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... 

1 May 2012

My first night on a new big water

I'm a true believer that in fishing preparation is key. Yes it takes time, but the results are most often worth it, as I hope this article will prove. With spring finally ‘springing' after what seemed an eternity I had tench at the back of my mind, and rigs, bait and location were all things I had to think about. Firstly, my chosen venue was a 13 acre estate lake that has produced tench to over 7lb in the past, with a typical depth for an estate lake of roughly 4-5foot, but deepening off towards the damn. Rigs were simple; 6" of 10lb braid, and a size 10 hook fished blowback style.

Bait was an easy option, so earlier in the week I mixed up Chapel Baits' new carpet feed, halibut pellets, trout pellets and chopped boilies, both Nutty and a custom boilie designed by myself using the custom range. The final ingredients added to my spod mix was a tin of sweet corn, and a good helping of strawberry glug and green lipped mussel groundbait to both thicken the mix up, and increase the smell attraction. With my armoury well equipped I set off in hope the weather wasn't going to be as bad as forecasted! 

Arriving around 4pm, I struggled on my swim choice after seeing no signs of fish, but decided to settle into a swim that controlled a large amount of water, but it was the snags and trees to the left that looked interesting. The marker float confirmed a depth of 4 foot, and soon enough I had spodded ten spods of the mix in a fairly tight area in between some scaffolding protruding from the water and a large overhanging tree.

With a simple lead clip set-up, a fluorocarbon leader pinned down with korda sinkers, and a 14mm Nutty boilie tipped with yellow fake corn inside a solid PVA bag of crushed nutty boilies, I had one rod out. Prior to the session I had extensively tested the rig, finding that the method feeder presentation I had also tested was far less desirable. The solid bag would slowly settle onto the thick silt, leaving a pile of crushed nutty boilies around one whole hook bait; perfect!

The other rod was a very similar set-up, although this time an inline lead, corn on the hair tipped with a green buoyant piece, and around 15 spods over the top at sixty yards range to open water. As the light faded I had a couple of line bites and a small carp or tench rolling over the top of the other rod, it looked promising!

It is certainly safe to say I did not get a good night's sleep with line bites roughly every half hour waking me and the rain hammering the top of my bivvy. With both lines back-leaded and leaders pinned down, they really must have been tearing the bait up, but still no fish. 11.20pm and the bobbin lifted, stopped momentarily then hit the butt ring before line gently peeling off the spool, but after a few seconds the hook pulled. How gutting, however the fish were ‘on it' as they say.

I counted to twenty one times around two placed bank sticks, clipped up, and clipped on another rig and PVA bag, then accurately got the rig back on the spot. The liners continued, which I thought were most likely bream, however perseverance paid off and at 12.30 the left hand was off again off, but this time the culprit wasn't getting away. After a spirited fight at the net I landed my first fish, an absolutely pristine 10lb 3oz common. 

After checking the rig and finding the braid in poor condition (most likely from rubbing on snags), I clipped on a new rig and again clipped up the line and got the rig out. You'll notice I use rig clips a lot, because I think they save copious amounts of time and stop you from becoming lazy when it comes to rigs. By leaving the first rig on, it would have probably cost me a fish, but this is something that can so easily be avoided by preparation.

More liners ensued, but at 4.30am I had a screaming run, again on the left hand rod. This time a bream coated in hard spawning tubicles, weighing 5lb 6oz. 

Just 40 minutes later the left hand rod again rattled off and I had a good fight on my hands. Bending my 2.25lb test curve Daiwa rods to the max, I sketchily steered the fish from the snags and into the folds of my awaiting landing net. The moon reflected off the large expanse of water, and there was silence apart from the ticking off my clutch and the odd splash of the fish – Wow!

Being slightly bigger than the first carp, at 11lb 6oz, I was suitably chuffed! 

So apart from the lack of big tench, my first session on a big water was a complete success! This approach was very against my usual baiting pattern, but I went in with swords drawn, put out a very substantial amount of bait and sat it out, and it paid off. Try locating hard patches, weed beds, gravels bars, snags with a marker float and the fish won't be too far off, especially if you put in a good amount of bait. Conceal your lines, be patient and well prepared, and you're half way there already.

Beware Tench… I will be back!

Tight lines

Michael Wickens