About Us Home Products News Videos/Articles Stockists Online Shop
Trade Contact Us

The Ups And Downs Of A Thames Carper - Part 1

Click on the buttons to the right for more images:
Last Updated: 7th January 2014

Hello and welcome to my new diary exclusive to the Solar Tackle website. I'm hoping to give you an insight into my angling on the river Thames over the next few months. While I can't promise loads of huge carp, although that’s always the plan of course, I can promise plenty of adventure and a fair few blunders along the way as I try to make the best of this often overlooked, flowing, carp venue. Maybe it will even help some of you to take them first steps to fishing a large wild river like the Thames. 

Having had a grueling summer on the River Thames I was hoping that as the season slipped into autumn the river would be kinder to me than it had been. The last carp to grace my boat (that’s right, I fish from a boat on the river) was caught in the middle of September. As it slid into the net I can remember thinking to myself that it was a repeat of the last carp I had caught the year before in October 2012, and it would no doubt be the last carp I would see before this year was out. (Mr Defeatist at his best!) 

A family holiday was to see me out of the country for two weeks at what is, in my opinion, the best time of year to bag a big flowing water carp. But upon my return I was going to give it all I had to make sure the repeat capture was not going to be my last carp of 2013.

As soon as I stepped off the airplane my mind was already in overdrive planning my attack and I was itching to get back out on the following magical waters of my beloved river once more. I decided to start where I left off before the holiday and fish a public area that has been very kind to me in past autumns. With the river being 215 miles long there really are no barriers to stop these fish and they can (and do) travel the length of the Thames, going both up and down stream.

The 44 locks on the Thames don't stop the carp either and in the summer they can be seen going in with the boats and happily swimming out the other side once the gates open. It can be a tough decision as to whether to sit it out on a pre-baited area and let them find you or to go and find them, not made easier by the fact that both these methods have paid off over the years.

I normally try and have a baited area and fish it one night a week and then fish my second night in a different swim hoping to ‘fall on them’.  

Having been back from holiday for a week and back at work it was not until the 25th of October that I could get the rods out. The bait, Solar’s new Seafood Take-Away, had been going into the spot I planned to fish since my arrival back in the UK, so I was mega keen to get out there and see if the carp were going to play ball. At this time of year it also takes that little bit more effort to get out there after a long day at work followed by an hour-long bus journey home and then the mile and a half bike ride to my mum's house where I keep my boat moored. By the time I get there it's normally dark, but this first trip back out I had finished work a bit earlier than normal and got a lift home with my boss, so time for once was on my side. I was all set up by 8pm, sat under the brolly on the boat in a T-shirt. It was remarkably warm for the end of October and I felt confident that if the carp were about then a chance was on the cards. At 9:10pm the right hand rod bleeped a few times and signaled that the dreaded Thames bream were on the bait. With the offending ‘slimer’ dealt with and the rod back on the spot with another 50 Seafood Take-away 18mm boilies spread over the top, I slipped into my sleeping bag and was just about to doze off when there was a loud bang that I felt vibrate through the floor of the boat and then the sky lit up from a huge firework in the distance. This was to continue for the next half hour, but having never caught when fireworks have been let off, I went to bed slightly less confident.

I was woken at 6am the next morning by my phone alarm and I was soon out of bed and preparing the rods again. This can be a huge edge on the river as the small fish slowly whittle the hook baits down to nothing and the dying and drifting weed at this time of the year can also cover the hook points, so a re-cast is always the first thing I do when I roll out of bed. This seemed to pay off and no sooner had I sat back down to put the kettle on when one of the rods tore off. I was soon stood at the back of the boat, rod in hand, playing a hard fighting fish…


Find out if Ben’s efforts bring him the reward of the huge, Thames carp that he desires as the story continues in part 2, which will be uploaded to the Solar website tomorrow December 5th.