Category Archives: Carp Fishing General


There’s another side to my writing and here’s a link…


Some of you may know that I am a published author.  I realise that you are here to read about my angling exploits, and my novels may not be of interest to you.  However, when you’re stuck for a gift for someone close, perhaps this will tick the box.

The genre for my novels is perhaps best described as YA for Adults/Time Travel Fantasy.  If you have ever wondered if we may inherit memory along with eye colour, then these books will be right up your street.  Rather than me telling you how well received my books are – obviously I am biased – below I have added a couple of the latest reviews.

I might add that an angling diary/novel is on its final edit.

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Alton Tench – new species – new area


I have had more than my fair share of bream over the last few weeks, and decided on a change in tactics.  I had heard rumours – some solid and some not so – of some decent Tench being caught from Alton.  At best, the information was sketchy, although I had heard enough to focus some attention.  Having previously fished so often in deep open water for the Bream, my chance of seeing much in the way of Tench had been limited.  I was starting from scratch, something I prefer, not being a fan of preconceived ideas.

There was another reason for wanting to have a go at the tench, and that was to try out my new Kodex Specialist rods haha.  I had already switched over to their amazingly sharp hooks, and hook-length material a few weeks back.  I have been more than happy with both products, to the point where I am now actually recommending their gear in the shop.  Those of you, who know me, know I only ever recommend something I have used successfully.


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Alton Bream Madness

Having spent the last three months at Lemons Hill, I decided it was time for a move.  There are a couple of reasons for this; firstly, my sessions at Lemons had become a little predictable.  Secondly, I’d had my radar on Birchwood for a while having walked it a few times.


I guess, I best explain predictable so as not to sound arrogant.  I believe, because Lemons is shallow by comparison with the rest of the reservoir – 10-14 feet – the bream, carp and tench are largely nocturnal.  With the nights so short, I’d found myself sitting during 48-hour sessions for long bite-less periods.  Yeah, for sure, I had some great fish, and in particular, large Bream, the size I had targeted.  However, all my decent fish had fallen during darkness.  There is only so much time you can spend playing games on your phone.

Birchwood Bay, for those of you, who don’t know it, is a large bay – around 10 acres – that opens out directly in the middle of this 340-acre venue.  Last week, during that heat wave, I had a walk around with a marker float checking depths.  On the left-hand side as the bay opens out into the main part of the reservoir, I’d found a consistent 21 to 25 feet of water.  From my previous sessions elsewhere, I was confident the fish here would be day-feeders.  It also helped that I spotted a couple of decent Bream role with the sun at it highest.


The wind did eventually drop

I arrived, as usual Sunday afternoon, and had a walk around checking depths in various swims with a little more detail than last week.  It wasn’t long before I found what I believed to be the perfect area.  It was a nice comfortable swim, with big trees either side, which would shelter me from the 15-20mph winds.  The depth at 14-rod-lengths (56-yards) was 21-foot-6-inches, gradually sloping away on a smooth sandy bottom to around 23-foot at 16-rods (64-yards).  The abyss, as I call it – where the depths drop to in excess of 40 feet – was around 120 yards out.  To my mind, it was perfect bream territory, and boy was I right.

On a venue of this size, the wind is exaggerated and can be a real problem if it is blowing straight at you.  As a side note, it is also worth considering the impact the wind will have on your baiting and casting.

While marking up, I’d seen a fair few fish role at around 100 yards, and was feeling optimistic.  I knew, however, that I would need a decent amount of feed, firstly, to draw the fish in and secondly, hold them there.

The reason, I chose to fish 40-yards away from what appeared to be a big shoal, was because I had recently discovered that the bigger specimens would leave the main shoal, and give you an increased chance of a proper sized example.

Before mixing up all my ground-bait balls, and considering the crosswind, which was blowing from left to right, I tried a couple of testers to see which size would hit my marker float comfortably.  Having sorted that, I mixed up 80 two-inch (50mm) balls of ground bait, which was around 3 kilos in total.


This is around 20 of the 80 that went out…

It was 6pm by the time I’d cast out.  I had barely started setting up my bed, bivvy, etc and had my first indication on a boilie rod.  I was again using the Nash Key Cray, which was a bait that had proven very successful at Lemons Hill, having spent months trying to establish a boilie that the fish would take naturally.  So I was delighted this appeared to be working here, all-be—it early doors.  The second rod was on Maize and the third on corn, both proven reasonably successful.


I continued setting up, and the boilie rod indicator slammed to the top.  A couple of minutes later and the fish had come free over some weed that went out about 20 meters.  I recast, and made a cup of coffee, which always works, and so it proved.  The same rod slammed to the top again – and this time mindful of the weed – I was soon slipping the net under a good conditioned, reasonably sized 8lb bream.

