Flat Belly

Korda Underwater 7 FULL DVD Part 2 | Carp Fishing

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Good morning. We absolutely leathered the bait in last night. How much boilie, do you think? – Five kilos. – Five kilos of 15mm boilies. So a lot of baits. A few good handfuls of chops as well. A few good handfuls of chops around the camera. We managed to record a little bit before we lost light completely and around the camera was absolutely littered with bait last night and it was all up and down the margins as well. And when we turned the cameras on this morning there was nothing on the spot whatsoever. Ali, being the trouper that he is, he gets up early and turns it all on, saw a fish shnuffling on the spot, just sifting out anything that was left straight away. They’ve eaten everything. As much as we can put in, they’re eating it all. So in stark contrast to yesterday morning where we just fished a single hook bait, this morning we’ve put bait in as though we were going to be fishing a normal session.

So you put in how much? It was a kilo and a half. We weighed it yesterday. A kilo and a half all up and down the margins. What sort of response did that get? They’re still eating it, aren’t they? They’re not going mad. I thought they would have picked up in pace in eating but they haven’t. They’ve just come along, picking the odd bait up. And you just went for a look round a minute ago. I saw about 20 fish cruising up and down the margin. It looks like the other bait up and down the margin has gone and not the stuff in front of the camera. So I don’t know if it’s just the camera, or they’re not particularly eating this morning, or it’s just gone cold, there are so many factors… It’s blowing a northerly wind now. It definitely feels colder today than it has felt in the past but there’s a rake of fish there still, isn’t there? So we’ve basically decided to put more bait in and try to create competitive feeding like we would in a normal fishing session.

That’s the thing that you keep saying – that you’re just going to bait up as though the camera’s not there. The first day, all you think about is this area in front of the camera and I’m trying to forget about it now and just think there’s fish there, if I had three rods out in the water this is what I’d be doing. I’d be baiting up that margin, not favouring any area at all. Just putting bait out and see if we can get them feeding properly. Because at the moment they’re not really going for it, are they? No. In the past we’ve not looked at how much bait has fallen either side of the spot when Tom’s been spreading the bait.

So this time we’ve recorded some baits landing probably a rod length off to the right of the spot that we’re actually fishing. We’re going to go back and have a look at those a bit later on and see if they’ve all disappeared and the bait on the spot hasn’t disappeared. Because we’re concerned that the fish may be eating everything else and just treating the spot with danger now. So we’re just trying different things. We’re not going to put a rod in until everybody’s happy that the fish are feeding confidently. The weather’s going to stay the same for pretty much all of today – very dull, very overcast. Quite a cold northerly wind. It’s going to get up to 14 degrees this afternoon so we’re hoping as the day drags on, it’s only nine in the morning now.

As the day drags on then the fish’s feeding intensity will increase. And that was the key – when we got those bites a couple of days ago the fish had been feeding hard in the swim for probably two or three hours before the rig went in. And just like floater fishing, you feed and feed and feed, get them going, put a rig out, catch one straight away. Yesterday we put a rig out before there was any bait there, caught one straight away but then the fish were very wary of the area and they never really got going for the rest of the day. There’s one just coming through now. Eat, eat, eat. But it’s amazing as well, when Tom was baiting up, I was scanning round with the camera to see where some of the other bait had fallen and the fish were coming straight in to investigate even though there was another kilo or so gone out? Yeah, three quarters of a kilo.

So quite a lot of bait compared to what I would normally fish with certainly over one rod, and the fish are straight back in and investigating it, and the weather is poor so it just shows you that when you’re boilie fishing you can get away with more bait than you think. Definitely, you can keep putting it out all day. That’s a key thing, actually. We don’t know why but the fish are not really feeding hard enough on the spot at the moment – we think it’s the weather. It’s still blowing northerly, it’s cold for the time of year, probably 10 degrees colder than it should be.

And whilst the fish are picking boilies up that Tom’s thrown around the camera, the actual bit in front of the camera is being visited every now and again but not all the time and that’s what we need to get a rig out there. So I’m going to get Tom to chuck a bit of this stuff in it. It’s a combination of crumbed up pellets, crumbed up boilies, whole pellets as well, a bit of ground bait. There’s some tuna in there, all the things that I know carp absolutely love just to try and get them feeding. Normally we’d just be fishing a spread of boilies but that camera makes so much difference to how willing the fish are to feed, we’ve got to put something else in to try and get them going and then the rig can go in.

Yes, Tom, it’s coming in now, it’s raining in now. That’s falling lovely in the centre of shot. There’s quite a bit of water movement out there. That one was perfection personified, mate. That is absolutely brilliant. If you can do one a bit further from the camera and just on that exact same line is perfect, mate, just a little bit further from the camera, that is perfect. They’re still in there, aren’t they? Yeah, they’re investigating straight away, straight away. As soon as bait goes in. Maybe that’s a mistake that we’re making. That’s come down in a clump. Tom, that’s absolutely perfect, mate. That went down in a big sort of chunk into the middle of the swim. I would say one more a little bit more left and about that same sort of distance will be absolute perfection. That’s lovely, Tom. You’re the man.

Here it comes. Yeah, beautiful, beautiful. Return to base, return to base. Well, we’ll see what difference that makes. Four big palmfuls of that lovely mix that’s got all tuna milkshake in it and pellets ground up and whole ones as well, crumbed up boilies, stuff that carp absolutely love. So we’ll see if that instils a feeding response in them and what we’ve got to hope now, if it does, they don’t get preoccupied on that stuff and they start eating the boilies as well.

As soon as we start seeing two or three at a time with their nuts down feeding, then that’s when the rig’s going to go out. This is the rig that I’ve been using so far. It’s a D rig formed with a mono filament hook link made of fluorocarbon which is called IQ2. Basically what I’ve done there is got a size 6 Kurv shank hook and I’ve tied a whipping knot onto the shank of the hook and passed it back through the eye to help the hook flip over and catch hold when the hook link is tightened. And I’ve cut the tag end off completely and then tied another whipping knot, bent that back, put a tiny micro rig swivel on there, poked it back through the eye and burnt it. And that’s formed that great big D.

So there’s a lot of movement on the bait. So even if the bait slides up to the end of the hook by the eye when it’s sitting on the bottom, when the fish sucks at it, it will slide back up to the top where it is now and drag the hook into the mouth. Then once the hook link’s tight, it turns over and catches hold. It’s important to get the combination of mono filament hook link and size and shape of hook exactly right. So here, 15lb IQ2, it’s got some stiffness to it, but it’s not stiff like Mouthtrap or something like that. It’s just got some wiriness to it. And basically once I’ve tied it, I’ll steam it straight so that the line’s not kicking out of the eye at a real acute angle. It is kicking out an angle and that does help the hook to flip over but it’s very important that those two are balanced. Then moving down the hook link we’ve got a small sized sinker, and moulded around that is some of the Dark Matter putty just to pin everything down on the bottom.

Then the other end of the hook link is tied to a link loop with a 4-turn half blood knot. It’s really important when you tie that knot, pull the tag end tight first just to get bunch the knot up and then pull the hook link tight. It creates a little bit of space and the knot tightens down really neatly and you don’t pinch the hook link and so weaken it. Then that’s connected on to a cog lead system. Cog stands for centre of gravity, so you can see there I’m picking the lead up from the centre of the lead. That’s what the fish is doing. We’ve seen the reaction of the fish. When that bait goes in properly, the hook link’s tightened, they feel that weight really quickly and bolt out of the swim at 100 miles an hour, so it’s doing its job. What’s going to happen, that will pop out on the take and then you’re back onto a normal lead clip system.

You’ve got a boom there of lead core with no lead inside it connecting the two, so that stays connected obviously. The lead is then swinging about on the lead clip and this particular lead clip has got no serrations on the back of it so the lead comes off very quickly. That’s held on by just a normal rubber that fits on any lead clip and then the Dark Matter heavy tubing on the back of that that I’ve flecked up with a dark pen to help it blend into the bottom.

It wasn’t something I did for here, I’ve done it already, to be honest, because I pay a lot of attention to camouflage. That’s one thing worth mentioning here. You see everything is a drab brown colour. So it blends in on that clear spot as much as possible. The IQ hook link is made of fluorocarbon so it’s almost invisible underwater. That’s a by product really. I like the stiffness of the hook link more than anything else. The rest of it, as you can see, a very drab colour. I’ve tried to match everything to the lake bed as much as I possibly can. This rig’s not just ideal for this sort of situation. Wherever you’re casting and there’s no weed, this rig will suit. So I even fish this on silt.

I just use a lighter lead, probably down to a 2oz, I darken all the products down, so it’s darker rig tube, darker lead clip, everything else to match the silt. Stick with the fluorocarbon because it’s almost invisible. And then if I’m fishing on a hard, muddy bottom or a hard gravel bottom, I’d go to a 3oz flat pear cog lead like this, maybe even up to a 4oz if I can cast it accurately to the spot, and the same tubing and everything on it. It’s very important if you’re using a cog lead like this, you want to be using either a little PVA stick on the end just to give it a bit of extra weight, a big hook bait, this particular one is only 15mm. I found if I’m casting 20mm hook baits it just never tangles. If you’re going to use a little hook bait and not use a PVA stick, then I fold a little bit of foam round it, that just holds everything apart and when it goes into the water it’s apart like that and it’ll lay down nicely on the bottom.

