Category Archives: Specimen

Eleven Crucians For Matthew

Method feeder tactics produced the goods for Matthew Fernandez on his recent crucian session at Marsh Farm.


Arriving at Harris lake early in the morning he found that the weather had taken a turn for the worst. With high winds and rain, he settled into a swim on the end of the wind. Matthew then baited the marginal shelf next to some lily pads with a few balls of Sticky’s Manilla Active Mix, maggot and micro pellets before setting up, in hope to draw a few feeding fish into the swim.

Matthew opted to fish two rods, each with In-Line Method Feeders due to the high winds. His hooklink consisted of a short 3″ section of Micro Braid and a size 16 Wide Gape Specialist hook baited with a single buoyant caster.

“It was a slow start but by 5pm I’d landed eleven crucians to 3lb 1oz with the rest also nudging over the 2lb barrier.”

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Perch On The Kayak

E-Sox consultant Steve Rowley took to his kayak for a short early morning perch session and was rewarded with this stunning fish of 3lb 9oz.


Steve patrolled the margins searching for shoals of fry, once found, he then covered the area with a small Mepp’s Spinner using his 9ft E-Sox Piker Lure rod coupled with a fixed spool reel loaded with 35lb Piker Braided Reel Line, and a Spin Trace due to the amount of pike present.

“I caught a few smaller perch, and a couple of small pike before the big fish hit. What I found really interesting was, if I didn’t get a hit on the first few turns of the reel handle after the cast, I wouldn’t get a hit at all.”

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3lb Rudd Sets New Personal Best For Matthew

After wading through countless small rudd, Matthew Fernandez finally lifted into a much bigger fish which set a new personal best for the Southampton based angler.


“I arrived at the water eager to get fishing and after a lap of the lake, I dropped into a swim where I had seen rudd showing on the end of the wind. I found a clear spot at around 50 yards and introduced 10 Spombs of Sticky’s Krill Active Mix, maggot and hemp. I then fished two rods over the top with helicopter rigs, each with a 35g Feederbomb, short 3in Supplex hooklink and a size 16 Wide Gape Specialist hook baited with two maggots. It didn’t take long and I was soon catching plenty of small rudd, nearly one every cast. I lost count of the smaller rudd up to a pound before the big fish finally slipped up.”

This impressive rudd also landed Matthew Fernandez his first weekly Drennan Cup Award in this week’s Angling Times.

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Huge Rudd On First Trip

All-round angler, Matthew Fernandez from Southampton managed to slip the net under two personal best rudd during his first trip to a new venue.


Matthew with his biggest rudd weighing 2lb 14oz.

“With nothing to really go by on the signs of fish, I dropped in a swim on the end of a fresh wind. I located a clear spot at 60 yards and introduced several spombs of Sticky’s Krill Active Mix with hemp and maggot.I fished two Drennan 30g maggot feeder bombs helicopter style with short 4lb 3″ Drennan

“I fished a 30g Feederbomb helicopter style with short 3″ hooklink of 4.4lb Supplex Fluorocarbon with size 16 Super Specialist hook baited with two maggots and a tiny piece of foam to pop the rig off of the bottom.

“In the early hours of the morning, two bites came straight after each other resulting in two rudd, both personal bests for me! The first rudd weighed 2lb 14oz and the second weighed 2lb 8oz!”

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Whiskers On The Wye

Check out this week’s Angling Times to find out how Martin Bowler and Peter Drennan got on during their recent trip to the River Wye.


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Bream Fishing At Farlows

Armed with a seatbox and quiver tip gear Martin Bowler headed off to Farlows Lakes near Iver in search of the resident bream shoals.


Martin Bowler with a lovely golden bream from Farlows Lake 1.


A map of Farlows Lakes.

With carp the main quarry of anglers visiting Farlows Lakes, Martin was keen to prove that there is much more on offer than just carp. Due to high protein bait going in on a regular basis other species like bream, tench and roach are very quick to take advantage of this regularly available food source and thrive. As a result, the lakes are home to shoals of roach and bream, a carp anglers worse nightmare, but for a match or pleasure angler, heaven.


The view from peg 40 on Lake 1.

Arriving at the venue mid-afternoon Martin was greeted with the sight of spawning carp, and as a result, one end of the lake had been closed. After speaking to the bailiff and numerous carp anglers around the lake, one or two had reported catches of bream during the night. With that in mind, Martin returned to his vehicle and set up in the adjacent swim. Peg 40 on lake 1 gave, a swim with control of an open water swim with an area of clean silt at around 40 yards, the perfect area to lay a trap.


Martin’s Spomb mix.

