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November 2022 Diary Catch Up

Posted by Shaun Harrison on 5 December 2022 |

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October 2022 moved into November and my first weekend of the month I only had the one night to fish as work party duties were calling. I attend a lot of work parties because I’m a member of quite a few waters, some of which it is compulsory to do them, others it is voluntary, but I try and do them whenever possible. Sadly, as always though, it is usually the same old faces and rarely those who do the most moaning about what should or should not be done ever turn up to do their bit.

Anyway, that single night was kind to me with a couple of carp slipping up to my methods which I start tweaking a little more as the water cools and the visibility becomes clearer, but more of which later.

Kind to me

A wide and chunky one on a single night session before the work party

silver common

A smaller common joined it too

The work party was really productive and it was great to catch back up with Fennel who I had not seen since our French trip in September which was booked to celebrate Richard Walker’s record carp on the 70th anniversary of its capture. It has been difficult me not sharing pictures or indeed details from that rather special trip, but I have written about it in a two-part piece for Catch Cult magazine with part 1 appearing around xmas time. Naturally, most of the pictures will be shown there first, so, for now, they will remain to be seen.

As usual when Fennel and I meet up, we love to cook, this time was no different and a full outdoor Sunday roast planned for after the work party. It was a joint effort under a tarp lashed to our trucks in the pouring rain and despite all of that, it was a resounding success, even if we say so ourselves.

Sunday Roast

I don't think we did too badly


The gravy gave the finishing touch

The end of that weekend saw a turn around in my life, I took my last drink of alcohol. Now I had not particularly intended upon stopping drinking, and still don’t know if I have stopped, a month on, but I am still to sample any more which is quite astounding for those that know me well. For decades I have drunk at least a bottle of wine a night and was always the last man standing on social drinking do’s. A few have suffered through thinking they would see me off, nothing to be proud of at all, I know that, but some have been surprised that I have mentioned stopping, as they had not realised that I actually drank a fair bit. I guess the fact that I never suffered hang overs was a contributing factor, so never had anything to put me off drinking. Like most drugs, the more you have, the more you need, and the bottle of wine was never enough. I guess I should be thankful that I was never one to get loud or aggressive during or after drinking and I never craved drink during the daytime. No, I was very much a pour a glass when you are ready to settle down for the night, type of bloke. It’s just that the glass would keep on being filled.

I seem to have strayed off the angling here, but it has been a big change in my life and I have done it so far myself without help from elsewhere.

Tea Total

It has seemed strange lighting the kettle in the dark

First trip on the bank after a few days off the drink I was not sure if I would survive mentally, so took some with me. One of the most pleasing drinks of the week for me was always the first one after getting sorted and settling into my swim for the first night. I kept looking at what I had taken along, but managed to avoid temptation both nights. I was really proud of myself and had caught decent carp too as a personal pat on the back.  

long common

Stone cold sober in the middle of the night

My decoy bait method was still working well and the last weekend in November I had a bit of a red-letter session with seven carp slipping up to my methods, but confession time. Only one of those was an original, the club had released a batch of VS fish into the lake and the pack came and found me. All good fun though.

The future

The future

So, my decoy bait method, it is something I have done for years and is something I feel work best on pressured venues where the carp have seen it all. Because of needing to be semi ‘on call’ for my mother at present, whilst she awaits an operation, I have been forced into staying local, thus fishing for pressured fish this Autumn. Now we all know how much those wonderful silt pigs we fish for like their bait, they love eating and they love their food. A lot have learned how to eat everything yet avoid the hook bait. We have all seen the underwater videos and before that, many of us saw it with our own eyes anyway through eyeball-to-eyeball stalking.

It was many years ago now when I first thought about giving them something to concentrate on, something to avoid that was not the hook bait. I even did a You Tube video demonstrating one of my ways of doing this 8 or 9 years ago for Free Spirit Fishing.

The video showed a small PVA mesh stick containing bits of bait, bait dust and and a full obvious boilie.


The round bait is not the hook bait (screen grab from the You Tube film)

Dropped in the edge, it was easy to straight away presume that the boilie was the hook bait, fortunately the carp did to, for it has been a method that has caught me so many carp over the years, where the full boilie is left in place, and the tiny bits of food carefully sucked in. Yes, my hook bait is one of those tiny bits of boilie. Obvious perhaps?

There have been a lot of carp that would kick themselves if they had legs for slipping up on that one.

Well, that is enough given away tactics for now as I still need the odd edge kept under my hat. 2022 has possibly been my most successful years carping in 45 years of doing it. I guess things should have come together eventually. All those little ideas over the years, many caught, but weren’t over special and didn’t last the time, others were exceptional and became part of my normal armoury.

Things move on, I’m thankful to have come through the age before the Internet, before there was hardly any instructional literature about catching carp, an age where we had to work it out for ourselves. I truly feel from talking to different age groups of carp angler that a lot of the ‘original thinking’ is fast dying off. Anglers can ask now and generally get a usable answer, there is far less need to think outside the box and steer things in a different direction. Because of that, it is little wonder that we saw such a massive surge forward in our ability to be able to catch carp during the 80’s and early 90’s before seeing things on a playing field that was starting to level out again. There have been odd minor tweaks with rigs and some quite big improvements in bait, but as I look around, so many are doing so similar and those who appear to have an edge these days, are those who water watch and their edge is spotting them and doing something about it. Not legging one up from a swim it is master of and has learned how to deal with rigs there.

Anyway, enough waffle for now.

Best wishes as always

Shaun Harrison.

(Still sober)

About the Author: Shaun Harrison

shaun profile pic

Quest Baits boss Shaun Harrison has put over 40 years of experience into developing his range of carp baits ” This bait range is the culmination of the bait knowledge I’ve gained throughout my carp fishing career, a journey which started in the 1970’s. It has truly been a long and winding road – frustrating at times, fascinating and rewarding at others….. Our range you’ll only find proven baits, the ones I use myself 

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