going to lift the fish out with by the line - are you? You will use a landing net (hopefully) So you don’t need 10lb line to catch a 10lb fish just sufficient line strength to beat the power in it’s fins and tail. The finer the line the better. As stated else-where on this site 6-8lb line is good for most fishing anywhere.
Size your hook according to the species that you expect or hope to catch. If there are big Sturgeon, Cat Fish, large Eels or big hard fighting Pike etc. then by all means use heavy weight, thick wired hooks, something like these pictured:-
But for most fish in the UK it is unnecessary, in our opinion, to use heavy weight hooks.
By all means buy them if you want to sit, or sleep, while you wait for the one desperate fish that will take anything on offer. If on the other hand you want to catch fish, and have a good days fishing use lighter, thinner wired hooks from size 18 (smallest) to size 10 (larger). Fish aren’t stupid, heavy hooks will change the way your bait behaves when they check it and anything that doesn't seem right to them will be ignored.
If it feels wrong to them then they’re off, and you will have a missed another bite. On the other hand big fish often have the most delicate of bites and smaller hooks will work better. Remember, they don’t become big by being stupid, and a big fish will have tried many baits and so knows how they should behave!
What knot to use? If your preference is to use hooks already tied to nylon then this is not for you. But, if you prefer to tie your hooks on then you should find this helpful?
If you tie a half-blood knot (you know, through the hook's eye then round 4 to 6 times and poke the end through near the hook's eye). When tied do not leave a long tag sticking out from the hook.
Think of the tag like this? If you were eating "fish 'n chips" with the fish in your mouth, you feel a bone, what do you do?
If you don't like it, what does the fish do when he feels your tag in his mouth - he doesn't like it either? So cut it short. Or better still ask Bill to show you how to tie a grinner knot his way?