That is the rig I recommend. If the bottom’s clean and the fish are riggy, that’s what I’d be using. That was pretty bang on, Dan. What’s the verdict, then? Was the foam on it when it hit the bottom? – The foam’s gone. – It wasn’t. Because that’s a bit of foam sliced in half like Elliot does it. Because the foam wasn’t on it, it sank quicker which meant it didn’t go right the way over your tubing, it only got caught in the tow a little bit.

It sort of pushed away and it’s still hooking away from the lead. So the tow’s pushed it that way, If the foam had been on it, it would have ended up laying right next to the tubing. Which you’d never know in a fishing situation. I wonder if it was just pink and there was no smell in it, if it would still do it. Me and Damian just had this conversation a minute ago. Using plastic with no flavour in it and people catching fish on it. How much can they actually taste? Can they taste what flavour that is from two feet away? Or do they have to get it in their mouth to be able to… They’re feeding on sight, aren’t they, at the moment? They’re not feeding on smell. There must be so many different smells from all them pellets and that ground bait and everything else. They’re feeding on sight, aren’t they, surely? But the thing that’s helping us with the cameras is also helping them, you can see everything.

In a normal fishing situation when it’s all clouded up or you’re fishing a lake that’s a bit more murky, then they can still see that… Here we go. That’s Tatty Tail. He’s going to have… No, he’s shied away from it. Do you know what I mean? This is what happens, isn’t it? This is what happens in fishing. You’ve got a hook that’s coloured the same colour as that lake bed. You can’t get a better colour than that. It’s right next to the lead which is a brilliant colour but you can still see it. If you put any other lead on it, put a gravel-coated lead out there and it’ll look like a loaf of bread sitting there. It would, though, I’ve tested it. Gravel-coated leads look terrible on that. They’re far too light in colour. It’s all the gubbings together. The fact that there’s a little bit of tubing, it’s alien, isn’t it? There’s an alien thing on the bottom. What I don’t understand is how they can tell it’s a rig and tell that’s got something wrong with it, but not tell that the hook bait’s got something wrong with it.

It’s standing out, isn’t it? Are you saying they would avoid it completely… If they were that clever that they could realise that was a rig, surely they’re clever enough not to eat a bright hook bait. Every single one they pick up has got a hook in it. Nobody ever puts out bright bottom baits, do they? – Very rarely. – No. So why aren’t they figuring that out? If they’re figuring that’s a rig, it doesn’t make sense to me. – Here we go. – Three in together. This has got to happen now. This has got to happen. Go on. Just come in at the wrong angle. Gandalf’s at the back there. He’s lovely, that one. Here he goes, a shnuffler. – They’re coming down. – You’re going to catch one. – Don’t move. – What about him? They’re not liking something, are they? He’s a really low to the bottom fella.

Look at him. Look at the way he feeds. – Did he eat some of that? – No. Look at that, how it moved then. Lifted right off the bottom. Properly off the bottom. It’s almost like he’s out of control, that fish. Doesn’t know what he’s doing. I don’t know. Weird, isn’t it? Really weird. That’s in a good line. 25:35. It’s hotting up a bit now, isn’t it? He’s a nice one, isn’t he? He’s really nice.

There’s obviously something feeding down the side, I reckon. That’s that 35. A Common coming in. It’s really hotting up now. Come on… It’s going to increase and increase and increase. They are loving that bait, aren’t they? Definitely they are loving that bait. That crumb and chops and tin of tuna all mixed in, a little bit of water going in as ground bait almost. They are loving that.

I think that’s the best reaction we’ve had to bait in the swim. Do you not think, though, there’s no bait left anywhere else? It’s a mixture of that and the time of day. No, there is bait left because we panned the camera right a little while ago to have a look if there was bait down in that deep bit and there was some bait left in that deep bit. It’s a combination of things but they are definitely… That’s a big fish coming through there. That might even be the Box Common. Perfect. It’s in exactly the same spot, again. Very, very well done.

Try and put some more bait out or not? We’ve got an hour and 10 minutes. Or shall we just leave it at this? Well, we’ve just had three or four fish in. They know when the rig’s gone out. All right, we’ll leave it at this, then. Yeah, that’s falling perfect. That’s perfect, perfect, perfect. It nearly hit the hook bait there. Nearly hit the hook bait. I reckon that might be enough. Just stay there. Do you think that’s enough? Or one more? – One more. – One more of those, please, mate.

One more of those. We’re just not getting the prolonged feeding on the spot to test any rigs, are we? That’s the thing. They’re coming in. They know, mate. It doesn’t make any sense how many fish the other guys have caught off this spot with nowhere near the amount of placement and everything else that we’re doing… But they didn’t have a camera in the water, did they? No. That’s a nice carp, isn’t it? Who’s that? It’s just a big lumpy one, isn’t it? I think we should just bait this spot in the morning and during the night or early morning, bait it again.

So as soon as we’ve finished fishing, go round and put a load of bait in, 4 o’clock in the morning put another load of bait in… – You’re going to do that, are you? – Yeah, I’ll do that for you. I’ll do that for you. Brotherly love. Right. Why? Because they need to feed all the way through. You think they’re clearing us out hours before it gets light? I think it’s gone before midnight. I totally agree. We’re putting the bait out as soon as the cameras stop rolling, at the end of the night, it’s 8.30 or whatever, it gets dark, we put the bait out, there hours it’s gone. I know it’s a lot of bait we’re putting out, but it’ll be gone by 12, one o’clock in the morning. And there’s no rig there. And we have seen them, as soon as the rig comes out, they come in and feed, don’t they? Straight away, they’re back.

Within minutes. We’ve got out best stuff on out there and it’s still… You know, fluorocarbon hook links and changed over to a safe zone leader. It all looks really good on the bottom, really good. They obviously know it’s there. I don’t think there’s anything we can do to… They know the rig’s there but there’s a camera in the water and that’s our biggest disadvantage. Absolutely. Well, at the end of another very frustrating day, that’s the rig that we’ve ended up on which is basically we’ve swapped over to a smaller pink hook bait. We felt that the bait was moving around too much. There’s flow going out there because there’s a pipe next to where the camera is and you can see by the movement of the water and the bits floating by, there’s actually flow out there and it’s wobbling the hook bait backwards and forwards on that D. So we’ve just gone to one that’s pretty much fixed to the hook and we’ve even put a little non-toxic shot in the bottom of the hook bait just to hold it down on the bottom which has worked.

We’ve also changed over to a safe zone leader which is transparent so it’s even harder for the fish to see but they’re still not playing the game. So we’re putting our best stuff out at the moment and they’re making fools of us. But we’re going to bait up again tonight. We’ll probably put some bait in in the middle of the night or early in the morning before it gets light, see if we can keep the fish in there feeding. Then get this back out in the morning and see if we can effect a change in our fortunes. But at the moment, everything together, the terrible weather, it’s just started pouring with rain again. It’s really cold for the time of year, not ideal for this area but the fish are here, they just don’t seem to be feeding with gusto. It’s very frustrating. They’re showing all over the bay. I’m sure if you were fishing this swim now you’d have had loads of fish but that, unfortunately, is the reality of making an underwater fishing film. As you can see, conditions have not improved, if anything, they’ve got worse.

There’s a very cold northerly wind running down the lake but the fish are still out there and young Tom, bless him, got up at 4 o’clock this morning and put two kilos of bait all around the camera. The only bait that’s left is the stuff that directly in front of the camera. Personally I think they’re now avoiding that spot because there’s been a rig out there so much. All the other bait all around the camera has all been eaten left and right of it. So we’re going to put this one out on the very edge of where that bait is and because it’s a bright one we’re hoping the fish will pick that up first because they’re still milling around looking for food but they’re just double wary of that spot. And to talk to you about the rig, there have been a couple of changes. First of all, it’s a combi rig now, not a straight through IQ. So it’s 20lb IQ2 tied to 25lb Supernatural, a size 6 Kaptor Kurv, mega sharp, that one. Still our lovely pink hook bait.

And I’ve weighted that hook bait now so it’s not going to float around like it was on that D. It was moving around and we were worried the fish could see that. So we’ve put it on a normal hair and put a bit of extra weight inside it just to hold it down on the bottom. Then our cog system but I’ve changed the anti-tangle system to a safe zone leader. Because it’s slightly transparent and gravel coloured, that blends in really well on the bottom. So we’re getting all our aces out of our pockets here and casting them out because we really need to get a bite.

We’re going to try this with a single for a while and then assess the situation after that. Is that the big Filly? He’s massive if that’s the Filly. That’s the Box Common. Or is it the Filly? That is huge. We’ve landed very close to the bait that they’re treating with caution but it is the right end of the bait so when they’re coming in out of the gloom that’s the one they’re going to come to first.

There are still lots of fish coming through the swim. We’ve cheated a little bit by pulling the rig back because when it landed on the bottom, the hook link was looped up off the bottom. The foam had come off as it hit the surface. So it’s sitting as pretty as it can possibly be. We’re going to give it a couple of hours like this and see if anything happens. Then if it doesn’t, we’ll reassess the situation then but it’s tough.

