Mat's On Fire!
Avid Carp Brand Manager Mat Woods has been enjoying a recent run of success on day ticket water, Baden Hall in Staffordshire. In two trips, Mat has managed six stunners, including four 30lbers to 36lb 2oz using his favourite German Rig.
On his first trip, Mat decided to give the fish a good hit of bait, introducing a lot of Sonubaits Hemp & F1 Sweetcorn, bulked out with some catering tins of sweetcorn. Over the top of this, Mat used hookbaits using either two grains of fake corn, or a piece of maize on top of half a yellow HighLite hookbait. Mat explains why he decided to go for the sweetcorn option:
"Since they cut the weed there's been a big algae bloom at Baden and that has made the usually gin-clear water very coloured," he explains. "Most anglers were catching a few over boilies but were having to use bright hookbaits to keep the bites coming. It made sense to just overload the carp's senses with a big bed of hemp and corn. I got through plenty of it!"
After introducing a 17ltr bucket of the mixture, Mat had three fish on the bank within an hour of casting out. The action started with a stunning long 31lb common.
"I rang my buddy Rob Wooley to come and do the pictures and when he arrived, I had another bite, this time from an 18lb mirror. We took the pictures of the mirror then the 31lber – but just as we were about to do some return shots with the common, the rod was in meltdown again!" adds Mat.
"This was a really powerful fight and I could tell by the bend in the DSK that it was another decent fish. Rob did the honours again and we revealed a stunning 32lb common, built like a real warhorse! The German Rig had done the business again, it was starting to look like things might get a bit lively."
The reality was that the fish disappeared for the rest of the afternoon and it wasn't until very early the next morning that they revisited the area, as Mat recalls: "I started getting the odd liner on the NTXrs around 4am and through bleary eyes could see the spot was alive with activity. I knew it wouldn't be long before a bite was on the cards and a real gentle take that barely pulled the line out the clip brought another bar of gold. This was another dogged warrior and a real chunky one. It was like a miniature version of the big common, with the same little heart tail."
At 29lb it was a nice way to finish the session. No more bites materialised after this initial morning period, though Mat says the fish definitely visited the area later that day.
"As I was leaving I loathed to reel the rods in. The fish turned up again after I'd topped up the spot and it was really frustrating to have to pack up and go home. I couldn't wait to get back."
Two weeks later, Mat was back and faced with very different conditions. Hot weather that was due to break and bring heavy rain meant some good fishing might be on the cards, so a quick 24 hours was planned again.
Upon arrival, Mat found the fish in some really shallow water, just a few yards from the bank. Rather than set up on top of them, he went back in the peg he'd had four fish from a fortnight previously and proceeded to bait up with the same mixture as before. Whilst doing so, Mat flicked a couple of rigs at the rolling fish, to offer a different line angle than the carp might be used to. It was well worthwhile, as within just a couple of minutes, the left hand rod was bent double as an angry fish kited across the lake.
"I had a feeling it was one of the special ones, I could tell by the plodding it wasn't going to be a 20lber. I've made a few tweaks to my setup for this year and it's definitely brought a better stamp of fish. With a size 4 CRV in the carp's chops he was going nowhere!" smiles Mat.
This particular fish gave a strong fight under the rod tip and when it came towards the net Mat was confused as to which fish it was. Not one he immediately recognised, he was eager to get it on the scales and see just how big this big-framed common was.
"At 36lb 2oz it was a real surprise. It's not a fish I was expecting so I was more than happy."
No sooner had Mat put the fish back than his other rod was away! Another heavy battle followed and Mat was once again pleasantly surprised by the size of the fish. "I couldn't believe another 30 was in the net. It was a really long fish, a proper unit," he adds. "I dread to think how many 30s there are in Baden now!"
Despite the early success, the rest of the session saw Mat following the fish around the lake in an attempt to get more bites. "They didn't visit my spot whilst I was there but I have it on good authority somebody bagged a 20 out there over the weekend," laughs Mat. "I'm looking forward to getting back on the lake in pursuit of the big girl, though if these 30s keep coming along I don't mind if it takes another year to fool her!"
Mat used size 4 Avid CRV hooks with 15lb Captive Coated Braid, Anti Tangle Kits, Zig Clips, 4.5oz Distance Leads and 18lb Trap Line. Hookbaits were presented on a Hook Swivel behind a Hook Bead. Well worth a try on your next session!