Rob and Simon fish the UK Carp Championships – Darenth Big Lake – Semi Final
I would like to take you through the weekend of the 28th-30th of July and how Simon and I came across A2 Baits and the results.
After lots of persuading from Simon, we entered the UK Carp Championships this year. Our aim was to see how far we can get and we are both truly grateful and if not amazed that we are in the final on our first year of competing.
Information Gathering & Match Prep
We have had help from a friend of ours along the way via Facebook messenger as he has a lot of experience and also knows a lot of other carp fisherman. He gave us lots of tips when we fished Brasenose 2 to qualify but did not know about Darenth. However he knew someone who did! His name is Chris and the first and best tip was get on the A2. He suggested that we purchase either Banoffee or Creamy toffee. We purchased both in 14mm and 18mm together with 70/30 wafters, Banoffee wafters and Creamy Toffee pop ups. We ordered 20KG in total. This is something we had never done before. Never had we purchased a large amount of bait without even looking, smelling or in Simons case tasting them.
The morning of the match
We arrived at the lake at 07:00 and had a good look round. We had paper maps that we wrote our choice of pegs on, one through to eleven. We chose number seven which were two pegs called Slope and Stump. We chose it for a number of reasons; We decided that it was a very easy casting distance, we saw a couple of fish crash out and just generally had a good feeling about it.
We came out 8th in the draw and to our amazement our number one choice was still available. The other anglers opted for pegs further down in the open water spot as fish were showing and the wind was blowing down that way. However we had a good feeling about peg seven. I opted for Slope and Simon for Stump.
We set up and were allowed to start putting bait out and marking at 11am with rods out at noon. I found a spot on the island and a spot to my right hand margin (indicated below). Simon found two spots on the island. I put quite a bit of bait out – about a kilo on each spot which included a mixture of all the boilie flavours and sizes. When I spoke with Chris he told me I had out too much out …. ooops. Never the less noon came and the rods went out on to the spots. The island spot had a 70/30 Creamy Toffee white wafter and a stick mix bag which was made from A2 boilies and some groundbait. The margin spot had a snowman set up 18mm Banoffee bottom bait and a Creamy toffee pop up with a stick mix bag.
The first fish of the match
Simon came over to my peg for a chat and a cuppa at about 14:30 this is after he had landed 3 bream & changed his gap between his hook and bait to an inch. After it was made we sat on the peg wall Simon was sat on the left looking over my rods and I was on the right behind my bivvy. At about 15:00 Simon out of nowhere started shouting ‘Your Rod Your Rod’ as he ran over to it and struck into a fish. Muggings here had forgot to turn the bite alarm on #Schoolboyerror. Simon passed the rod to me and grabbed the net. The fish that was caught from the island spot came in with no problems although it was a feisty one. It weighed in at 30lb 10oz. This was a great start, we knew that only a few fish were needed to qualify so we were buzzing.
Into the first night
Not much happened during the rest of the day but with a belly full of rustlers burgers and enough tea to sink the Titanic we decided to call it a night as it got dark. The next thing I know my alarm screamed into life at 3am. I flung myself out of bed and struck into a fish. In the commotion I forgot to put my shoes on and when I reached for my head torch (usually round my neck) it had vanished. Only to be found later about 4 meters behind my bivvy. It didn’t take long until the fight was over and the fish was in our net. I turned around to grab my phone in the bivvy and wacked my toes on the fully stabilised back bank stick and was nearly passed out with the pain. I made the phone call and it weighed in at 25lb 9oz – Common with a slight tinge of a Ghost.
The third fish
The third fish came at 15:30 on the Saturday afternoon. I was having a nice nap in my bivvy when I heard an excided Simon shouting at me…. ‘Rob I got one on…. Rob RRRROOOOOBBBBB’. I jumped up and whizzed round to Simons peg and grabbed the net. Unfortunately at this point the fish had swam into the snag on Simons right hand side. We thought it was really snagged however when it came up to the surface we realised that it was not caught on anything and it was just sitting there. We held it there and tried to free it from the bank but it was just was not moving. After about 15 minutes it kicked, freed itself from the branch and Simon aimed it at the awaiting net. In it went. We were both buzzing once more with the fish weighing 30lb 3oz caught on a snowman with a Banoffee bottom and a Creamy toffee pop up. We both agreed that whatever happened a 30lb carp each was very special and if we didn’t qualify then never mind as it had been a great weekends fishing so far. The photo was great as well with Simon looking like Blakey from on the busses.
The one that got away
Unfortunately we had no more bites that afternoon or night. At first light Simon had a run. It took him straight into the snag and bumped the hook out. I wasn’t awake at this point but I could imagine he woke a few people up with some colourful language. When I arose from my slumber at about 6:30 I made a cuppa and took him some hot water. He looked like someone had pushed him in and nicked all of his gear. He was not a happy bunny. Topped with finding out someone had landed a 40lb mirror during the night it took him a long time to calm down. By mid morning we had worn a hole in the bank pacing and wondering if anyone else had caught up with us. At 10:30 I went for a chill out in the bivvy and tried to imagine us lifting the trophy (maybe just maybe!)
The final fish
The final fish came at 11:15 with a half baked run. It came straight out of the snag and stopped dead with its tail up in the air. It would not budge. I had the fish on for about 15 minutes walking up and down the bank. After a while I tightened up on it, in one last attempt to free it when out it came. It swam straight towards the snag on the left hand side of my peg, but with some gentle persuading it came out and went into the net just in the nick of time. As soon as it was weighed (25lb 14oz) the hooter went and we finished in first place. This fish was also caught at the beginning of the match by the gents who ended up second. It had put on 2oz. Obviously enjoying eating A2 baits.
After using A2 baits I must say that the quality is great and price is fantastic value for money. We will be using A2 again and will certainly be taking a few kilos to the final at Farlows lake. The customer service was excellent with a quick response, The bait was delivered on time and when promised. I will be recommending this company to others and I will be using the bait from now on at my syndicate lake.
Rob Jones & Simon Perry