Blog Posts by Michael Wickens

Back Michael Wickens


Fisheries Student
Other Sponsor(s):
Chapel Baits
Favourite Venue:
River Sussex Ouse

My Bio

At the age of 13 my older brother finally persuaded me to go fishing with him and I can't thank him enough for this, as fishing has now become my drug. In my first year I fished for carp, and I was soon catching plenty of low doubles and learning all about rigs, weather conditions, bait and tackle, all thanks to partly my brother and the amount of magazines I read each month! In my second year I broke away from the carp fishing and got stuck into river fishing thanks to a friend. Once again I started learning copious amounts about many different species, particularly chub. I remember catching a jack pike and taking it in the net to my friend to ask what on earth it was! I continued learning and catching, soon catching a few bigger fish, spurring me on to keep learning. I remember in my second year I landed the junior chub record for one of my fishing clubs; I didn't stop smiling for days. That winter I got into my predator fishing and worked hard to land my personal best pike of 13lb 12oz, again making me a very happy boy! It was at this time I started to create my own videos, however soon realised there was too much competition and that my videos were going unnoticed amongst the thousands of others. Soon I became a consultant for Chapel Baits through my writing, who I have now been with for just over a year. I can't thank them enough, they are truly great guys, who I have a lot to thank for. 


 Since then I have become an all-round angler who tends to target species according to the weather and seasons, however I do little carp fishing, and spend most of my time bank side on the river. The only river I have ever fished is the Sussex Ouse, which meanders through the Sussex countryside, with many stretches off the beaten track containing all manner of species. So far I have banked barbel to 15lb 11oz, carp to 12lb 7oz, and chub to 5lb 11oz alongside a few other species such as grayling and eels.

I have a level 3 diploma in Horticulture, age 17, currently living in Hampshire and Mid Sussex and been fishing for 5-6 years. Since September I have been living and studying at Sparsholt College Hampshire. I am studying level 3 fish management, which I hope will help me to pursue a dream career in the angling world... 

4 Jun 2012

1 session, 4 personal bests

1 session, 4 personal bests

After my first successful night on a large water (previous blog (despite the lack of tench)) I was back, hopefully to catch one of the tench residing in the lake this time, but the carp and bigger bream would be most welcome too.

Arriving around 3pm on the Friday of the long bank holiday weekend, I bravely set my brolly system up facing into the wind on the dam wall, in hope that the fish would be following it. After a few casts of the marker float I managed to locate a harder patch on the bottom encircled by thick sludgey silt at a range of about 60 yards. This was the spot where I would put a lot of bait out, and ‘sit it out' waiting for the fish to find the bait and come to me. My spod mix was made up of 10mm Plum and Black Pepper boilies, chopped Nutty boilies, chopped custom designed boilies (off of our website), our carpet feed, chilli hemp and an old tench favourite of maggots, fishing an18mm Nutty boilie over the top, ‘butterfly' presented. On the left hand rod I decided to go with a very different approach, fishing a 14mm Nutty boilie, but this time to dense bank side cover, then baiting the area with a good spread of around 40 boilies. Twice daily, I topped up both spots; the left spot with 20 boilies and the mid water spot with 6 spods.

Soon enough I had a fight on my hands, but disaster struck as the fish did it's all to get into the snags, resulting in a hook pull. Not the start I had hoped for, but not wanting to knock my confidence I got the rig back out and topped up the swim with a few more baits. Just 35 minutes later at 11.30pm the same rod ripped off, but this time I was even more determined not to be beaten. As the fight went on I was puzzled as to what it was, but after a good fight I banked my first ever Roach/Bream hybrid, beating the club's record by nearly 2lb! Despite being part Bream, the Roach in the fish seemed to give it the characteristics to fight well, at 5lb 12oz my first fish of the session was a good one. Throughout the night the inevitable happened, and I landed four small bream from the mid water area, so I decided to lay off the particles and just feed boilies, since the tench didn't seem to be interested in it anyway. The night also produced a small common of around 9lb.

Come the morning and I banked another personal best, a tench at 5lb 6oz from the mid-water spot, making me very happy, since it was a good start to the 6lber that I am targeting. As the second night grew closer the conditions looked pretty much spot on, and I was very confident of a few more fish throughout the night. With the prediction set, I had a positive take, but again, I had a hook pull as the fish struggled to tangle me up in the protruding scaffolding. Despite now losing two fish to this spot, I put the rod back out in the same spot as they were clearly feeding there, probably due to the cover providing sanctuary for them. At the dead of night of 3.30, I had a screamer of a run.

Jumping from my bed hair in my slumber I hit the left hand rod, but looked down in a daze wondering why my alarm was still singing away, soon realising I had hit the wrong rod (I had a good laugh at myself once my brain was functioning properly). The fish was on and it was kiting right, peeling line off the spool at a right rate, but by gently tensioning the clutch and using the full bend of my 2.25lb Daiwa graphite coil rods I managed to turn the fish, and slowly ease it towards the net. Soon enough I had yet another personal best on the mat, a common weighing in at 15lb 6oz. I was over the moon with this fish for several reasons. Firstly the obvious one, it being a personal best, secondly the fish may have never been caught and was in perfect condition with not a single mark on it, even the mouth, and thirdly the spodding of particles at 60 yards had paid off!

As the last day and night went on there was very little signs of fish, and I received no more interest on either rods, but I went through the usual routine of baiting the swims, and on the last morning at 10am as I packed up my gear, the mid water rod produced yet another personal best, another tench at 5lb 7oz, drawing me every closer to that 6lber.

What a session, one not to forget in a hurry that's for sure!

To end the article I'm going to give you my top 3 tench tips.

1.      Tackle up suitably, but sensibly. I went for light carp rods to both allow long distance casting, and to handle any big carp that decided to play ball. 8lb mainline and light braided hook links suit this set-up perfectly.

2.      Never underestimate the size of Tench's mouths. They can be just as greedy as carp and love a big hook bait.

3.      Treat fishing for them very similarly to carp, although tone everything down slightly, such as rigs, line, rods, baiting etc.

Tight lines… Michael Wickens