I was off shift from work and had decided to do a day session on a small estate lake that I know. The lake it is a small intimate venue of approximately five acres hidden in the beautiful Northants countryside, with a good stocking of fish that range from low doubles to thirties. All in all an ideal venue to spend a few day sessions during the winter months. A quick look at the weather forecast the night before revealed one of the coldest nights of the year so far with temperatures the following day struggling to rise much above four degrees! My biggest fear was that the lake would have a ‘lid’ on it but I decided to take a chance and set the alarm for 6am with the view to arriving at first light.
During the journey, the talk on the local radio was about New Year’s Resolutions and how the previous weekend was when most people were likely to break theirs! 2014 had been a year of mixed emotions for me both with personal health issues and the health of some close family members having an adverse effect on the amount of time I spent on the bank. My New Year’s resolution is to do a lot more fishing throughout 2015 and despite the horrible forecast I was determined not to fall at the one of the first hurdles.
On arrival at the lake my original thoughts were confirmed and two thirds of the lake was frozen, undeterred I decided to settle in a swim half way up the lake with a view to moving if I spotted any signs of fish activity. After a couple of hours with no signs of fish the sun started to show in the bright blue sky and a slight breeze picked up, this started to move the ice about a bit and break it up. It soon became apparent that the sun was going to be shining onto the shallower end of the lake for the best part of the day so I decided on a move into this area.
My plan for one rod was to fish a wafter over an area that I had put four spods of Mistral baits Ten-Pellet and broken Rosehip boilies mixed with a few drops of one of my favourite tipples! Rig wise I decided on a simple D-rig tied using various components from the Gardner Tackle range, one of these being their excellent new hook-link material the new super supple Ultra Skin. I decided to use my second rod as a roving rod, re-casting it to different spots throughout the day. On this rod I choose to adopt a simple bottom bait rig in conjunction with a small stick mix made up from finely crumbed Rosehip boilies, my hookbait was to be a single 15mm Rosehip boilie tipped with half a yellow wafter for visual attraction. With the temperature really low I opted for Gardner Tackle’s Skinny Dipper four seasons pva mesh so that I knew there wouldn’t be any problems with it melting completely. Before each cast I gave the pva stick a boost with some of Mistral Baits pva friendly Rosehip and Betaine Wizard Spray as the water was quite coloured after the previous week’s rain.
Gardner Tackle range, one of these being their excellent new hook-link material the new super supple Ultra Skin.” src=”http://gardnertackle.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Ultra-Skin.jpg” alt=”Rig wise I decided on a simple D-rig tied using various components from the Gardner Tackle range, one of these being their excellent new hook-link material the new super supple Ultra Skin.” width=”623″ height=”460″ />
It was midday before I saw any signs of fish when I received a small liner on my rod cast to the area of spodded pellet and boilies. On closer inspection I could see that there was some bubbling over the spot and it looked as though a bite would come sooner rather than later, however, nothing materialised and the liners eventually stopped. With this in mind I decided to put a couple more spods over the spot and change my wafter hookbaits from white to yellow. Within ten minutes of doing this the liners started again and after a further twenty minutes my right hand rod was away! After a short but spirited fight I slipped the net under a lovely low double common, a very welcome guest on what was proving to be an extremely cold day despite the winter sun doing its best to add a little warmth to the proceedings.
Whilst the fish was recovering in the net I put a couple more spods out and recast to the same spot as before in the hope that another bite would follow sooner rather than later. Once I had got the rod back out, I set about getting some pictures of my winter bar of gold, by no means the biggest fish I have ever caught nor was it one of the lakes bigger residents, but I really didn’t care as I had managed to bank a fish. My efforts to get the rig back on the spot were to no avail in the end and the spodded area didn’t produce another fish, but after about another hour and numerous casts to new spots, my roving rod was away and I slipped the net under an even smaller but equally as welcome common.
After another hour the sun started to slip away and the temperature started to drop very quickly. I decided to head for home after a wrestling match with an already frozen solid unhooking mat and landing net! By no means had I broken any records size wise but I had thoroughly enjoyed my day and was more than happy with what I’d caught and definitely intend to return to the estate lake throughout the colder months in search of one of her bigger residents. The main thing is that I have started as I mean to go on with my New Year’s Resolution, so watch this space throughout the year for further reports as my 2015 campaign unfolds.