Izaac Walton Summer Festival – Paul Carnwell tells all


Anticipation was high for this festival because as history shows I had always done really well in the Izaac Walton festivals at Chebsey.

Day 1 met with terrible wind and a random draw at the start of the festival, which is pole only.

The peg I pulled out was on the Middle Pool, peg 1. It’s a peg I’d never fished before, never seen the pool won off it so I was a little bit anxious. At the peg I got my gear out and started having a plumb around to find the depths. I plumbed up in front of the next peg, 23, and managed to find a flat spot 18 inches deep. To my left I had a tree, so I could only fish six meters where I found a steep bank to four foot deep. In my experience this was a little bit too deep for the edge of the lake as I would find it hard to pin the fish to the deck and suffer line bites and foul hooking.

Through my practice my plan was simple; shallow, as close to me as I dared, around eight meters at approximately twelve to eighteen inches deep with diameter 0.14 hook links, Bait-Tech 6 mm lassoed pellet as bait, feeding the same.

When I start catching off this line I know fish will be down the edge, which gives me the clue as to when to feed the margins.

After a very slow start, I started to catch, two and a half hours in (longer than I wanted to wait). After catching a few fish off this line I started to feed my margin swims. To my left I fed meat, three to six pieces at a time. Worrying about the depth the fish came shallow on this line. Using a Garbolino DC6 T float in .2grms with a Turbetini 175 size 3 hook and a 6mm cube of Bait-Tech’s N-Tice meat as hookbait.

Coming into the last 60 minutes, with great excitement, I was to finally feed my right hand margin swim with a product I’d been lucky enough to trial. This bait was mixed 50/50 with ground bait, Bait-Tech’s Red Kult. (Running up to the festival I was so excited because every time I’d used this bait I’d caught big. The hardest thing was keeping it a secret!)

After dropping a cup full of this in I hoped I only had to wait a few minutes for the fish to turn up, fishing 0.18mm line with a large size 4 T175 I managed to catch 9 carp from this edge on varying hookbaits.

The scales came round and I didn’t think I’d won the lake as Jez Goldthorpe caught well off most lines he had fished. I won the lake by 7lb with a total of 70lb 7oz.Definitely the start I needed!

Day 2 – Canal, peg 7.

I did fancy this peg, as in the run up to the festival I had 158lb off it, so I was quite pleased when it was the last peg in the bag and I was last to pick.

Plumbing up across, I found the same 12 inches of water which I had caught from in practice, fishing micro pellets and 4mm Bait-Tech’s Xpand pellets on the hook. My only other line I plumbed up was down the edge, this was 2.5 ft deep, left and right.

At the start I went across expecting to catch fish across straight away, but to my disappointment, this line would not work. 90 minutes in and 2 carp and few silvers! I had to make a change! I knew in practice shallow was a get out of jail line. Into my box for a shallow rig set 3.5 foot deep, 6mm pellet as hook bait (in my practice sessions I found feeding this line with micro pellets brought the fish shallow). First put in and to my relief this line worked and I started putting fish together.

Approximately 65lb in my net now, I had to make a decision as to what to do? It is never good to leave feeding fish, should I and go down the edge with the same mix as before? I had to have a look. This line took ten minutes and then it was solid. I used Garbolino Bazookarp Hollow orange to the trusted 175 hook and same hook baits as the day before. The next 60 minutes saw me catch really well and put a total of 118lb 9oz on the final scales. Another lake win.

Day 3

Again last peg in the bag! That lucky number 7 again on the Top Pool! Very pleased with this! Similar tactics to the first day… attack shallow and switch to the edges later in the match.

Like a dream I caught shallow straight away, all small fish but fish going in the net is what it’s all about.

3½ hours in, possibly 80lb in the net. I switched to my right hand margin with Bait-tech strawberry corn over Bait-Tech Super Seed Chilli hemp and started to catch a few carp but not many. I turned to my left and my trusted ground bait line, the same mix that I had used previously and prepared the night before. This comprised of 1.5kg of the new trial bait and 1kg Red Kult. For the next hour and half I started to catch big fish over this ground bait line, it was solid at times. I had a lovely match catching loads of big fit fish. The scales came round to give me a lake win and 162lb 8oz. I was over the moon with such a big weight, what a great days fishing.

Day 4

My section was on the Bottom Pool, I enjoy this pool… big fish. Last peg in the bag, peg 18 which is a fantastic margin peg! Can you see the pattern emerging?

My plan of attack was half pot of hemp, half pot of corn in 2 ft of water to my left. Proper gear needed on this lake! 0.20 Garbo line and DC6 float. T175 size 4, using Bazookarp Hollow orange again.

Imagine the joy when my float went under after 15 minutes. A 10lb fish in the net, what a start!

Throughout the day I opened three big tins of hemp and 12 tins of sweetcorn. To my shame I ran out of corn with 60 minutes to go. The scales came round and I was very happy with 180lb 1oz BUT it was only good enough for 2nd on the lake! The lack of bait had certainly cost me!

Jez fished a brilliant match with a total of over 220lb. If only I’d taken more corn!!!

Day 5

Final day was a random draw. I was feeling the pressure slightly as leading the festival as I was, the random draw can sometimes make or break your week.

I drew peg 9 on the Bottom Pool. This peg is known more for shallow fishing, not margins, for which I had 20 tins of sweetcorn with me! It was going to be shallow 18ins, and 3.5 ft deep, feeding Bait-tech 6mm, with 8mm pellet on a lasso as my hook-bait. Would this win me the festival?

It was quite a hard day, swapping and changing depths kept a few small fish coming. With 20 minutes to go I went down the edge with corn in hope of some proper lads late. I hooked 3 carp for 28lb from my edge which helped my total to 80lb 14oz and third on the lake.

This gave me a one point advantage at the weigh in and festival 1st! I’d done it!

To sum the festival up, I kept things very much similar on all pools, which worked well for me in the run up practice sessions. Just small alterations were needed during the matches that helped me stay in tune with the changing conditions. I had worked hard in practice and very hard all week. I really feel the time and effort paid off for me in a big, big way.

Roll on next year!


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