Longtime Carper Nicky Onslow and Very Memorable Months Fishing!!!
It’s been a long time since I put pen to paper about my carp fishing, it only seems like yesterday when i was writing for various carp magazines. I had a break for a while as fishing 6 evenings a week and working full time took it’s toll on me. The years past and my love and passion for fishing returned and i spent a good few years fishing a non-publicity water in Essex, the time i spent there enabled me to catch some of the most beautiful fish i have caught to date including my personal best of 49lb.
As my achievements in fishing developed, things also had developed in my personal life. I was then expecting my first child and I knew this would have an immense impact on my fishing life, as I’m sure every Carp angler with children would be able to relate to. Since the arrival of my son Harry life has changed in many ways. I have relocated from East London to Essex, the daily commute to and from London for work six days a week means the time I do get to go fishing is limited and invaluable this makes me appreciate the waters that I fish more.
I spent many years fishing the big lakes for the big fish but this year I wanted to stir things up a bit and fish smaller club waters such as Billericay Angling. As my time on the lakes are limited I knew I needed to be using bait that i felt 100% confident in using to monopolise my fishing time effectively. So recently I got in touch with an old contact I knew would hold the answers I needed, this was the Urban Baits head honcho my old mukka Terry Dempsey. He introduced me to all the baits he had to offer and the one that stood out of the crowd was the Red Spicy Fish Mix. I knew instantly that this was the bait that will elevate my catches to the next level.
With the waters and the bait chosen it was then time to set myself some targets. Being based at Billericay gave me choices as it has 3 waters that will play a big part of my these. The first of my three targets was to catch a 30lb common from Barleylands which I knew was going to be a challenge as they are few and far between in that lake. The second target was to catch the big Fully Scaled from The Long Lake, and my final target was a 25lb+ from Toby Wood. Although these fish are not the monster size that I am used to targeting but it something different.
I started my fishing campaign on May 2015 when the waters opened. It was the first Saturday of the month and I headed eagerly to the long lake. The easterly cold wind made it a fresh cold start to the season. It was a quiet start, I was only one of four anglers on the lake. As I was actively searching and watching the water for signs of Carp, I managed to spot a couple roll of the back of the cold wind. I opted to fish a straight 14ml Red Spicy Fish bottom bait in conjunction with crushed boilies in a PVA bag. Within half hour I had my first bite, but unfortunately the hook pulled, I couldn’t believe my luck. I re-cast the bait back to the same spot. The evening flew past and I thought the chance of my first catch had evaded me for that evening until the rod ripped off again, I was determined not to lose it again. After a short struggle I landed one of the Long Lakes smaller Fully Scaled mirrors around 17lb. What an amazing result for my first visit to the lake, the bait had done it’s job and had given two bites in one evening and my confidence was higher then ever.
The week followed at a slow pace due to my eagerness to return to the lake to attempt to catch again. When the weekend approached the weather was to the contrary of what the previous week had been, the sun was shinning and the fish was basking in the sun in the upper layers. I fished all that evening but with little success, the only bites that were made were a couple of tench. My high hopes for weekend was not to be fulfilled, probably due to the weather.
My next opportunity to fish again was to be an early start. I arrived at Toby Wood at 6am and the lake was deserted and peaceful. This was a Lake with a lot of character it provided an endless selection of various fishing features. I chose to go and fish in the rope swim, this limited the fishing area but I knew this area was popular and the little ripples on the water confirmed that there was fish to be caught there. I cast both my rods as tight to the rope and lilly pads as I could get them, with PVA bags of crushed Red Spicy fish bottom baits with around 100 freebies scattered over both rods. By 10am I had 3 bites but yet again they managed to escape me, I lost 2 by hook pulls and the other the line snapped on me, I thought that this was a bad start to the day and I was praying this would not set the standard for the rest of the days fishing. The hours passed by and before I knew it was gone lunch time. I re-positioned both rods and within 10 minutes one of my rods was away again, but this time I banked a short dumpy common of 21lb which is a PB for me on this particular venue. I took the photos and slid her bake gently into the water again watching her swim elegantly away. The swim was quietly still for the next couple of hours. I contemplated moving swim but I kept thinking I will just give it a little longer, as I had a inkling the fish were still in the area. I thought it was time for a brew as the kettle went on in the corner of my eye I seen a couple of fish roll near my baited area, I felt a sudden wind of satisfaction in my decision to stay put in this swim. Not long after seeing those fish I was away again, as I was playing the fish I realised she was keeping very deep and after a short struggle I landed a very decent mirror. Up on the scales she went and the dial shot round to 27lb 4oz. I could not believe my luck. It was my first target smashed of the 3 targets I had set myself ( as far as I am aware this is the largest to have been caught from this lake). I was so made up, I continued to fish for the rest of the day and my total takes for the day was 10, banking 7 Carp. The day turned out to be a successful days fishing.
