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Surface Fishing at Farlows

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Throughout the whole of the winter and early spring I have been begging for some warmer weather. Finally it’s come along and Carl and I feel like we’ve made the most of it!

Farlows Surface Fishing – Alex

The main reason for heading up to Farlows for the new Eric’s angling shop grand opening and we were kindly invited as guests for three days. We have fished Farlows in the past but it’s annoyingly never been surface fishing conditions but we were pleased to see the forecast showing sun all weekend! It was on, time to catch a Farlows carp off the surface… well that was the plan!

The weekend came and when we arrived at Farlows the bright, warm sun had brought pretty much every carp in the lake to the surface layers and as we walked around we saw so many big carp. In particular we found a large group of fish in a reedy channel between a couple of bays and soon had the odd fish taking mixers. Carl was on it in an instant and quickly tied a free-lining set up and simply side hooked a fake mixer so that most the hook was still showing. It took a while to get the fish competing but Carl did manage three fish in the few hours we spent in the reedy channel.

One was a low 20lb dark as you like common and the other two were mirrors but all were big, beautiful carp, one being a near 30lb heavily scaled mirror. Exactly what we came for and Carl was chuffed to get off the mark so quickly. I however didn’t manage a single bite, I believe this was because I opted for a controller float on the line and it wasn’t needed as it was only a very short cast and I would spook the fish away from my bait every cast unlike free lining where it is possible to cast with minimal disturbance.

That evening the fish moved out of the shallows and so did we, round to some deeper water in peg 61 where there was still a couple of fish cruising on the surface. After getting a couple of rigs presented on the bottom with boilies, I catapulted some mixers out by the islands to the right and soon had a couple taking confidently. I kept the bait going in little and often until more and more fish gathered to join in the feed. I cast my controller float out around 40 yard in between a gap in the islands and ten minutes later I had a beautiful big common in the net!

The next day we had a couple more from lake 1, but because some of the swims were being closed for the open day we moved over to lake 2 where we got the fish feeding really confidently. We fished a number of different swims, mainly the weedy areas of the lake where the fish liked sunbathing and over the next two days we landed a total of 15 more carp, mostly scaly mirrors with the odd common mixed in. Alan Blair from Nash even turned up for the open day and was desperate to catch a carp. He asked us where would be his best chance of a bite off the top. We walked round to a weedy bay on lake two and it didn’t take Alan long to hook and land a low double mirror. He was over the moon to catch his first ever Farlows carp.
Every take we had was awesome, watching the fish swim up to the hook bait, slurp the pop up in and then the float whips across the surface, nothing better and we loved every minute of it. Even better, all the fish were caught using cheap Tesco mixers as feed and a trimmed down TG-Active pop up as the hook-bait. A simple, cheap way to fish, and proper exiting! After that session we felt the need to make the most of the warm weather and get back to Farlows.

The next trip was just a day session but we still managed to get a few fish feeding on lake 1. We were in peg 7 next to a large weed bed where the fish obviously felt very safe. We kept a constant drift of mixers going over the fish next to the weed bed in hope to draw the fish away from their safe sanctuary of the weed. Carl and I landed two fish that day, again both 20lb+ scaly mirrors that fought like trains. We were amazed at the average size and quality of fish at Farlows, which not many other places can beat. I would defiantly recommend a session there if you want to have some great surface action, just pick your day carefully when the wind is light the sun is out! Good luck!

Spinning and light jigging – Carl 

Alex and I have been massively inspired lately after watching some YouTube videos the other day. Normally we view the carp and coarse fishing videos but recently we have found a group of American YouTubers who make loads of regular blogs about their bass fishing adventures. They predominately use lures and spinners to catch bass and watching the hook sets and bites they get when the bass grabs the lure made me desperate to head over the the USA and get bass fishing! Maybe one day, but for now I’ll stay in England as we’ve got perch and pike to catch!

Alex and I are relatively new to lure fishing, we’ve done the odd bit here and there but when we walked into the tackle shop to buy some kit we were quite amazed by the choice of lures and spinners available. We decided to keep it simple and cheap as the likelihood is that Alex would cast in a tree first cast! We bought some mepps spinners as we usually do well on these and also grabbed some jig heads and rubber shads so that we had a few different options.

We’ve had a few trips out in the last couple of weeks to both of our local Reservoirs, Ardingly and Weirwood. The perch thrive in these waters as they are never short for food, especially now the fry from most species have hatched. The lure fishing we have done on Weirwood has been in the evenings during our carp fishing sessions.

Weirdly though we hardly ever get bites whilst the sun is out but as soon as it dips below the horizon the perch and pike seem to switch on. It must be something to do with light levels and when the predators feel confident feeding, but we managed some great action with the ultralight rods. The perch seemed to move in shoals and when they started chasing the fry it was bite a chuck.

The perch and indeed the pike really grabbed the spinners and jigs with so much confidence giving good hook holds and we rarely lost fish. Apart from one perch that I hooked on a jig as I twitched it over the marginal weed. We both saw as it came up and snatched the jig before diving back into the deeper water. This was a giant, I knew is was over my PB of 3lb as when it touched the surface the length and thickness of its body was like nothing else we have landed before. But you guessed it, one last head shake before entering the landing net saw the hook fly back out the fishes mouth and into a bush behind! Gutted was an understatement, but we kept at it and later that evening I landed a good 2lb stripy! It still didn’t make up for the lost giant but there’s always the next session!

Ardingly reservoir is notably deeper and the fishing was different as well. We started fishing around 2o’clock in the afternoon whilst the sun was still bright and we had some instant bites, in fact most of the weedy margins we came across we noticed loads of fry scattering and that confirmed there were perch hunting below. You just knew that if you got a cast through the middle of the shoal of fry a bite was almost guaranteed. We mostly caught small fish that day but after the rain at around 6pm the fishing died, but we would be back soon for another go!
Lure fishing is exiting and keeps you active, watching, walking and casting constantly. I think that when I’m next out teaching a friend to fish I might leave out the bolt rigging for carp and indeed the float fishing with maggots and set them up with a lure rod. It can be extremely cheap and simple, super exiting and even better there’s no smelly bait involved!

Alex and I will no doubt be back at Weirwood after that monster perch soon!


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