Rob Coleman is one of Irish carping’s early luminaries, Rob came to live in Ireland in 1989 and continued the carping he had taken up in the seventies back in the UK. He set many Irish lake records and even the Irish record carp in 1993. Ten years later Rob moved yet again back to the UK where he has an enviable record for finding the fish.
Me: Hi Rob, when did carp fishing begin for you?
RC: I started carp fishing around 1976 fishing a small park lake, it was mostly fishing with luncheon meat, there was a small island with overhanging trees on it where I found the further under the over hang I could cast the quicker the bites would come. ( A good first lesson with bait position being a very important aspect in fishing ). There was lots of commons in there up to low doubles, and catching them really got me into carp fishing.
Me: Where did you fish in the early days?
RC: 1981 I fished a lake called hook lake where I learnt a lot and had fish up to 18lb+ on lots of different methods. I think most of the lessons was from loosing fish and trial and error ( there was no mags or videos to show you how to do it then! ). One lost fish was on a piece of anchored floating cake that I made I just had a lead on the line stopped by the hook! So you can guess what happened when I hook a carp!!! It seemed to happen in slow motion as I tightened up to the fish and the lead slid down the line and bounced the hook out of the carp. Lesson learnt! And I’m still learning now.
Me: You moved to Ireland in 1989 where you stumbled upon Ballinafid which held carp, what was it like fishing Ballinafid?
RC: When I first fished Ballinafid I didn’t know it had carp in it, I was float fishing with some sweet corn and had a mirror about 7lb. From then on I did a fair bit on there after the carp. It was very handy for me as I only live a mile up the road so used to visit it quite a bit even when I wasn’t fishing to watch the water. Most of my fishing was on two stands called big and little noddy as they was ones built by the fisheries board ( most of the stands were built by locals so didn’t want to tread on any ones toes ).
The biggest fish I had was a fish called big hole at 21lb in 1993 ( see pic ). Prob the best night I had on there was a 3 fish catch of 18lb 4oz ( big common), 17lb 3oz mirror, and a 14lb mirror. Most of the fishing was up tight to the Lilly pads, I would try and just clip the edge of the pads and feel the lead down, if I was a bit short it would go into weed, the weed didn’t grow under the pads but at the base of the pads was cabbage and I found the best spots was between the cabbage and the weed.
Also the best times I found was on a new fresh southerly wind ( the swims I was fishing were at the north end of the lake.I also fished the quite a bit for the tench and bream and had some lovely fish. I really enjoyed fishing there and met some great anglers there.
Me: You fished places like the Lough, Ballincollig and Galmoylestown, were there many guys into carping back then?
RC: There was not as many fishing for carp as there are now, but it was growing slowly
Me: Can you tell us about the night you caught the Irish record carp?
RC: I did a 5 night session on the Lough 12/06/1993 – 18/06/1993 with Mark McGivern and I had 10 fish (12lb 8oz, 16lb 1oz, 17lb 8oz, 19lb 12oz, 17lb 12oz, 14lb 4oz, 13lb 12oz, 18lb 12oz and finally a brace of 20’s 20lb 12oz and the record 27lb 12oz. (See pic)
We was fishing the road side up a bit from the island and most of the fish came from about 70yards out and was on snowman fished on longish hook links ( about 12in ) as there is a fair bit of chod/silt on the lake bed. I could not believe it when I weighed the fish it was a great feeling and was buzzing for days after.
Me: Moving back to the UK in 1999, you fished widely and caught many fish, what have been your favourite captures in the UK?
RC: Prob my favourite capture would be a fish called the Twin 41lb 8oz from Elstow pit 2, at the time there was 21 carp in there and it’s prob 20 acres with depths down to 40ft. It came from about 35ft of water out towards the middle where I had seen a couple of fish show.
Me: You helped several of your Irish mates when they came to visit, can you tell us the highlights please?
RC: The highlights would be fishing with some great mates I made while fishing in Ireland and watching and enjoying catching some lovely fish with them ( which I hope to do lots more in the future ).
Me: What advice would you give to someone starting off in carp fishing?
RC: The best advice would have to be watch the water and react to what you see also react to the conditions at the time and look ahead to the conditions changing ( wind direction and pressure ).
I have caught a lot of fish by casting to showing fish and adapting my approach to what the fish want ( zigs, floaters, bottom baits, pop ups, or snowman. )
The next thing would be to feel the lead down on every cast to feel what the bottom is your fishing over ( I even do it when I’m fishing zigs as I could find a nice spot for a bottom bait later or another day)
I tend to find you get out what you put in, make the effort and work at your fishing ( if you are going to fish with say zigs do it with all your rods and keep changing depth and colour until you find what the fish want, don’t just chuck out one and leave it there for hours as chances you won’t catch on it).
The other thing would be DON’T be satisfied with “” that will do”” ( ie if your cast is not quite right, hooks not very sharp ). do it till it is right ( 1 hour in the RIGHT place is better than 10 hours in the WRONG place ).
Also don’t get too tied up with bait and rigs you see on videos and in mags, most good food baits will catch if “IN the right place at THE right time, and keep your rigs simple with a nice sharp hook.
Me: Where in the world would you like to fish?
RC: I’m happy fishing anywhere with lovely fish, and enjoy a challenge.
Me: What are your fishing plans for the rest of 2014?
RC: 2014 will be mostly on Monks pit with an odd trip to other waters with friends, also fancy a few trips for some Barbel.