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November 15, 2007

A weekend at Welli

Anyone who is a keen carp angler would know that Wellington Country park is the UK mecca for catching very large carp. The opportunities to fish at Welli are as rare as winning the National Lottery! So when Trevor (Affectionately known as TT) offered me a 36 hour session with him I jumped at the chance.

For those of you who do not know about the venue it’s about 20 acres in size situated in lovely quiet countryside about 4 miles outside Reading. The average depth is around 4.5 feet with the water being very clear which promotes prolific weed growth. This water is home to many very large carp to 47Lb. Many top name anglers fish Wellington and its not uncommon to meet then when you are there.

A nice pair of Welli whackers!

Welli was featured in one of the most recent Korda DVD’s and is always in magazines without being directly named. Most days you can spot an angling celebrity fishing there.

TT and I arranged to meet at 7.00am on Saturday morning at the main gates, for me 7.00am could not come quickly enough after a sleepless night. After what seemed like an eternity TT eventually arrived and after the usual meet and greet we unlocked the gates and drove to the angler’s car park.

With just four cars in the car park we knew that the best swims would possibly be taken. Both of us loaded up the barrows and headed off to the lake with much anticipation but sure enough the better swims on the lake were already taken. TT made the decision to set up on the grassy bank area so we turned our barrows around and set about the long walk to the grass bank area of the lake. The spot we chose gave us good coverage of the water.

With three rods out each we could ambush the carp as they swam from one end of the lake to the other

The tactics
Due to the abundance of weed it was 12.30pm before I got my last rod into the water. Confident in the spots I had chosen I set about baiting up.

The left hand rod was positioned at about 60 meters out and 20 meters of the bank to my left hand side. This made baiting a simple matter of walking around the lake and catapulting boilies onto the spot.

1Kg of Dynamite boilies were catapulted onto the spot

My second rod was placed at 90 meters straight out in front, too far to reach with the catapult so out came the trusty Grey's spod rod. 20 or more casts later I had deposited another kilo of Dynamite tiger nut boilies over my hook bait.

The third rod was a roving rod and used the same rigs and bait but was set up with PVA ground bait sticks and was cast to showing fish.

Special G ground bait and crushed tiger nuts mixed with tiger nut oil made up my stick mix ingredients

Rigs were very simple - Korda side-clip systems were used to eject the leads quickly due to the weed problems. Safe zone leaders helped the side clip systems work well and pinned everything down on the lake bed.

Size 6 Kamasan Maxx Barbel hooks were tied to Suffix Camo Skin 15lb braided hook lengths.

The rigs were made up deliberately very long 13” to help bait presentation allowing the bait to settle as naturally as possible on the weedy lake bed. A long hair was used with a small Korda micro ring giving a claw rig set up.

A long length of heat shrink tube was used to give a simple kicker at the eye of the Maxx Carp hooks

The going bait on Welli is Dynamite Monster tiger nut boilies in 10mm, 15mm, 18mm and 20mm sizes both shelf life and freezer baits. To complement this I had some Dynamite 15mm pop ups and tiger nut liquid.

The fishing
For the first 24 hours the rods and bobbins sat in perfect symmetry only moving when either a weed bed drifted into the line or a coot thought it was a carp and picked up my bait. Don’t you just love coots?!

No carp yet no runs yet but we were looking good

TT was getting bored so he decided to do some swim clearance. The floating weed was a real nightmare. TT managed to create a weed mountain nearly 3 foot high and six foot long.

We were surrounded by the most beautiful country side and with the carp on a go slow we were able to fully enjoy these exquisite surroundings.

The lake had been very quiet for the preceding weeks and our session followed that slow trend. However a few carp gave us a demonstration of jumping and crashing out of the water more akin to dolphins than carp.

All too soon it was our last morning our rods had remained upon there rests and no carp had bothered us. As we lazily sat in the warming autumn sun, without warning TT left hand rod burst into life as the clutch on his Shimano Technums went into overdrive as a fit carp tried to escape.

TT jumped into action grabbing the rod as he lifted into a powerful carp, his Free Spirit rod took on a full and healthy curve

Our expectations were very high could this be a 30 or maybe one of the lakes many 40's. The fish was skillfully played into the margins.

Due to the very shallow margins TT decided to net the fish himself

The carp was soon being looked after on TT's very old but strangely hardly used unhooking mat

TT manged to hold the lovely common up for the cameras before letting him back to his watery home.

TT assures me that this is his happy look!

This superb miniature common will grow to one of Wellington country parks much larger residents in years to come

With just a couple of hours left to go before we had to start packing up our tackle it was my turn to get a screaming take from the left hand rod. I lifted the rod from the Delkim and felt a heavy fish but immediately the line went slack; I had managed to drop the fish. When I eventually reeled in the rig, the pop up bait had managed to get impaled upon the hook point, preventing the hook from catching the carp properly. Oh well maybe next time.

The session went very well. Only one fish caught but the setting, atmosphere and the company had made this for me an excellent weekend session that will remain in my thoughts for many years to come. TT learnt a whole raft of new rigs ideas and concepts and I am sure if he keeps practising he will become a very confident angler. Thanks TT for a great weekend.

Tight lines!

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