The success is in the capture not the size (carp article, entry 468)

If you look at the Birmingham Anglers Association (BAA) website you will notice a few photographs on the home page. One of them, with the title ‘Starting young’ is of my daughter Miriam, posing with a carp .She is 18 now and the shot was taken by yours truly about 10 years ago at Nordley number three pool on the BAA ticket.


She doesn’t fish now but when she was younger she was really into it. In fact she would come night fishing with me and I can remember her first fish, which was a rudd. I have some other photos of her fishing which will be for another time. As well as my ongoing fishing sessions I like to weave other stuff in there as well.

Miriam with her Nordley carp

And that opening couple of paragraphs leads nicely into my angling adventures this week, which were focused on carp. My first outing was an evening on the Staffs/Worcs Canal and with a good walk I was surprised to find another angler on the stretch.

If you follow my writings on a regular basis you will know that I netted a fancy fish recently (which appeared in the BAA May newsletter by the way), well it was to this area I returned. And I thought it was really funny when the other angler shouted across to me on arrival, ‘You’ll never guess what I’ve just caught’!

M1 boilies dipped and ready for action

Well he had more than me, as my short 3.5 hour outing didn’t produce any excitement at all. I fished M1  pop-up on one rod and bottom on the other. You can tell what dip I was using by my hands! But as I was pioneering a blank isn’t exactly a negative thing. The reality is you can only catch what is in front of you and if there are no carp there then even the best angler in the world, with all the latest gear and bait, will blank.

A quality dip that leaves its mark

But as I love the challenge of seeking out new areas and fishing them, it’s never a problem, because when it does come together the sense of achievement pushes the fish-less sessions into oblivion. For this sort of fishing you need confidence but you also have to be realistic as well. The former without the balance of the latter will lead to frustration.

Always keen to include nature in my article, I had no fish but look at the size of the butterbur leaf. When you consider I have pretty big hands as it is the proportion of the leaf is amazing. I come across several colonies during the course of my spring and summer fishing year. The flower gets its name by the way from the days when butter was wrapped in its leaves.

You could definitely wrap your butter in that!

Like so much of our wildlife its name comes from a practical descriptive term. For other examples think blackbird, long tailed tit, marsh marigold, bluebell, water vole, wood mouse etc. And no doubt you can come up with many more yourself.

My second visit to the canal was again a short late evening affair. This time I encountered no-one at all other than a lady who appeared from around the corner making a choking noise. I wondered what was going on before I saw her, but that was made clear when she told me she had swallowed a fly and apologised if she has scared the fish away!

Well that’s a good excuse for my blank, certainly a novel one. Beats the usual foreign poachers, cormorants and otters! And on the subject of the latter I did see an American mink on the far bank at dusk. But sadly no fish. With my next two journey to the canal coming in the same day, one at dawn and the other at dusk, surely I was going to get something this time?

Rig and bait – all ready for action

Well, although you won’t catch if you’re not there, just because you are doesn’t guarantee that you will either. In other words I blanked twice! But bear in mind my comments about being realistic. The carp population in regards to the sections I was fishing can definitely be described as needles in haystacks. I did switch bait for these two outings though as I have caught a carp there before on sweetcorn.

Although I wasn’t using corn, I was fishing with something better in my opinion, the corn shaped boilie from SBS. I had three popped-up grains on the one rod and a giant corn broken in two on the other as a bottom bait. Apart from the bait, and the size 4 hook on the three grains, everything else was the same. Sufix Synergy mainline, Korda Supernatural hook length and 2oz leads fixed between beads and held in place with a power gum stop knot. The hook in the photo by the way is a size 7 Korda Kurv Shank.

It was the pop-up rig that did the business for me as I landed my first canal carp of the year on session five. With such a warm night in prospect, plus the fact I had cleared some time, I decided to do an overnighter. It was a long walk, and while my Nash Wide Boy is a great bedchair, it’s built really to be transported on a trolley. But with space at a premium I did the journey with everything either on my back, over my shoulder or under my arm. It’s a good job I’m reasonably fit as the walk one way was about a kilometer.

I baited up with standard corn flavoured with SBS tutti frutti flavoured corn steep liquor groundbait mixer. I cast a few pouches of bait over an area the size of a living room. I didn’t want a tight spot of bait as the density of carp is so low that if one came past I wanted to attract its attention, get it feeding and keep it in the swim. And that’s exactly what happened, but about 4.00am the next morning.

