Our first all-nighter – Brook Farm Fishery, Navestock – 26/27 Aug, 2017

We arrived at brook farm Fishery, Navestock at about 4pm for our first proper all nighter. Armed with our brand new bivvy and a mountain of snacks and drinks we set up by the lake. Of course it was left to me to set up our ‘camp’ for the night, while Matthew eagerly got his rods ready.


You could see the excitement and anticipation on his face when he spied an array of nice looking carp happily feeding on the top, on what was a lovely warm early summers evening. It was a pretty eventful early evening, with Matthew bagging 5 or 6 nice fish, with the largest topping just over 10 1/2lb. After collecting our pizza delivery at the farm gate and hungrily munching our way through it with a juice and a beer we settled down for the night.

Ever since he started carping he would regularly flick through the carping magazine and comment that he felt that there was something special about the catch photos taken at night. Anglers in the dark, headlamps on, being woken at silly o’clock by the faint buzz and vibration of a bite receiver. Half asleep but equally excited at the prospect of a nighttime PB.

Admittedly, I was genuinely looking forward to an early night and a good nights kip and even though Matthew settled down too it was clear he was just preparing himself was his first nighttime score. If was approx 11pm when it came. I was just dozing off when the bivvy erupted into action. Matthew sprang out of his camp bed into his sliders and was out of the door before my eyes had even opened.

An uncharacteristic whisper of ‘I’m in dad’ came moments later (Matthew doesn’t normally do whispering, hence my surprise). I listened intently from the warm comfort of my camp bed, to a combination of splashing noises, the occasional reel drag and some quiet self-encouragement, until the inevitable ‘Yes!’. That was my queue to leave my bed, grab my phone and slide on my newly purchased head torch. As I poked my head out into the dark a could see Matthew laying his landing net carefully down into his cradle. Beaming through the glare of my headlamp and phone flash we capture the moment. Nothing huge but nonetheless he finally had his first proper night catch.


I woke up at 6am the next morning to the smell of sausages. Matthew had cooked himself breakfast and had been busy since around 5:30, having already bagged a couple of early morning commons. He did manage another early morning catch just after breakfast but the rest of he morning was rather quiet.

Still, he’d achieved what he wanted to on our first overnight adventure. The new bivvy held up well and I’m sure we’re destined for many more night sessions.

NASHTACKLEUK Rochford Reservoir – Day 4

Matthew and his mate Oliver spent Wednesday at Rochford Reservoir as NashTackles hosted day 4 of free junior fishing school.

Matthew had been looking forward to this particular date for a while as he’d heard a lot of good things from the Nash guys about Rochford but more importantly he had heard that, along with Oli, Mikey, Tom and Les, Alan Blair might be attending.

It was a hard morning with very little action even though there were plenty of fish showing on the surface. As always, Matthew soon decided to leave his rod pod and armed with a stalker rod, went hunting around the far side of the lake. His perseverance paid off and early in the afternoon he landed himself a lovely little linear, with a little help from Oli Davies.


Between the two of them Matthew and Oliver managed to bag 6 fish in total. They decided against pestering Alan for the obligatory selfie. Maybe he’ll pluck up enough courage next time.



Matthew decided against joining his brother aerial tree trekking this afternoon and instead had a quick cycle around the complex and then loaded up his ‘carp trike’ and went of exploring the other side of the main lake. Centre Parcs rules state that no fishing can be done until the days water-sports activities have come to an end, at 5:30pm. At 4:30pm Matthew has already chosen his spot for his afternoons carping, on the south side of the lake and was ready set up eagerly awaiting the off.

The afternoon mostly consisting of chasing wild foul away from the bait that he was trying to temp the fish to the top with. In the end he resorted to bottom baits and soon had all three rods out in the margins. One with sweetcorn, one with scopex squid and the last with a coconut cream snowman. The last set-up seemed to be the most popular of the afternoon, with several goods runs, one which resulted in a lovely 12lb Common from close in.


So far Centre ‘Carps’ hasn’t been as prolific as we had hoped but there are still two days left to go.

Centre ‘Carps’, Elvedon – Day 1

Ever since our Centre Parcs break was booked, we were all looking forward to a relaxing week of good weather, cycling, swimming and adventure. For Matthew it meant one thing, fishing.

We’d heard on various fishing forums that the main lake had seen 20lb+ mirrors and was packed with carp and other fish. So, along with suitcases and food for a weeks stay, the car was also loaded with as much of Matthew’s gear as we could possible fit in.

We arrived at our Lodge in the afternoon and it was clear pretty quickly that a Centre Parcs bike would be insufficient for Matthews carping requirements during our weeks stay. So after a quick trip back to the bike park Matthew had found the solution, a carp trike.


Our first day was mostly spent surveying the largest of the lakes but Matthew did get an hour in at the end of the day and managed to bag a nice little common just as we were packing up for our ride back to lodge 411 for the evening.


The weeks weather looks good and the carp we saw look like possible PB beaters. More to come from our adventures at Centre ‘Carps’ to come….

NASHTACKLEUK Wrights Nursery Lake – Day 3

We attended day 3 of the NashTackle free fishing school days on Wednesday 9th Aug.

We’d been watching the various weather forecasts the previous day, all of which pointed to a pretty miserable day. Well, for once the weatherman got it right and it lashed it down almost the entire session, with only a brief rest-bite.

Most would have given up after a few hours of torrential rain, I know I was more than ready to call it a day at around 1pm but oh no, not Matthew. Come rain or shine, he will be on the bank. Nothing, short of nuclear war, could convince him it was time to head for home and into the safety of a nice warm cosy bunker (take note Trump/Jong-Un, Matthew would not be pleased).

