Current Carp Wars Champion and Fox-sponsored angler, Harry Pratt, returns with the second of his website blogs...
I’ve had a cracking few nights on the bank in recent weeks, a few socials with good mates and of course plenty of carp banked too! With numerous trips out filming videos and shooting articles, I would be lying if I said I've had any time to relax around work, but I am loving life and certainly cannot complain! March saw me start my campaign on the new syndicate, which has unfortunately took a bit of a back seat but is certainly a venue I will be giving my full attention to in the future as I want to target a very special fish that resides there, so watch this space.
I spent a very enjoyable 36hrs at Stanwick Fisheries on their lovely Mallard Lake to shoot a video for CC Moore and an article for Total Carp magazine. Although the lake was busy I was able to winkle a couple of fish out so if you’d like to see more of that session its worth checking out the CC Moore You Tube channel. In addition to the fishing I have also worked at some shows for CC Moore and we saw the show season out in style at the Big One show in Farnborough. It was a mega show with literally thousands of people looking for a bargain before the warmer weather kicked in. It was a great occasion and one I look forward to attending next year.
A few days after the show, I just happened to bump into a good friend of mine who regularly travels across the channel to fish in France on a venue that I had previously visited with him a couple of years back. After a little bit of arm twisting and slight desperation I’d managed to get myself on his next trip, which was actually taking place in just 4 days time!
Now usually I like to have as much time as possible to prepare for a trip to France, as for me, like a lot of English anglers who make the journey, it’s not only a week fishing but it’s also a holiday and a break from work. Taking this into account, preparation is a key factor when it comes to a trip abroad to maximise time and comfort out there. On the advice of a friend who regularly fishes the venue, I could expect to need a lot of bait and I certainly didn't want to run out whilst there. With that in mind I took 40kg of boilie, 30kg of which was shelf life and 10kg of freezer bait in a mix of Pacific Tuna and XXX. The CC Moore range of shelf life baits are so high in quality I have just as much confidence in using them from not only an attraction point of view, but also for fish digestion as I do the freezer range. It makes the hassle of freezer space so much easier plus I always have a few bags on the van just in case! With bait sorted its onto tackle, my everyday setup of 3.5lb test curve Horizon rods, matched with a large big pit reel are about a beefy as I need in this country, I have the utmost confidence in taking this setup abroad, the only inclusion being a strong tapered leader, onto my 18lb Exocet main line.
We arrived on the Sunday morning to be greeted by the guys who were leaving from the previous week. After quick chat we were made aware that a couple of the guys had struggled and a couple even blanked. After slightly denting our confidence we were still excited, knowing what the lake could potentially produce so we made our way to our drawn swims and proceeded to set up. Unusually for me, I decided to get camp sorted and organised, before rushing to get the rods out. A week is a long time on the bank so there is no need to panic from the off and get in a muddle. After a quiet first day, we headed into the first night, and just as the sun disappeared over the horizon it properly kicked off! Between me and my fishing partner for the week, we had 3 takes all within literally seconds causing complete havoc in the swim! Terry landed one, which was a solid 51lb mirror, before I landed a 49lb 10oz chunk whilst he then played in a mid-30. Not a bad start for sure!
I’d gone on the trip, with the plan to use my classic bottom bait rig, which I had a rig box full of! This was a hooklink of 25lb Camotex Semi-Stiff in Light Camo through to a size 4 or 5 Edges Medium Curve hook. The rig was fished blow back style with a small piece of tubing trapping the Hair on the shank of the hook, opposite the barb. An 18mm Pacific Tuna straight out of the bag was my hookbait of choice.
The second night was another sleepless one, seeing me take 4 fish including a brace of 40lb mirrors at 43lb 6oz and 40lb 8oz. Getting off to such a positive start was exactly what I needed to give me the assurance in my bait and tactics allowing me to stick with them, and not have to change anything about. As the week went on I managed to land a total of 23 fish, with the highlight being a magnificent 38lb 8oz scaly mirror. I’d had a well needed break from the hard graft of the site work, and caught a few which was a right bonus! Safe to say after getting home late on the Sunday night, it wasn’t easy to get up to the early alarm the next morning for my return to work!