Dynamite Baits

5 July, 2023 | Carp | Angler Blogs | Articles


Andy Bradnock: The Wrong’uns Visit Frimley Pits

Another insightful and incredibly witty extract from Andy Bradnock who shares his campaign at Frimley Pits so far this season… 

Andy says…

Three Wrongun’s in a Boat

I am sure everyone reading this will have heard of the fishery at Frimley, and will have read lots of articles much better than this one about fishing there. Much has changed in the last ten years or so since Mark bought the complex, but it is ultimately the same fishery. I therefore apologise in advance if you have heard it all before, but as it will be my main water for the foreseeable future you will have to put up with me droning on about it for a while yet.

At the time of writing, Frimley is closed as the fish have started to spawn. Once this happens, it closes for two weeks and Mark persuades me to get into my dive kit and with the other two ‘wrong uns’ (this is what Mark calls Andy, Adam and myself for reasons that will become clear later) and we spend a day clearing invasive lilies from the lake. This involves me at the bottom of the lake, in deep silt, with little visibility, pulling at lily roots that can be the size of your upper arm. Once detached from the bottom, they float to the surface and my safety crew drag them into the boat.

Before I arrived, my reprobate friends had already been busy collecting the recently spawned eggs, which Mark then grows on in his stock ponds. I was late to the party having worked all morning, so wasted no time in getting my kit sorted and squeezing into my dry suit. My back was only turned for a few minutes and, at the time, I didn’t notice anything wrong. It was only at the end of the day, when I saw the video the children had made, did I realise the mouth parts on my regulators had become intimately acquainted with a less salubrious part of Andy’s body…

As expertly shown in this super high-res image – Andy abusing my diving gear…

Once in the lake we got to work and managed to clear best part of half a tonne of lilies. This didn’t make a huge dent in the population, but by this stage I had run out of gas all sucked through a tainted mouth piece. I couldn’t really complain, as it was all in retribution for a terrible tea mug incident, a few weeks earlier, where Andy came off worst…

It’s all starting to become clear now why they’re called the Wrong’uns!

When in the lake, even with Frimley being clearer than I have ever seen it, visibility is only one to two feet. A large amount of feral black silt had accumulated around the roots, and once released turned the visibility to zero. What was interesting was looking/feeling at areas we would consider gravel spots on a marker float.

All these spots had some silt, but some had such a soupy watery silt over them I am sure they would have registered as completely clean as you dragged a lead over them. There were also a couple of areas that were unexpectedly colder than the rest of the lake, so possibly where springs enter. While I was digging around and investigating these spots it was really interesting that very little bubble was released from the bottom, even in the areas of deeper silt. Considering the amount of bubbling the fish in Frimley do at times, this was surprising.

As Frimley was closed this weekend, I travelled down to a lake on the coast that is on a club ticket I hold. I had never fished the lake before, and didn’t really know what was in there. From all reports there are a few carp present up to 30lb, some big tench and bream. The carp stock is supposed to be low, but I think it is higher than reported as I saw a fair few fish, albeit mainly small.

However, the lake was magnificent, with a big open sky and little to slow the big NE winds blowing into the end I had set up on. The lake was full of bullfrogs that made a racket all night, joined at around one am by the singing of nightingales. There are worse noises to fall asleep to. Despite all this noise you could still hear Andy snoring away in Surrey.

I was awake at first light, which is always the best time of day, and had a couple of bream-like twitches on my right rod. I was just about to reel it in, when it melted off. One of those rip-snorting type runs you could happily sit and watch as the noise of the clutch tries to compete with the Delkim for dominance. A mid double fairground (ghosty) was the culprit, and even in the half-light glowed white from quite a way out.

A seaside fairground!

That morning, an amorous cuckoo was performing the bird version of Tinder and then a deep, booming sound started to come from the reed beds opposite. I had heard my first ever Bittern, and I cannot begin to tell you how happy that made me.

A quiet day saw me re-bait with another bucket of bait – Dynamite’s new Swim Stim Margin Mix groundbait was mixed with a couple of tins of Frenzied Naked Particles, plenty of Betaine Green Pellets and as much of the fermented Shrimp Extract I could get into the bucket. I had a final carpy visitor just on dusk, while on the phone to my long-suffering wife, who is luckily used to me dropping the phone as a buzzer screams. The resulting 18-ish pound common was pristine, and there must have been a lot of bait still out there when I had the take.

A pristine 18lb common

Tench and bream a plenty came through the night, some bream being well into double figures. The strange thing was that all the takes bream, tench and carp all came to the same right rod despite the middle rod being only a foot or so further to the left. I tried moving both rods further right but still just the right rod went. It was a session I really enjoyed, and I will definitely try and get back down there soon.

