Posted by Aqua Products Wednesday 18th January, 2017
James Armstrong - My 2016

Welcome to my first blog. My writing is going to cover many aspects; whether that be my personal fishing, tips for the time of year, insights into the gear I use and some other interesting bits and pieces.


MY 2016

Reflecting on 2016, it has been a year of ups and downs…but mostly ups! During the spring I was on the hunt for a mystical mirror. I had been told this huge, boxy, scaly mirror resided in the snaggy, 60 acre pit. I thought I knew what the lake held, having bobbed about in my little wooden boat and viewed the majority of the residents several times the previous summer.  I would always stumble across the same old faces, but little did I know that there was another special one eluding me. I was talked into staying by my good friend Jim Wilson. He had seen this fish several times and persuaded me to stay on and at least give it a few more months. My fear was…one – he had just seen one that I had caught before and two – I would repeat on some of the others which I really don’t enjoy doing as I want someone else to have the pleasure of catching them, or leave them be. Anyway, I had putting a lot of effort in during March, both baiting up and fishing. I caught a couple on my first trip but it was at the beginning of April that it all happened – a moment that I will cherish forever. The middle rod pulled up tight. It was a slow, forceful take. The line twanged out of the clip and the ultra-tight clutch started to tick. I lifted into a powerful specimen and immediately it was a stalemate. I wasn’t gaining any line and she wasn’t taking any. It remained like this for 15 seconds or so, before she slowly surged out into the abyss. Back winding slowly forced me to hop into the boat. Out in open water were a lot of sub-surface snags and letting them have to much line generally means trouble. I popped on the lifejacket and slowly reeled myself out to the hooked fish. It was a magical feeling. The lake was flat calm, you could hear a pin drop. I felt so small. Just 60 acres of huge water and there was Barley (my dog) and I, sitting in a rickety little wooden boat, being towed around by a specimen. The battle seemed to last an eternity, but eventually I slipped the net under what at first I thought was a beast of a common. I flicked on the head torch, peered into the mesh, and a ginormous, scaly, mirror lay before me. Wow! It was her, the one Jim had been describing. At over 46lb she is a warrior that I will always remember. I tempted the specimen on my trusty Pacific Tuna White hook baits over matching Tuna offerings.



With winter just around the corner, and the first few frosts whitening the lush, green grass, it was about time that I started to prepare for the cold. I do a few things to get myself sorted. First of all, you MUST keep warm. It sounds obvious, but I’ve got friends who are particularly useless at this and the amount of times they’re sitting there shivering while I am toasty is obscene. Get yourself a good pair of boots! They don’t have to be the most expensive in the world but get yourself a nice, Neoprene lined boot and wear it with the right pair of socks. Take a look at some Muck Boots or Le Chameau’s and combine them with Seal Skinz. You won’t be disappointed and you will enjoy your fishing so much more. A good bag and cover. This is paramount! I use the Atexx 5 sleeping bag. It is very roomy, my dog sleeps in it also, and the thick, fleece lining retains the warmth wonderfully. I couple this with the Atexx Camo Cover, and you WON’T get cold, especially if you place a toasty, hot water bottle inside – home comforts hey! Always have a good, reliable stove with you to keep the tea and coffee flowing. Not only that you can warm your fingers over it, but be careful they’re not too close! I’m also a bit of a romantic and like nothing more than a couple of candles when I am fishing. For some reason, it gives me that cosy feeling and for some reason helps remove the feeling of cold and damp. A pitch black evening with a few nice candles and a book, whilst under the Compact is bliss for me, of course with the rods out, I don’t just camp in my garden haha!



I tend to fish higher stocked waters in the winter. Whatever anyone says, cold-water carping is tricky at times. If you’re planning a winter campaign the first key is to keep the bait trickling in. You don’t have to introduce loads, but keep small amounts going in regular. Keep the fish moving, keep them feeding and their metabolism high. Doing so, can encourage them to keep on eating. Make sure you know your baits! Use a boilie that is low in oil, easily digestible and highly soluble. This is KEY! Stay away from heavy, oily contents. I tend to use baits such as Pacific Tuna or Live System – both very low in oil and yes Tuna is a fishmeal but it’s extremely low in oil and therefore a fantastic winter option. I like to add a few liquid attractors to them, Amino Blend 365 and Roasted Nut Extract are both superb winter options. Don’t disregard other baits either. Sweetcorn and naturals such as maggots are amazing winter baits!


Most of all, winter time is still a very enjoyable season to be carp fishing. Don’t sit there and mope around because it’s cold. If you get it right you can have some wonderful results, and get that magical snow shot!

If you’re struggling, why not go to a few runs waters to get a bend in the rod. Whatever you decide on, enjoy it. Tight lines!


James Armstrong


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