Fully Qualified National Federation of Anglers Coach

Winters Surface Success!

After a break from carp fishing for a few years Chris Dykes decided to get back into the sport and what better way to get off to the right start then to book a tutorial with me on Manor Farm Fishery, Bedfordhsire.

Chris requested that we fish on Winters Lake which is generally regarded as the hardest lake on the complex but with a good head large fish the rewards are certainly there if you have success. I arrived at the fishery the evening before Chris was due to arrive to ensure I got a good idea of where the fish were and to get a bit of well deserved fishing in myself!

I had a good walk around and found a good number of fish in the first bay I came to all cruising around the surface and looking well up for a floater! I got some Dynamite Expander pellets  out straight away using the 6mm and 11mm version to get the fish feeding well. It wasn’t long before the fish started feeding and after 15 minutes they were taking confidently all over the bay. The birdlife was showing equal interest in the floating pellets and by just keep piling them in I managed to feed them off and the ducks and gulls eventually left me in piece.

19lb Winters Common

I got my Fox Bolt Bubble cast out with a 4ft Zig and Floater Hooklength and size 10 SSSP and after feathering the cast I wound it back to the feeding fish sinking the Illusion Flurocarbon mainline. It wasn’t long before my hookbait was taken and resulted in a lovely 19lb Winters common. The fish kept feeding well and I managed two more before I got the bivvy set up for a good nights kip ready for the following day.

Chris arrived the following morning and we met in the car park at 8:00am, we drove round to the lake. After a good walk round and running through the sort of things to look for when trying to locate fish we decided the shoal that I had fished for the previous evening had moved on and we’d found a good few carp on the opposite side of the lake which again looked like they may well be up for a floater of two!

We got round to the swim as quickly as we could with a very important lesson learnt, always have a look round and find the fish before you start fishing. Chris was keen to run through the best was to catch carp off the surface having not really fished like that before. So after getting some floaters out we ran through the rig I use and how I fish bolt rig style which is so effective and easy to do making floater fishing a doddle.

It wasn’t long before we had some decent fish feeding confidently and got a bait cast out to them. It took a while to get our first bite but when it occurred Chris was straight into the rod and connected to a very powerful agree carp! It ploughed straight through a weedbed and shed the hook, not a good start and it seem to really spook the shoal which switched off the feed. We took this lull in activity as a chance to run through some rigs and get some bottom bait spots sorted for the evening.

We ran through casting techniques and how to use a marker float effectively to find the best spots to present a bait. There were signs of fish a bit further down the bank in a weedy bay and I suggested the best chance of a bite in the afternoon would be to head down there with the floater bucket. Chris was well up for another go having lost one earlier in the day, so we hot footed down with the floater rod and it wasn’t long before the fish were feeding on the 6mm and 11mm Dynamite expanders. We got the rig into position and within a few minutes Chris was onto the rod as a powerful carp made off with the hookbait. It buried straight into the weed and got stuck fast, Chris did well keeping steady pressure on the fish but it wasn’t to be as the hook popped out and we lost the second fish of the day!

While the was happening I had kept the floaters going in and the fish were still feeding well, so we got the rod cast straight back out and within minutes it was away again. Chris wasn’t messing about this time and he did really well to keep the fish out of any weed. After a hairy battle we bundle a lovely mirror carp into the folds if the landing net with huge relief!

24lb Mirror for Chris Dykes during his tutorial on Winter Lake

She went 24lb 8oz and what a lovely fish it was! With a carp under our belts we returned to our swim where Chris was fishing for the night. He got the rigs back onto the spots feeling the lead down on each one, an important lesson he had learnt that day. Once the rods were sorted it was time for me to head home, I wished Chris all the best and he had lots of new ideas to try after a successful day’s tuition!

If you would like a tutorial on Winters Lake or any other venue then get in touch!

Chris kindly sent me this email the following day:

Thanks James,

Thanks again had a great day, now suffering with a red nose!





A good start!

John Walsh was kindly treated to a day’s angling with me by his wife Shirley as a Christmas present. Having only been fishing once before John wanted an introduction into general coarse angling so we arrange a day in late June to get over to Manor Farm, Bedfordshire.

We fished on the canal lake which is very well stocked with bream, carp and roach making it the ideal venue. The weather on the day was unusually dry and the fish were feeding well, we began the day by fishing the waggler while feeding pellets and corn. John got off to a good start with his first bite producing a bream of a few pounds. We went through casting techniques and how to play fish correctly as well as the basic waggler set up. John continued to catch a range of species through the first part of the day and soon got the hang of casting, baiting up and then playing and unhooking his fish.

As the afternoon approached we then switched to a different tactic and had special permission to fish a feeder in order to give John experience of a variety of methods. We discussed groundbaits and soon set up a simple method feeder rig with corn on the hook.

Not long after John cast this out the tip wrapped round and he was into a decent carp and what turned out to be the biggest of the day (pictured). This was followed by several bream and carp and John really got to grips with this new technique. We finished a really good day with a nice bag of fish and John learnt some basic techniques he can take away and use in future when he comes back.



I emailed some catch shots over the following day and Shirley very kindly sent this reply.


Hi James

Brilliant pictures; thanks for sending them.  John had a really good day he said to say thank you for making it so enjoyable.  John also said to say good luck for the future.

Thank you again.

Best regards