Darren Tracey on Holbar!

Darren Tracey heads to Partridge Lakes Fishery for a session on Holbar Lake on a day where it just goes to show that you should always keep your options open!

With a day booked off work to get out on the bank, Friday saw me planning a day on the rods to target some big carp. image4So I was bound once again to my regular Partridge Lakes

My home for the day was Holbar Lake at the Cheshire complex. Holbar is a 47 peg specimen lake holding carp to 26lb, alongside F1s, barbel, chub and bream. I chose to settle for the day on Peg 22 a corner with 2 small islands in front of me. Also some marginal features I the form of lily patches growing back from their winter slumber and a soft bed of reeds and grass.

Deciding that my main lines of attack would be fished via rod and reel, my set ups would be relatively simple. 24 gram Guru Method feeder employing the X-Safe system fished towards the island with Bait-Tech’s New Sticky Method Pellets. This would be fished in conjunction with a 4″ hook length of Guru N-gauge 0.19 to a size 14 QM1 hook with a bait band on the hair and an 8mm Carp and Coarse pellet on a bait band. I also set up a pellet waggler on my float rod. Set up consisted of a 4 gram Preston Dura Pellet Waggler float, to a 12″ hooklength of N-gauge 0.17 to a size 16 pellet waggler hooks and bait band on the hair. This would be fished also with 8mm Bait-Tech Carp and Coarse Pellet on the band and also as feed. I cast my method feeder towards the left of the island in front of me, around 3 feet away from the island edge. Setting my line in the clip, I reeled in, loaded up the feeder and baited my hook. I made my first cast out and waited. My plan was to re cast every 10-15 minutes. During this time I would feed my pellet wag line directly in front of me, with 2-3 pellets every couple of minutes. After around 30-40 minutes, the tip of my rod bolted round. Lifting into the bite it was fish on. After a scrap of a couple of minutes, I was gutted when the line went slack and the fish was off. No matter I thought to myself reload and back out again. Unfortunately on the feeder line, that was to be my only action in around an hour and half! I moved on to the pellet waggler line that I’d been steadily feeding. After 30 minutes nothing. Thinking the fish may have followed the feed to the deck I swapped my method feeder for a bomb. So I cast out to the area I’d been feeding pellets on pellet wag line. After 30 minutes – not even a sign of a line bite. Frustration was creeping in. After a chat with the bailiff on his rounds, he informed me how morning sport on the lake at the moment had been very slow, with the carp switching on more so in later part of the day. With this information, and given how others on the lake appeared to be having a very similar start as myself, I kind of felt justified in my decision to rest the rods and try a totally different approach.

I decided to try a different tactic in the hope of seeing a little action. So with that it was out with the pole! Could a change to spring match-style tactics bring a change of fortune? As I was on a pleasure session I put all my eggs into one basket and set up a single line, with a single choice of feed and bait. Pole would be fished at top 2 + 3. I set up a rig consisting of a 0.6 CF Diamond float. This was rigged to Guru N-gauge 0.15 mainline, 0.11 hook length to size 16 hook. Plumbing up I found a nice flat spot on the deck in around 5.5 feet of water. Bait wise simply 4mm Bait-Tech Xpand pellets. These were pumped and soaked in Bait-Tech Liquid Pellet. Feed, again simply 2mm Carp and Coarse pellets. These were soaked in lake water for 2 minutes. Putting a medium sized cad pot on my pole tip, I half filled it with soaked micros, slipped a 4mm expander on the hook and shipped out. Emptying the feed in and lowering the Xpand pellet in among them, it wasn’t long before the float dipped resulting in a small skimmer in the net. Another half pot and another skimmer by regular feeding, I noticed how the stamp was increasing in size. With this in mind, I increased the volume of feed each put in to a full pot that I would empty in one go rather than drip feeding. With the increase of feed, the bites kept coming when after a few bigger skimmers I struck into a bite that resulted in that split second pause when everything goes solid and stops! Carp on! After a good run around my first, and as the day went on not the last, carp of the day was in the net. I kept with the increased volume of feed going into the swim with each put in. This resulted in more skimmers before a small barbel decided to join the party. As the session went on, I managed another 5 carp in the 6-7lb bracket, another couple of barbel, some more big skimmers and also 3 f1s with the biggest being a shade under 5lb! With good constant sport on the pole line I never did return to the rods for one of the bigger residents, being more than happy with the stamp and variety of fish I was catching.

With the time now around 3pm, I felt ready to call an end to my session. Not the session I had hoped for to begin with, I took a little comfort in that other anglers around the lake were having similar luck as myself in targeting the larger residents of the water. But by being adaptable and chancing a total change of approach to try and connect with a few fish, the lake threw up some great sport that I will certainly be back to target from the start. Even if big carp are not your thing, plenty of day ticket specimen carp waters are full of smaller carp and silvers that are rarely targeted. Don’t be put off by the sometimes vast nature of these waters and stocks of big carp. Keep your approach simple and get out there and give it a whirl. Waiting for you could be some fantastic alternative sport.


Tight Lines

Darren Tracey

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