When it’s like this, this is hard work. He’s seen it, he’s seen it. A boilie just came out of his mouth. He’s going for it. No, pulled away. He’s pulled away. Showing an interest. How long’s that since we cast out? Five minutes. No, it’s my mate, actually. It’s the one that’s always been in here. But it seems to be that all the inquiries come very soon after casting and then once they’ve effectively marked the rig nothing will go near it. So maybe we’ll get a couple more chances in the next 10 minutes. Ooh… Go on… Go on, it’s so close. It’s going to have it. Yeah, he’s got to have it. Surely he’s going to have that. Yep, he’s got it. Go on, Dan! Yes! Well, we are into a carp. After a very frustrating day and a half, we’ve just put out a single pink on that little combi rig and after a lot of miscasts I managed to get it just on the edge of the bait and this one came in attracted to the bait and he was over the top and then he had it and we nailed him straight away.

The reaction of the fish, when you nail them, the reaction of the fish is just like nothing to a million miles an hour. I thought that had come off then. Oh, mate. He’s going to run out of lake in a minute. Good they cut this tree back. It’s an epic battle. Look at that. Might be that tatty-tailed one, actually. – I think it is. – Yeah. Come on, come on. Come on. The lead’s still on. Get in that net, get in the net. Yes! Come on! – Wicked! – Well done, mate. Cheers, brother. Thanks, mate. We needed that, we properly needed that. We badly needed that. Cheers, brother. It’s the bad times that make the good times good. Well, after all that euphoria we need to make sure the fish stays in perfect condition so as always we’re going to transfer it into the weigh sling in the water.

So just break the net down. Tom’s kindly unclipped the hook link. So the hook’s still in its mouth but we’re not attached to the rod now. Then if I just… Oh, easy, tiger. Get that retention sling the right way round. Like so, get the straps out of the way. then without even taking him out of the water just slide him into there, drop it all in, nice and slack. There we go. Just check his fins are flat. The sling’s all zeroed already. So we’ll see what he weighs. I don’t think he’s a 30. I think he’s a mid-20. We shall see. 27, I reckon. You’re not far off. 28 on the money. – 28 on the money? – Yeah. Wicked. Well chuffed with that one. Look at that. What a creature. So pleased to get this one. Breaks the deadlock.

Lots of frustrations, lots of arguments in the bivvy. What we’re going to do next, everybody’s got a different opinion. Finally this one has made us all feel very happy again. Well chuffed with this one. What we’re going to do now is use that same IQ2 Supernatural combi link but we’re going to put on a white boilie. Tom’s dying to see their reaction to a white boilie. We tried it at the start with not much reaction at all but now they’ve been feeding harder I think it’s probably going to work. Gums is back on a brand-new track. There’s lots in there. Just wait one second, bruv. This is so tense. They’re telling me there’s loads of fish out there.

I’ve got to cast right next to the pole first time. It’s not easy at all. Keep talking to me, mate. When can I do it? Right, they’ve just left the swim, so quick. Danny boy, Danny boy. He’s seen it. He has seen it. Here we go. Get ready. – Is that your mate? – I think… Yes, it is my mate, yeah. He saw it out of the gloom, didn’t he? Here we go, surely.

One of them’s got to take it, hasn’t he? Make a note of that. Look he’s eating the bait. That’s the Double Belly Common. Right old weird one, isn’t he? – Here we go, here we go. – Go on… That was like a vertical… It was like, put the anchors on. – That’s a banoffee. – There’s another one. – He selected it, though, didn’t he? – He saw that one definitely. Definitely. He went past all the other stuff and then just went down for that. Look at that. That’s the Box, isn’t it? That is the Box, yeah. That is enormous. That is like a zeppelin. …really slowly. That rig will catch him. That little bit of ‘beep beep’ on the end. What do you mean? The little soft bit on the end, that will catch him. Have you got that rig out now because you think it’s the best rig out there or have you got that rig out because you wanted a change? I got that rig out there because the bait doesn’t move about on it.

I really like the shape of him. He’s the upfront one, isn’t he? Yeah, Chesty. That’s the Box. He’s excited. Look at him. Turn round. Go on, go on, the Box. – Go on, go on. – Turn around. Look at the size of it. – Massive. – That is huge. I bet that’s 45lb. – You reckon? – Yeah. It’s huge, mate. It is bursting at the seams. Here we go, here we go, he’s having it. – He’s on it. – Has he taken it? Yes! We’ve had a bite on a white one. This is a banoffee. And moments before the big old Box Common came down over the top of it and narrowly missed it. Then this one came in behind. The first time a fish went over the top of it, we’ve nailed it straight away on that IQ combi rig again. So definitely another IQ combi rig is going out. There’s Mr Magpie. Afternoon, Mr Magpie. This is one of those chunky Mirrors, I think, isn’t it? Big fat one, Tom, isn’t it? I couldn’t quite see what one it was because it come from the back of the shot.

He feels quite heavy. It’s a big old simmo. Mate, this is so rolling on the line, this fish. Wouldn’t surprise me if this comes off. You know when they feel like they’re only just nicked, where he’s thumped his head so much trying to get away. Properly twisting and turning out there. Right, what are we going to do now, then? Still going to put a pink one back on. Just to see how quick… The thing is you don’t know how their reaction changes after a bite because they do shy off a little bit. Yeah, but without any shadow of a doubt that boilie crumb which is a mixture of the cell and Mainline’s new one which hasn’t got a name yet, coated in a tin of tuna in sunflower oil, that is definitely causing the best reaction of anything we’ve put in in the daytime. So we’re definitely going to put more of that out. He’s proper burrowing down in the weed here.

I can feel it pinging through all the weed. Really getting his nut down, he is. I don’t think it’s a big one. No, it’s not. It’s a 20 by the look of it. It was so close to the camera it was hard to tell. Look. – It’s not Gums, is it? – No. Get in the net, get in the net. Get in my net, come on. Got him! Excellent. Good work, Thomas. Another one bites the dust. That’s wicked. Okay, little fella. Just keep quiet for a second so we can show everyone. There he is, 19 and a half pounds. Probably one of the smallest fish that’s been in the swim but very, very welcome. And he’s a male, this one, because he’s milting. It will be spawning time soon, in a couple of weeks. We were praying they wouldn’t be spawning at the moment but because the weather’s been so cold, they’re nowhere near it. The temperature has to be a constant 17 degrees for three days and it’s only just under 11, 10.8 at the moment.

So a very welcome addition to our tally. I’m going to get the rod back out now with a pink one on it and see if I can catch that Box Common. So this is the rig we were about to cast out anyway. The banoffee had about five minutes left of its life span before we were going to wind it in because the fish are definitely homing in on those pink squid and fruit baits more than they are the white banoffees. Personally I think it’s the colour. Damian thinks it may be the squid attractor in there but something about that is more attractive to the fish. The hook link itself is exactly the same one that I caught the 28lb fully scaled on earlier on.

I’ve checked the point of the hook and it’s still razor sharp. That’s a Kaptor straight out of the packet. The only addition, halfway down the hook link I’ve put a little bit of Dark Matter putty just to help the whole thing fall away. Now Tom’s done loads of tests on hook links with putty on and he reckons you need a bit of putty about three or four inches up from the lead and that helps to push everything away as it settles and get the hook link out nice and straight. So we noticed, when I cast this one out earlier on today, the hook link was looped up a bit. We pulled it back and cheated because we can look on the underwater cameras but that bit of putty on there basically forces it away and helps that to happen every single time.

And you can see how well the cog’s working. Every time the fish pick the bait up and tighten the hook link, that cog is coming into play and that’s nailing them in seconds. So I think that type of lead system is definitely helping over a normal lead clip and this safe zone leader, this is a gravel coloured one, because it’s transparent it’s a little bit harder for them to see and they’re not startling off this as much as they were the rig tube. So it’s working more effectively but we want to get it out there because we want to catch that Box Common. We’re going to have a complete change of bait today. Last night we put in three or four kilos of boilies all around the camera and up and down the margins just like we’ve been doing every other night and they’ve cleaned us out completely.

We panned round with the camera and there’s not a single boilie in the swim. So that was our plan to keep the fish in the area but now all we’re going to throw in is sweetcorn. So no boilie, no hemp, no pellets, nothing, just pure sweetcorn because people we know that fish here have fished just corn and caught loads of fish. So that’s what we’re going to put out over the top of it. We’ve got a single grain of plastic maize, that’s flavoured with IB which is a really tangy fruit combination and that’s on a little tiny combi link, it’s probably about five inches long. That’s the rig that I put the plastic corn on before the pink stuff that was rejected a few times. So I reckon with more corn in the swim, we’re going to get more confident feeding and hopefully this one’s going to snare them.

– Oh, bosh! – Perfect? Yeah, it’s very close to the camera but it’s good. Right, we want it close to the camera. Let me come and have a look before we settle on it. Right, cool. That was our boilie where we were before. Can’t get better than that, can you? You can’t hand place it better than that, mate. It’s awesome, lad. That’s boss. That’s boss, mate.

Right on the money, lad. Only a matter of time now, mate. Right on the dance floor there, Danny. Get that corn in, mate. Thomas, the scouser in the bivvy says we need to put the corn in now. Oh yeah, look at that. It’s raining corn, hallelujah. It’s raining corn, hey, hey. Mate, it’s floating down lovely. It’s all to the left of the rig and slightly further out so you can go slightly more right and slightly closer to us. but that is a lovely vapour trail going out into the area. Right, I’m done. There’s about two to three tins of corn out there now and it’s covered an area probably half the size of this bivvy or the internal part of this bivvy, so probably six foot by eight foot, something like that.