I had a few days off work and all that was on my mind was getting to try for my remaining targets. I decided to do 24 hour session at Barleylands with my old mate Copper Top. We started early afternoon, and as usual for Barleylands it was a busy day on the lake. We had a good scout around and spotted a couple of anglers packing up as we noticed a couple of fish show. The weather was bang on, raining and south-west winds. Anyone who knows this water knows that it has deep waters with very little features. I just cast both hook baits at the topping fish using pop-ups this time round instead of my usual bottom baits. I also spodded out around a kilo of bait. The rain started to pour down and the wind got up, up went the divvy and before i knew it my luck had struck again and one of my rods was going again, I shouted to Copper Top to help me land it, I was playing with the fish for a good 10 minutes. It was keeping very deep in the margins and I knew in the back of my mind it felt very heavy. All of a sudden up came trashing a big common and she made it into the net first time. As we both looked in the net we knew straight away this was a decent one.We set up the scales and mat up and we were soon looking at a 31lb common. Copper Top took all the photos and then we slid her back into the water. I was just watching her swim away feeling knocked back by this achievement. I was not the only one having a successful fishing day, Copper Top then caught two mirrors up to 22lb, both of his fish fell to the nutcracker pop ups. All that action and it was soon time to call it a night. My next bite was at 2am and it was a lovely long mirror of 19lb. I recast my hook bait and then went straight back to bed as I was soaked due to the rain pouring down on me. I awoke at 6am to see if the fish was still in our area, to my delight they were still there. I did manage to bank one more of 14lb before I had to start to pack up to head home. I was quietly ecstatic with my results of the weekend, yet again Red Spicy Fish has done it’s job effectively.
The following weekend which was at the end of May, I knew there was only one place to head for and that was back to the Long Lake. Could this be my chance to catch my final target fish? The big fully. As I arrived at the lake I bumped into the bailiff and I quizzed him about the size of the fully when it was last out. He informed me it was about 23lb and it had not been caught this year. I know it may not sound that big but for these lakes they are the big ones. There was only a couple of anglers fishing and the weather was very hot. I found most of the carp in one particular corner. Unfortunately they were spawning, I knew that this was not going to be the day for my target so I didn’t even set up, instead I just headed home. The next day I just had to get back up there, the weather was perfect and when I got there and found the fish it looked like the spawning had finished and the lake was empty of anglers. The fish was not very hard to find, I found them in Tiger Bay. I cast out single hook baits to where the fish was situated. Within minutes I had a bite, it turned out to be one of the lakes little fully scaled at 15lb I put her back and cast straight back out to the spot but this time I put a load of 14mm spice fish freebies out. Around an hour later I was away again and this time it was an 18lb common. Is at for a couples of hours with no action. I reeled in my rod and went for a wonder. I found a lot of bubbling at the other end of the lake. I wasn’t sure if they were tench or if they were Carp. All of a sudden a big orange Carp rolled over the bubbles, thats when I knew I had to move spots now. Once I had moved I cast the hook bait over the bubbles and within 10 minutes it was away. As I was playing the fish there was another angler walking around, luckily he helped me out. The fish kept low and kept on taking line off the reel, I could tell by the fight the fish was putting up that this was not the typical size fish for the Long Lake. Suddenly a beauty of a fully scaled fish crashed to the surface of the water. As soon as I seen it I new it was the big one.We weighed her and she was 25lb on the money and possibly another lake record. I put her back and I sat down and thought to myself this was one of the best ever looking Carp I have ever seen. Carp fishing can’t get much better then this. I could not believe I had met all 3 of my targets in such a short space of time. All my fish I used simple rigs nothing particularly special, but I have 100% confidence in using Urban Baits Red Spicy Fish Mix. I would like to thank Terry Dempsey for having me on his team. As I thought it would take longer to meet my targets for this year I have had to re-think my fishing plans for the rest of the year. I have managed to join a Essex Syndicate in South Ockendon. So hopefully my luck will continue and I will have more amazing catches to report back to you using the Spice Fish Mix from Urban Baits.
Get on the going Bait!