Urban Carp Fishing – URBAN BANX 8 – CARDIFF
Welcome to Wales Here I am sitting on this lovely old park bench at a place called The Wharf It’s a really special venue and it’s not the first time I’ve been here this is actually my third trip now I first heard about The Wharf about two years ago It immediately got my attention, mainly because of the impressive fish that have been caught from here. It’s situated in Cardiff in Wales, it’s around 30 acres in size and it truly is a concrete jungle. I first started to notice things about it in Carp Talk, I started to see some fish appearing. Big commons, big grass carp, beautiful mirrors. I started to do a bit of research and eventually got hold of a guy called Andrew and we got chatting and he said you have got to come and have a look. I was itching and absolutely buzzing to get down here and have a go. I’ve never done any fishing in Wales before and it’s not the first place you would accociate with going carp fishing. But wow what a special place! My first session was back in October last year. I was actually working at Horseshoe Lake I thaught you know what, I’m going to pull off and head over to Wales. I literally come over here for a quick overnighter. I remember that first walk down and I saw the lake for the first time. Andrew smiled at me and said there’s fish out infront of us and literally one rolled Got the gear sorted and I popped ino the Holiday Inn, they very kindly gave me a code to park the car. And a wifi code, they were really lovely people and we got about our fishing. In such a short session I needed to act quick so it was a case of getting the rods out, getting the spomb rod out and putting some bait out. The lake is rectangular in design and we plotted up in the middle of the lake which gave us a good vantage point left and right But luckily there were already some fish out in front of us. So I got the spomb rod out, found a nice clear area with a bear lead and just put in 10 spombs of bait. We sat up chatting into the early hours but it was quite quiet. The fish carried on showing but I got my head down then the liners started. I just knew something was going to happen First up was Andrew, he caught the most incredable common, it looked brand new, it was about mid 20. Not long after he lost a big mirror at the net, I was really gutted for him And at 4 o’clock i the morning I had my first bite and I lost it But just before light I managed to bank one It was a character to say the least, not many in here have names but this one has managed to acquire a name over the years and it ws caled The Mutant. It was all bent and crooked, big fins and little fins, it was just a mutant but I was so happy to have caught a fsh from a place like this. Absolutely made up, big up The Wharf, big up Wales, you can guarantee I’ll be back. Bring it on! I was itching to get back down there, I wanted another go This time it was around December, weather was a lot colder. I arrived at the lake again just on dark and boy was there a storm kicking up. I shot back to the van and got the Titan out It was a case of getting a bit of bait out and try to pull some fish to us. A lad called Jason came down this time, he’s a top angler and he fished with us. Oli rocked up at around 2 in the morning, I was well asleep by the time he got here He set up further down than where we were fishing and decided to flick a couple of rods out. I dont know what happend but he decided to reel in one of his rods and in the process of doing so, he picked one of Jason’s lines up Oli had gone a lot further down but Jason being the good angler that he is had put a rod long down into the shallower end of the lake And Oli had picked up one of his lines so Jason and Oli’s first encounter was at 2 in the morning and Jason looked at him like who is this that has just turned up, cast over one of my lines and Oli’s says hi mate! Anyway, they got on like a house on fire and sat up most of the night taking photos and chatting. Anyway morning came around, the storm had now passed and the sun had come out which is quite rare for this place. Fingers crossed it can stay like this! I just seen a fish show actually So the sun came up and the brews were made, we were all chatting and socializing and out of nowhere Oli’s rod melted off and I mean melted! We have all got a fresh brew in our hands and there’s tea going everywhere and we all ran down to Oli’s rods and he was in Come on Oli! Poaching my spot What time did he turn up? 3 o’clock, he cast over one of my rods Fish on! It’s a glorious morning in Cardiff, weathers a bit bitter as you would expect for December but the suns come out and it looks like the fish have come out to play with it. He played it in and played it in then it did something that these fish have a real tendency of doing and thats slipping the hook. It’s rare that I loose a fish with a good hook and hook hold, nice heavy lead and they dont nrmally fall off but there’s something about this place It was a white pop up. Size 5 that just fell out. We were so deflated, everyone was gutted. I must point out that Jason had a couple of bites, I think he had two bites the first night that was through shear hard work, staying up, watching the water, recasting, very active angling and trying to keep catching them. Me on the other hand, I was struggling and it was time to do something about it So off I went having a big look round and I came to where I am now this part of the lake and I wasn’t here long and one went over It was a brilliant