It looks very concentrated on the bottom and the hook bait is just standing out. It’s a slightly different yellow to the corn that’s gone in. If anything it’s a little bit darker but the rig’s sitting perfectly. All the bait is level with the rig and behind it which is the way I would normally like to bait up in a fishing situation, so there’s nothing going over the line or over the lead system and I think that’s really important. So the fish keep approaching the area from the back, so they’re not coming into contact with the line first. That’s something that I’d recommend you put into your own fishing is that you bait up level with your marker float and behind it, not short of it. So we’re going to leave that out there now. See what the fish’s reaction is to the corn and if we catch one on it we may even change the rig, still using the piece of plastic as a hook bait and see if we can get a different response.

The corn has been in the swim about an hour now. It’s 9.15 in the morning. The feeding reaction from the fish has been phenomenal. We’ve come very close to catching one already. And as is usually the case when there’s bait in the swim, the fish have started to come in, the same one or two have come in, a fish we called Mustard because it’s as keen as mustard, that’s been coming in on the edge of the spot, having a little feed, going back out again and he’s getting more and more confident and as he does that, his mates start to come with him. And there’s one that’s got sort of half a tail, which you’ve seen from the bank, haven’t you? I’ve seen him round there. He looks about 30, 32lb. You’re very calm considering he’s 32lb. But we’re seeing him all the time and he’s become normal, – which is odd. – It is odd, yeah. But that fish is very recognisable and that’s been coming this side of the rig, so closer to the camera than the actual rig is, so he’s really close and feeding.

I don’t think it’s out of the ordinary that the fish are feeding around the edges of the corn first and working their way into the middle which is what you’d expect them to do generally in a fishing situation. It’s very rare that fish come straight down into the middle of an area and start feeding in the middle of the area. Not one as obvious at that. It’s so blatant round there. – It is like corn. – Ding! It’s so obvious and I’ve chucked some out the back of the spot a little bit and they’re the ones they’re taking first of all. It just gains their interest a little bit.

Yeah, absolutely. So far a very good feeding response from the corn which we expected anyway because it’s the number one bait certainly on this lake and a lot of other lakes on this complex. And I don’t think it’s going to be long before we get a take but, touch wood, the bait’s right on the edge of the near side of the corn and it’s not standing out. It’s actually a little bit darker, like you said earlier. It’s hard to see it. It’s hard to distinguish it from the others. I think the fish is just going to come down, suck the bits around it and that’s going to go up as well, so a good feeding response which is what we expected.

We’d like to see more of the bigger fish gaining confidence as well… There’s one just coming through now. He’s big as well. That is a really nice Linear, along with one of the better Commons. So it’s definitely turning them on. The rig’s been out there for four hours now and although fish have been constantly visiting the area, we’ve noticed a couple of things. One, it’s the same fish coming back and back and not the fish that we had feeding on the boilie as well. So that may indicate that some fish prefer the vegetable food, some fish prefer the boiled food. But it seems to be a bit of a needle in a haystack situation where we’ve got a bit of yellow on the end, we’re fishing over a load of yellow and they’re just missing it, they’re not honing in on it like they did the pink one. So we’re going to take this rig in and we’re going to try two grains of yellow but popped up, just the length of the hook so it stands out a little bit more.

Throw a bit more bait in and see what their reaction is to that. So this is the minor adjustment we’ve made to our presentation. We’ve got a slightly longer combi rig, still made with the 20lb IQ2 up to a bit of Supernatural braid. A smaller hook, that’s a size 8 Wide Gape and on there we’ve got one piece of pop-up corn, that’s flavoured with IB, and then I’ve got a little bit of yellow foam underneath it just to give it a bit more buoyancy so it stands up nice and proud off the bottom. I’ve over-weighted it so it sinks quite quickly because we notice when the fish are moving around, the bait’s moving around quite easily on the bottom.

So I don’t want it really critically balanced so it ends up coming off the bottom and spinning all around. So there’s another piece of putty on the hook link as well that I’ve added just to help everything lay flat on the bottom. So I’m going to mould a bit of foam around that, we’re sticking on the cog lead system and then that’s going to get cast out there and we’ll see what their reaction is to a bait just popped up off the bottom. And it’s fallen down beautifully and considering it’s a pop-up, it doesn’t actually look that offensive out there. I wouldn’t normally fish a pop-up on a gravel spot as hard as this but it’ll be very interesting to see when Tom puts some bait in what the fish’s reaction is because everybody wants us to use pop-ups all the time. That’s one of the major comments we get.

Put a pop-up on, put a pop-up on. And I’m sure we will put a pop-up boilie on at some point but this will straight away give us an indication as to whether or not the fish are frightened of baits off the bottom or whether it actually attracts them. So let’s contact Tom and get him to put some bait in. That’s nice, Tom. That’s raining all over the area.

It’s a nice spread of bait. I think another one of those just a little bit further out would be lovely. Just enough to draw them in out of the gloom. That’s lovely. You can return to base. Thank you. It’s seven degrees at the moment. It says seven, feels like six on my weather report. And that’s at midday. It should be 17, and it’s been like that the whole time we’ve been here. I’m sure that is having a massive impact on how willing the fish are to feed. Because when Ali filmed one of the Thinking Tackle shows here, you had 38 bites, was it, you and Tom? 37 bites in three days. That’s just ridiculous. All right, you’re fishing six rods between the two of you and you haven’t got a camera in the swim but even so it’s not what we were expecting, is it? Yeah, they’re not reacting to any bait like they would if it was real May conditions.

They would be smashing into that bottom by now. That bait’s going in but, right now, look at that fish. That’s prolonged feeding but where’s his mates? What are they doing? They obviously… It just shows that’s it’s almost like you need to give them a bit of everything. So like what you put in yesterday, that tuna with your crumb, a lot of fish liked that, some didn’t. But they’re coming in now, aren’t they? – They are, mate. – The cavalry have arrived. It’s going to be very interesting to see their reaction to this pop-up.

Very interesting. What’s that one? – He’s a nice one. – That’s a real nice fish. We’ve noticed too many times that the fish are spooking off the pop-up. It’s only one grain of corn, a little tiny bit of foam, it’s just off the bottom, I thought it looked really good out there. But they’ve come in too many times and either missed it or seen something and gone or avoided it purposefully. It’s not right so we know recasting isn’t really scaring them away, it gives us an opportunity to put a little bit more bait in the swim. So I’m going to take that rig off and I’ve tied another up that’s almost exactly the same – 20lb fluorocarbon as the boom, as usual, with a bit of 25lb Supernatural as the soft section by the hook. We’ve gone back to a slow-sinking bait so the hook will lay flat on the bottom, the bait will just hover above but we’ve gone on to a pink bait. Pink was obviously the colour when we were putting boilies out, they seem to be honing in on that.

And that’s what we’ve noticed about the corn – they’re not honing in to the hook bait, whether it’s a pop-up or whether it’s a slow sinker, a slow sinker, they were just sort of missing it, it was just needle in a haystack, the pop-up that we tried, they seem to be avoiding it. So by having something that is close to the bottom, that’s hopefully not going to startle them, but is a slightly different colour to what we’re feeding, we’re hoping we’re going to snare one. If it works it’ll be a brilliant thing to put into your own fishing. – Perfect. – Cheers, brother. Lovely, mate, lovely. Well, it’s properly hotting up in here now.

The corn has really turned them on. We had some other things to do so we had the rod out of the water for probably two hours, maybe three hours this afternoon, and as soon as that happened they came in and cleared all the corn out completely and the boys put more corn in while we were busy and they’ve cleared all that as well and now they are coming in mob-handed. The pink bit of corn is being inspected, the pink hook bait that we’ve got out there – is being inspected regularly… – Like now! They’re looking at it.

But the problem we’ve got, as you always get with particle fishing, the fish are moving around much slower because there’s lots of small food items. So what’s happening is the combi link that I’ve put out is a little bit longer to push it away from the lead whereas now that element of it doesn’t really matter, keeping it away from the lead, the fish are so confident. There’s another one. A beautiful Common just swam past.

Oh, this one’s… Oh, he’s seen it. It’s been in three or four fish’s mouths already. And they’re just not tightening up to the lead because the hook link’s probably too long. – It’s dropping back out, isn’t it? – It’s dropping back out again. But the important thing, what we didn’t say as well, is they baited up again, they’ve eaten it, and it just goes to prove on these little margin spots or anywhere, what we were saying previously, just keep a little stream going in. It doesn’t have to be a lot, just a little trickle over the top and it seems to stir them up into a frenzy much more than one load down and then leave it because they’ll just peck at it.

This way they don’t know how long it will last, it seems like. Their mates are all fighting for it. Amazing footage. Good if you’re out fishing in the pond as well. It’d be good to use one of the mini Skyliners just half full of bait, next to nothing so it makes hardly any splash… You’re going to get a bite, you’re going to get a bite. The last one that just stared at it like a plane just hovering to land. It must’ve stared at that hook bait but he thought it was too good to refuse, I’m going to have to get it in my mouth.

Get in my mouth. This is good. Noticeable, though, that there’s a lot of smaller fish in here now. There’s a lot of upper doubles and scraper 20s now. There are big fish mixed amongst them but there are a lot of smaller fish feeding in here now. Great news for Mainline because, to be fair, everyone does say it’s the old wives’ tale that boilies catch bigger fish. – Well, they do, don’t they? – It seems to be that way…

It’s such a different group of fish that we’re seeing. I think so, yeah. But the big ones are there, when you go over there, the Ghostie Common is floating around the back. But he still hasn’t eaten anything. He hasn’t eaten but he goes with some big fish, doesn’t he? And they’re not coming in. The Box Common hasn’t been in today.

