Week Commencing: Sat 22/09/2018
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES......
It’s the annual Korda complex exclusive with the staff fully populating both lakes. As always, chatter about the trip had consumed the company in the preceding weeks and months. ‘Excited’ really was the understatement of the century.
DF the Gaffer writes....
Dalton ‘Gollum’ Brandon came out first in the draw and picked Bob’s Beach, a shrewd move as it’s been on fire recently and he openly admitted he could not fish the long-range swims like Alamo and Alcatraz effectively with his rods and reels. His intelligent decision was rewarded with four fish for the week, all taken at 21 wraps towards The Stink with a 10” IQ D-rig fished with a running lead clip. His bait was Royal Marine baiting with 3-8kg per day depending on action, more if he had had bites the night before, less is the bobbins didn’t move. He opened his account with the super clean Jason’s Fish at 34lbs, then followed this up with 2C’s at a massive 49lbs then a long 24lb stockie common. Finally, the mighty Pips graced his net at an all-time high of 67lbs 12oz, a just reward for a super nice guy who does great work in the CAD department at Korda.
Mark ‘Riggers’ Rigby is now a trainee videographer having moved from the Gigantica bookings job. He drew 5thand chose Pole Position. After a few days mastering the range, he got in the zone and had one of our fast growing stockies at 22lbs; a fish we shall call The Wildling to honor Riggers’ ancestry. Anyone who has seen GOT will know what we mean... He had the fish at 27 wraps towards The Stink swim on a Royal Marine boilie on a 8” IQ D rig over 3-6kg boilie and maize per day. The fish showed on him all week and he deserved more but as is often the case, newcomers to the main lake take a time to adapt to the ‘three rods on a spot fishing’ where accuracy at range is key.
Riggers celebrated his 32nd birthday on Wednesday night. The wine and cheese night flowed into ‘wine pong’ which may have taken its toll on the mighty Wildling. We’ll let you decide from the pictures of the night and the next morning. We named one of our 60 fish stocked that week ‘Poppy’ after seeing a part of Riggers in close up that can never be unseen. Dark in the middle with a red ring round it’s centre! Ask him for more details when you see him.
Gareth ‘Gino’ Radley is a master of tackle shop refits making the Korda wall look as sexy as possible in retailers up and down the country. He fished Alcatraz and fished it well. He chose the regular spot at 27.5 wraps towards Stink and just left of it. Baiting with up to 8kg of Krill and Maize per afternoon, he managed five fish and one lost but what a five it was; Two Time at 64lbs 12oz looking super massive as always, The Galaxy at 63lbs 12oz which hadn’t been out for two years, the mighty Shoulders at 56lbs 4oz looking totally awesome, The Galician at 31lbs; a rare one that has to be seen to be believed and finally one of our stockies at an impressive 22lbs, up dramatically from 8lbs when stocked last November. Gino fished blow back rigs incorporating size 2 Wide Gapes and the new Dark Matter coated hook link with a running lead clip. Bites came on 20mm bottom baits tipped with small white pop-ups soaked in Garlic Goo.
Dave Bendall is a new member of our Sales team and an under the radar Cotswold Water Park terminator. He came out fairly late in the draw and picked the Tree Line, a swim not fished the week before and not fancied by many. Dave made it look a lot better than it had though! He baited open water at 23 wraps towards Stink with his favourite Royal Marine boilies but drew two rods closer in after about a million shows short and to his right on the first night. A small PVA bag of boilie crumb and a Royal Marine wafter caught his first fish and a PB to boot; The Survivor at 50lbs 4oz. Then the following night he did the same, feeding long but fishing short and had a spell binding common called Soliid at 45lbs and another PB. Interestingly, both fish were crapping out his bait yet he fished with single bags at close range so they must have been feeding on either his or Daltons bait before coming in close later in the night. He completed his hat trick of fish with an amazing 24lb stockie called Rosie. Imagine that at 50lbs! Dave copied the going tactic of running lead clips with his own reverse Combi rig; stiff by the size 4 Choddy hook, then softer in the middle with a stiff section by the lead to push it out from the lead. Very crafty......