A canal carp and I’m a happy bunny

A screaming run and I knew straight away what it was, especially when I lifted into the fish. As you can see  it’s not massive, but as the title declares, in this type of fishing being successful isn’t about the size of the fish you catch, it’s just about catching one in the first place. I was really buzzing, especially after four blanks. My next session though wasn’t to the canal but to a pool. I only had a daytime fishing slot available, and so with the canal busier now with boats, I fished a vessel-free water.


Another shot of the carp from the cut


In fact, inspired by my daughter’s photo on the BAA site I decided to fish Nordley myself. With a beautiful day in prospect I took my bedchair and crashed out on the bank while the rods did the fishing. I used the same rigs as before, with the 3 corn shaped boilies on the one and 2xM2 pop-ups on the other. I catapulted a few pouches of corn in the one area about 3 lengths out and a few loose boilies over the other, in the margins next to an overhanging bush.

Inspired to try Nordley for myself

My first run came to the M2 rod but I ended up losing the fish. Disappointed but accepting these things happen from time to time I recast. Within ten minutes I had another run and another lost fish. I wasn’t doing very well. In fact I tweeted I was fishing like a man in a blindfold. When my third screamer had me on the rod, this time the popped-up corn, I was sincerely hoping it wasn’t going to be a Groundhog Day experience. And although it wasn’t a big fish it was very welcome indeed.

Not a big fish – but they all count!

And that was that, no more action. I noticed a field of rape behind me so that concludes the shots for the article. Although a cultivated plant the bright yellow fields bring a splash of brilliant colour to the British countryside at this time of the year. And with the evening sun on them they look even more magnificent. I’ve mentioned twitter and I do tweet from the water’s edge so here’s my account if you want to follow me.

A splash of brilliant colour

 My Angling Journal is updated every Saturday with an article and you can check that out here. And here’s the June video, which was filmed on Anglesey, so as well as photos from the previous month’s expeditions there is some wrasse fishing off the rocks. See you soon and tight lines! And regarding the BAA site, you can find it here. And finally, I’ve changed the format around this week, with the photos being included in the article as opposed to a gallery at the top. Let me know what you think.  And you can still click each image to enlarge, as before. (article published June 30 2012)


    1. Didn’t get to the canal… 3am Monday morning was gusty and wet… waited watching fishing videos until 4:30 and was not improving – so went back to bed.

      Was on the Teme yesterday though with my best mate and angling buddy of yore – although first time we’ve fished together in 25+ years! He didn’t actually fish but acted as my guide for the day. Fished 3 swims – all very fishy looking. A few chub knocks, 2 reasonable pulls but no connections unfortunately. Still, a beautiful place, on a beautiful day, with the most excellent of company – so if you’re to blank that’s the way it should be I reckon :)

      And as Arnie said…. ‘I SHALL BE BACK!…’ :)

    1. Thanks, Stewart.
      Bit of false info I gave… we fished Nordley 4 not 3 the other day thinking about it. We did walk up to 3 and halfway across the dividing wall between 3 and 4 to have a look before we started fishing and on the way back over the bridge across the channel conecting the 2 pools there was a decent carp (reckon in mid-teens) just lying there. A very pale colour, actually looked pale gold… and then it slowly swam out into pool 4.. which probably decided our pool to fish :)

      So off to Staffs/Worcs tomorrow (4am)….
      Severn still slightly dropping – might head there later in week – or if rises again then will be one of the pools, I think.

      Hoping you get bent sticks and singing string during your endeavours this week, too!


  1. Hi, Stewart,

    1. I prefer the new format with the pics within the text – puts all the info together and so both the pic and relevant text fall together and makes assimilation easier.

    2. I seem to follow you around a lot – albeit I’m not stalking you! Fish the Staffs/Worcs quite a bit myself – and this week Liz and I fished Nordley Pool 3 on the Tuesday… Guess not the same day as you as you describe your day as ‘beautiful’ but ours was quite wet… Blanked myself but Liz had an 8lb 6oz common carp. Probably have an early morning session on the S/W this coming Mon or Tues – may stay a bit later than usual and fish far bank with a back lead dropped on the nearside to let the boats go over the line – or may even take fly rod out for some perch on there, quite fancy that actually. Later in week, probably head out to a pool.

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