That half tail is the biggest one that’s eaten. He’s been eating all day. But it just goes to show, you always said it, when you used sweetcorn, you caught more but smaller fish. He’s a nice one, though. That’s Mustard isn’t it? No, it’s a different one. But this is cold water and stuff like that… That is like an aquarium now. Look at that. That’s like having a tank in your front room. Can I take your order, sir? What would you like for dinner? Sorry, I’m watching the fish. It’s awesome footage. It’s very similar to what we had at Welly, isn’t it, but equally frustrating, isn’t it? Yeah, much harder to catch. Better feeding response, that’s why with particles, don’t you think, you just have to be on it all the time? If you haven’t got a bite, you know you should have had one so you’ve go to change it to do something because you can see here… It’s more of an active way of fishing. Yeah. It’s going in and out of fish’s mouths…

– Frustrating. – Oh, it is, mate. It’s a kick in the nuts, personally. It doesn’t stop us blaming things, though. You start thinking about things you shouldn’t be thinking about when you’re particle fishing. There must be a way of getting round it. There must be a way of hooking them as soon as it goes in their mouth. I’m going to shorten the hook link, I think. I’ve seen enough now of enough different fish picking it up and getting away with it… He’s had it twice. So let’s see him go again. No. He’s had it twice, that one. He knows, he knows. Good morning. As you can see, I’m donning some fantastic headgear at the moment. Mr Hamidi is off to the FA Cup Final today to watch his beloved Liverpool. So I’m wearing this out of homage to him, and if I catch one I shall do the piece to camera with the fish and the hat on as well.

It’s, again, bitterly cold for the time of year. Northerly wind’s blowing, it’s about seven or eight degrees at the moment. The sun is out which is helping but just to fill you in with the baiting up and everything that went on last night – I put a load of boilie all up and down that margin, and a lot of crumb and everything all round the camera, and then made the effort to get up again at 4 o’clock in the morning and repeat the process with a bit less bait.

When we’ve turned the cameras on this morning, they haven’t even eaten the crumb that I put out yesterday evening just before it got dark. Because there were bits of sweetcorn in it and I can actually pick the sweetcorn out on the bottom. So what I’ve effectively done is thrown bait on top of bait. Neil, one of my colleagues, has been kind enough to come down and take Ali’s place. Tom’s disappeared back into the real world as well to see his girlfriend for the weekend. And they’ve started to come in now, mate, haven’t they? Yeah, we’ve seen quite a few more and more regularly now. That’s probably the best fish we’ve seen today. Yeah, coming in from all angles, off of the spot, – the odd mouthful of food. – They’re not feeding with gusto yet. You haven’t seen it the other days but unfortunately now, because I’ve chucked bait on top of bait it’s absolutely littered in the swim.

And because it’s cold as well the fish seem to have migrated out of the bay in the night because it went down to about two or three degrees last night and it’s going to do the same again tonight. The sun is hopefully pushing them back in again but we’re just going to have to play the waiting game for now and just let them get more confidence on that food and then when they’ve got enough confidence, then we’re going to put a rig back in. This is the rig we started yesterday with over all that corn. It’s a single grain of slow-sinking maize so the hook’s going to lay flat on the bottom and the maize is just hovering above.

That looked really good amongst that corn. But the thing we noticed was the fish weren’t singling it out like they had done the pink hook baits in the past when we were boilie fishing. It was just like a needle in a haystack. They just weren’t going for it. They’re eating the other bits of corn as well. I don’t think it’s particularly startling them. We weren’t seeing them reject it or move away from it, they just weren’t noticing it amongst everything else. This is a combi rig which is exactly the same as the one we caught the fish on on boilies. Combi rig means combination of material so a stiff mono section, this is 20lb IQ2. At the end we’ve got a soft braided section which is 25lb Supernatural. So it pushes away from the lead and then the hook lifts very quickly because of that soft stuff. But because that one didn’t go in the mouth at all we couldn’t check how effective it was. So this is what we changed over to.

We thought let’s go with a piece of pop-up corn. That’s what most people use on these waters. We’ve got one grain of floating corn there and then a little tiny bit of foam underneath it just to give it a bit more buoyancy so it sits up nicely off the bottom. A smaller hook, that’s a size 8 Wide Gape, just because it’s off the bottom we wanted the hook to be smaller so it was more difficult for the fish to see. And it looked really good on the bottom. Still a bit of IQ2 to push it away from the lead and it didn’t really stand out that much but the fish were definitely seeing it and definitely avoiding it. How we catch fish on these waters with pop-ups over all that bait, I do not know.

Darrell Peck came down yesterday just to have a look at what was going on. He done a tutorial on one of the other lakes, fished almost exactly that rig and had 15 fish in a night and a day. Yet we could not buy a bite on that because it was up off the bottom and the fish were just spying it. So the last thing that we moved over to, also a combi rig, was that fella. A shorter hook link, still a size 6 Kurv shank hook but we’ve changed over to a piece of the pink plastic. That’s the slow-sinking maize and what I’ve done in there, I don’t know if you can see that but I’ve just pushed a bit of heavy wire up inside that bit of plastic just to make it less buoyant so it sits closer to the bottom. That was only out there probably for an hour at the end of the day but we had two pickups on that. Unfortunately we didn’t convert either of those And I think in that situation, when you’ve got the fish feeding so slowly and there’s only a couple of them coming in at once, I think that’s when it’s difficult to hook the fish.

So in hindsight what I wished we done is put more corn out and fished more during the middle of the day with that set-up, and I reckon it would have converted a couple of pickups. But at the end of the day we had a really big Common come in very, very slowly to approach the bait, sucked it in, didn’t move at all. It was in his mouth for what seemed like ages, then blew it back out because it hadn’t tightened the hook link. But I wouldn’t let that put you off these kind of rigs. This is what I use in that baiting situation when I’m fishing normally and I’ve caught loads and loads of fish on this.

So I’m baffled as to why we didn’t convert anything yesterday on it. I think it can only be that there were just not enough fish in the swim when that rig was out there. And to talk you through how to tie all these combi rigs – first of all we join the two lines together with an albright knot. So we make a big loop in the stiff section and then go through that loop and then around both bits of line with the soft braid, back over the top three times and back through the loop the way you started, that’s really important so the knot tightens down properly.

Then you’ve got the two materials joined together and then I pass the line through the eye of the hook and tie my favourite whipping knot and that means I can get that little soft section really short on there. Then the rig rings goes on, shrink tube goes on, shrink that down, putty goes over the join between the two to neaten everything up and also hold it down on the bottom. And I’d put a second bit of putty on a hook link if it was a bit longer than that just to hold the midsection down as well. Then at the other end, again, very important your attachment to the lead system. Here I’ve got a link loop and it’s just tied on with a 4-turn water knot so through the link loop, around the line four times, back through the loop you’ve made and then pull the tag end tight first, wet it up and then pull the hook link tight and by pulling that tag end tight you create a little bit of space for the knot to tighten down properly.

And can you see there I’ve not kinked that line at all? So it’s retained its breaking strain. And in this clear water the IQ creating that boom seems to be the hardest thing for the fish to see. You could use just a coated hook link and strip away the bit at the end to create that soft section by the hook. It’s going to work in a very similar way but I think in this clear water it is going to be easier for the fish to see. But whatever you do, make sure you put some putty on it to pin it down on the bottom and don’t ignore the pink even when you’re fishing over loads of the yellow corn. Amazingly I got it in there first cast.

It sat a little bit weird where the hook link was bent round. So we just dragged the bait back ever so slightly and it straightened everything out and because there was still a bag on, it hasn’t actually dinked the point of the hook or anything, the bait itself hasn’t actually moved, it just puffed the bag open. So it’s right in the middle of all that bait. I would have liked it a foot further away from where I’m casting which has been more in the left-hand side of the screen but such is life. I’ve got to swap this over in homage to Hamidi. Get that on. Right, we’re rocking now. There’s fish coming in. What we felt was because I put a lot of bait out last night not knowing that there was still bait left in the swim, we could sit here all day and just watch them picking at the food and we know they’ve picked those pink hook baits out from all the other baits out there so by putting just a little tiny bag of just crumbed-up boilies and a little bit of tuna in it as well, we’re more than anything stopping the rig tangling and protecting the point of the hook as it hits the bottom.

And obviously then it’s given us that opportunity just to pull the lead back a little bit without dinking the point of the hook. There is obviously loads of smell and everything coming out of that but whether or not they can distinguish that between all that other bait out there which is too much, really, I don’t know but certainly with the pink one sitting there pretty right in the middle of it all… and there’s always the chance that we could snare a fish that’s not really feeding and turn a day which could have been a complete write-off into a success.

So it’s worth putting into your own fishing, on days like today when it’s much colder than it should be for the time of year and it’s blowing a northerly wind or an easterly wind, you want to hold back on the bait and not put too much in, if anything at all. And those days where it’s real low pressure, it’s a warm south-westerly blowing, there’s not many anglers about, those are the times to put plenty of bait in. We’re pulling all the big guns out today. Not only am I wearing the mascot hat for Hamidi, this is Neil’s little mascot, aka, Monkey, that always goes on one of his rods.

