Anybody into modern day carp fishing will have heard of Mark Pitchers. He’s the star of Fox’s The Challenge and contributes regularly to various monthly magazines. I’d heard that he offers tutorials so decided to get in touch to discuss various options. His schedule was quite busy but he had a place available on a group session he was running at Majestic Pool near Hull so I put my name down and started to get excited. Between booking it and the day arriving I had a family holiday and a busy time at work so I didn’t get the chance to think much about it, needless to say it came around quite quickly.
The other 3 guys were set to arrive at Majestic around 11am, I had work commitments in the morning but managed to wangle the afternoon off so set off from Leeds at 2:30pm. It was close to where I fish at Brandesburton so the journey was familiar and the weather lovely. I arrived at 4pm and introduced myself to Mark and the other guys. Mark pointed me in the direction of a peg called Sainty’s and told me to get my house in order and he’d be round soon. It was my first outing with the Fox Royale Classic bivvy so I spent some time making sure I put it up properly, after all there was no rush – we had all weekend! If you’re interested I thought the bivvy was great, you get a lot for your money – more information here
Not long after getting my bivvy up and my tackle in order, Mark appeared and started to give me some details about the lake, the stock and his recommended approach for the weekend. We set about looking for some spots and before long we’d found 2 clear gravely spots and one close to a snag where a fish had shown as we were looking for the open water spots. We clipped up, put the Spomb on and proceeded to put a bit of sweetcorn on the open water spots. We used the distance sticks to get the rods setup which just left the rigs to decide upon. Mark has had plenty of success using a simple but effective balanced plastic corn rig, the way it sits is lovely as I saw when he showed me in the margin – it’s just like a claw, waiting to take hold. The rods were cast and we discussed the approach for the margin spot. Because it was close to a snag the gear had to be heavy so a hinged stiff rig was selected with a few boilies scattered over the top. We were racing to get sorted before dark but we managed it and were happy with the spots that we’d chosen.
The first night saw me awake for most of it, not because of bites but because of the wind, rain and coots diving on my bait. The Delks are rather sensitive and were beeping regularly. Unfortunately this wasn’t replaced with a roaring take and come the morning my mat was still dry (well it would have been if the rain hadn’t have come down like it did…) I decided to leave things be and lay back down as I’d had a terrible nights sleep. Mark appeared before long though and showed me how to get the sediment off my lines in a morning. I asked if anybody had any luck throughout the night but unfortunately not. I was surprised, the venue holds a good amount of fish and the weather looked right for it. Mark suggested that we sit on our hands and don’t put any more bait out – if the fish had eaten the bait then we should have got a bite so the likelihood was that the bait was still sat out there uneaten. The day passed quietly but for Mark it was all but quiet – he was running around like a madman trying to find fish and get all 4 of us angling for them in the best way possible. It was very weedy so he had to spend a lot of time finding us good spots, especially the guys on the opposite bank to me as that seemed to contain the most of the weed.
Late afternoon and with 24 hours gone, it was time to try some new spots. Mark said that he approaches each 24 hours as a different session and this was no different especially as it had been quiet. One of the rods was left on the same spot but recast and with a bit more bait over the top, one rod was cast further out to see if the carp were sitting close to the middle and the last rod was fished towards the no fishing bank at the bottom of the drop off. Rigs and bait were the same so it was just up to the carp gods now to make something happen. The sensitivity was turned down on the Delks and the rods placed lower to the ground to try and minimise any false bleeps. It worked well and I got a great night of sleep – good for my body but not great for my unhooking mat which was still bone dry. Mark couldn’t understand it, the weather was good, we had found some nice spots, baiting was sensible and rigs more than proven – a combination of these things should have produced fish! We didn’t make any changes for the first part of the morning but by mid morning the water was like glass, completely still. Normally in these conditions you can see signs of fish feeding, the backs of carp just breaking the surface or more visible signs such as a crash. There was absolutely nothing though and it confirmed to us that they just weren’t having it. Mark wasn’t happy, he wanted us all to catch but that’s just fishing and the main purpose attending a tutorial in my eyes is to learn first and catch fish second and boy had I learnt. I’d been taking down notes all weekend and I have plenty to come away and perfect in my own fishing. For the last couple of hours we put zigs on two rods to see if we could get a bite right at the end but it wasn’t to be. Mark worked his socks off for us and if he can’t make it happen, nobody can. If you’re thinking about booking a carp tutorial then definitely consider Mark’s services – he’s such a passionate and knowledgeable angler that you can’t not learn anything from a session with him. He’s a nice and funny guy too so you’ll have plenty of laughs in the process!
I want to end this blog post by not only thanking Mark for a great weekend but by also thanking the guys who run Majestic Pool. I’d never fished there before but will definitely fish there again. Although we didn’t catch, this was out of the norm and I’m sure a return trip applying everything I learnt from Mark would make for an enjoyable and productive trip. Majestic is such a pretty and well thought out place. The owners have clearly put their heart and soul into creating a top class fishery. With over 110 fish in 3 acres it’s well stocked with English carp and 75% of the stock are over 20lb – not bad eh! The swims are great and there’s a path running around the whole of the lake for easy barrow access. You can find out more about the fishery by visiting the Majestic Pool website.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend, I learnt an awful lot, fished with the man who makes The Challenge (which I watch religiously) and experienced a new lake. No fish but still, what an absolute result.
Until next time, tight lines…[subscribe2]