The Frimley ticket runs from 1st June to 1st June so I have just completed my first year on Pit Three. My first few years on the complex were spent fishing pits One & Two.

The complex is made up of four main fishing lakes and Pit Three is probably the best known. It is around nine acres in size and has just about every feature, on and under the water, you could wish for. A real Carlsberg type lake.

The fish are all stunning. Stock wise, it depends on who you talk to, but on average most people seem to agree that we catch one mirror in every five captures. If this is correct, as there are photos of about 70 mirrors we would be looking at a stock of around 350 carp. No one thinks its anywhere near this many, most estimates seem to be around 200 – 250. Even at this level you would expect the lake to be easier than it is, and there are weeks when very little is caught. However, sometimes it can be really generous and multiple captures occur.

This can be almost more frustrating, as it seems quite random where nothing gets caught when you are there, then suddenly everyone catches nets full. The years of constant pressure have certainly made the fish cute. Size wise, the stock is something else. There are three fish that have been over 50lb and probably 20 different 40’s and 30’s galore, it truly is a paradise.

Mark runs the lakes with a very soft hand, and the only real rule that is stuck to is ‘try not to be a dick’. He has however, brought in a baiting pole ban, and using one so much in the last year has made me almost incapable of casting! The ban is going to make the fishing trickier, as the pole allowed such a stealthy application of bait, even in open water.

I had a reasonable enough season, considering the limited time I had available, but didn’t set the world on fire. However, my stubbornness definitely made my life difficult. I had been using super sharp hooks that were much sharper out of the box than even hand-sharpened hooks – I had full confidence in them. However, I began to lose an inordinate number of fish on them, before I finally realised that they had either changed the hardness of their steel, or the water chemistry at Frimley, for whatever reason, had messed with them.

A fish would fall off and I would reel in a folded over hook point. This only happened after a fish had picked up the bait and been hooked. Initially I considered it may be small fish messing with the bait dulling the hook point, or potentially I was hooking fish in a hard piece of tissue. I was being a blithering idiot, and only when I finally realised it was the hook that was the problem, and swapped patterns, did my hooked to landed ratio go from less than 50% to 100%. Sometimes the obvious is staring us in the face and we cannot see the wood for the trees.

Hook point issues!

I had a number of memorable sessions through the warmer months; however, the winter was super tough for everyone and I spent more than my fair share of time blanking. The lake still threw up bites up to the New Year, then pretty well shut up shop. Sadly, I didn’t have any spare time until after Christmas, so missed out on the most productive bit of the winter.

A few were caught using zigs, which is a disgusting habit that should be discouraged at all costs. I am just terrible at it, and have very little confidence while using them. They seemed to come into their own in the early spring, but yet again the weight of work kept me away from the lake.

It wasn’t until the first week of May that I finally broke my duck, and managed to winkle one out of Daisy Bay. A few of the more consistent anglers were catching with some regularity by this stage and I am always amazed at the quality of some of the guys on there – some even manage to catch with wonky rods and reel handles at jaunty angles! It’s a real mystery how they still catch, as the carp undoubtedly notice such things, but at least we have managed to banish all the reel handle folders.

Dawn on Daisy Bay – stunning!

I arrived at the lake for a session in mid-May to find the lake quiet, with only a couple on as I started my walk about clockwise. I had initially ear-marked a return to Daisy Bay, as I saw a few milling around in there. However, once I had got up to the other end of the lake in a swim known as Henry’s, I discovered the mother load.

As the lake was a lot clearer than normal, four foot under the surface a bright clear gravel bar was visible. I saw a number of shadows pass over it, as the fish were using this as part of their circuit.

Bucketing swims is not done at Frimley, so it’s not your swim until you arrive with all your tackle. I like this rule most of the time, as it stops numbers of swims being saved until you make your mind up. However, at this point I hated the rule, as I had to run back to the car and race the kit to the far end of the lake, at double quick time, in case someone else stumbled on these fish.

I arrived back in the swim, half dead, after every single protruding tree root had tried to topple my barrow. The fish were only a few rod lengths out, so I had to quietly have a heart attack behind the bushes…

Once recovered, I set up and slid the baiting pole out until the scoop was over the bar then dropped a small handful of bait, with a rig neatly sitting in the middle. I was using a new liquid from Dynamite as part of their concentrated extract range. I don’t think I was supposed to have any, and it’s so new it hasn’t even got a label or name yet. However, Andy had a sample bottle in the back of his van that he stupidly allowed me to sniff – it smells absolutely amazing and I was hooked.

