Rod bending action on the first day of the year.

I am not one for making new year resolutions but I guess deep down for a while now I have promised myself a little more time angling on my local patch and to try and not keep pestering the carp week in and week out. It is so easy to find yourself in a routine simply because it suits. For years now I have pointed my Land Rover bonnet south or west and driven for a couple of hours for most all of my angling and in doing so I invariably pass so much incredible fishing along the way.

It wasn’t always like this. I started to travel simply because I had to travel if I was to be able to fish for the size of fish that used to seem so important to me. But as the years have moved on and I have grown, the fish have too and now I have fish on my doorstep which are much larger than the fish I used to have to travel for a couple of hours to reach. Having said that, I’m not size motivated at all these days. I haven’t been for years as in my mind the venue, the methods, the people and to a certain extent the security, come much higher on my list of priority than the size of the fish these days. Okay, obviously it is a massive bonus if I can combine everything and still have big fish to angle for. 

It does amuse me how a few fellow anglers seem really surprised after I have chosen to mention some of the waters I tackle, particularly when I tell them there isn’t anything much larger than whatever irrelevant weight in there. I guess in a way it is a blessing as I can continue to enjoy myself with little fear of crowds descending.

As well as promising myself a little more time on the local front I am also determined to spare more time from chasing carp to angle for a few other species. I pride myself on fishing for most species in fresh and salt water, coarse and game but I keep getting dragged back by my beloved carp and as the years slip by I am constantly aware that the salmon rods never came out again, I never stepped foot on a boat, I didn’t manage that frosty grayling session etc.

New years day 2013

So Tuesday January 1st 2013 dawned and where was I? Yes, setting up on a carp lake I had driven for over an hour to reach! I had gone along for a social with Ron Key and Andy Smith and we all struck lucky with Ron and myself both catching 6 carp apiece to upper doubles which is great winter sport and a lovely start to a new year.

Great to see the cheaper Absolute range holding their own.

What was particularly pleasing was catching several on the soon to be released ‘Absolute’ range of baits which brings Quest Baits boilies into a slightly lower price bracket for the first time. Not to be mistaken for simple synthetic flavour carrier baits, these cheaper boilies still contain essential oils and the feed stimulants we like to think we know a little about. Well, we have won the best by test in the independent Carpology tank tests for the past two years. Various companies who are brave enough submit their baits for these totally independent tests. Two years on the trot we have come out on top in both the stimulation tests and the prolonged aggressive feeding tests. Quite simply the carp show what they prefer.

Wednesday and Thursday passed and my usual morning river walk was showing the river to be in fine fettle with the temperature steadily rising and the levels dropping to become almost fishable. Friday, I wandered out from my office whilst enjoying a welcome cuppa and the song from the birds was incredible. The air was so unbelievably mild and back at my office desk I was struggling to concentrate. My tiny local river was calling me. There are no monsters in there but ‘it’ wanted me there. I gave in, grabbed a rod, grabbed a tub of Rahja Spice paste and convinced myself I was simply popping out working, a little research and development you understand – well I do have to keep making sure the baits I sell still work.

Lovely action on a tiny stream.

Within the hour of grabbing a rod I had dangled a piece of Rahja Spice paste wrapped around a trimmed Rahja boilie  into a couple of likely looking holes and extracted two chub that had possibly never been caught before. One of them was probably just short of 4lb which looked particularly large coming from what is little more than a stream and believe me I am sure it thought it was fighting for its life.
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Anyway, fix over I was soon back at my office desk – nice work if you can get it.

Saturday 5th January. After my usual morning dog walk I started to sort out a bit of heavier gear for the mighty River Trent, I was finally going to spare a few hours trying to tempt a barbel. It had been a few years since I had last caught any Trent Barbel much preferring to target barbel on the smaller rivers like the Derwent and the Dove. But, with the river running so close to my home I can’t keep ignoring it.
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Another pleasing start to my local campaign.

I was lucky, just as the light faded I landed a barbel just short of double figures which liked the smell of the Rahja Spice paste I had used for the chub the day before and again this time it was wrapped around a apple cored boilie for it to grip and fished in conjunction with a cage feeder containing equal amounts of  Naked hemp, broken Rahja Spice Boilies, Rahja Spice Maximum Action Pellets and Quest Baits Mixed Pellets. These were put into a sieve and then had a kettle of boiling water poured over them to make the resulting blend fluffy and sticky enough to hold in a cage feeder then trickle a small stream of goodies down towards the hook bait.
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Sunday 6th January I awoke with that lovely smug feeling I wake with after succeeding in doing something I had meant to do for a long while. I had a few things to sort but promised myself

My cage feeder mix

another few hours later in the day back on the mighty River Trent.

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I had to wait quite a way into darkness this time before a chub pulled on my string. I was pleased to see this as the chub seem to be on the decline on the Trent. I

A 3ft twitch on the rod top!

swung my bait back out again and shortly after I had a tiny 3ft twitch on the rod top and found myself playing another barbel. This one really was an incredible scrap with line being constantly stripped from the reel. Eventually though it was on the bank and I felt the need to reduce this fine fish to numbers. The numbers said 10lb 6oz.

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I guess 7 days into the new year and not many hours actually on the bank I feel particularly delighted to have landed some nice fish, from my local patch and more importantly for me have managed to notch up 3 different targeted species.

I wonder what the next 358 days will have in store for me?

Best fishes
Shaun Harrison

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