A most enjoyable weekend
Ting Tong puts his coaching head on at Trent View.
It was way back in January when Andy Parker called to ask if I'd be interested in doing a sort of group carp school over at the lovely Trent View Fishery near Nottingham. I instantly said yes, as not only would it give me the chance to see just how the lake was getting on following my visit in 2015, but more importantly it was an ideal opportunity to pass on some of my knowledge to a load of budding carp tigers.
There'd been a change of bailiff and the new guy in charge was my long standing friend Trevor Child. Trev had been at Frisby for a number of years, but Andy saw his value and now he's full time at Trent View. I met Trev down at Welly over 10 years ago, so not only would it mean a much-needed catch up, but seeing as he's an accomplished angler and caster, he would be on hand to help out if things got a little hectic.
The weather wasn't looking too clever for mid-April; in fact on arrival I was met with strong, gusty northerly winds and heavy hail showers, not the spring sunshine I'd hoped for. It was forecast to brighten up, though, and brighten up it did at times, so we all got cracking.
The general feel for the next 24 hours was soon established. After my initial walk around it was apparent that all the lads were not only up for learning, but also for a giggle too. I've found if you can make the clients laugh then you're halfway to enjoying your time together. After all, it's only fishing, not life or death as some seem to think it is these days.
As I made my way back to the lodge I asked all the lads to meet in half an hour outside the cabin with a rod and reel - it was casting time. The main aim here was to see how they all did it, then correct any issues they had, whether it was accuracy, release, distance, feeling the lead down, or whatever. One of the lads was young blogger James Bushnell Jr (with his dad), who lives and breaths carp fishing, so it was no surprise when he stepped up first. Straight away I could see that little James was using his left hand in order to feel the lead down, which meant taking his eye off the lead during flight to focus on getting his left hand around the front of the spool to feather the line. We soon corrected his grip and by doing so made it easier for him to cast and feel the lead down with his right hand, thus allowing him to stay focused on that lead at all times. In typical James Jr fashion, he nailed it after only a very short time. To be honest, all of the lads were very good casters from the off. The main thing that normally needs work on tuitions is accuracy and ability to start the cast off in a straight line, but all the lads were good to begin with, so it was just a case of little tweaks with grip and stance to get them all consistently hitting the marks they were aiming for.
The next section was on solid bag rigs, and what I wanted to do was to give the lads a couple of rigs that would give them a way of angling in or around weed. I think it's fair to say that most anglers know how to tie a basic bottom bait rig, but this won't cut the mustard in a lot of situations where weed is thrown into the equation. The heavy showers were trying their best to ruin this bit of the day (obviously PVA and water isn't a good combination on dry land), but we got there in the end. As you'd expect little James was so close to my bucket of tricks that I'm sure he wanted to actually get in the thing - man, he's keen! I went through a detailed chat about how and why to set it up in such a way that the lead will discharge on the take. With a short braided hooklink you really want that lead off for the fear of it levering the hook out during the scrap. I then gave a demo on how to actually 'construct' the bag and the mixes that are applicable for doing so. Judging by the silence and interest, all the lads' brains were going over where and when they thought this particular setup would benefit them.
It was soon barbecue time - again not the best when a massive heavy hailstorm hits Nottinghamshire - and then it was time for the lads to get their sticks out for the night ahead. A lot of them had already been back to their bivvies and were busy making solid bags of all shapes and sizes. It was great to see them having the confidence to use something new and actually to tie some up; proof that they'd actually been listening to me waffling on.
The night was a cold and frosty affair, but with the water at Trent View being mostly deep after only a short distance out, it seemed the carp still were up for a bit of a feed. Guess what nailed most of the fish? Yes, the solid bag.
After the pictures and general larking about in the mud with the lads, it was on to the final part of the event: the chod rig. The chod rig used to be a real edge, but massive overuse means that it's not always my go-to rig any more. Nevertheless, it's still vital to have it in your armoury these days, especially with heavy weed about. It was the same process as the Saturday; all the lads gathered round and we tied them up and generally talked about where to use the rig and why. Again everyone was glued to my every word, and even more so when I gave them actual angling situations where it's worked or failed for me. Another light bulb moment occured when I dropped the rig over light silkweed in the margins. You could actually see the lads picturing where and when they'd use it; honestly, it's brilliant to see. The lads were watching closely as I meticulously went through the way I tie the chod, the components used, and even the way I crimp, steam and store them. I've perfected the way I tie and use my chods over many years. Yes, I'm aware some curve them more and others fish them a lot straighter, but how I do it works for me, which is what I was trying to get over to the lads. It's all about confidence in what you're doing, rather than following the latest marketing racket designed to sell products to the masses.
After that it was home time for the group, which left me free to hopefully get off the mark on my syndicate. It would be my first visit of the year, as I'm super busy at present, so a couple of nights of my own fishing was the order of the day.
I really enjoyed the Trent View weekend. It's so nice to spend time with a large group of anglers who not only give you the utmost respect when you're passing on hints and tips, but that I could laugh and joke with at the same time. Believe me, a relaxed and friendly environment makes my job a whole lot easier.
A massive thanks must go out to Trent View Fishery and Trevor the bailiff for allowing us the use of the lake, and for feeding us in the hail! What a venue it is, a large lake with some big depths where the fish can hide out of the way with ease. The carp are all absolute crackers and have already shown some big weight growths, and will no doubt continue to do so over the next few years. So, credit to Andy Parker for creating a real gem of a lake, and a huge thank you to the lads that attended. See you all very soon I hope.