25th October 2021

Dan Sibley reflects on his mission from the summer, where he targeted a venue with an unknown stock of carp. 

Like many of us this spring, Dan Sibley was faced with busy banks on his favourite waters, making getting on fish sometimes very tricky. Rather than sit it out with the crowds, he decided to pave his own path and head to a lake with an unknown stock. What followed was a period of fishing which will live long in Dan’s memory.

As an added bonus, each dumbell is encapsulated in an extra soluble coating to maximise their leakage and attraction.

Dan explains:

“Well, where to start, this spring didn’t really go as I had hoped. My main target water was extremely busy and as a result of that, I really struggled to get on the fish. With the business of my syndicate not showing any signs of relenting, I made the decision to leave it for a while and concentrate my efforts elsewhere. So, with this in mind I headed to an old, forgotten nature reserve in the south, and in all honesty, I was buzzing.

“Due to the reclusiveness of the venue, I turned up completely blind! I didn’t know of any other anglers fishing it, so the stock is completely unknown to me. All I had to go off was a few past captures from some time ago. Also, another slight curve ball was that I knew it had been ottered in the past too, so the stock was likely to be very low.

“With this in my mind, I thought I would try and capitalise on the spawning season, so I planned to get down there as much as possible looking for fish and hoping to see a few start spawning. I hoped that this would give me a chance to watch them and ultimately give me an idea of the level of stock I was angling for.

“As luck would have it, I turned up mid-morning one baking hot Saturday and to my surprise I found a group of at least 25 carp going hard at it in some dense weed! I couldn’t believe it. I wasted no time at all and shot up the nearest tree to get a better vantage point so I could watch them and see what the place held. After a short while I had seen few better commons amongst the group, this really did light the fire and I couldn’t wait to get started.  However, out of respect for the carp, I left them in peace and over the coming few weeks I just drifted around in my dingy. From doing this, I figured out some of their patrol routes, one of which was next to a large, dense weedbed, an area they loved to spend time and I saw them there every time I visited.

“Along the patrol routes I found, there was a small polished off area which the carp had made! Clearly, they had been on the naturals, so with this now firmly on my mind I hatched a plan, which was to bait this spot and another close by very heavily with seeds, with the hope of getting the carp accustomed to visiting them for food. So, over the coming weeks I travelled the 150-mile round trip, three times a week to give the spots big hits of bait. As the weeks progressed the spots were being smashed and I knew it was time to get some fishing done.

“I opted to keep things really subtle and only fished two rods, one for each spot and with the use of the dingy I set my traps for my first night. The spots were baited with chopped and whole Manilla and some hemp, with small Manilla Dumbells used as hookbaits.

“My confidence was sky high and I knew a bite was certainly on the cards. The atmosphere was electric, and I ended up sitting up most of the night, with it being a nature reserve, I could hear owls and deer calling, but the best part was I could hear carp showing like crazy over my spots! What a night it was!

“It wasn’t until first light I received my first take and after a spirited fight a low-twenty common lay in the folds of my net, a typical sized fish for the reserve from what I’d seen from them spawning. I was buzzing to be off the mark but knew there were bigger fish out there to be had. An hour or so later, I was away again, this time it was my other rod and again the culprit was a low-twenty common. It was clear the baiting had worked, and the spots were rocking.

“For the next two sessions, I did things exactly the same and I caught consistently all-around high doubles to low-twenty commons. I was loving it as they all had a bit of character to them. I kept the bait going in two or three times a week and the spot just kept producing, and it wasn’t long before I finally got amongst a few of the better ones I saw whilst they were spawning. Using the same tactics of subtle traps, I managed to trip up a lovely trio of carp going 28lb, 30lb 4oz and the biggest going 31lb 8oz, an impressive common close to 4ft long!

“I was over the moon with how my summer campaign had turned out, especially without knowing if there was even any fish left in the pit at the start of the campaign. Overall, I landed a total of eight fish, across seven nights. It was certainly a summer I won’t forget in a hurry.”