The specimen pool holds a huge head of silvers which have grown over recent years to large fish. On a very cold day at the start of March, myself (Andrew) and Sam Parker fished the specimen pool to catch these very fish. With a small wager to keep things interesting, we fished match style tactics over a 5 hour period. The fishing was surprising and large bags were caught by both of us. At the final whistle, neither of us expected to be so close in weight with such a variety of fish! Here were our tactics and lines that we fished.
Bait for the day was similar for both of us. Soaked micros and pellet would form the basis for our longer lines, and Sam opted for maggot and caster for his short line. You could say that I was at a disadvantage here as I am allergic to maggots! However, I knew that I was on a peg with quite a few carp (Peg 3, in front of the island).
Sam set up a variety of lines. His first line was at 14.5 meters. This was his main line for the initial attack, feeding micros to this line and fishing on a 4mm and 6mm expander pellet. His second line was a shallow line which he fed throughout the entire match, and an island line which he planned to fish from the off. Thinking that the carp would likely be shoaled up near the island, he set this line up at 19 meters! No feed would be put on this line initially – instead, he dobbed bread in the hope that he could hook a carp early on.
And so our match began! I kicked off by cupping in a small pot of micros on a 5 meter line and a small pot of pellet and corn onto my 13 meter line which was about a meter from the island. Sam fed his 14.5 meter line into open water, and then put on a piece of bread. He shipped out to 19 meters to dob bread. Dobbing bread is simply searching for carp by islands and letting the bread fall through the water naturally.Â Carp are less active during winter months, and this method allows you to search for carp which may be stationery & dormant. Initial bites were from silver fish with a few small roach caught. Then, the float buried and Sam had his first carp of around 2lb! I had similar early success. Bites throughout the entire day were plenty. My long line was producing a lot of bites on 4mm expanders, feeding micros, but I was not hooking a lot of fish.
A few more roach came from Sam’s long bread line, however he decided (understandably!) that it was a long way to fish for roach. Therefore, he shipped out to his 14.5 meter line and instantly found that there were a lot of silvers over his micro pellet. Throughout the next couple of hours, he put together a lot of silvers, with some skimmers of over a pound, and some roach that went up to over a pound! I was having equal luck. I was catching steadily on the pellet on my 6meter line, with regular bites and a lot of silvers. Then, the carp moved in on this line. The next 6 bites were from carp. Unfortunetly, I lost 4 carp in a row. My white hydro was light enough, but sometimes unfortunate look happens! The two carp that I did have added to my growing silvers catch. At this point, not a lot separated myself and Sam’s catch.
3 hours passed. I was definitely in the lead. I had had another 4-5 carp from my 13 meter line, and was building a good weight. Sam was also building a good weight of silvers but were not enough at this stage to be outweighing the 2 – 2.5lb carp. He had a trick up his sleeve however. He had been feeding his 5 meter line with caster for this whole time, and by now he could see the silvers swirling. Fishing only a foot deep, his first ship over to this line produced good quality roach, and they continued to come regularly for the next 2 hours. He had roach to 1.5lb, and they were caught very regularly. By the end, they were on his top kit line. By this point, he had caught many silvers. Large Rudd also graced his net on this shallow line.
Looking at the rate that Sam was catching silvers by this point, I knew I had to do something drastic in order to keep up. I decided to fish solely for the carp. I shipped out a large handful of corn onto my 13meter line and sat it out for a bite. Luckily, this tactic paid off. I managed to catch another 8 carp before the all out and the 5 hours were up. This put me on 14 carp in total and I knew that I had a double figure catch of silvers. However, neither of us could guess how many lb’s of fish Sam had caught, and so it was difficult to estimate who had won the day!
The final weigh – I secretly thought that I had comfortably won the match. With 14 carp I thought that I could not loose – that was until Sam pulled out his keepnet. He graced the scales with 48lb, 46lb of which were silvers. A fantastic net of fish for 5 hours!
It was my turn to weigh in – first, my silvers. I weighed in a total of 17lb of silvers, not to bad considering that I did not have any maggots or casters with me! They were all caught on expander pellet and feeding soaked micros.
Then, it was time to weigh in my carp. My total carp net came to 30lb, which gave me 47lb. He had beat me! His 1lb advantage meant that heÂ had won the match. It is an impressive pool and fantastic for silver fish and carp alike. We thoroughly enjoyed our day, with bites a plenty and action for the whole 5 hours! Have you got a story of a great catch from the specimen pool? We would love to hear it! Send your images and story to firstname.lastname@example.org!