Paul ‘Arris’ Harris is one of our senior salesmen and the teller of the best stories on earth. Jackanory had been trying to head hunt him for years until the Massage Parlour stories surfaced in Heat magazine last year and scuppered his chances of world wide acclaim. Oh well, BBC’s loss is Korda’s gain and he continues to captivate and educate with his stories of sexual encounters and other weird goings on. Arris came out early and picked Co’s, a firm favourite with all and a swim he had never managed to get before so he was buzzing and immediately cancelled his ‘visit’ from the ladies who frequent the night.....
Arris fished all 3 rods at 25 wraps, again a good move as he could fish it comfortably. Many people ruin their week at Gigantica by trying to fish too far and when the wind changes, they struggle and scare the fish away with repeated casting or poor baiting. Paul was joint top rod for the week with six fish, the best was the awesome Smartie Pants at an all-time high of 47lbs 8oz; a fish set to be yet another new 50 in the months and years to come. His next best was Bernard’s Common at 45lbs, another super clean and impressive creature. These fish may not be monsters by French standards but just look how immaculate they are. If the dial on the scales means everything to you then I recommend you don’t come to Gigantica. We want those people who marvel at the sheer quality of our fish whatever their size. The Korda team appreciate them all for their individual perfection and that’s the way it should be! You will not find pasty lumps of flesh with no faces here and you never will. Arris’s final fish was named after one of his favourite sites; ‘Elephant Tube’ when he caught it three years ago at mid-twenties. He had forgotten he even caught it back then and upon this capture called for help with a ‘massive’ fish. Good old Carlos ‘Fandango’ Hoyle walked down from Oblivion to help out with the ‘monster’ which kept getting smaller as it was weighed (3 times). Arris says he has never been so bamboozled by a fish before and maintains that it looked far bigger than its 36lbs in the net. It’s well up in weight and looking awesome, a fitting end a to consistent week on Co’s. Arris baited with between 2 and 8kg of Mainline Cell, Fyber and Link per day with maize mixed in. His rigs were simple, 8” long Dark Matter braid with a size 2 Wide Gape fished blow back style and either an 18mm bottom bait or double 15mm, some with a small pop-up topper and some straight out the bag. Running lead clips completed the set up as always.
Ah, now it’s my turn. Ninth out in the draw (#standard procedure) for me and it was a toss-up between Baxter’s and Big Southerly. I turned to fishery manager, Andy Savage for the final choice between them and he said Big S as the wind was due to go Northerly and so the fish would back up off it. In short, that did not happen so I blame Andy entirely for my results! Seriously though, if he can get it wrong and he lives at the lake it shows how unpredictable these fish can be.
I am a bit of an insomniac and spent many nights pacing around behind my rods listening for fish and only hearing them over Arris, Jon S and the boys on the far side. It’s not an excuse but the fish only arrived in front of me on Thursday night and that’s when I had two. I had started baiting heavily at 24 wraps where I found hard bottom aiming at Alcatraz. I baited with 11, 7, 6 then 4kg per night without action so for nights 5 and 6 I put in nothing at all. This must have paid off as night six provided Mr Chow at 46lbs and an amazing looking stockie at 24lbs; up from 7lbs 8oz when stocked last November.
My feed was 50% Maize with the rest a mix of 10, 15 and 20mm Link with a few 10mm Fyber boilies for good measure. I even baited with just Maize and 4mm pellets on night 4 and still had no issues with Bream. The 180 new stockies introduced over the last two years have totally pushed the Bream off the spots and only one was caught all week between the 13 of us so you can now come with any mix of boilies and our own Maize or Hemp and not get pestered by anything but carp. Happy days!
