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John Bartley

A year on Burghfield

With the Spring over on Burghfield things had started to fall into place around May time. I had around eight weeks to achieve the almost impossible as the kids summer holidays were fast approaching! I was going to owe the family my dedication to them because as the kids are getting older, I don't want to be the person that spent their childhood chasing a stinky old carp and not enjoying them growing up. So, I was on borrowed time. I started applying a lot of bait and Hybrid boilies were my main food source due to its track record on Burghfield. Now the crayfish in Burghfield are a bloody nightmare and I learnt a lot last season on how to keep the little buggers at bay by putting 10kg of boilies crumbed-up and mixing this with chopped Power+ Particles Tigers, sweetcorn and Activated Nut Mix Groundbait with a good helping of Hybrid Stick Mix Liquid.

With so many angler looked ahead, looking for the next new thing and perhaps the next carp catching edge, it’s easy to forget that this desire to present carp with something different is one which goes back many years. So very often it’s also a good idea to look back, as well as forward. Many of the tips and tactics from yesteryear can provide a modern-day edge, simply because they have not been employed for so long.

Many things in life have a bearing on your future, but rarely do they change things completely. In the early nineties I was introduced to Mainline Baits, and my whole carp fishing world turned on its head.

Ian 'Chilli' Chillcott
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Mainline's High Impact range of shelf life boilies offer the modern-day angler a complete food source bait of the highest calibre.

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Our new ‘Wafter’ hookbaits have been designed to provide the modern-day angler the ability to create ‘critically-balanced’ hookbait presentations.

Balanced Wafters
Hookbait Enhancement Systems


The Hookbait Enhancement Systems include attractors, sweeteners & enhancers boosting the attraction level of hookbaits, pellets and groundbait.

Hookbait Enhancement
Dave lane


For most of my fishing, particularly in the warmer months, I like to air dry all my bait before use. 

This not only extends the life of the bait on the bank, but it firms up nicely for use in throwing sticks. 

Once dried correctly and then treated with the matching Activator liquid, the bait will last for weeks on the bank or, just as easily, can be frozen and will last for weeks once thawed out but as soon as it goes into the water it will become 'active' and start to break down in the same way as a fresh bait would.

Get on the Mainline!

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For hookbaits I am a great fan of the new Balanced Wafter range, either in a dedicated match for my main bait or a brightly coloured attractor over the top. 

I vary between these round baits and the Dumbell Hookers depending on where I am fishing, I find the Dumbell Hookers are great for tricky fish on day ticket waters etc. 

Once again, I will boost the attraction and harden the baits by either dunking them in an a Dedicated Hookbait Enhancement System or Activator or, more often than not, I add a small amount to the pot and soak them this way.

The Golden Scale Club

The common carp with it's golden scales

Still Going

Now full of anticipation I was a little surprised that no more action came until the Sunday, my third day of the session when I reeled in the margin rod to reposition it close to the 14 wrap spot. Around midday that left hand rod was away, and after a 10 minute battle I slipped the net under yet another low thirty common. After doing my thing with the pics and video footage the return cast saw another take just an hour later.

A mirror this time and on a different rig, as I'd decided to fish this rod with a Ronnie Rig armed with a white homemade Polaris Mix pop-up. I cast the rod back out with the same winning combo, and again baited with 10 more Spombs of The Link. The fish were clearly on the bait as only an hour later the same rod was away again with yet another low thirty-pound mirror on the end.

After this the action stopped, maybe from baiting again before dark and it wasn't until around 2am when the repostioned rod again was away. This fish turned out to be a recapture, but still a very good fish and a mid thirty - a fantastic old fish known as 'Heinz'. This promted me to change over the right hand rod to the white pop-up/Ronnie Rig combo, and early on Monday morning I had a bite on that rod aswell. 

This time it's a fish called 'The Sargent', a high thirty, and by now I am on cloud-nine and not sure what has been going on, as this turned into one hell of a session! To cap it off I had another mid twenty common as I packed away. Steady baiting with The Link had certainly paid off giving me a session I'll never forget!

Sadly my high was short lived when my spring trip to the UK ended in a blank, although it wasn't all bad, as I was also able to pick-up a load of Mainline goodies, liquids, pop-ups, wafters etc. and of course plenty of The Link Base Mix and Activator. So once back in Belgium I busily got back to rolling more bait and stocking up my freezer ready for the start of the season in June. 

With the complex reopend the water I'd fished before the close was pretty busy, so I decided to fish a few sessions on one of the easier lakes on the complex thinking I could do with a bend in the rod, which is exactly what happened before summer kicked in and it was time for another trip away. I can't say I really fish a lot in the summer, I just hate the heat, so 40 degrees on a lake in France was not ideal, although I did catch a few during the cooler nighttime periods. 

Then another trip to UK for a Gardner team Benelux social in August saw lady luck leave me again. But like I say, a trip to the UK is never a wasted journey, as again it meant I stocked up on Base Mix and liquids ready for my autumn campaign back in Belgium.

The Image Plotter

The Carp Project - Volume 1

Featuring six chapters of carp fishing goodness, The Carp Project Vol.01 provides 2 hours of continuous carp filled action for your viewing pleasure! Watch Adam Reed as he tackles a weedy Estate Lake, Darrell Peck returns to The Quarry and Amy Maunder hooks in to some stunning Old Mill characters not to mention Lawrence East putting his day-ticket know-how into practice at Linear Fisheries, while Dave Levy turns failure into success on a tricky big-fish water, and Neil Spooner catching a new PB from his Essex syndicate, plus much, much more!