It's time to catch up with the ever-consistent, Luke Church, who checks in with a new web blog entry...

This past month has certainly been a busy one, not in my fishing but away from it too. I have had both of my semi finals for the British Carp Angling Championships and the UK Carp Championships which were on back to back weekends and I’m looking forward to letting you all know how they went. Plus I’ve had a celebratory birthday weekend followed by a holiday away in Spain so, like I said, it has most definitely been a busy time.

To kick things off, first up was my UK Carp Champs semi final with my good friend Jason Adams and the match was held at Windsor View Fishery near Dachet, London. This was a lake I had never fished before, the semi final was originally meant to be on Walthamstow 1 but sadly after the unfortunate fish deaths earlier on in the season the semi final venue had to be changed and Windsor View was to be the new destination for the match.Jason and I arrived on the Thursday night and got in several laps of the lake before dark. We put together a rough swim list then we smashed in a Papa Johns Pizza and got our heads down for the night. We woke on the Friday morning, finalized our peg choices and waited for the draw at 9am. Luckily for us on this occasion we got called out 2nd and got our 1st choice swim.

The horn sounded for the start of the 48 hour match at 12pm, both Jason and I were really excited, we were happy with our swim choice and had seen a number of fish in the area. We decided to keep our swim relatively quiet in the early stages of the match with the hope that all the early spodding and marker fishing would push the fish into our area. We began just casting Rapide solid bags filled with DNA’s crayfish mini mix pellets with a 12mm S7 White Half Tones hookbait and this seemed to prove fruitful as we managed 4 fish for 34lbs 4oz’s putting us in 2nd position going into dark.Overnight we worked very hard, but sadly had nothing to show for our efforts. By daybreak we were still sat in 2nd position but several other pairs had caught so it was certainly hotting up and we knew we needed to start enticing some more fish into our peg. The Saturday morning was a lot warmer with clear skies, much better for fishing up in the water. With that in mind I was quick to change both of my rods over to Zigs and I Spodded some sloppy ground bait over the top and within 30 minutes of zigging one of my rods was away resulting in a lovely 12lbs 4oz Common. Not long after this Jason had a two consecutive runs from his margin rod which also resulted in landed fish rocketing us up into 1st position on 7 fish for 69lbs 12oz’s. The wind started getting up and the majority of anglers seemed to give up up on the surface fishing but Jason and I noticed the fish were actually taking more confidently with the ripple. We set up a beach caster rig and persevered whilst kept tweaking the rig in the wind and then rain, but low and behold in the most awful conditions, bam! We nailed another and it was the biggest of the match for us at 14lbs 10oz’s. Going into the evening things slowed up for everyone really, but Jason did managed one more take from his margin rod keeping us in 2nd position at that point and we had a reasonable cushion ahead of the chasing pack. For the rest of the match we didn’t land another fish and the lake switched off with only two pairs catching from Saturday evening through to the end of the match at 12 noon Sunday.

We finished in 2nd place overall on 9 fish for 88lbs 6oz’s sending us through to our 2nd consecutive final in the competition, result! We are both very much looking forward to getting back down Farlows and fingers crossed we can go two better this year after we finished 3rd in the competition last year.

So, still buzzing from this result the following week I got myself prepped again then made my way to Linear on the Thursday night for my BCAC semi final with Kev Grout. We were fishing on B1, a lake we had done well on last year and as always we were very confident and hopeful to make it to another BCAC final, but we knew we would have to put some work in to get there. Not only on an individual basis though, we were aware that if the results went our way we could also be fighting for the team trophy whilst we were representing team Carp Talk. We were also joined by our good friend Lee ‘Mozza’ Morris who was down doing some filming for DNA so all together we were very excited to see what the weekend would have in store for us.

Similar to the week before, this time Kev and I walked round and made our list of swims and by the morning we had finalized the list before the draw. This time round the draw was quite nerve racking as we had to wait for our names to be called out 10th out of the 13 pairs fishing the match.

The match was underway again at 12pm on the Friday and we started off by using zig rigs on all of our rods at around 90 yards with the plan to spod a sloppy mix over the top which was made up of a variety of products from DNA. We worked our spots hard for the first couple of hours but to no avail, then we noticed a few fish were showing short so Kev soon had a rig on them and within no time at all he managed to land a couple of smaller fish off the bottom to get us underway nicely.A short while later a number of fish began showing a bit further out from where we had been spodding, with this Kev decided to put his other rod out there on a single zig and within 30 seconds of putting it out he had a take, resulting in a lovely Brasenose 1 Mirror putting us on 3 fish for 29lbs 2oz’s and 3rd position. Going into the night there was only really one pair who was catching consistently, we decided to put single zigs out long and at around midnight one of my rods absolutely melted off, it was one of the quickest takes I have ever witnessed. After a spirited 15 minute battle we had the fish in the net and it looked quite chunky, it weighed in at 29lbs 12oz’s – awesome! This really got our spirits up, but sadly nothing else materialized during the night. I successfully managed to land this particular fish using a zig made up of 9lb Zig & Floater hooklink tied to a super sharp size 6 Zig and Floater hook with an XL anti tangle sleeve and believe me it wasn’t coming off, it was nailed.Other than the one pair running away with it, not a lot else had happend for the majority and we were in 2nd place on 4 fish for nearly 60lbs. The morning was slow and somewhat frustrating so a change of tactics was on the cards. We decided to concentrate all of our efforts onto one spot so we could work well as a team and focus the fish in one area. We shuffled the rods and made our minds up to fish at 120 yards range where a lot of the fish had been showing. As the zigs weren’t exactly going off we decided to hedge our bets and position two bottom rods and two zigs on the spot. Inevitably one of my rods on a zig went instantly again - it’s quite funny really, because it was change of range and another change of depth which brought the quick bite and it just shows if you keep ringing the changes it can lead to some very quick action. The fish was soon in the net and another low 20 B1 mirror was added to our score sheet. Not long after Kev had two bites off the bottom followed by another on my bottom rod, finally a bit of consistency. Growing in confidence we kept working the spot together and by sunset we had added further 5 fish to our tally including our biggest fish of the match so far falling to my rods, a beautifully deep bodied mirror weighing in at 33lbs 12oz’s.

The night session really kicked off in more ways than one. There was the most horrific storm which came over and it was like a monsoon for about two hours and in that time the rods didn’t stop going off. My side of the spot came alive; we both kept working the spot relentlessly and I don’t think I sat down once between 10pm - 2am due to constant playing, baiting and recasting, it was manic and the spot was rocking. The action continued in the morning with all four rods going off seeing us land a good mixture of the stock including some beautiful commons and scaleys. By the end of the match we had managed to land 29 fish for 560lbs 5oz’s seeing us finish in 2nd position and sending us through to our 3rd consecutive final at the mighty Wraysbury. We worked really hard and we felt that we thoroughly deserved our place in the final; we can’t wait to have another go at the historic venue.

Adding to this result, we were still unsure about the team event and during the dying stages of the match we were informed that our Team Carp Talk team mates Jack and Kia was also in 2nd place on the other semi final. It was confirmed at the presentation that we had won the team trophy by one point, get in there! Team champions once again, what a result! So that rounded off an excellent weekend for us.That concludes my fishing for this month’s blog, I apologies for this piece being a little longer than the others but I had two exciting matches to talk about, I’m sure you will let me off. Next month I will be trying to squeeze a few nights in on my syndicate but my main focus will be on the two finals early September, I literally can’t wait and fingers crossed for some excellent news next time.

Kev, Jason and I will be giving it our all to try and become champions! Wish us luck.