My rigs evolved over the week and I settled on 7” IQ hook link fished Spinner style with one of the new size 4 Kamakura wide Gape B’s, a new D-Rig Kicker fished with a 15mm White Link wafter we have exclusively at the lake. Like many of the team I used a Dark Matter Anti-Tangle sleeve pushed straight onto a quick-change swivel to kick the rig away from the tubing in flight. This makes a huge difference and eliminates tangles completely. Lead clips were fished running as always as semi fixed rigs can give rise to aborted takes as the fish shake the rig out using the weight of the lead. Sharp pulls on the bobbins or bleeps in the night for no reason often mean ‘you have been done’ but a running rig offers no anchor point for the fish and definitely turns more pick- ups into runs.
I lost one on the last night, a cut off by fishing too close to the left-hand pole. 15 wraps lands just short of the pole and with the swing back is about a rod length away from it. Fishing locked up, I thought I would be okay, but the fish had made the tree behind the pole before I got to the rod. Andy Savage said fish at 13.5 wraps and I should have, silly! I baited the left pole from day two onwards and only fished it on nights 6 and 7. In hindsight I should have baited from day one and fished nights 2, 4 and 6 whether I saw fish there or not. Also baiting the pole with the catapult from down the bank is the way to do it in this corner rather than spombing. Lessons learnt, again.......
Ian ‘Green Eels, Bobbins Dancin, Choke Hold, Bailey Wah’ Bailey is one of Sales team and a silent assassin/terminator of an angler. He drew The Stink and immediately went out to 28 wraps to the big tree; the area the bailiffs advised. Like myself in Big S, he watched the water a lot and is a very switched on angler. He too was frustrated with the lack of activity on our side, so all we could do was wait. His rigs and approach remained the same all week, anglers with this many big fish under their belts do not change much as they know when it’s not happening the fish are just not there. On Thursday night he got his chance just when I got mine as the fish moved over for the first time. If you’re going to get one bite then why not make it a big’un like Bails! Pimple Tail was his reward at 64lbs. Get in your net sir! He went on to land a 25lb stockie later on in the week.
Jon ‘The Diplomat/Nicest Man on Earth’ Sissons came out early and chose almost everyone’s top choice; Alamo. It’s a swim that commands lots of water in the centre of the lake and most importantly did 15 bites the week before when regular, Danny Armitage and Fishery Manager, Andy Savage doubled up (two bivvies in case you were wondering). Jon will not mind me saying he struggled for the first two days. A 4-hour delay at the Tunnel on Saturday gave everyone very little time to get set up before dark and so Jon only managed to get a small amount of his Baitworks boilies out to the 28 wrap spot at the big tree left of Beach. A massive South Westerly wind battered the swim for the next 24 hours, so Jon completed his first two nights pretty much fishing single hook baits. There are so many big fish in Gigantica now that in these central swims at this time of year, anything less than 6kg of bait is like fishing singles! There just isn’t enough to get them interested. When the wind turned North Easterly on Monday, Jon set about his business and started to fish with more conviction. Once the bait was in the right spot (clipping the Spomb up at 27.25 wraps to take account for the rigs swing back in 22 feet of water) the runs started and he had a double take resulting in Moroccan Sunset (named after Ginger Arris years ago) at an all-time high of 29lbs 8oz. What a scaly stunner that is. This was quickly followed by Danish Bacon, also at an all-time high of 68lbs!!!!!!! This fish was mega impressive and is set to break into the 70lb barrier very soon.
Jon remained consistent for the rest of the week and when they arrived on him, he caught. He finished with five fish adding The Snags Linear at 52lbs, a brand new common he has called The Replicant at 39lbs 12oz and The Box Common at 46lbs on the last night.
Jon fished 8” Dark Matter braid or Combi rigs with size 4 Wide Gape B Kamakura hooks with silicone on the shank and a Kicker on the eye to land 100% of what he hooked. As always, an anti-tangle sleeve, Dark Matter tubing and a running lead clip completed the set up to form a very simple but efficient tangle free rig which is all you need to succeed on Gigantica. His hook baits were either match the hatch Royal Marine snowmen or one with a Scent from Hell topper. Good skills Jonnnnnnnn.