KCray2 (1)

Now, if I was to go through the details of every fish, I’d had, this article would end up like a novel, suffice to say, within two hours, I was only using two rods.  By 7am Tuesday morning, I had slipped the net under 54 bream between 7lb and 9lb with a couple just over the magical 10lb mark.  I estimate, that in 36 hours, I’d had, 20 minutes sleep and over 400lb of fish.  By anyone’s standard, that’s a red-letter session.

Here are just a few, after all, how many photo’s can you take on a phone haha…  You will see, all shapes, sizes, and age.

4 bream


I used in total, 2 kilos of white crumb, plus the same amount of brown.  In addition, I added 2 kilos of sweet corn, 1 of maize, 1 of 4mm trout pellet, 1 of 2mm light-oil pellet.  I also added a kilo of crumbed Key Cray plus a kilo of Key Cray powder and a kilo of scopex pellet.  Twelve kilos in total, which is a lot of bait, but accounted for a lot of fish.

As a side note, I used the new Kodex GenomicMGP wide gape size 10 hooks tied to their supper soft hook-length braid and have to say, they proved brilliant. In fact, the hooks are so sharp, it is hard not to spike yourself while tying your rigs.


So, if you fancy filling your boots with some quality Bream, then get yourself over there.

Here’s link for ticket details.

As always, my intention is to encourage you to get out and enjoy all that Alton and fishing in general has to offer.  Go-Catch SteveD


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Carp – A change of mind

Many DVDs, books, articles, and individuals will have you believe there is only one way to fish for carp.  That concept runs from the rods you use, through to the way you bait up for them.  This often includes ludicrously expensive rods, and shed-loads of boilies.  Now, I am not saying they are wrong, far from it, if it works for you, then happy days.  However, I would suggest there is no go-to rig, method, rod, or baiting campaign that works best for any species.  I want to offer up an alternative way of thinking.


One thing I do know is that on any venue, the fish really don’t care how much you paid for your gear.  Before we had the all singing carbon rods, we were using fibre-glass, cane, split cane and so on.  We still caught big fish.  Izaak Walton wrote 350-years-ago of catching 50lb Italian Commons.  He was using bread-paste mixed with latex and honey and spending days and nights in their pursuit.  We are just reshaping the wheel.

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Alton Game Changer

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fishing large pits and reservoirs, primarily for big bream, tench, and “unnamed” carp.  Like many venues that contain specimen fish in this category, they invariably hold a lot of small and mid-sized fish of the same species. The hard bit has always been sorting out the better-quality fish.  By putting in long hours, and trying numerous baits and methods, I’ve developed a few tricks.  There have been some frustratingly difficult times along the way, but anyone who knows me, knows I like a challenge.  Besides, I have found that the harder the venue, the more you’ll learn.


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Alton Amazing April

It’s been a long hard winter this year, with daytime temperatures rarely above 8c, and nights often dropping below zero. The cold north easterly had a bigger impact on Alton than I’d expected, and fish location was difficult to say the least.  The best I had to show for my many 48-hour sessions were two or three winter weary bream.


However, this Sunday (9th April) it all changed.  And boy did it change, with the midday sun bringing a scorching 25c.  This – like many of us – was just what I was waiting for. With the dial reading 23c at 3pm (15:00), I headed for a shallow area I’d fancied for some time and arrived around 4pm on Sunday. With the nearest car park rammed, I made a quick check to see that my fancied – off the beaten track swim – was still free. It was, so I headed back to the car, loaded the barrow, and arrived in my swim at 4:30.  With nearly 4 hours of light, I decided to have a good mark around (depth checking for those overseas unfamiliar with this term).  From a couple of previous visits, I had a reasonable idea of the overall depth.  However, having been plagued by tufted ducks munching their way through my baited area on my prior excursion, I fancied fishing closer in. One thing I have noticed with this species of duck is that although they seem to nonchalantly ignore us, while eating their way through our bait, they won’t come within 50 yards of the bank.

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A quick Alton update

End of Feb 2017

With winter coming to a close and spring not far off, I thought I’d give you a quick heads up on the activity since my last report back in November.

It has not been easy and that’s for sure, and I’ve found myself moving from one area to another.  I think the inconsistent weather, plus not going for four weeks – due to a bad back – has had a significant impact. Towards the end of November, I was fishing the same swim towards ‘tennis court bay’ and had plenty of fish in front me, mostly Bream I might add.  I think the combination of the sudden down turn in temperatures and, not feeding the swim for four weeks resulted in the fish drifting out into the deep channels. I might add here that from 20-rod lengths out the water is 50 plus foot, so plenty of places for them to go. What also hasn’t helped is the wind, which has been 20mph plus. On top of that, it has been changing direction from one day to the next and the last thing you want is a strong wind blowing in your chops when it is either raining or freezing.  It is one thing fishing this time of year, but to be uncomfortable is too big an ask for an old guy like me.


I picked the tower stretch for my winter campaign expecting northerly winds, which would have been off my back. Hmm, as if that’s gonna happen with British weather, about as changeable as my hook baits haha.

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Posted by on February 28, 2017 in Carp Fishing General

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