You vs Pros

You Versus Pro

The Pits

Nottinghamshires A1 pits is a complex of six gravel pits which vary in size from just a few acres to over 60 acres. Pits 5 and 6 are of the most interest to carpers, both having done 40lb+ fish and numerous 30s. The smaller pits also hold carp and are worth a look if you fancy a few runs. For this feature we are concerned with the larger pits 5 and 6 and is centred around a session I had a couple of weeks ago with a mate called Matt Clark.

We started on pit 6 where we had plenty of room for Matt who wanted to improve his casting which he did. The questions start from when we started the hunt for a carp or two with 24 hours to do it.

1. While casting we had seen a few carp nut out but way out of range (200m+) but there was a steady wind pushing into us. Would you?

A, Blast singles as far as you could and hope they moved in range.
B, Put a big bed of bait out and hope they came onto it.
C, Put the walking boots on and go and find some fish within range.

2. We actually moved onto pit 5 after finding some sizeable carp cruising with their backs out of the water on the back of the wind. How would you set about catching them?

A. Drift some floaters over them and try off the top.
B. Put 3 zigs out about a foot below the surface.
C. Get the marker rod out to find out the depth.

3. The clouds grew thicker and as the sun went in the carp sunk away but they did start showing properly just into the wind over a large gravel bar. After a swim move to reach them do you?

A. Cast a one ounce lead around to find the bar with minimal disturbance.
B. Use the marker rod
C. Cast single hookbaits out and hope for the best.

4. You’ve got the distance to the bar clipped up but what rigs do you use?

A. A choddy because you can fish it over anything right?
B. A standard bottom bait rig
C. A simple pop-up rig

5. That’s rigs sorted but what about the baiting situation?

A. Just flick a few baits out with the throwing stick
B. Fill it in with the spod
C. Sick with single hookbaits to keep disturbance to a minimum.

6. There’s been a bit of debate in the carping press lately about the use of uber slack lines so how do you set up yours? The bar is about 50m out.

A. As tight as bowstrings
B. Semi tight with a drop on the indicator of a few inches
C. Rods in the air with mega slack line hanging limp from the rod tip.

7. The tactics have worked, a carp is in the net and it looks like a good one. What is The first thing you do once the net is secured.

A. Shout YEEESSSSS, CCOOOMMMEEE OOOONNNN at the top of your voice
B. Get the unhooking and weighing equipment ready.
C. Unhook the fish in the net and get the bait back on the bar pronto.

8. After the afternoons success you are now getting things ready for the night. The odd fish is still showing so do you?

A. Fish single hookbaits
B. Fill it in with a spod mix
C. Fish over small patches of spod mix and boilies

9. The rods are out and you’re happy with them so what do with your time now?

A. Tie some rigs
B. Watch the water and be ready to move despite having the rods all sorted
C. Abuse your friends on Facebook

10. It’s the morning and there is only a couple of hours left how do you maximise your chances of another fish?

A. Watch the water like a hawk and be ready to move for the last couple of hours.
B. Nothing, you’re happy with your baits as they are.
C. Recast with glugged pop-ups to tempt a bite before leaving.


1. A – 2
B – 1
C – 3

Singles cast at distance do have a chance as does a big bed of bait but neither are a banker in this situation. Donning the walking boots and going in search of more accessible fish is the best choice.

2. A – 3
B – 3
C – 1

Trying zigs and/or floating baits earn top points here as both could have scored. As it is we tried zigs but failed to get a take. One thing for sure is that casting a marker float out amongst the fish would have sent them to the other end of the lake.

3. A – 3
B – 1
C – 2

1 ounce leads can be cast further than you may think and feeling the lead down to find the bar to locate it to ensure the bait goes on top of it gets top score. The top of the bar is shallow with quite deep water around it and with carp that were previously on the surface a bait on the shallow bar is more likely to tempt a bite.

4. A – 1
B – 2
C – 3

I like things simple and on this occasion I went with a simple pop-up rig but a bottom bait may have scored too. Chod rigs are overused and are not suitable for steep bars. Imagine if the choddy slides back even only a short distance and the lead falls on the edge of the bar. The leadcore would be suspended off the bottom with the hookbait mid water. Not a good presentation.

5. A – 2
B – 1
C – 3

We were setting up on showing fish so singles were the logical thing to do to get hookbaits out there with minimal disturbance. A few baits put out with a throwing stick would be OK but not accurate enough to get them all on the top of the bar. The spod would have sent them packing.

6. A – 2
B – 3
C – 1

Tight lines give good bite indication but I do prefer a slight drop on my bobbins to let me know exactly what is going on down there. The practice of having lines so slack they hang straight down from the rod tip makes no sense at all. All bite indication is lost unless the carp screams off and on many lakes there are unknown snags and obstacles on the bottom. Why let your line sink into them?

7. A – 2
B – 2
C – 3

My fishing time is precious so maximising it by getting the hookbait straight back on the bar gets to marks. Fishing is all about enjoying yourself and if seeing a great big carp in your net makes you want to celebrate with a shout then why not? I know I have in the past but just be aware of other anglers. Try not to annoy them too much.

8. A – 2
B – 1
C – 3

This is summer and although the carp are active and showing I doubted they’d be up for a big feed. Between Matt and myself we fished a combination of singles and small patches of bait and the singles worked. I banked another 2 carp on them.

9. A – 2
B – 3
C – 1

It’s entirely up to you what to do once the rods are out and you’re happy with them but if you want to catch more carp then watching the water like a hawk is a no brainer. It’s always good to be prepared so tying rigs is always good but I know how addictive Facebook can be. I spend way too much time on there myself.

10. A – 3
B – 2
C – 2

Always watching and being ready to move will without a doubt, catch you more fish but if nothing is seen and you’re happy with your rods leaving them be can also produce. I sometimes rebait with a stinky or bright hookbait for the last few hours to try and induce a take. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t but its always worth a try.

0 – 15
You ended your session frustrated because you missed chances and you know it. You may even consider booking a tuition.

15 – 25
You caught a couple of nice commons which you are pleased with but missed out on the bigger fish.

25 – 30
Well done. You had the couple of commons as well as a lovely 32lb+ common which was one of the lakes characters. Carry on fishing well and you’ll be having results like this regularly

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