Fully Qualified National Federation of Anglers Coach

A Quick Catch Up

Well its been a little while since my last blog, I’ve been flat out with running our fish farm over the winter. The coaching has been going really well so far this year and I will be getting out loads in the coming 6 weeks. I am currently pretty much fully booked until August with more bookings coming in each week so get in touch if you would like to come on a tutorial.




Andy Fincham (above) came out with me for a couple of days a little while back as he was just getting into carp fishing. We covered a range of methods and managed to catch a few on solid bags.




Mr Thickpenny (above) is a keen coarse angler and wanted to brush up on his waggler fishing as he mainly used a pole or feeder rod. His wife booked and tutorial for his birthday and despite freezing conditions and snow he had a session to remember! Fishing single maggot on a size 20 hook with a constant trickle of maggots he manage around 70lbs of bream and carp! He improved his waggler technique a huge amount and really got the hang of the feeding. I vital factor for the type of fishing.




Now the weather is finally getting warmer we have managed to get out and do some floater fishing. A method that is very popular with many of my clients and one that a lot of people neglect. This was one of several fish caught off the surface on new Tails Up floater pellets. If you’d like to brush up on you floater fishing why not get in touch and book a tailored tutorial.


Best fishes,


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!





King of the Carp Lake!

When I first met Chris Walker a little over a year ago her had just got into carp angling and had not really caught a carp of over a few pounds, following his first tutorial with me it now stands at 28lbs! He achieved this by applying the simply techniques learnt and combined them with a little hard work. Chris wanted to brush up on a few things and learn some new techniques that he hadn’t tried before so he recently booked another tutorial with me on the Carp Lake at Manor Farm.

We met on Sunday afternoon and after a walk around the lake we soon found a few fish showing over the far side behind the island. Chris got two solid PVA bags quickly cast out that I had tied up in advance which meant we were fishing very quickly. As we unloaded our barrows the spool on one of the rods laid on the floor started churning and Chris pulled into his first fish of the session!

Once the fish was put back we went about brushing up on the use of a marker float and found a nice silt spot which we planned to introduce some boilies to for the night. Chris wanted to learn some techniques he could use in France next year so we went through a favourite pop up rig of mine called the multi rig. This was soon sailing out to the silty area with a wide spread of 15mm Dynamite Spicy Tuna and Sweet Chilly boilies. The other rod was left with the solid PVA bag that had already done a fish.

Later that evening the solid bag cast to the showing fish produced several more fish and it wasn’t until first light that the boilie rod signalled a carp had fallen to the multi rig. This turned out to be the biggest fish of the session, a lovely upper double common.

We spent the rest of the day practicing various different rigs and one particular that Chris said he wanted to cover was the Zig Rig. We went about tying some up and got one cast out mid depth and went about getting a sloppy spod mix prepared to spod over the top. We persevered for the rest of the day but had no success despite changing depths and regular spodding. It was still good for Chris to go through the process and learn this very successful method to try another day when the conditions were better.

Chris finished up with 6 fish while others on the lake were struggling and practiced a variety of methods, but most of all he learnt some new techniques that I’m sure he’ll put to good use in the future.

Best Fishes,


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