We were advised that today’s location would be much more difficult to fish. A smaller lake, with fewer fish and plenty of snags, in the form of masses of lily pads. Matthew spent most of the day fishing on the bottom only a few rod lengths out, without success. Then a break in the weather, gave him his opportunity. Just as the rain easy and the sun made a brief appearance, he spotted a few carp starting to feed off the top. He could also hear the slurping and sucking noise of the odd fish feeding within the dense cluster of lily-pads. He shouted over to one of the Nash guys, ‘they’re feeding on the top, whos got a stalking rod I can borrow’.  Within a few minutes Matthew had moved away from our bivvy and armed with a short 6ft rod and a handful of bread was now attempting to tease one of two carp out from the safety of their watery hideout.

Careful, he cast his line and bread into the pads and ever so slowly slid his bait over the green pads until it settled, half on a pad and half in the water. It would take long before he was in. With a gulp of soggy bread and deft strike of the rod, the fish was hooked. It was a good fight, all the time the fish trying desperately to return to the safety of the lily-pads and Matthew trying equally hard to draw the fish out in the relative safety of the open water.

It was the first carp caught on the day and the first of only two caught during the whole session, so he was more than pleased.


Shortly afterwards, the skys opened again and the rain persisted until the end of the session. It didn’t stop Matthew trying for more, like I said, the imminent threat of global destruction wouldn’t stop him doing what he loves best……



Learn To Fish – Carp Academy, Advance Carping Day – 05 Aug

Watercraft, 5 and 1/2 wraps, 4ft depth, stoney bottom then weed closer in?!?!

Depth rods, marker floats, braided line, spods, spoms, spomming, understanding the type of bottom, reading a new lake and Watercraft. All these things I knew nothing about. Some words I’d never even heard of before. Watercraft was the most important word of the day and as the morning progressed I was quite amazed what Matthew and I learned about how an angler should prepare before he even starts actually fishing.

We spent the day with Steve Deare from Learn To Fish. A brilliant coach for the kids.

Matthew was given his first real lesson in Watercraft, something that, as we discovered, is so important to a fisherman’s success. Matthew was shown how to cast out with a lead and while slowly reeling back in, how to feel for different textures on the bottom. It was quiet remarkable  how you could actually feel the difference between a muddy/clay bottom or one covered in weed or the knock knock knocking down the braided line and through the rod when the lead bomb was dragged over a stoney or gravelly patch. Using this technique, Matthew was able to get a good visual representation of the lake bed and then be able to decide exactly where to fish.

Then we moved on to depth. Matthew used a depth rod with a marker float and was shown how to determine the depth of the area he had chosen to fish.

Finally, he was shown the concept of ‘wraps’ and using the reel clip. Using bank sticks to  measure out the exact distance to his chosen stoney spot and using the reel clip to ensure that every single cast Matthew made, hit the same spot on the lake. We both learned so much in the first couple of hours of the session. Some things, in retrospect, seemed obvious, other little subtle details less so but all would help improve our chances of success.

By now Matthew was chomping at the bit to actually start fishing.  He set up his two rods for the day, having measured both out to the 5 1/2 wraps needed to hit his spot and he was off.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon, Matthew netted a couple early on in the session. A lovely fully scaled mirror and then a equally impressive linear carp. The changeable weather throughout the day was also a bit of a challenge. Starting on the bottom, whilst the day was overcast and a little drizzly and then moving onto the surface, when the warm sunshine made an appearance towards the end of the afternoon. At the end of the day Matthew had bagged an impressive 6 carp, from the more difficult of the two lakes. But much more importantly, he had taken his first steps to mastering the art of Watercraft. Many thanks Steve.!




Made it into Carp-Talk Junior Round-up section for the first tme…very happy lad.!

For the last couple of months, everyone we’ve met on the bank or spoken to about Matthew and his fishing said the same thing; ‘Don’t forget to post your catch reports’.

At first we had no idea what everyone was talking about, then we discovered ‘Carp-Talk’. Ever since, every 10lb+ fish Matthew has managed to land, has been religiously posted on the Catch Report section of their site at the end of each weekend. And every Facebook or Twitter post has included the #carptalk hashtag.

For the last month or so, since we started recording Matthew’s catches, he’s been like a kid on Christmas eve on the Monday night before the weekly edition arrives on the shelves of the local newsagents every Tuesday. He’s been buying a copy and eagerly scouring the pages, in the hope of spotting his own beaming smile and latest catch staring back at him. A few weeks past but alas nothing, until this evening. It’s the school holidays and as usual Matthew has spent the entire day at his favourite lake, Tylers Common, with his friend Oliver Goodspeed in tow. He hadn’t had the time to visit Veja’s corner shop to collect his copy, so I popped in on my way home from work and picked one up. Of course I had to have a sneaky look through the junior section and to my delight, there he was. A picture of the first catch report we posted around 6 weeks ago, showing his 15lb 5oz Common caught at Puddledock Farm Fishery.

To say he was happy when he turned the page on the junior section and saw himself holding, what was, his PB was an understatement. The grin on his face said it all. He’d done it, he’d finally got himself his first Carp-Talk entry. I have a feeling it will be the first of many.

Carp-Talk Issue 1185 Smaller


Summer Holidays at Tylers Common, cont…

Coming home from work and once again I have to squeeze my way in the through the front door, as the hall way is packed out with all of Matthews gear as he prepares for tomorrow and another day at the local lake. That all too familiar smell of squid boilies and carp greet me as I slide along the hall way.

This time it’s Ollie that he’s managed to convince to spend the day (and it will be the whole day) with him at Tylers Common.

The usual conversation then ensues; “What time will you be able take me to the lake Mum, Dad?”. Tomorrow it will be Mum and she attempts to convince him that 8am will be early enough. But I’m sure it will end up being earlier, much earlier.