Turning Up The Heat - Justin Badman

During the summer months a ticket that I dearly wanted finally came up, a lake deep in the Cotswolds and home to large commons, Farriers.

Since the card came through my letterbox, it has been my primary choice of venue all year. My angling time is very limited due to the fact I work full-time and like to keep a fair work-life balance, spending quality time with friends, family and my girlfriend. I generally try to squeeze in one or, if I'm lucky, two-work over-nighter’s a week. So, I certainly don't have the time to wait for a couple of days or more for the carp to find me, I have to be proactive and find them.

Farriers is a mature, weedy gravel pit and its banks are tread by some very capable anglers who don't miss much so they are usually on the fish. With this in mind, when I get to doing a quick night, I try my best to find small pockets of fish, or at least set up in an area I believe they’ll visit during the night.

Luckily I got off to a great start by catching a really angry mid-twenty male that fought like there was no tomorrow in the early hours of my first night on the lake. This was in late June, and over July and August I opted to fish as many different areas of the lake as possible. I personally feel it’s of fundamental importance not to rely solely on the same old swims and throw all your eggs into one basket so to speak. It is an easy trap to fall into! It’s much better to build up an understanding of the subsurface topography in as many areas of the lake as possible, to watch the water from all angles, and therefore gain a much clearer understanding of the behaviour of the fish, and how angling pressure and various weather conditions influence their mood. My roving approach helped me to build up a string of fish to mid-thirties in a relatively short space of time, topped by a characteristic 37.02 common that I had from an often over-looked corner of the lake barely an underarm flick out.

I rely on relatively simple but effective rigs, which of late have incorporated Korda's Hybrid stiff coated braid, barbless Kurv Shank hooks and shrink tubing. At the time of writing this I have only dropped one fish out of twenty or so using these components, which is very reassuring given the amount of weed in the lake! Bait wise, I have been using approximately 50/50 of Baitworks classic Atlantic Heat, and prototype bait we are working on called Royal Marine. I can't say too much about the latter at the moment other than it will be an all-year round bait, and my gut feeling is that it will be right up there with the success of the Atlantic Heat, a very high bar to reach indeed. All being well the Royal Marine will be available early 2015 so watch this space!

I awoke one early September morning to the blinding rising suns rays flickering through the trees and mist swirling across the still surface of the lake. The light wind was gently rustling the blanket of golden leaves sat in the early morning dew scattered all around me, when a kingfisher suddenly landed on my left hand rod, staying just long enough to get a photograph. In my mind, this was a extremely lucky omen and although I blanked this session, the following session I had a stunning 37.06 common on an incredibly misty morning. But it was my next bite just a week or so later proved to be one I'll never forget. Just after first light, my battered old alarm stuttered into life and a hefty fish slowly came swaying from side to side in a straight line right up to my net. When it came into view I was amazed by how wide it looked, its golden scales glistening in the clear water. I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I encompassed her in my net. As I proudly lifted her for a few photographs, all 43.12lb of her, a thought suddenly came into my mind - my last two fish had both been PB commons and had both come to the left hand rod. I do love kingfishers!