Now I am not condoning theft and subterfuge, but I really wanted to use this stuff, so distracted him with a pasty and stole said bottle of this amazing smelling liquid. I managed to get a bait into position without spooking any fish, as they were at the furthest point of their circuit when I placed the bait. I sat for a couple of hours, hardly daring to breathe, but the fish had changed their circuit a little and were not passing anywhere near my bait.

The stolen bottle of extract never left my sight!

I thought they were maybe spooked but then at six pm, the rod I had been expectantly sat next to finally pulled up tight. Straight away this fish kited left, toward a marginal snag tree and a lily bed.

I had the rod sunk down low and could feel the line squeaking and groaning past the outside lily leaves, but thankfully not the branches of the tree. It finally came free and became a lot easier to deal with once it was out in front of me.

I was uptight about the amount of pressure I had put on it to get it out of the lilies, but once it was in the net, I could see the hook hold was very secure. What I had managed to capture was the Pit 3 Leather. It has an almost identical twin swimming in Pit One. A glorious creature, not a scale present and the physique of a marathon runner, rather than a darts player. At 28lb, I was really happy to have made this fishes acquaintance as I had been envious of Adam’s pictures of it from the year before. He had also managed to catch the one from Pit One – we think these fish may have come from the same stocking and are suspected to be very old.

Once all the photos were done, I got all the rods out, the longest of which was only five wraps into the lake, and put up the house as far back and quietly as possible. I always try to be as quiet as possible, but when people don’t want to put a rod back on the spot as they are worried they will spook a fish, it just confuses me. You have just hooked one, and then fought it into the net. Isn’t everything spooked by that point?

I don’t normally sleep very well while on the bank, being always twitchy for a bite. However, for whatever reason, when the right rod melted off at midnight, I was jerked awake from a deep sleep.

The clutch was screwed down to the point of the rod going in, but this fish hardly noticed and seemed to be leaving the area like a fighter jet. Getting into boots and out of the bivvy seemed to take a week. With rod in hand, and my heart beat back under control, I slowly guided a 23lb common into the waiting net.

The jet-propelled 23lber

I was already happy with the session’s results and didn’t expect any further action. I was sat on a bucket at five that morning with a steaming cup of tea in my hand contemplating the bar rod – I wasn’t completely happy that I had got it into the right spot the night before, as the light was going as I dropped it. I therefore quickly poled it back to what I thought was the perfect spot.

As I was putting this rod back on the left buzzer, the middle rod bounced. I thought I had been clumsy and had caught the middle rod, quietly cursing myself. At that, it bounced again and pulled down to the back lead and held there. On lifting into the culprit, I realised straight away this was completely different gravy. Slow, ponderous and just a dead weight. The fight was fraught, just because it felt huge from the offset.

When it first rolled, my bottle went completely as it was obviously a very large mirror and a real prize. When it went into the net, on the second time of asking, I was relieved and just hoped the carping gods didn’t hold me to all the promises I had made if it went in the net! It sadly turned out to be a repeat capture of Cashew at 44lb, but as repeat captures go it is a pretty good one.

By this stage, I couldn’t have been more relaxed, and was even pleasant to a couple of visitors to my swim, which is pretty well unheard of. I am a grumpy, intolerant git for most of the time.

That day and the following night were quiet and Tuesday morning saw Adam arrive for his two nights. He set up opposite me, in the Catwalk, and quietly poled 3 baits into position. As I was starting to contemplate packing away, the short bar rod signalled another take.

The fish felt zippy and jagged about for the few seconds I was attached to it, before unexpectedly falling off. It was all over so quickly, but I still felt robbed and a final fish would have made the trip home a very happy affair, rather than worrying about the one that fell off. Why do we dwell on the loss so much more than the one that got its photo taken?

That was the last time I managed to get out before the lake shut. Predictably, the following two weeks were the most productive we had seen in the last ten months, but I have now accrued some days off for the next few weeks when the lake is due to open again.

The only other thing I have done fishing wise is a tackle overhaul, to make sure everything is ready for the off. Andy had been talking to me about reels and drags a few weeks ago when the subject of drag washers came up.

My Daiwa infinity-x’s have a glorious clutch which is made up of well-greased and maintained felt washers, sandwiched between stainless washers. What I hadn’t realised is the inherent issue with felt washes is they absorb water over time and become less efficient. I thought that using the well-advertised carbon washers was just to turn the drag into a quick-drag system. This is not the case, so I invested a mere £18 in 3 sets of carbon washers from Roy’s carbon drag washers. They have turned what I thought was a super-smooth drag into the clutch equivalent of a Bentley.  I know it’s a blatant plug, but as I have no relationship with him I can say they are well worth checking out.



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