If you see him on the Telling Tales chapters that he does, that is always sitting on his rod. So I’m going to plonk Monkey on there. As you can see, he’s been through the wars a little bit. There’s a little bit of singeing going on there. He doesn’t smell very nice, to be fair. And he’s definitely been through it but he’s going to stay on there and see if he can inspire a bite. Come on! If he takes this, we’re having it. Oh yes, we’re going to catch the Box Common, mate. Put boilie out, Box Common. – Put corn out, jog on. – Put corn out, jog on. Ain’t catching no Box Common on corn. He likes his boilie. That cast was absolutely perfect. But I’ve made a mistake of not balancing the hook bait before I’ve cast it out assuming that the hook was going to lay over flat on its side and the bait was just going to hover above. And looking at the close camera here we can zoom right in on the hook and you can clearly see that the point of the hook is touching the bottom and the bait is sitting above it.

And even that far off the bottom it’s being completely ignored by the fish. Another very frustrating day. I know you’ve heard it a million times before but it is freezing cold here. It’s not got above eight degrees and it feels like five when it’s eight degrees and that’s the northerly wind that’s been blowing virtually the whole time we’ve been here. And the fish just haven’t fed with gusto. They came in during the middle of the day which is when we had the best bit of weather, started to feed and we thought we’d have a chance and I started off with a pink bottom bait, no buoyancy in it whatsoever, and they just ignored it, didn’t spook off it, just ignored it. So I put a white hook bait on with a little bit of buoyancy in it and they’ve definitely spooked off of that.

So that’s too blatant. The other one wasn’t blatant enough. There’s too much bait in the swim because I baited twice last night not knowing the fish hadn’t eaten the first lot. So, all in all, just mistakes with baiting up, mistakes with rigs and when it’s really tough like this you have to get everything right and basically we haven’t been. So we’re going to hang it out for another 15, 20 minutes.

There’s been a couple of fish coming in every now and again but it’s been very, very quiet this evening. A lot quieter than we would have expected but as always I think we’re just being beaten by the weather. It’s Bank Holiday weekend and there’s loads of people here and virtually every swim’s taken. We thought that would force more fish into this area but it just hasn’t done that, the cold weather’s kept them away. A sad day for the underwater team at the moment because Liverpool lost 2-1, so Ali won’t be happy tomorrow. But we’ve just to get some kip, pull our belts in and start again tomorrow. Well, what a difference a day makes.

It’s about five or six degrees warmer at least at the moment. The wind’s dropped down to almost nothing. In fact, it looks, from looking over there now, that it’s actually changing into a westerly which is perfect for here because it means it will be in the lee of the wind, the water will warm up quicker, the fish will come in. So now we’re on an inline lead fish shocker style. Basically it’s going to sit very flat to the bottom. It’s as inconspicuous as you can get. That brown coating on there blends in beautifully. The lead is very difficult to see and we’ve got a fluorocarbon hook link on.

This one is a combi rig so I’ve got a bit of soft on the end there, that’s 25lb Supernatural to my old faithful pink slow-sinking hook bait. I’ve put a little bit of heavy wire in there just to sink it down even further so it doesn’t flutter around in that flow that’s coming out of the pipe. I’ve joined that with a little stick there just to protect the hook on casting and put a little bit around the hook as well.

We’ve noticed with an inline lead and this set-up, the bag and the lead often land very close together so with the beauty of the cameras we’ve got in there, we can actually pull this back and see it straighten out and get it absolutely perfect. So the weather’s in our favour, hopefully we’re going to get a bite. The intensity is really hotting up now and all due to this man, really. He said they’re not eating the boilies properly, we need to put something else in the swim. I was reluctant to do so but there’s two more coming in now. Make a note of that. 1820. So Ali put a couple of handfuls of corn in over the top of the baited area and it has started to make them go mad out there. I’m not sure whether they’re just eating the corn or whether they’re eating the chopped boilie and the whole boilie as well. But there are fish visiting the swim time and again now. It’s been a nice day today. There’s a lot of fish showing in the bay again which is always a good sign and they’re coming back in here with gusto.

Bet you can’t wait to get a rig in the water, can you? Well, it’s just fascinating watching their reaction to different baits. It makes you think, I know we keep talking about different things, like you talk about those days on Welly or wherever where it’s not happening and you might just take it and say it’s not happening and just take it as one of them things but clearly there are things we can do to get fish active in the swim. And they change their habits daily, hourly. – It’s unbelievable to watch it. – Angling pressure, wind direction, air temperature, water temperature, pressure, air pressure, all those things come into it but certainly from this you can see definitely that by adding a different food source into the swim, completely different type of food, from boilie to sweetcorn, it’s made a massive difference to their willingness to feed.

And obviously the longer they feed, the more chance you’ve got of getting a bite. It’s just a shame we’ve got a boilie on the end now. It is. A single piece of pink plastic would be the one right now but we haven’t got a lot of daylight left and there’s a lot of fish in the area so I don’t want to recast. But it does show you on these gravel spots, you cannot have it camouflaged enough. That lead is exactly the same colour as all the stones around it. Fluorocarbon hook link, safe zone leader with just a little bit of a gravel tint in it, you’re not going to get a nicer looking rig on the bottom than that. And they’re still seeing it. It just shows you’ve got to get them feeding hard for the to stop thinking about all of that and just eat the bait. That’s the Holy Grail, get them preoccupied so that nothing else matters. It’s just a fight with his mates for the food. He’s having it. You ready? Yep, we’re in! We’re in! Yes! Get in! Get in there! Well, after another frustrating day, adding loads of corn into the swim has completely turned these fish on and it’s all down to him.

I wouldn’t have done it but he’s absolutely right. Having two different food sources in the swim at one time has really turned them on and this is only a little baby Common. He’s been in here a lot, this fish. He’s avoided the rig time and again and he just came in looking at that corn and we saw him spy the rig and just look at it for a minute, weigh it up and then he just had it and we nailed him instantly. He didn’t know what hit him. He was floating around really slow, it took an age before he realised he was hooked.

That was how well he was feeding. So it just shows you, mixing up the food items in the swim can make a big difference, especially at times like this when the fishing is tough. He’s not very big but he’s very, very welcome. Brilliant. Get in the net. Come on, you little fella. Yes! Got him! Come on! Never have I been so pleased to get a little one in the net. And there he is. 14 and three quarter pounds. He’s been in the swim loads, this one. And finally we’ve nailed him and it was all down to Ali’s change of bait. It just shows you having two different food items in the swim can make all the difference. Well pleased. Hang on, Dan, hang on. Yeah, Dan, we’ll take that. Just tweak it a little bit. That’s it, stop there! Stop there, that’s it. Yeah, mate, we’ll take that. With an hour to go, you’re getting a bite on that, without a doubt.

In fact, one’s coming to take… He’s going towards the stick now. Oh, mate, they are shnaffling this corn like it’s going out of fashion. That’s all clipped up. Well, we have hung it out as late as we possibly can. As you can see, the sun’s gone down, they’re in there feeding. They’re just coming back and back and back on this corn but we haven’t managed to get another bite in the last couple of hours.

That was definitely the trigger in the swim today and sometimes when you wind in at the end of a fishing session you think I’m dragging it out of the fish’s mouth, 10 more minutes and I’d get a bite, and this time it really is like that. We can see them out there and I think 10 more minutes we would catch one but we’ve lost the light so we live to fight another day. Oh, Daniel son, couldn’t have hand-placed it. You are the absolute sugar daddy. Bang, bang. Excellent. Awesome cast. This is the part when you’re sinking your line, you’ve got to be really, really careful. That’s one thing I’ve noticed – when the line’s on the surface that’s when you can really move the rig because the line’s coming up out of the water and if you try to put tension on it, it’s sort of springing the lead up.

I bet you’re happy with that, aren’t you? Yeah, that’s where it wants to be. Oh, stop it! Evolution? Evolution of a rig? Oh, awesome, mate. You couldn’t hand-place that any better. Even I’m pleased with that. That’s good, that. That’s really pushed that away from the lead. Having that stiffness and that no hinge, straight out of the front of the inline, that’s really good. Here we go, here we go. Here we go, here we go. He just never took it, did he? He fanned around and he just didn’t take it. Yeah, he just missed it. That happens. Well, just as we thought it was all quiet, there are a number of fish now moving into the swim. Constant traffic over the hook bait. I think Dan’s just outside trying to keep those ducks at bay. They just constantly want to dive on the bait and that definitely scares the carp. Keeps them from coming to that kill zone and it’s a matter of trying to spod just to scare them out of the way, leave that line out there so it’s a real pain in the butt but hopefully the effort will be worthwhile but there’s definitely fish moving up.

It’s 10.40. It’s a northerly wind today. Still the pressure’s above 1,000. But it’s better than it was a few days ago and with the cloud cover it does seem to get the fish moving a lot more and I think as the cloud increases and the day warms up, we’ll have more fish moving in. Here’s another one cruising over. It’s looking really good for Dan. Well, it’s mid-morning now and the fish have started to come back in in numbers.

The wind is horrendous again, it’s gone north-westerly. It’s now seven degrees, feels like three which is incredible for the time of year. But the sun is beating down into this bay. The wind’s sort of off our back so the whole bay is in the lee of the wind. And they’ve had a lot of bait out there over quite a few days now and they just keep coming back to it. There’s fish drifting around all the time now having a look. I’m really pleased we’ve had a rig sitting. What I’ve done is, I’m still fishing a running inline but I’ve gone from a safe zone leader to tubing because I noticed how well the Dark Matter tubing was pinned to the bottom and how it was taking up the contours of the bottom. So I’ve just flecked that with a pen just to break up the straight line and looking at it now, I probably put a little bit too much black into it.

