JIMMY HIBBARD #TEAMSONIK

This month’s blog is going be a little bit more technical, but to start off with I’m going to carry on with my fishing over this last month. Over the past few weeks I’ve had a lot of messages and questions regarding the rigs and baiting approach I’ve been using, so I’m going to go into a little more detail on those.

MY RIG OF CHOICE 

I’ll start off with the spot I’ve been fishing on in this particular swim. It’s a firm clay area just in front of some reeds and overhanging trees. The spot is mega clear, so I opted for something simple. The lead set up on the rig was an in-line drop-off with a 4oz lead. I like to use the heaviest lead that I can possibly get away with as I believe this helps with the hooking. It has to be drop-off style, as once hooked I don’t want a big lead swinging about whilst attached to a carp. I also have to consider the snags, because if It happens to get stuck or snap, then at least I’ll know the fish won’t be trailing a lead about! This is all attached to a two-foot length of leadcore, which gives that extra bit of abrasion resistance when fishing up to snags.

The rig itself is made of seven inches of semi stiff braid tied to a size 4 curve point hook, that’s fished in a similar fashion to the slip D rig. The hook bait is a wafter. I favour this rig for a couple of reasons, one it can reset itself if picked up and it has the added benefit of being able to change the hook over very quickly.

THE BAIT MIX

Bait wise, I’ve mentioned before l like to keep it minimal at this time of year and fish over small bits. This won’t fill the carp up but will be attractive enough to get their attention and maybe get me a bite. 

My mix is pretty simple, first of all I add RG Baits Vita-lac Crumb  followed by 3mm Vita-Lac pellets and a small hand full of 6mm pellets. 

I then add the Vita-Lac Stick Mix as this helps cloud up the water when applying the bait. Then Finally the most important item, the Vita-Lac liquid food. This is added to the mix twenty-four hours before I go. This is so the liquid can soak into the crumb. I then repeat that again either the evening before I go fishing or on the morning that I’m fishing. This wets up the mix and with all the small bits, it aids them getting down to the bottom. This mix isn’t very filling for the carp but contains a lot of attraction. The crumb will be leaking off the liquid food and the pellets will slowly break down, so the only real food source down there is my pink 365 wafter hook bait. This tactic has suited me well over the last month whilst down on the syndicate lake.

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BACK TO IT

Going back to the fishing then and the following week I was back down. I’d set the alarm clock early and made my way down to the lake at first light on the Monday. The previous week I’d caught a lovely scaly one, (see my Blog last month) and I felt confident this week as the weather was due to be getting warm.

It all fell into place timing wise to be fair.  The RG Baits cameras were down with me on this session doing a little video on day fishing tactics. 

Tom the cameraman met me at the gate on first light and we headed straight to the swim where all of my recent success had come from, the one with the snags in it. Luckily, I was the only one there so I secured the swim and proceeded to get the rods out, opting for the rig presentation I’d been using on previous sessions and had have confidence in.

That rig went on the spot towards the snags with the baiting pole and then the other rod was fished into the deeper water along the side of the island.

That rod was fished with a chod with a single RG 365 pop up, cast to some bubblers I’d seen whilst setting up.

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We cracked on with the filming and around mid-morning out of the blue, I had a bite on the rod towards snags!

Unfortunately and after a very short battle, the hook pulled and I lost it. This wasn’t the start I wanted especially with the cameras there with me. Without hesitation I quickly changed the hook which had been blunted and put a fresh hook bait on, casting the rod first time back onto the spot! 

Around dinner time I was tucking into my chilli and the snag rod let out a couple of bleeps before the tip wrapped around.

This time I was much quicker on the rod, managing to turn it away from the snags instantly. Having full control of the battle now out in the open water and after a long fight under the rod tip, finally, with a sigh of relief I slipped the net under a lovely scaley mirror carp. 

I hosted it up for the cameras after quickly weighing, where the needle spun around to 22lb! As the sayings goes, size is irrelevant when they look like this!

The scale pattern on this carp was mind blowing, it was as black as your hat as you’ll see from the picture. I won’t go into much detail about the rest of the day as I don’t want to give too much away as there will be a video released on here and the RG Baits website where you can see for yourself how I got on.

We were still in the lockdown period of no night fishing and I was due to take a friend called Alex fishing, so he joined me the following week back down at the lake. 

I set him up in the very swim I’d been catching from and I went in next door.

That morning I managed to fall in, it was bloody cold I can tell you! With no change of clothes with me I just had to drip-dry and it wasn’t very pleasant. One positive note though, the sun was out and soon became a nice warm day, so that soon dried my clothes out.

My friend Alex managed to catch one in the early afternoon which turned out to be a new PB and his first 20lb carp, he was over the moon! My day was quiet, but it was all about getting Alex a fish and that made my day seeing his smile has he lifted his new PB up for the camera.

A CHANGE OF WEATHER

The following day the weather forecast showed a low-pressure system moving in and when I arrived at the lake that morning it was unreal, the amount of carp showing was somewhat crazy!

