Ken Townley.


When you come to fish at Clawford you should bear in mind that the fish in some of the lake, Tanners and Major Johnís in particular, have been heavily fished for a few years now. Donít necessarily assume that standard tactics will always work. In particular the size of you boilies is something you should consider.

If you asked in your local tackle shop, "What is the most popular size of boilie you sell?" they would tell you 14-16mm boilies sell better than other sizes. OK, so if everyoneís using 14-16mm baits why donít you try larger or smaller than the norm?

Tannerís is my favourite lake on the complex as it presents a real challenge to anglers of all styles and abilities. It isnít easy but the rewards are there as long as you dare to be different. 

Angling writer and top journalist Andy Little also adores the complex and if youíve seen the fabulous Clawford Video made last year youíll have seen Andy in action. During the filming Andy popped down to Tanners Lake to ask me about my tactics on Tanners. Expecting me to give him some high faulting stuff about super baits and secret attractors, he was surprised when I told him that I was catching so well simply because I was trying to be totally different from the accepted norm.


From the mid 90s onwards the trend on the lake has been for a really delicate approach using ultra light running leads, flying back leads, lead core behind the lead, etc. etc. Baits were invariably tiny 8-10mm boilies fished on long critically balanced confidence rigs over a small carpet of pellet or ground bait or simply a PVA bag of the same.


Tactics were always; get a swim as near as you can to one of the islands then chuck the tiny hook bait as tight to the island as possible. Six inches off was regarded as too far out!

I followed this doctrine for a while but it soon became obvious to me that the carp were getting wise to the approach as loads of the Carp Club members were reporting aborted runs, stuttery pick ups and fish bow waving off the bait carpet.

I thought to myself that an obvious switch would be to use long-range tactics, but in the margins, if you see what I mean. Off with the Ĺoz and 1oz leads and on with four-ounce flat pear leads. Out went the long confidence rigs and the tiny hooks, in came great big sod off lumps of metal, size 2 Fox series 2XS. Forget the tiny baitsÖgive the carp a proper food bait, heavily applied with a big 22-24mm hook bait.

Finally, as the final part in my attempt to be very different in my approach I started fishing into open water, rather than tight to the islands. Worked a treat then (I stared this approach two summers ago) and is still working now! Iím just surprised that more of the lads havenít copied me yet!

Ken Townley.