FREE LINE 03 - Page 114

In Search of Monster Carp
Birch 20 plus.
chance to fish it. I know in latter years
you can actually book it, and it is still
an ongoing holiday venue for a lot of
carp anglers throughout the country,
but at that stage, I was a guest of
Micky Sly because maybe Tim couldn’t make it that week or whatever, I
don’t know.
A friend of mine at the time, Micky
Fisher, wanted to fish it as well. There
is a caravan on site, where you could
do your own cooking, and there was a
little toilet on the site too. There was
a fantastic atmosphere on the place.
It’s the other end of the spectrum to
gravel pits and reservoirs; a mere is a
hole in the ground formed by the Ice
Age, which is 90% silt. There is no
gravel; it’s literally a dark hole in the
ground – there is no other way of
explaining it. It has got all these alder
trees around the outside of the pads,
and at the time there were quite a few
decent 30lb fish in there. I think this
year Tim had ten different 30’s at the
start of the season; we’re talking late
June here. That year the fish hadn’t
spawned, and we had a fantastic time
to be honest with you. I think I went
on to catch something like five or six
different 30’s from that venue.
As I say, this venue is just something I have never, ever experienced
or fished before. It’s a clear water
where you can actually watch fish
feeding and doing things that they do
naturally in their own environment.
On this venue you can use boats, so
we would take bait across to the other
side, and then you would come back
and cast your lead back to your baited
area. Now a lot of you out there would
be staggered to see the amount of
particle, or in fact the general quantity
of bait, that is used in some people’s
fishing. This was my first time that I
had ever used multiple baiting, and
we’re talking 20-40kg of boilies and
particle in a couple of days. I would
bait up an area, and set a trap for 24
hours later. Birch is somewhere
where I have never had any instant
results, casting the bait out and getting a take within a couple of hours.
It’s always been that you’d bait up
when you got there, and then it would
be 24 hours before you’d get a take.
We were arriving first thing on that
Sunday morning, which was the
changeover period. If you were lucky
enough to meet the person who did
the week before, you would have a little chat with them and find out what
they caught. Sometimes you didn’t
want to do that though, because you
know the normal thing; if one of the
swims has fished particularly well,
then whoever comes out first in the
draw goes in that swim. But if they
have raped the swim of fish and
caught everything that was down
that end, then you might want to go
up the other end, so sometimes it was
a better decision not to meet anyone
there from the week before.
Now obviously I was lucky that
time, as I normally am in draws, and I
came out in the Pad Swim. It’s a fantastic swim, with the boards obviously lined with willows and alders
either side, and pads draping the margins from your feet right to the far
edge to your right, and alders overhanging the far margin snags, etc. I
took the bait out in a boat after I had
set the bivvy up, and I actually put out
probably 20kg on an area the size of a
Wavelock brolly – 50ins or so. You
could see it going down through the
water, forming a base on the bottom
where obviously you could set your
trap through casting. Now you can
make the area that you put that 20kgs
out in as small or as large as you
want. If you were spodding, and you
could go down and see your bait on
the bottom, you’d be surprised how
far that area is spread out, you really
would, whereas when you are in a


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