Elliott Gray - The Autumn Campaign
Elliott tells the story of his incredible Autumn spell in 2020, where in just five trips, he landed 25 carp including a staggering 16 x 30lbers and a new personal best common of 54lb.
With a year largely dominated by the coronavirus, for many of us, fishing was put on the back burner during 2020. Elliott was no exception, and with a full-on schedule, much of his time was taken up working on Cypography content, so like many of us, Elliott’s personal fishing was put on hold behind work and family commitments.
He did however, have a rather special ticket, a water he had longed to get on and somewhere he dabbled briefly on in the Spring, where he did in fact catch his target fish, a linear at over 40lbs. With such an epic stock, Elliott was far from done and during October of last year, he strung together 5 trips, where in his words, enjoyed the ‘craziest fishing I’ll ever experience and probably the best autumn I’ll ever have’. To summarise, Elliott landed 25 carp including 16 30’s and a 54lb common, as well as a handful of 20’s and two doubles.
Much of Elliott’s personal fishing is in fact, kept quite private, but recently, he opened up to us about his autumn campaign, highlighting what lead to his quite incredible success in such a short space of time.
To summarise, Elliott landed 25 carp including 16 30’s and a 54lb common
‘I had planned to fish another water through the autumn, but with my target fish getting caught, I knew I needed a plan b for my autumn campaign. I’d had a few months off from my own angling due to an incredibly busy work period, but with a bit time now at my disposal, I had the perfect water in mind.
My first trip back fell in the early part of autumn, where if memory serves correct, I just fished the one night, but remember having real issues with the weed, where getting drops was extremely difficult. I began fishing in close, but the following day, saw fish showing at range in the open water. Chod Rigs were deployed to the zones, but with no drops after several casts, it was confirmed that the carp were showing amongst the weed. That session ended as a blank, but on my next trip, I fished the open water, and spent time plumbing the area, really going to work with the leading rod to establish some spots, as the weed really was troublesome, and I needed to know I’d be presented.
One area I soon discovered, and it was in fact, a zone I’d seen them in, was a spot towards an overhanging tree, where I was getting a lovely smooth pull back, perfect for a rod.
I wanted another option, so again went to work with the leading rod and I was convinced it was just pure weed out there, when almost by chance, I got a really positive drop. A pull back confirmed it was a clear area, and conveniently, it was the same range as the other spot. These little clean holes amongst the weed can make a real difference to your results, so taking the time to find them is definitely worth it.
It’s probably important to note, a lot of other anglers were fishing over gravel, to the known hard spots, and with this in mind, I wanted to do something different, so was deliberately looking for the silt, just something different, which on busy lakes, really can make a difference.
I again, wanted to be different with my baiting, so I baited the spots with small loose feed, just bits and pieces to get them grubbing but used a large hookbait, probably around 25mm in length, I just wanted it to really stand out. Again, totally different and contradictive to the ‘norm’ but I just wanted to be different, wanting the carp to quickly notice my hookbait.
I started catching from the off, and ended up having three spots in the swim, all little silty areas amongst the weed. The swim was really rocking, and every spot would produce. Some mornings one spot might do two or three bites then other mornings, all three spots would be going. It was mega exciting fishing and in around 15 nights angling, I landed 25 carp, which included a new personal best common of 54lb.
These carp meant everything to me, they are so special, and I had a burning desire to catch them, so I made sure I done everything to catch them. I angled to the absolute best of my ability, leaving nothing to chance. Every cast, every rig had to be perfect. I’d waited so long for that ticket, I really wanted to make the wait worth it, and it really was, ending probably the best run of fishing I’ve ever had, and probably will ever have. It was a really special time and a period of angling I won’t forget’.
Elliott used his ever-faithful rig, incorporating 15lb Semi Stiff N-Trap booms, with a large piece of putty to keep it pinned. A loop at both ends allowed Elliott to attach his rig to a QC Swivel at one end and also attach his hook (multi style) at the other, his hook of choice being a size 4 Kamakura Wide Gape X.
Elliott prepares his hooks by pre-tying the knotless knots with Arma Kord, so he can quickly attach a new hook to his N-Trap, looping on multi style through the hook’s eye. He simply ties the knotless knot, threads back down through the eye as normal, then cuts the material below the eye, leaving a hook with just a hair whipped on via a knotless knot. Pre-tying these in advance and storing them in an empty packet of Kamakuras or Hook Safe just saves time on the bank.
Medium Shrink Tube and a no.4 shot are the last components of the rig, which he fishes on Heli Safes with leadcore leaders and Sub Braid mainline, perfect for combating the weed and fishing accurately.
This really was an incredible run of angling, proving that sometimes going against the grain, being different and putting 100 percent effort into your angling, even with limited time and fishing sporadically through the year, your catch rate can rival anyone’s.