Conditions were awesome, mild air and a big south westerly wind pushing up the lake. I was rubbing my hands together as I dropped into a swim that give me the best access to the showing fish.
I swapped over both rods on to Chod rigs so I could cast over the showing fish.

MOVING ON TO FISH ONCE MORE

 

Where I’d dropped in at the top end of the lake it was very weedy, so that’s why I opted for the Chods.
They would lay over the weed and give me good presentation when casting to showing fish. 
Saying it was a tough day was an understatement, I don’t know what I was doing wrong as the carp were super active and showing all day out in front of me.
I even moved twice, trying a multitude of different tactics but on that day I just couldn’t buy a bite.
The day just drifted away and it turn Into my first blank while fishing this particular lake.
Fishing off the barrow means I can move quickly if I need to.

That weekend I spent some quality time with my daughter Poppy, we went down the park and had a walk around our local ponds. With the lockdown we’d not been out fishing much this year, but it won’t be long until she will be nagging me to go again. 

That weekend the clocks went forward giving us much longer daylight hours, plus on the 29th of March night fishing was allowed once again. I’ll be honest I was happy we could do the nights again, but I wasn’t ready for going on to the Lincolnshire pit just yet, plus I was enjoying my day fishing, so I held off for another week with the nights. The alarm went off early doors on the Monday and I loaded the car and made my way down to the little syndicate lake again and was there for first light. It was due to be a beautiful day, with high temperatures, high pressure and sun, proper spring weather but not ideal fishing conditions.

When I arrived, I had a quick walk around then got the barrow loaded with my kit and headed off to a swim call Sunny. This area is where I’d seen the bulk of activity on my previous session and on my walk around I’d noticed small patches of bubbling going on in this area, so it was a good place to start. It wasn’t too long after getting into the swim that it became evident that there was definitely a few fish in the area. Small patches of bubbles were appearing in a couple of spots, so I made a couple of casts with Chod rigs out towards the bubbling. 

As the morning progressed it soon warmed up, just has the weatherman predicted. As the sun made its way high into the sky the bubbling suddenly stopped and black shapes began to glide past the front of the swim. As I looked out over the water I could see the odd carp up on the surface or sitting just under, all of them soaking up the morning sun.  

ZIG ME UP!

Quickly swapping one of the rods over to an adjustable zig, I cast it out 20yards in front of me where I’d seen the carp cruising. The fish looked to be sitting about two feet under the surface, so with that in mind I popped the zig float up to the surface, then adjusted it down so the hook bait was sitting two feet under! An hour or so passed and I’d adjusted the zig a few times in an attempt to trigger a bite, but without any joy.

Sitting there in the sun it wasn’t too long before I was joined by two lads, Alex and Cameron, who were on the syndicate and had come down to do the night. We Stood there chatting for a while and whilst chatting away we were also dodging all the grass snakes that where sunning themselves on the path! I hate snakes!!!

Then out the corner of my eye I noticed a disturbance on the water (the birds had spooked a few carp) it was a little further out from where I was fishing. A move of swims had been on my mind five minutes before I saw this, but I decided to stay put. 

I reeled in and I doused my black foam up with RG Baits 365 spray, before casting back out towards the where the carp had caused the disturbance.

The zig float popped up to the surface. I slowly teased the line down so the foam was just sat on the surface, then adjusted it until the foam hook bait was sitting a foot under. 

Adjustable zig fishing is something that I haven’t done that much of, and just as I was telling Cameron that I’d never caught a carp using one of these adjustable float set-ups… just like that the line pulled up tight! The Gizmo alarm let out a couple of bleeps before going into complete meltdown! On initially picking the rod up I couldn’t stop the carp stripping loads of line off the Tournos 10000 reel as it zoomed off on its first run. Eventually it stopped, allowing me to gain some control and steadily I got some line back on the spool. I could tell this was a bigger fish as it felt very heavy and was plodding around, dropping down deeper in the water.

As the fish slowly swam around in the deep water in front on me, I eventually managed to get its head up and then it boiled up on the surface… a great big fat mirror! On seeing the net he made one last dash towards a set of lily pads down the left hand margin. At this point I was a little nervous as I only had a light hook length on and I didn’t want him getting in the pads. Luckily for me it just gave up and waddled towards the net, slipping him over the net chord…Yeeessss!

A NEW RECORD!

I stared down into the water and looking in the net I could see that this thing was huge. I quickly rang Cameron and he came straight round and reckoned that it looked like one of the big ones. Alex also came around to lend a hand and I’ll be honest, I needed it. We found a decent area with some good light to weigh it and get some good pictures and with Cameron and Alex’s help we weighed and photographed the big fat carp. The needle on the scales banged around to 32lb and confirmed a new lake record and a great end to my fishing on there for now.

I was absolutely blow away and with a smile like a Cheshire Cat I had a slow pack down in the afternoon sun, before making my way home. What a great end to a few months of day fishing which I’ve fully enjoyed. It’s time now to get back on the big pit in Lincoln… so until next time, be lucky! 

Jimmy 

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