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Exclusive The Woodcarving… With Half a Worm
sacrifice. I could have brought a
spring ticket for Wraysbury and fished
it before the Yateley and Horton seasons started (later that would become
my plan) but realistically I needed to
spend that time working and saving
money by fishing more locally, on the
Snake Pit. Screw it, do it and worry
about it later I thought and sent them
all off with the big stack of necessary
cheques, then went to work begging
for extra shifts through the winter and
spring.
I’d taken my first Church Lake capture within my first ten nights, a 26lb
4oz common called Spike on sweetcorn from the Spindly Tree swim. With
that being a daylight capture I’d also
been fortunate with a classic Horton
photo – a cracking common and the
Church in the background. After that
I felt sweetcorn was worth its place
on at least one of my two rods at all
times, however it was a while (I forget
how many nights) before I received
my second capture.
Having been so pleasantly surprised by my success at Wraysbury 1,
I was also surprised that I was doing
significantly more nights to a capture
at Horton. The far higher stock density in Horton compared to Wraysbury
had incorrectly led me to believe that
bites would be easier to come by, or at
least more frequent. In hindsight I
suppose I really should have seen it
coming, as those Church Lake carp
were much more pressured than the
Wraysbury 1 fish. With Wraysbury it
seemed that so long as I refused to set
up until I’d seen a sign I would have a
good chance, especially as the boat
allowed me to almost guarantee that
my rig and bait’s presentation and
positioning was effective. At Horton,
even though I still attempted to not
set up unless I was confident in my
position, beyond that (unless fishing
the extreme margins) much more was
l e f t t o c h a n c e, a n d c l e a r l y m y
approach required plenty of fine-tuning for Horton.
It was around a month or so into
my third season, and despite having
done nearly ten nights I was still
chasing my first fish of the season.
My time on the Horton syndicate was
before I had been offered and
accepted a consultancy deal with
Sticky. At the time I was rolling my
own bait (specials?) from my own
mixes, however for some reason the
Horton carp weren’t responding well
62 FREE LINE
to my favourite tried and tested mix.
Eventually I decided that I would
blame that on the massive eel population and assumed that a lot of the
fizzing over my baited patches was
due to those slim and slimy sods.
Because of that, and the fact that the
vast majority of anglers were using
boilies, I had opted for something different and had mainly been using
sweetcorn. In my previous seasons it
had produced well for me, and the fact
that it was such cheap bait certainly
suited my carp angling addiction
induced (dire) financial status – win
win!
The lake had done its usual early
season trick of throwing up some
impressive hits to the lucky anglers
who had managed to secure swims
commanding the shallow areas. Leaving the rest (me included) to play
catch up for the remainder of the year.
Fortunately, it had quietened down a
bit from the chaos of the start, and the
fish were now once more happily
using the lake’s margins. When I
arrived there were more cars in the
car park than I’d have liked, but it was
looking a bit more promising, and I
felt I ought to be able to at least get
Shoulders swim.
myself into a reasonable area. After
signing in, a quick brew and a chat in
the lodge (which revealed the good
news that the carp had gotten their
spawning out of the way), I went
mooching round the lake.
When I reached Dog Bay I discovered a large percentage of the stock
milling around, but there are only half
a dozen swims in the bay, and the
majority were unsurprisingly taken.
However, by a stroke of luck the
Shoulders swim had just become
vacant. This swim is almost on the
entrance of the bay and controls a
very interesting piece of water, especially so with several large carp in it.
At the time there was a strip of mainly
ribbon (ish) weed running along the
whole margin, from around a yard to
maybe ten yards out. Straight out and
in line with the Church spire (helpfully) at about twenty yards range
there was/is a submerged snag, and
to the right is a small bay, formed by
the adjacent (point like) Lookout
swim, and along with the ribbon
weed, there is a nice overhanging willow tree, which finishes off a very
carpy looking part of the lake. Nick
Helleur had just moved out of the

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