So when I wind it in I’ll just run my fingers up it and just smudge it a little bit and just try and change the colour ever so slightly, but the rest of the rig looks great. Most importantly, I’ve changed over to an anti-tangle sleeve so there’s no hinge at the lead end at all. It’s pushing the hook link away and that’s been coupled with a bit of Mouth Trap material which you’d normally use for a choddy but on this occasion I’m using it for the boom. So I’ve got that anti-tangle sleeve which is really stiff and that stiff boom of Mouth Trap with a little bit of soft on the end. 30lb Arma Kord on the end as my soft hinge and it’s sitting out perfectly straight and all that’s happening, when the fish come over it, that end piece is just moving around but the rest of the hook link is staying as straight as an arrow which I really like and if we get one pickup on this, I’m going to make a prediction that we hook it straight away.

We’ve had a couple come close and pull away at the last minute and a little while earlier on the hook was sitting funny, sort of up on a stone and it was very visible. Now it’s been moved around again. The bait is just hovering above. It’s not moving around which is good. There doesn’t seem to be hardly any flow today. So everything is cocked perfect. We just need a few feeding fish in the swim and I reckon we’re going to get one. Well, just out of nowhere, a long, lean fully scaled just shot down, Dan’s outside preparing some new rigs maybe with some new hook baits, but one just came down, it’s the first one that showed any interest in the hook bait. The others are diving down and feeding other areas very close to the hook bait. We’ve got four, five of them in the background now. It’s an unbelievable number of fish in here.

It’s certainly hotting up. That’s the first chance. It didn’t actually take the rig fully in, just sort of went for it, missed it, shook its head again, missed it, and then it was game over and it swam off. But Dan’s rig’s worked perfectly well. It’s reset itself. That anti-tangle sleeve has kicked it all out. it’s sat cocked waiting for another go, so good rig mechanics, definitely. Well, unbelievable. That Common just came in nice and slowly. Looks like the Little Plated is in the background as well. Just came straight in, took the bait in and spat it straight back out. Unbelievable. So many carp in here now, it’s absolute carp soup. The rig’s worked well again, reset itself. That’s two carp that have come very close. That one actually took the hook bait in. Unfortunately, he got away with it. Oh, man, I thought that was going to be the one. That is like as aggressive as aggressive can be. I can’t believe that’s gone in a mouth and it’s not done him.

I can’t believe it. Your best clothes and done by a chav. It’s totally mugged me off on the dance floor, I can’t believe it. Well, Mr Gums… We had a nice big Mirror feeding just on the left-hand side of shot as I’m looking, and then Gums shot in around the side of him, like that, as it always does, gives you a little grunt, takes the hook bait in and it just rolled back out. How will we ever catch Gums nobody knows. I don’t think on the sort of rigs with the finesse that we’re trying to use on this spot with a little bit of suppleness in the end, I really don’t think you can catch him like that.

He’s just got a mouth like an open wide drainpipe, it’s a big old gob, it all goes in, all rolls back out because he can’t shut his mouth. Entertaining footage, though. That was a turn-up for the books. We saw the rig disappear out of the swim. The buzzer went and in a normal fishing situation you would have thought you had a take. We think it was probably a fish trailing line but it really aggressively dragged the rig out of the swim.

I was going to wind it in anyway because it’s been in two or three fish’s mouths and not hooked them so my absolute best thing that I thought was going to be the answer, is not the answer. So we’re going to change the rig slightly and cast it back out again. This is what I thought was going to do the business, I was really confident in this this morning. So we’ve got an anti-tangle sleeve on the end there with a little bit of putty just to hold it flat to the bottom. Then we’ve got the boom section out of Mouth Trap. The join between that and the 30lb Arma Kord is covered in a little bit of putty to hold it flat down on the bottom. My favourite size 6 Kurv, very, very sharp hook with a little shrink tube kicker on there to turn it over.

Rig ring so that the hair leaves the hook roughly opposite the point. And the slow-sinking squid octopus hook bait. I thought that was going to be doing the business. It’s been in two fish’s mouths and Gums which is going to be very hard to hook because of the way his mouth is shaped but I thought that would hook the first one that picked it up and it didn’t, so this is what we’re moving over to. Still an anti-tangle sleeve. What they’re doing is pushing everything away. Because we’ve got that flow out there where the pipe is, if we put foam on, it’s tending to push the hook link back against the anti-tangle system. With that anti-tangle sleeve there, it’s actually pushing it forwards because there’s so much tension to it. The hook link itself is fluorocarbon, that’s 15lb IQ2. Still a size 6 Kurv on there, tied on with my favourite whipping knot to help it flip over and catch hold. Again, a squid octopus bait and underneath there we’ve got a little bit of bottom bait mix and a little bit of slow-sinking mix put together.

So it’s not going to float up high off the bottom, the hook’s going to sit flat and the bait’s going to hover just above it because we’ve seen on those gravel spots anything off the bottom is treated with caution. So that’s what we’re going to put out now. The swim is absolutely alive with fish so we’re going to throw a few more boilies in to scare them away and get the rig in. Oh, centre of shot, my son. Cha-ching. Beautiful, beautiful. What timing. Just as I was going to chat to you he goes and lands a cast straight on the money. There’s carp swirling over it. The sound of the lead is obviously drawing them in as well. You are the carp whisperer, Mr Fairbrass. No, he isn’t. Oh yes, he has! You got him! Oh no, you haven’t. – That’s Ramora, wasn’t it? – Yeah. What is going on? Maybe it’s just too short, I don’t know. Maybe it’s too restrictive. You definitely got it for a second there. – He felt something, didn’t he? – He was gone, wasn’t he? The bait was there for a sec, it was there and the next thing it wasn’t there.

I don’t… How much has that hook link been pulled out? – It’s longer, isn’t it, or not? – Yeah, it was only short. Look, is that the anti-tangle sleeve? And that’s a bit of line. Look, I think that’s the anti-tangle sleeve. I’m guessing. It’s very blurry. Right, well… – That’s pulled it out a bit. – Yeah. Now it’s been hit like that, I’m going to reposition it in the middle of the swim, weather permitting because the wind’s really getting up now.

It’s a strong north-westerly which is a big fish wind, I’ve found. It’s not going to be easy to cast but it can’t stay there now it’s been moved. I’ll have to check the point of the hook. And I will put it back out again but I’m going to go and tie one of my favourite IQ D rigs and see. Maybe it’s all just a little bit too restrictive and it’s just not going in far enough to hook them. I don’t know. Brilliant! Do you want to tell me which one? The one that has been our nemesis this morning. The big fat thing that keeps coming in. I’ve said to camera earlier today he wants that hook bait because he keeps coming out like a dirty old rash. This time he just approached it right and it was game over. – Game, set and match, Fairbrass. – He’s not in the net yet, mate. It will be a fitting end if we get this in. He’s a decent fish. He’s a big fat chunk. I don’t know, mate. We’ll find out, I hope. Bit of weed. I can feel it pulling through the weed.

He just couldn’t help himself. He kept coming back. I think the second time or the third, it’s come very close to the hook bait. Is it swimming towards me or has it come off? It’s going, this fish. Feel a bit of weed there. Come on. Well, that’s the rig that’s been done three times now, I think, that kind of rig. Did you lengthen the supple bit slightly on that one? I did. I was just tying a longer one with an even longer bit of supple. It shows that the fishing we do, 99 times out of 100… Well, not 99 times out of 100. Nine times out of 10 that rig does not hook them the first time. Dan, I’m pretty sure that’s the first time it touched it.

Yeah, but it has been in at least three fish’s mouths. I’ve got to walk forward. There he is, just there. I don’t think he’s a monster. I think he’s just a hard fighting… Maybe a low 20. But very welcome all the same. Just to conclude what we’ve been seeing, I think all of our rigs are getting done and we still haven’t found the Holy Grail by any stretch of the imagination. But it certainly tests your angling prowess, there’s no doubt about that. I think we’ve all got to accept that that rig is going in several fish’s mouths before we hook one. Thank God we can’t see it every time we go fishing. Brain damage. – Yeah, that’s all it’s good for. – But brain damage. There he is.

He looks so much bigger on the telly. He’s a little… I told you, he’s like a… He’s a Jake Wildbore Simmo. Who cares, mate? It’s one in the net. Go on, get in, get in. Yes! Got him! Come on! What a way to finish. Wicked. And there he is. A stunning little Oxfordshire Mirror. 18 and three quarters, this one. Well pleased to get this one at the end of the session. Unfortunately that is all we’ve got time for on this leg of our underwater journey. I’d just like to say thank you very much to all the crew. This is a massive effort by everybody to get these fish on the bank. It’s not just me. We’ve got caterers, we’ve got runners. Loads of cameramen, directors and, of course, those top angling minds in the bivvy helping me as well.

Obviously I’d like to say thank you to all the boys at Linear. To Len, to Chris and to Roy for letting us have this fantastic part of the lake for such a long time at the best time of year. Obviously the highlight for me was catching that amazing fish at the start, the Big Plated. I never could have dreamed we were going to get that one on the underwater cameras. And since then I’ve learnt loads to put into my own fishing and I hope you’ve learnt loads, too. So I’m going to put this fella back and I’m going to hand you over to all those top angling minds and they’re going to tell you what they’ve learnt so you can put that into your fishing as well. Thanks very much for watching and we’ll see you on the bank some time. What have I learnt so far from the underwater? Watching Dan, it was very clear that rig-wise, his use of the IQ was brilliant. I’m a total fan of the IQ.

