My carp fishing results for the year were already looking quite respectable, with some nice fish, including a few 30’s falling to my tactics of fishing Red-Amo boilies over a bed of Dynamite 2mm carp pellets infused with Red-Amo Rehydration Liquid along with generous amounts of hemp, crumbed Red-Amo boilies and a sprinkling of sweetcorn. However, my introduction to the new CompleX-T boilies was to step things up to a new level in quite spectacular style.
At one of the summer carp shows I managed to get my hands on a few kilos of boilies in both 12mm and 15mm of what was to become “CompleX-T”, but at the time was still undergoing final testing and with the name yet to be finalized. As soon as I had some in my hand I did all the usual stuff, like giving it a good sniff and crumbling it up to get an idea of the ingredients, make-up and texture. I was immediately impressed and had a feeling that this was going to prove to be a big fish bait, so my initial supplies of the shelf-life boilies got stashed in the car straight away to await a suitable opportunity for a trial run.
For the next carping session the new boilies stayed in the car initially as I spent the first 48 hours of the 3 day session using low profile tactics in a swim that I fancied gave me a chance of a very desirable big mirror. The carp that I had in mind tended to be a once a year visitor to the bank and had a habit of being something of a loner. My chosen swim had a small bay to my left that I’d seen the big mirror use the year before when the bay was otherwise empty of other carp. However, the fish would always drift out of the bay again once a few more carp started to join it. A mate had fished the same swim a week or two prior to my session and had described a big mirror that he’d carefully watched display exactly this same behavior, so I reckoned the fish was still getting up to its old tricks and would need a carefully tailored approach to give me the best chance of tripping it up.
However, 2 days into my 3 day session and I was blanking in fine style along with everyone else on the pit. The rules allowed for more rods, but I had only been using 2 rods for the carp, one on a lightly baited area on a clear spot towards the margins of the bay and a second fishing a zig in an area leading into the far side of the bay, where carp were occasionally showing their presence. The occasional carp was creeping into the bay proper, but they tended to be the smaller fish and none looked to be in a feeding mood, so I resisted the temptation to disturb things by making any tactical changes to the rod fishing into this area. During the same time I had a little play about with the depth that I was fishing my zig hookbait on the other rod. It looked, during the main hours of daylight at least, to be positioned right in the face of some big fish, but without so much as a single bleep on the buzzer. I eventually reached the conclusion that a zig in this area just wasn’t enough to spark any interest and that a complete change was required for the remaining night and following morning of my session. I didn’t want to spook the carp that seemed to be happy using this area, especially as there appeared to be the odd big fish amongst them, so I didn’t fancy a sudden heavy baiting approach. In fact the longer I thought about it, the more appealing a single boilie hookbait presentation seemed as though it could be the way forward. A high-attract pop-up is a popular choice in single hookbait situations, but I was angling for highly pressured, wary fish and I wanted to present something rather less obvious. With a relatively weed free area to aim for I decided that a single bottom bait cast onto one of the shallowest, cleanest spots might be appropriate and that using one of the new boilies, straight out of the bag, might help to fool one of these tricky carp. Obviously, the carp here wouldn’t have been caught on the bait before and therefore wouldn’t be treating the bait with caution and I felt just a single sample of the new boilie, with no free offerings whatsoever, would have enough pulling power to tempt the carp into sampling the bait. So late that afternoon the zig rig was replaced with a simple bottom bait presentation, with a single 15mm boilie from the bag of the new bait threaded onto the hair. Fortunately, the first cast saw the end tackle flying out accurately to the chosen spot and landing with a satisfying ‘donk’ as I felt it down, so I was confident that the rig was presented as good as it could be.
The night was uneventful, but I was up and about at first light and full of expectation, especially when the crash of a good fish, that looked to be very close to the spot where I’d positioned the single bottom bait, disturbed the early morning calm. That delicious first brew of the morning had been consumed half an hour previously and I was contemplating making another and moving my chair close to the rods on a spot that would catch the first rays of the rising sun once it had cleared the trees opposite when there was a single ‘beep’ from the alarm on the bottom bait rod. I’d made two steps towards the rods to investigate further when suddenly the alarm sounded a continuous one-toner, matched by the buzz from the reel as the spool span wildly and line disappeared out into the pit at a rate of knots! As I picked up the rod it was easy to see the direction in which the fish was heading, as the line picked up out of the surface, pointing towards an impressive looking bulge of water caused by an angry carp that had clearly ditched the lead on the initial pick-up and was now intent on putting plenty of distance between it and the spot where it had picked up the bait. Eventually I was able to slow and turn the fish towards me, hoping that the stunning initial run would have taken all of the steam out of it, but the fight was far from over. The fish battled all of the way back towards my bank and even then still had plenty more energy to make some determined runs towards the overhanging willow branches on either side of the swim. However eventually, with me up to my thighs in water, I managed to bundle the carp into the landing net.
