Many of the top names in angling are now writing regularly for us, and all of the disciplines of our sport are so very well represented. With many anglers talking about a reduction in the numbers taking up the sport, and the anti anglers out there to get us at any opportunity, I am pleased to report back that carp angling is definitely on the up. More and more people want to get out there and catch some of the marvellous creatures that get me out on the bank week in week out, and with new waters, plenty of information , and the very best in up to date tackle it is little wonder that carp angling is now the most popular branch of the sport.

It is for this reason that I am very pleased to let you know that this column will be changing as from the end of October. Instead of being updates on a monthly basis I shall now be updating the page on a weekly basis. The features will be shorter, punchier and will revolve around what is happening in the world of carp fishing, features on waters and individual anglers, tips for success and of course the very popular reviews section every now and again. If there is anything that you want including into the page please drop me a line and I'll see what I can do.

Top Tips.

As the weather gets colder and the water temperatures drop, the carp in many lakes are preparing for their pre winter binge. The first frosts are upon us and that is a signal to the carp that the colder months are on their way. It's time to feed boys! And although it can be uncomfortable out there at this time of year, the rewards are there for the taking. The main problem I find in October and November is the rain. Now I'm not scared of a little shower every now and again, far from it, but the cooling effects and flooding effects of all of this extra water can send the fish a little haywire.

In land-locked lakes the water temperature is cooled by the rain and the lakes rise, causing muddy conditions on the banks thus making the fishing itself a little more uncomfortable than usual. I find that the fish tend to slow down in the old feeding department until the water temperatures have equalised a little, so immediately after heavy cold rain can sometimes be a bit of a duff period. However, in lakes that have feeder streams, the onset of heavy rain can sometimes be a valuable aid to fish location. When the heavy rain floods down the feeder stream the first thing that you notice is discoloration of the water at the mouth of the stream. Many people think that the water coming in is cold and that the fish will avoid it, moving into the clearer water but I have found this more often than not to be wrong. If the water is flowing in slowly and colouring the water then the carp will be found right at the mouth of the feeder stream grubbing around and waiting for the food that will be brought in by the floods. However, if the stream is quite a large one and there is a noticeable current coming into the lake then the carp will sit just off the current in an eddy or area of slack water where the food items will be at their most prolific. Go back to your river watercraft and think about where the chub and the dace were in times of flood. Just off the current in the slack water, picking off the food items as they were drifting into the eddies and slacks. As well as the areas that are just off the main current I have also found that if the water has risen a great deal and flooded into the surrounding margins, that carp will be found digging around in these flooded areas looking for food and taking advantage of areas are not normally under water. I'll use an example.

Last year I was due to go to the Bottom Flash at Winsford in Cheshire for a review. It was late October and, just like this year, we had been hit by very heavy rain fall. The River Weaver runs through this normally quite prolific winter water and by the time I got there, the Weaver had burst it's banks in a number of places. The lake was completely chocolate brown and was about three feet higher than it's normal level. Now being an angling writer isn't all fun and games. I had to get a feature, and to get a feature I had also to get fish, but it was looking grim. Add to it the fact that The Flash is well in excess of 50 acres and the deadline date was in two days time and we were in dire straights. The Flash is comparatively long and thin, perhaps half a mile long and four hundred yards wide at it's widest point. The river runs in halfway along one of the long banks, so it was there I started my search for carp. Anglers on the bank had blanked at the river mouth for three days and in the main body of the lake no one had seen anything for a week. Drastic action was needed. The weather was cold and wet, the lake high, and the weather really cold with a cold northerly wind blowing. Against all text book advice I opted for the shallows in the spawning bay where the water had flooded over the bank and into the meadow alongside. Fishing really smelly stringers, I cast two rods out into the shallow slack water and the third actually into the flooded area that would normally be bank. Within three hours had my feature in the bag. An immaculate 24lb common was in the bet and it had come from water that was only around three feet deep. The carp had moved away from the cold water that was flowing into the lake and had moved right up into the shallows where they could get at areas not normally accessible for the fish. At the moment I see the same conditions and many of our lakes are high or in flood. If your local pond is one of them don't ignore the shallows or the river mouths as this can be exactly where the carp are.

COMPETITION CORNER This last month has seen the highlight in the British and European Carping calendars with the finals of the British Carp Angling Championships and also The World Carp Classic. As I sit here bashing away at the keyboard I have just returned from the finals of the British Championships at Horseshoe Lake and, what can I say? The event was absolutely brilliant with some of the nationís top anglers taking on some lesser known anglers that have been really successful on their own lakes at home.

Despite the fact that the weather was appalling with ridiculously high winds and really heavy rain the atmosphere of the tournament was not spoiled in any way. Horseshoe Lake is a fantastic venue for a final of this nature and really does deserve it's pet name of The Wembley of Carp Angling. 36 Pairs did battle for the title of British Carp Angling Champion, the fantastic crystal trophy, and of course, the winners cheque for six thousand pounds.

It all started slowly with only a few fish being caught from the areas of the lake that nobody expected to produce fish. Then, by the half way mark there were two teams that were clearly in the lead with a following Pack of a couple of teams. A1 pits winners Andy Murray and Keith Napier were on the ball and had some big fish in front of them and around the corner Ian Huntington and Pete Holehouse were also into fish. The Huntington/Holehouse pair had banked on fish later in the match and had baited up accordingly with Murray and Napier hoping to catch from the off. Both teams were neck and neck right up to the last hour and in the end, it was just 6 ounces that divided the teams. Murray and Napier had done it with eight carp for a total of 163.07 and Huntington / Holehouse were just behind with 163.01. Third was Mainline baits boss Kev Knight and Rob Tough on 86.03 and the rest were way down the leader board. All in all, it was an incredible event for both anglers and spectators alike. The venues for next years tournament will be released at the Carp Society Conference on Dec 5th and will be in these pages shortly afterwards. Whatever you do, don't miss out on next yearís event.

The international carp calendar saw the World Carp Classic in September. More of a festival than an out and out competition, the setting is Lac de Madine in north eastern France and is a venue that only last week produced a carp of 68lbs. One hundred pairs of anglers from all over the world were there to enjoy the atmosphere of Madine and in the end it was England who were the successful nation. Ten different nationalities were represented but as with last year it was the Brits who lead the way right from the off. Hot sunshine, very little wind and a lot of holiday-makers out to enjoy the facilities that Madine has to offer were out on the banks. The first fish of the competition came from the beach area, whilst people were actually swimming in the water, in the area that Welsh guys Martin Cronin and Colin Champion were fishing. The swimmers were stunned by the size of the fish that had been swimming in the same area as them but it didn't stop them going back into the water into the swim, nor did it stop the same team later knocking out a 34 right in the middle of the day. Once again from underneath the swimmers. Further around the lake, Essex Bait Rolling services team of Dave Poxon and his team mate Mark Harris were well into fish. Steadily taking seven large carp up to mid thirties they dominated the field and came out as champions of the three day event and ten thousand pounds the richer. It couldn't have happened to a nicer team as they really took it in their strides and now hold the title of World Carp Classic champions.

If you have not yet sampled either competition or festival carp angling the best advice I can give you is to get out there and give it a go. You really will not regret getting involved in the fun side of things and you never know, you may end up with a pocketful of cash for your trouble.

That's all for this month. I'll see you again in November with the new format.