sign and another one. Morning, you alright? and anothe one that’ll do, ran back, undrilled the Titan from the pavement, packed it all away and shot down here. I kept it simple, no bait this time because I knew they were in the area bang choddy, bang choddy It weren’t long, I got the Titan repositioned Big Al our sales rep came down with a KFC Again there’s a bit of a pattern going on there as he also came down yesterday with a KFC. I love Wales! Off it went! absolute melter, played the fish in Getting the first bite of a session is always really nerve-racking so I was quite gentle with it and I landed it. I revealed an awesome common and again it was no monster but they don’t need to be when you’re fishing somewhere like this. Buzzing, absolutely buzzing! It is a belter, this is the terminology in Wales, an absolute belter! In Cardiff, down at The Wharf with all the lads, Jason’s nicked a couple of fish, Oli’s lost one and I finally got one myself. Everyone, get in, get it. Result Alan Yes, result mate, chuffed, not been in here long, a couple of hours at the most and I had a bite so now I’m really full of confidence. Game plan for the next 12 hours and the night, I’m going to bait an area I found an area 15 and a half wraps, I’m wrapping the rods around the poles infront of me. I’ve probbly made the best part of 30 casts since I’ve been here and it’s always going down in soft silt but I have found an area which feels a bit different, it’s still got a good depth of water, about 10ft so I’m actually going to put a bit of bait out. but where I’m actually seeing the fish show, I’m going to stick to a singles approach, that particular fish just came on a single I’m not going to disturb the area making lots of casts, I’m jut going to get a drop and leave it, I’m not even going to put any freebies out but the fish I just had has done my rig in, I was fishing a blow out rig I was lazy last night and put a bit of scilicone on here and typically wth scilicone it has ripped off. so i’ll go back to what I know now and put a piece of rig tubing on there and the points gone over so I’ll quickly whip up a new rig I want to get it out there quite quickly It would have been nice if I had a few already tied up but That’s slacking Alan It is slacking mate, I’ll tell you what it is Oli because last night was a strong wind I decided not to use Armourlink I’ve used Armourlink all year for my bottom bait fishing and I absolutely love it but because it was so windy last night and it was dark and I wouldn’t be able to see the rig go out and I like to watch to ensure the rig isn’t wrapping round on the cast so I’ve opted to use Combilink and that’s why I haven’t got any tied up. The Combilink has got a coating on it and it does help a little bit when I can’t see and it’s very windy to prevent tangles so strip of a bit of the coating get a loop in there All the time in carp fishing and in any fishing you ned to be looking at things, not necessarily the water but sometimes other anglers after watching Jason with his two fish this morning one thing tht was very apparent was the small mouths they had some anglers would see that as a potential advantage and opt to use a really big hookbait to avoid catching thse smaller fish not me mate! I’m game for a double I’m chuffed I had that one, it was sort of 14 or 15lb I would quite happily keep catching them with a hope of maybe a better fish. Therefore the size of the bait is important I’m going to be fishing tiny little 10mm pop ups and also 15mm bottom baits last night I fished a 20mm TG Cultured I was confident as the fish I had previously was on a Cultured hookbait but having seen Jason with the two fish this morning and the one I caught they have little mouths and I’m going to go with a nice small bait The reason for their smal mouths usually means their normally feeding in the silt and that makes sense on a water like this as I said every cast has gone down on soft silt. Size 8 Twister set the length of the hair I want, around 15mm and just whip that hook on It’s not a particularly stiff coated braid, there is plenty of movement when it goes into the fishes mouth but it does help with tangles and I will steam that over the kettle and get it nice and streight How’s you stove Alan? Not very well, it’s poorly Basically it’s supposed to shoot out a nice jet of flames but instead it’s a bunsen burner Those were the days! Streight through the nice big loop, no messing about with link clips or hooklink tails. It’s dead simple. Lovely! The night passed uneventful again for me, Oli and Andrew, none of us managed another bite but Jason on the other hand kept at it, kept the bait going in and I think by the following morning he had another 2 or 3 bites again some absolute stunners, some commons and some mirrors Good man! Hard fighting mirror, lovely Wharf fish made up with this one beautiful Well done mate, nice one. I think they call him down here The Assassin and it’s a good name for him, he’s always sneaking about, getting up on these flats watching the water. so yes The Assassin! Stunning common You’ve had a good weekend haven’t you? Last fish of the session mate, considering the conditions I think the lake has been kind to us. What an awesome end to the last 36 hours, you’ve proper smashed them up Jason, you’ve done well mate. Until next time boys! All to soon it was over and it was time to head back down south again so we bid the lads farewell and the locals, they are all so friendly and it was time to head home And