21st November 2019

An early autumn mission overseas for Gaz and Marcus saw them tackle two huge public venues, a far cry from their last trip to an intimate canal.

Angling is such a diverse sport, across many different venues, and as an angler you have to adapt to your surroundings to be able to reap the rewards. Gaz Fareham and Marcus Howarth are no strangers to this, having fished everything from small canals to huge public reservoirs. In September, the pair visited two large public venues, which were completely different to their last trip to the old canal.

In Gaz’s own words, he revealed;

“With the summer heatwaves in Europe gone, and temperatures returned to normal we planned a mission to some of the big, wilder public venues in late September. Originally it had been planned as a filming trip for next year’s Reflections but with Dan and Big Rich having some late notice commitments, they couldn’t miss, we got a ‘free pass’ to use the trip to go and explore some new places instead with the filming put back until February/March. First stop was a big reservoir in the south, it was new for us, but we knew it held some incredible carp, and some huge ones too and the first night was planned as a social night with a friend who was also in the region. Arriving late to some thundery showers and rainbows, we set about building the boat and getting out and finding some spots in the fading light. It could not have been more different to our last trip – from 6 wrap spots across a tiny old intimate canal, to thousands of acres of windswept barrage, ankle deep mud and 350M tows in the boat with 8oz leads. That is exactly what I love about the public fishing though, the wildly different scenarios and landscapes you continually find yourself in.

An early autumn mission overseas for Gaz and Marcus saw them tackle two huge public venues, a far cry from their last trip to an intimate canal.

“As darkness fell, big shafts of light punched through the clouds on what was an especially moody evening, but despite the uncomfortable rain, mud and wind, it felt like it had big carp written all over it. With no bites between myself and Marcus that first night, and just one to Mikey, it was a little anticlimactic. We vowed to give it at least one more night before considering heading off elsewhere.

“After our friends had left, we set about spreading the rods out and finding some new spots, taking advantage of the extra room, splaying them out over a huge area from the central point. That night Marcus landed a lovely 41lb mirror to start proceedings, and I followed it up with an incredibly long mirror of 43lb 12oz later that afternoon.

“We decided to stay, how could we not? We thought that the conditions felt right for a big hit of bait, so after finding a nice central area at range we dropped two markers thirty yards apart and gave it a 15-kilo hit of the new Krill Active, with each of us fishing a rod on the area. Rigs were our usual ‘big’ styled set ups with size 4 Thinking Anglers Curve Points, the new Cam Stiff and big 25mm hookbaits. That night brought me three bites, one smaller mirror, a long common just shy of 45lb and a 36lb mirror. With one last night to play with we re-did the rods full of expectancy. The roles were reversed that night, with two bites for Marcus in the form of lovely mirrors of 39lb and a 35lb.

“As soon as the shots were done we wrapped up and headed off, visiting five new venues that day, and covering a few hundred miles. We arrived just on dark at another new venue, a big reservoir getting on for 1000 acres. We knew very little about the venue, other than it held some amazing carp, and a few really special older strain mirrors that were apparently 30-40 years old. After a good scout around, hearing a number of big fish crash out in the darkness on the strengthening south westerly, we settled for a day zone that let us cover and command a big swathe of the water down at that end of the lake. After setting our brollies and beds up we just tied rigs and set the alarms for 4am, ready to get rods in position by dawn.

“The first day was relatively quiet, with just one common around 30lb falling to my rods, so on the second day we rethought our approach and fished further out into the central bowl area. Tactics were simple, just two handfuls of 24mm Krill Active spread around each hookbait. Within a few hours, the bites started to come and that afternoon as the conditions and moon phase culminated in a perfect storm, we struggled to keep rods in the water, landing eight fish in the space of a few hours before once again having to wind in as darkness fell. By that time, we were ruined, soaked to the skin, the swims trashed, kit everywhere and in desperate need of a mega sort out. We sacrificed getting the fish shot in the daylight for getting rods back in the water, as the ever-present chance of a true giant was always on the cards. The leviathan never came, but the best two fell to my rods at 38lb and 42lb and Marcus also landed a lovely 32lb mirror. My favourite of the day though was a particularly cool old mirror, with great big scales and an over slung mouth, it was shame we had to flash shoot her!

“The last day was quieter, the pressure rose, the skies cleared, and we managed three bites between us, a nice 30lb common and 27-pounder for me, and a smaller common for Marcus. We didn’t manage to latch into any of the lake’s real giants that trip, but we had certainly found ourselves a few new venues and had a blast along the way!”