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Diary Of A Carp Addict

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Last Updated: 7th January 2015

Who is Ian?

Ian Merriott has been carp fishing on waters in the south of the UK for a little over 20 years. With a full-time job and family commitments, Ian’s angling mirrors the scenario that most of us face, having to fit his passion and hobby around day-to-day life.

Ian’s results belie the limited time he has available. Fishing just one night a week, an overnighter every Monday after an early shift at work and before his late shift on Tuesday afternoon, he’s slipped his net under several fish over 40lb from a variety of open-access venues.

A passionate carp angler, Ian gets out on the bank all year round. Without the luxury of picking his sessions to coinside with the best of the weather, he makes the best of whatever faces him at the time, and usually comes out on top.


December 2014:

“I’ve never been one for publicizing my fishing before. It’s a hobby and passion and that’s how it’s always been. However, after a lot of thought, and some persuasion, I am pleased to say that I have decided to write a monthly diary exclusively for the Solar Tackle website. Over the coming months I’ll be detailing my methods and thinking behind my tactics to give you an insight into how I deal with making the most of limited time on the bank.

“During the winter months I always target waters with a sensible stock of fish and a track record of winter form, as four nights a month doesn’t give me much chance of success on a low-stock, rock hard venue. The water also needs to contain at least one ‘target fish’ for me to go at; something to keep me going and focused the blanks ha ha!

“The venues that I picked for this winter are both local club waters, local to my home just outside Winchester. This ensures I can maximize the daylight hours spent fishing, rather than spending them in the car to and from the lake. Fish location is imperative, especially when on limited time and even more so in winter when the carp are less likely to be active and mobile, and spending some time on the bank during daylight makes spotting subtle signs far easier.

“Lake 1 is just over one acre, with two islands and main, bowl, area connected by a narrow channel. It holds around 80 carp from 10lb to 30lb. There are no record breakers in there but some of the bigger fish are scaly Leneys and long dark commons.

“Lake 2 is about 7 acres. This consists of a two-acre areas connected to the main body of water via a channel under a bridge. This lake holds a couple of hundred carp ranging from 5lb to 41lb. The carp are predominantly commons with the big one being a mirror.

“Both lakes have depths of 3-10ft and have clean silt bottoms with hard areas in the margins.”


“On arriving at lake 1 at around 3.30pm I was surprised to see only two other anglers fishing and both were on the island side. The previous week I managed to catch a lovely linear at just over 20lb from the middle of the ‘bowl’ in the deeper silt. This area again looked promising with a few small clusters of bubbles breaking the surface. After doing a circuit of the lake it became evident that the fish were not frequenting the margins. Uneaten bait was also visible on a few of the known, close-in spots, so I opted for a swim that gave me the most open-water options.

“The fish were not fizzing as much the week before so I opted for two small, highly visible traps. A single, white Top Banana pop up on a hinged stiff rig went out on one rod and the other was ‘tooled’ with a fluorocarbon hook link size 6 Stronghold 101 hook and two 14mm bottom baits accompanied by a 4-bait stringer.

“At 5am I received a vicious liner on the right-hand rod, which came to nothing. The morning saw no fizzing at all so both rods were wound in and two zigs, one at 2ft and the other at 4ft were deployed. I was hoping that the carp were sat in mid water, as they definitely were not feeding on the bottom. No takes occurred though and I packed up at 11am and headed for work.”


“As I pulled into the car park the following Monday at 4.45pm my attention was drawn to a sign by the hut, LAKE CLOSED. This was due to the otter fence finally going up. The weather had taken a turn for the worse and temperatures at night were forecast for -3 degrees. I dropped on to the lake next door and fished two pop ups to the far margin at about 40 yards, again on hinged stiff rigs. I landed two mid doubles, a common and a mirror, in the night before packing up at 8.30am and heading home, pleased with my unexpected results.”

“I couldn’t get out on the bank the following week due to family commitments, but I did visit lake 1 twice, on both occasion spreading a kilo of Top Banana boilies over four known winter areas, priming it for my return on Monday night.”


The story continues this Friday as Ian’s perseverance and some tactical thinking pays dividends.