Frustrated at not being able to get back on the small lake I was trying to target I reluctantly moved on despite my Cheshire PB, I went back to the catfish lake I’d fished last summer, I wasn’t looking for another cat, I’d already had one and ticked that particular goal off my bucket list. This time I was hoping I could wade through the many singles and doubles and catch one of the handful of twenty pound plus carp the water holds, not an easy task with so many other fish in the lake.
The summer was good but I was suffering diminishing returns on the zig rig, I still caught with it but the carp had clearly wised up to the yellow foam fished underneath the mixers and I had to ring the changes to keep the fish coming. One thing I did was to switch to the Fox Zig Aligna, this neat little piece of kit enabled me to change the colour of my foam very easily and I rotated between red, black and yellow which are the three colours they supply in the zig aligna kit.
Another trick I used was to coat my zig aligna in some raspberry plume Korda Goo, this stuff was pretty expensive at £12 a bottle but with soaked and goo’ed up mixers and some goo on the zig rig foam I managed to catch a few more carp but again this wore off pretty quick and within a few sessions the carp were literally vacating my swim as soon as I introduced a hookbait that was right in their face. One thing that did change my zig fishing this summer was the catfish in the lake, they suddenly discovered mixers were good food and they fought with the carp to take them. I actually hooked and promptly lost a run of cats when it was particularly hot and they had no issues taking the zig rigged foam, stopping these beasts was another thing and every one of them went straight up the centre of the lake taking line until they reached whatever lily pads were in their path.
Whilst I was playing my game of cat and mouse on the surface with the now wised up carp I was also introducing plenty of Scopex Squid red boilies and the boilie fishing really started to pick up as the summer wore on. Just fishing 6 hour sessions on a Saturday afternoon until dark I was averaging 3-4 carp per trip with the odd single but mostly doubles up to around 17lb. With carp falling at this rate I hoped it wouldn’t be long before I could add the lake to the list of waters I’d had a twenty from.
My Catapult took some stick for sure, I seemed to be in my local Wirral Angling Centre every other week buying replacement pouches as the constant match style feeding of bait took its toll on both pouches and elastics. The hard work was worth it in the end and one Saturday evening in August I found myself in the right place at the right time. Fishing against a set of pads that had produced extremely well for me, my Delkim signalled the run that finally saw the end of my mission. I was very well versed in pad fishing after landing so many fish from the lake and even though I’d hooked a bigger fish the routine was the same, grab the spool, strike and walk backwards giving the carp no room to move or get up a head of steam to reach the pads. I managed to turn the fish ok but being heavier and stronger than the usual low-mid doubles I couldn’t stop the fish kiting down the lake to my left, this was very bad because there were pads along my bank too, after some quick thinking I held the fish on a tight line forcing it to kite into the swim next door, with no trees in the way I managed to walk down the bank and Net the fish through a small gap in between a couple of sets of pads.
When the carp rolled into the net I knew it was job done, I went through the usual routine of Unhooking Mat down, camera out, fish on the mat, Unhook, weigh, photograph and return only this time I was holding a 23lb 8oz mirror for my troubles. I managed to brace my twenty with a lovely scaley mirror of 16lb 6oz an hour later, it was a happy day indeed and the catfish lake became the 23rd different UK Water I’d caught 20lb carp from.
Apart from ringing the changes on the zig rig and enjoying some good boilie fishing this summer I finally decided to go back to making my own lead weights again. I used to do this in the past and there is an entry on making leads on this blog already. Many years ago I lent my lead making gear to a mate, he had it a while but got divorced and his missus threw out my lead mould and the rest of my kit. With so many people doing leads on facebook or on the bank these days they were always cheaper than the shops anyway but buying and collecting from mates an hour away has always been a pain so I took the decision to get myself some new kit. I picked up a Stainless Steel Pan, a Stainless Steel Ladle and a pair of Heat Resistant Gloves which is the basis of the none fishing related items for making leads, these were all quite cheap on ebay and worked a treat when it came to my first batch of leads.
The lead mould itself was a 2oz inline dumpy dice or square pear mould, 2oz inline square pears are the leads I use for 95% of my fishing so it made sense to go for the one mould, the only other leads I really use are 3.5oz and 4oz bombs for extreme range and I’ll just carry on buying these off a mate as and when I need them which won’t be often. As well as the lead mould and Lead Mould Clamp I bought myself some Plastic Inserts for the middle of my leads and a 1 litre container of brown Lead Coating Powder which was on a special offer at the time. Pauls Angling Supplies on ebay was the place I picked up the lead mould, clamp, coating powder and inserts, I reckon all together the whole lead making kit including new pan, ladle, gloves, lead mould, mould clamp, coating powder and plastic inserts came to just over £40 and I’ve already made my first batch of 20 leads which will keep me going for a while. Now I’ve got the kit together I may not have to buy another carp lead again. I’ve no intention of doing leads commercially but if you ever decided to make your own you can always sell a few leads on until the kit has paid for itself, food for thought given how much the shops charge these days.