Carlos ‘Fandango’ Hoyle came out one before me in the draw and picked the last open water swim available, the P45 was burning a hole in my pocket but I managed to restrain myself! In all seriousness, Carl is a top salesman for us in the North West and after starting a few years ago has become a valued and respected member of the team. He can hit the ranges required and was sure to get some from Oblivion.
The late start, a spod rod malfunction and the massive winds also hampered Carl’s approach for the first 48hrs and like Jon next door he only really got his act together from Monday onwards. Following on from the angler the week before, Carl went out to 28 wraps at the big tree fishing slightly right but still miles from Jon in Alamo. His bites were all in daylight with late afternoon being king. He expertly baited and re-did his rods really early so the swim was quiet for bite time and it worked a treat. Equal top rod he landed 6 fish from 7 bites and almost had our scaly monsters eating from the palm of his very small hands.......
He started with the mighty Horseshoe at 45lbs 8oz. What a carp that is!! He then followed that with a squeaky clean 22lb stockie common which, like the others, has almost trebled in weight in its first year in the main lake. His third bite that afternoon also felt like a stockie but fell off after a weird battle. Often these new fish don’t know what to do when hooked and the bites and fights can be weird.
Later in the week he braced Makers Mark at 47lbs and Wodka at 44lbs and finished his haul with one he really, really wanted; The Cheese at 46lbs+! Not bad work if you can get it Carlos!
Carl fished IQ D-rigs with Size 4 Wide Gape B Kamakura hooks with a little shrink on the eye to help it flip over. Leads were fished semi-fixed on Hybrid lead clips with a silicone sleeve to help the hook link kick away in flight and Dark Matter tubing to complete the tangle free set up.
All his bites came on our exclusive White Fyber wafters fished over 4-8kg of mixed Mainline ISO Sweet, Cell and Fyber with a small amount of maize for good measure. I cannot stress how important it is to bait up at the right time of day. If you bait up to close to bite time or worse still, at bite time, you can easily blank for the week as you consistently scare the fish off your spots at the only time of day they are coming in for a feed. Heed the bailiff’s advice and bait up when they advise, and I promise you it will make a huge difference. Also re-casting after a fish is a no-no if you have three on a spot. No one, myself included, gets it back out there first time every time and 4 or 5 casts to slot the middle rod between the other two is enough to spook the fish away for another 24 hours so leave the other two fishing and when they have all (hopefully!) rattled off, re-bait then re-cast all three and you’ll make the most of your week.
And finally, Rob ‘Rain Man of Carp Identification’ Willingham (he knows what ones they are 3 feet down in the gloom just by watching them on someone else’s crappy phone video!). Rob had a very challenging week after two firsts and a second in the draws in previous years where he got on Co’s time after time. He came out 12th and ended up in Big Girls. It’s fair to say Rob went to a ‘Dark place’ during the week and the whole team commend him for acknowledging his shortcomings and setting the record straight with a beer and a chat!
Big Girls was not kind to him and he moved into Alcatraz for the last night as Gino had to leave early so he could make his 40th Birthday party. Congrats Gino! Rob intelligently went in on Gino’s spot at 27.5 wraps at Stink, baiting with just 3kg of Link boilies as it was the last night and he just wanted one bite to save the blank. His chance came at 10pm and unfortunately it fell off just feet from the net! I cannot imagine how he felt. Then, after not re-casting that rod, a second chance came at midnight when his right-hand rod pulled up tight. This time the carp gods smiled on him and after a tense battle, he landed one of his targets; The Virgin Common at 55lbs 8oz. This was a very fitting reward for a week that was quite frankly the making of Rob. His humility at the end was infectious and for me was the epitome of the spirit of the event. I know there is not another company with such a tight bond of people who share the same strong values.
For me it is and will continue to be the highlight of my angling year and I am sure I speak for all concerned when I say we cannot wait to get back!
Last year we had a total of four fish, this year we had five over 60lb! Roll on 2019.........