I’ve been using the combi rig for a long time but maybe the old coated hook links have slipped back into my game a bit but it was a sharp reminder of just how good that IQ looks on the bottom. The way it kicks away from the lead system, and it also enables it to reset itself time after time. That’s really, really important. When a fish sucks it up you’ve got to take it as a given that time and time again fish are going to get rid of the hook bait and the rig and it needs to go back and be fishing for you because if the fish can’t get the hook bait in its mouth then you’re not ever going to catch it. So a rig that resets itself is really, really vital. Moving on to rig mechanics. Dan is a really technically-minded guy and I always thought that maybe there was a chance that by closing the gape of the hook with shrink tube, there was a chance that it wouldn’t nick the fish as well as it could but having seen the way he absolutely snarled that Big Plated, it was clear he had a rig that was working efficiently and effectively.

It was brilliant to see how well that cog system was working. The times that the fish got nailed, it was just instant. They took it in, just wallop, they were done and you just saw them absolutely power out of the swim and they were nailed. Hook bait choice is really, really vital. When you come to a pressured day-ticket lake like St John’s, or any lake in the country, or anywhere in Europe, the fish will have different preferences. Every lake will be varied. So it’s no secret, I’m a total Goo fanatic. I’ve got loads of different flavours in loads of different colours soaking into my baits. And the key point here is every lake will have that colour that just seems to get a response. And while we’ve watched Dan, they just seem to be switched on by that little washed-out pink colour.

His squiddy fruit combination amongst all that cell, corn and mixed baits that we’ve been putting in seem to just get them carp down to the bait time and time again. So from St John’s, it’s clear the washed-out pink is the colour that will be a part of my armoury going forward, without a doubt. What would I do differently now? It’s hard to say at the moment. I’m still a solid bag fanatic and I haven’t seen that yet on the underwater. I’d like to see how that performs on that spot. Do fish spook off from bags on pressured day-ticket lakes, they get used to much? I’d like to see that and I’d still probably be using them in my fishing.

The cog lead system. Definitely be incorporating that into my fishing. Generally looking at the way those fish were reacting, assessing the swim and casting out a lot more and being busy. On these lakes there’s fish over you all of the time. If they’re showing in front of you and you’re not getting bites, you’re doing something wrong. So you’ve got to, firstly, adjust the hook bait and make sure there’s something on the end they want to pick up. In any type of fishing, pike fishing, fly fishing, sea fishing, the thing on the end is the most important part and that’s what you’ve all got to take into account. If one thing’s not working, change it, make it work because if the buzzer isn’t going off, you’re not learning anything. What have I learnt the most? That it’s really important – it’s something I’ve thought before – it’s really, really important for your rig to reset itself because no matter how good your rig is, it gets done.

So it needs to reset out for another take five minutes later. Rig mechanic-wise, I really liked the way he used his IQ. You cannot see it underwater at all. And the way he whipped it to the Kurv shank with a D so the hook’s close to the bait but there’s a lot of movement there as well. It’s a brilliant way of setting it up and it caught the Big Plated pretty much instantly as soon as he took it. And his cog system as well is probably something I’ll use. It’s just instant, as soon as the fish pick it up. It’s definitely something I’ll use more. Bait for different conditions. I think if you’re struggling with boilies and it’s not really getting them going, using a small amount of little particles, even pellets, Tiger nuts, anything that’s slightly different, like we’ve been using corn, is probably more likely to get them going than the boilies. And if you want to fish with boilies, you can carry on feeding them as soon as you’ve got them going. The corn works really well.

If you can fish it, then I would definitely. Dan’s hook baits are fantastic. They were coming down to them first and picking them up before anything else. The pink colour, not something that I’ve used before, I’ve used generally yellow and orange, but pink seems to have worked much better than them this week. Yeah, brilliant. What would I do differently? I would maybe bait with more than boilies sometimes. Like I said before, but apart from that, there’s not much else. The setting the rig thing was the biggest change for me. And that was something I made sure I did anyway so that’s something I’ll concentrate more on. Bait application. The spread baiting I still think is the way forward. Getting them moving instead of putting a lot of bait in one spot just isn’t the one for me. Spread baiting gets them moving and makes them far more catchable, just like the Big Plated.

It came in, took one bait and it makes them more catchable. The first thing I’ve really noticed from this is that when the weather’s poor and you think you shouldn’t be catching them, the fish are not really feeding. So low temperatures for the time of year, the wrong wind direction, a northerly or an easterly, use a lot less bait, maybe even just a single hook bait. Then when it feels muggy and it’s overcast and you’ve got a south-westerly blowing, you can afford to put a lot more bait in because the fish are going to be feeding harder. Moving on from that, we found that rising and falling water temperatures make a big difference to the fish’s willingness to feed. So in the spring, if the water temperature’s going up, the fish are in more of a feeding mood, there’s more chance you’ll catch them. If the temperature’s going down, still fish, obviously, but just maybe use a single hook bait or a bag or just a sprinkling of bait. Something I’m going to take with me in my fishing now is a thermometer and I’m going to check the water temperature against the last time I was there.

If it’s dropped, I’m going to ease off, if it’s gone up, I’m going to put more bait in. Regarding the spot you’re fishing on, without a doubt on every underwater film that I’ve made if you’re fishing on clean, hard gravel, the fish treat anything that’s off the bottom with suspicion and that can be even a couple of ml off the bottom. So if you want to convert as many chances as possible, fish something just nailed to the bottom, it might have a little bit of buoyancy in it, but it doesn’t want to be waving around and use bright ones, as well. Without doubt the carp have got fantastic eyesight. The difference in colour of the hook bait makes a massive difference to how many times it’s picked up. They can also see the rig, especially in clear water. So the more effort you put into camouflaging your rig and making your hook bait stand out without being treated with suspicion, the more bites you’re going to get.

One other thing I’ve noticed is that a mix of baits can make a big difference to how willing the fish are to feed. So normally I would just feed with boilies. Having seen this, I’d put sweetcorn in the swim, I’d put a few Tiger nuts in the swim, because if they don’t fancy boilies, they’ll almost certainly eat the other ones and if you’ve got something bright right in the middle of it, you’re bound to get a chance. Another good way to trick the fish into feeding harder is to bring the line out of the water at times of the day when you don’t really fancy it, and put some more bait in and let them have a feed with no line in the water.

Because 100% they know that line is there. Whatever colour it is, however much it’s sunk, they start feeding harder as soon as it’s taken out of the swim. So they must know it’s there. What have I learnt from the underwater films? Well, I’ve done quite a few of them now and from this underwater film one of the things I will take away from it is using different coloured hook baits. I’m definitely going to make white, pink, red, the same flavours, in different buoyancies because at different points of the day, the fish have been interested in them. So that’s one thing I’ll take away from it. The other thing, I’m definitely going to start using IQ hook links. They push the bait away, they’re invisible, they offer a great degree of stiffness, anti-eject properties. I’m going to work hard on those kind of rigs. Bait application during the session, especially this time of year, I’d probably use less boilies. Stick with what I did before which would be maggots, more digestible baits.

The conversations we’ve had in the bivvy have been really helpful. It’s a minefield of information to process in a few hours. Paste baits, other things that are more digestible, more attractive, I’m going to give them more of a go on the lakes that I’m fishing. Use more winter kind of baits when the water temperature’s really low. Like hemp, sweetcorn, maggots, even bread and paste because it’s easier for them to digest.

Get the fish feeding really hard, you’ve got more chance of getting a bite. I think if the water temperature was higher, the weather had been warmer, a lot more sun as we should have in May, then I think we’d have got more chances on the boilies. It’s difficult to draw any solid conclusions because you’ve got a camera in the water, it’s not like a proper fishing situation, we’ve only got one rod out. We’ve got fish that are feeding through the night, there’s no rigs out there. So we’re feeding them up, they’re eating all the boilie at night, and during the day they’re picking at them and at certain points in the day we’re getting more frenzied feeding when we’ve entered chopped boilies and stuff with tuna in it so there’s different food signals, it’s a difficult choice to make at the moment. I think rig-wise, we started off with the brown Dark Matter tubing. Dan changed to a safe zone leader which seemed to get less reaction when the fish were coming up to it. We had a couple of instances where the fish backed away from the rig and it’s difficult to know whether they can see the rig.

They certainly sensed something was wrong. So I think for my own fishing maybe I wouldn’t have started with IQ like Dan did because he’s been using that on other lakes. I would have started with N-Trap softer hook link, probably a similar sort of lead system, a lead clip. So it’s been an eye-opener in that shallow water. When I’ve been round there and looked through the water with Polaroids I can see the hook bait really clearly. So it reiterates the point that the carp can see a lot more than I’ve given them credit for in the past. I guess when the fish are not feeding that hard, the more percentages you can put in your favour by disguising your rig, using the camouflage, it can only help you. If I was fishing now, I would have caught more fish than Dan if I’d used maggots or something like that in this situation. But we’ll never know that. We were fishing with boilies while I’ve been here.

For my own fishing there are a few points that I’m going to take away and hopefully put a few more fish on the bank. .

1 Cup tomorrow morning, burns 3 lbs of belly fat