that brings me up to where we are now, sitting on this bench at The Wharf. I had to come back, it’s may now, I let the winter pass I thaught I’m coming up here, I’m going to fish it on my terms, I’m going to wait for some good weather, I’m going to do my stalking and get some floaters out there. Do you want a receipt? Yes please. Cheers, thank you! And all the gear was prepared, all the floaters were ready and I was bang on ready for it. And then the weather turned bad. I arrived a couple of nights ago I parked the moter with Oli, we came up together this time which was nice as we could chat on the way up we pulled into a little industrial area where we could park And we took a wonder down. We had every intention in the world of doing a couple of laps It’s 30 acres and a mile and a quater round so it would take a bit of time to look at it all That was the plan but when you walk to the first bit of water and one shows , and another one shows and another We bothed looked at each other, we’re not being lazy but do we really need to walk round We’ve parked the moter in this residential area, walked down 100 yards to the lake and just like that, bosh! and bosh, and bosh, bosh, bosh, bosh! Anyway, I’m getting set up. Chucking it down! Welcome to Wales So I managed to get the rods out and then it started raining. When I say rain I mean proper rain, it rained for 12 hours non stop. Fish on and I did the hard part, I was fishing over the back of a big bank of weed, I got it through the weed and got in into the edge. I was close. Then it did that same Wharf thing of sliping the hook It is what it is, that’s fishing. It started raining about 12 o’clock last night and it’s just coming up to mid day the flollowing day and at last we’ve had a bit of a break in the weather. I caught this one a couple of hours ago and lost one a little while afterwards but managed to get a bite so I’m absolutely buzzing. There’s a bit of a break now and I’ll get this absolute stunner slipped back and go off in search of some more fish, you need a bit of sunshine to find them but I’ll give it a good go. Packed all the gear away, put it in the van and decided to traval light and off I went, round and round the lake looking for opportunities. There’s a mad canal system that goes around this area, I think eventually it goes into and under Cardiff then comes back up and The Taff goes into it it’s a really incredabe system so I wondered around that and low and behold I found a few fish. Quickly got the stalking rod, whipped a bit of bread on, lowered it in and Oli didn’t even have time to get the camera out, it was all very fast Well I missed the bite, I was too slow Super fast bite Just crept along the canal, we were on our way to see Andrew, who is fishing down the botom end of The Wharf There were a couple of fish milling around up here. Very simple tactics, line hook, rod, bread, lowered it down and almost instantly the fsh dropped down and engulfed the bread. Dead simple fishing, lovely dark common. Cracker, go on Wales I was a bit slow getting the bite but well done mate. Right result Was just on our way round and saw him in the edge Nailed! Very quick bite, very exciting and we have a little more to wonder and we might see another one. Thank you Mr carp, thank you Wales You could put it in an oven with some nice potatoes and onions They don’t taste so nice A bit of sea bass it a lot better See you, bye. We’ll give it aother half an hour but it just wasn’t going to happen so we came back round to where we fished the previous night we didn’t really have a lot to go on, there was a few fish up by Andrew but nothing tha made me want to do the night up there The plan was to get our heads down, get some sleep and get up early the next morning and do some stalking and the rain didn’t go away, it rained all through the night the fish didnt turn up, they didn’t show, they didn’t show this morning and none of us have caught anything. In fact the rain was so bad and we were all so wet, Oli actualy did the night in the van I nerly did it with him to be honest, snuggled up on the back seats I was so cold. I used two sets of waterproofs, two sets of joggers and hoodies I had no socks left, I’ve lterally been soaking wet from the moment I got here As I say, the night passed uneventful and we went off stalking again. And it was a disaster It just wasn’t meant to be, one of them was a fully scaled, one of them was a fully about 18lb It is what it is, I love it still. It’s just so exciting, creeping around in the morning looking for fsh. And that brings us up to about now really, I threw the gear in the moter and I have come down here for the last couple of hours. I’m going to give it till around lunch time. I’ve seen a gnarly old mirror milling around on this gravely, clay area so I’ve got a rod over there for him and a couple of choddys as I have seen one show about 20 minutes ago I’ll give it a go, you never know the suns out now if I could have one wish it would be I’d just arrived now and I had the next few couple of days in these sorts of conditions to drift Riser Pellet across the lake and try to get them feeding but thats life, thats fishing For a third time I found myself packing away after a tricky session at The Wharf. Yes it had been a struggle but I had enjoyed every second of it. Although I seem to rarely visit a water more than once, I did find my self contemplating another session in Cardiff in the future. But not before I tick another city off the list, London here we come.