From the initial run and fight, I was half expecting the fish to be the big mirror that I had really been thinking about as a target from this particular swim. However, I could see before I’d actually got it into the net that the fish was in fact a big common and although initially disappointed that it wasn’t the target mirror, once I got a good look at it, I could see it was a beautiful common that looked well into the 40’s! On the scales it went 43.02 and eventually I was able to identify it as a fish known as the “Perfect Common”… and only its second capture in 4 years!
Obviously, I couldn’t really have had a more dramatic introduction to the new boilies. The very first time I’d used one had produced a rarely caught 40lb+ common on a single bait on the very first cast! However, a couple of sessions later there was even more to come!
Obviously, after my initial success with the new bait I was keen to keep using it for my carp fishing for the rest of the season and to get my hands on some pop ups based on the same base mix. We were still in the final stages of the pop up development for the new bait, but Dave provided me with some samples of both the food bait and fluro pop ups in 15mm that were going to be the final versions of the pop ups that would be going into production.
Early August, about three weeks after the capture of the “Perfect Common” saw me back on the same pit, but with the main target being the handful of big catfish that were present at the venue. Therefore two out of the three rods were out for the “cats”, fishing 21mm Dynamite halibut pellet hookbaits over big beds of the same, but I also had one rod out for the carp, as on previous visits I’d seen evidence of the odd good carp coming in close to a shallower section of water off the right of the particular swim that I was in. It wasn’t a popular area for the majority of the carpers that fished the venue, but the carp that I’d seen come into this area did tend to be some of the larger ones and was well worth the effort of an extra rod that could be kept out of the way of the catfish rods.
The session had already gone really well and I’d caught a massive PB 70lb catfish the day before, but it was now the final morning of my session and the carp rod had remained inactive throughout. However, although I’d already started to pack up the bivvy and the other non-essentials, I was determined to leave bringing in the rods until the very last minute as a few carp had started to show out towards the middle of the pit. These fish appeared to be gradually making their way towards my swim and I imagined that one or two would eventually work their way to where my hookbait had been cast. I was fishing this rod only a short way out, past quite a heavy band of pondweed that went virtually right across the swim in the shallow margins and onto an area of cleaner, sloping bottom that had odd little clumps of weed spouting up here and there and the odd patch of silkweed type stuff scattered about seemingly at random. Because of the little patches of weed that I couldn’t guarantee to miss, even if I felt the lead go down well, I felt that a really slow-sinking hookbait fished accurately over a tightly baited area would provide the best presentation. To achieve this I fashioned a hookbait out of a 15mm bottom bait and one of the recently acquired 15mm fluro pop ups, cutting off nearly half of each with a sharp knife and mounting the two remaining boilie sections back to back on the hair, with the pop up section uppermost. I then trimmed little bits of boilie off as appropriate, until I was left with an almost critically balanced hookbait that took ages to sink when tested in the margins. On the cast I attached a big PVA foam nugget around the hook, which acted as a target for a few pouchfuls of both 12mm and 15mm boilies once it started to dissolve, detaching itself from the hook and had popped to the surface.
I’d almost ran out of time and had already got nearly every other bit of kit loaded onto the barrow when eventually the carp rod signaled a take. I could tell that this was a big fish from the outset, as it plodded purposefully around the swim, not screaming off on any fast runs, but also never allowing itself to be bullied about and using its weight to its advantage as it found sanctuary in first one marginal weedbed and then another as it desisted coming to the net. As I eventually unplugged it from the second weedbed to the right of the swim and the carp cruised past me on its way to getting stuck in yet another big patch of weed in the margins to my left, I got a good look at it. Through the clear water I wasn’t too surprised to see a familiar pattern of disturbed common carp scaling that identified it as the “Scar Common”. This was a 40lb+ male common, one well known for putting up a fight and a real character. I was familiar with the fish from photographs etc, but had never had the pleasure of seeing in my own landing net and it was one that I really wanted. Eventually I was able to persuade it come out of the final weedbed and into my waiting landing net and was greeted to a big cheer from the group of lads fishing opposite who had witnessed the battle from start to finish, so I gave them a grateful fist-in-the-air salute before securing the fish in the net and getting everything ready for the weigh-in.
The “Scar Common” turned the dial around to 42.08 and so became my second 40lb+ common in less than a month. What an amazing result for the new bait!