Martin laid an initial bed of mixed pellets and small boilies via a Spomb, spread around his marker float to create a reasonably sized feeding area. This feeding area would then be left for a few hours to settle and allow any fish to feed freely and build up confidence in the swim.

Martin’s Bream Set Ups

Martin set up two Series 7 Method Feeder rods, two contrasting setups, but both very effective at catching bream.

IMG_2473The first one with a Feederbomb, presented on a feeder link, paternoster style with a long hooklink of 6.4lb Fluorocarbon and a size 12 Specimen Plus hook. This rig would be fished with purely natural baits such as maggots and corn.

martin-method-feederOn the other rod, an In-Line Method feeder loaded with a krill groundbait laced with small pellets and a short ESP Mega Method Rig in size 10 baited with a trimmed down krill boilie.


Due to the large head of carp in the venue, Martin opted to fish with ESP Syncro XT, a much heavier and thicker mainline than he would normally use for bream, but vital to landing any large carp that may be hooked. For situations where there are very few or no carp present, Martin uses 6lb Method & Feeder Mono, a line designed specifically for this style of fishing.

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Bowler Lands Unofficial Grass Carp Record

Martin Bowler recently landed possibly the biggest grass carp ever caught in the UK at 52lb 10oz, which came as part of six fish catch, all weighing over 37lb!


Although this fish is the biggest ever caught in the UK, sadly the British record fish list no longer acknowledges grass carp.

Martin is the only coarse angler to have ever caught three British record fish from the UK. The first being a 16lb 11oz barbel, which was caught way back in 1999 from Adam’s Mill on the River Great Ouse. The second record being a 4lb 9oz 8drms crucian, caught four years later in 2003.

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A Golden Reward

After many years targeting a local venue in search of crucian carp, Andy Lewis finally slipped the net under his target species on a recent trip.


Andy’s setup consisted of a 15ft Matchpro Ultralight rod coupled with a small fixed spool reel loaded with 4lb Supplex mainline. For delicate bite indication, he used a 1.6g Glow Tip Antenna Waggler fished just over depth at the bottom of the marginal shelf. After laying an initial bed of bait consisting of groundbait and 1mm pellets Andy kept alternating between casters and corn on the hook and it wasn’t long before the resident tench were queuing up.

“After catching numerous tench up to 6lb, I received a much more delicate dip and the tip began to dance before lifting out of the water. After a short battle, the fish was safely guided into the waiting net. It weighed 2lb 5oz, much lighter than expected, but a truly stunning fish nonetheless and one I have been after for a long time.”

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The Glorious 16th

Today is the glorious June 16th when Britain’s rivers are finally open for coarse fishing once again. Martin Bowler has been patiently waiting to wet a line and lends some valuable advice for targeting a prized river specimen.


Martin Bowler with the late Terry Lampard.

A river never sleeps nor does its fish and on the glorious 16th the fish are ravenous!

Standing in a set of chest waders my feet were firmly planted on the gravel bottom while the force of the flow tries its best to move me, but by leaning upstream slightly I could negate this pressure and get on with the reason I was here.

A rod with a bait dropper sat in one hand while the other delved deep into the bait pouch around my midriff, scooping out a handful of freshly cracked hemp and its nutty aroma suddenly overwhelming the scent of the countryside. Six payloads were dispatched onto the same bed I was standing on but a further 12 feet out in deeper, more powerful water that would simply wash me away. With the aid of polaroids I could however still see the bottom and within minutes four chainmail-clad chub arrived, with their grey contrast impossible to miss. Even if I did the gulping mouths would have given the game away.

For the next five minutes, these were my only guests until I was certain more shadows had begun to appear, their coloration making them difficult to spot against the stones. Staring a little harder and allowing my eyes to adjust it was like tuning an out of focus TV and I mouthed the word ‘barbel’. Then, as if to give me confirmation, one turned side on and flashed its big white belly. A feeding orgy could now commence with puffs of silt heading downstream as the bottom was dug up in a bid to get every seed.

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Trio Of Tench

A recast at first light produced three bites for Southampton based Matthew Fernandez on his recent tench session.


Arriving at the lake around 7pm Matthew walked a few laps around the lake and it was not long before he spotted a few tench rolling against a set of lily pads. He then baited the area with a few balls of krill groundbait consisting of pellets and other small particles.

“I put two rods on the area, each with a simple helicopter rig incorporating a short 10lb Supplex Fluorocarbon hooklink with size 10 Super Specialist Barbel hook baited with a krill wafter and a single grain of corn. Instead of using a lead, I used an XL Oval Groundbait feeder filled with the same krill mix.”

That evening passed unsuccessful, but at first light, a recast brought an instant response. Three tench were landed in quick succession weighing 6lb 8oz, 7lb 1oz, and the biggest going 8lb 8oz.

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