After a fantastic Christmas and New Year spent with my family my thoughts turned once again to carp fishing. I had only managed a short five hour day session in the month of December and that was to take my younger brother James fishing. He did well and managed to bag around a dozen carp to 9lb and was more than pleased. After such a long break from it all I was keen to get back in to things with the weather being so remarkably mild for this time of the year so planned a 24 hour trip to my syndicate lake for the 5th January.

Tom's brother James with a nice commonI got to the lake around 10am as I had to do a few things at home before leaving. Upon arrival I could tell the fish were more than active as they were showing all over the place and some could even be seen cruising in the upper layers in the middle of the lake! After a quick lap of the lake I decided that most of the fish were held up around a swim called the point that I had fished several times in the past. I quickly set up my home for the 24 hours and as fish were showing around twenty yards out I decided to keep disturbance to a minimum and just cast three pva sticks with snowman rigs to areas I could see them showing. Within fifteen minutes my left hand rod was singing its merry tune for the first time of 2013 and I was on it in a flash. I could tell straight away that it was only small but at 12lb 8oz the little mirror more than put a smile on my face and meant I was off the mark early on.

My successful rig componentsI recast the rod but the shows had stopped and I think the disturbance from the fish had spooked them as I was only fishing twenty yards out at the time. I decided that the fish were obviously on the feed with the mild weather and decided to put some bait in despite it only being January. I found a nice smooth silty spot around two feet wide in nine feet of water behind a gravel bar at seventy six yards towards the corner of the island and decided to put 5kg of particle, maggot and sweet corn in with some 10 and 15mm Cell boilies rolled by Kent Particles and matching Cell pellets. I would not normally use this amount of bait for a 24 hour session at this time of the year but they were clearly up for a feed. After putting the bait in I clipped up both the rods and attached two new rigs, both the rigs were snowman rigs of around seven inches tied using 15lb brown Sink Skin with a short section of around ¾” stripped back next to the hook. For hooks I used my ever faithful size 10 Continental Muggas and finished the rig with a short section of Covert Shrink Tube to extend the angle of the hook slightly. For bait I used a 15mm Cell bottom bait and 10mm pink Cell pop up on the hair and threaded a short stick made of sticky salmon fry crumb pellets that I made sticky by mixing them with the Cell stick mix liquid.

I bagged this 18lb 8oz mirrorTwo rods were placed on the bait around a rod length apart and the other was fished on a 7ft zig with a white 10mm Cell pop up at around 100 yards to showing fish. Over the next couple of hours the action was great and I caught well on all three rods and nearly every time I flicked my zig amongst a group of cruising fish it rattled of within minutes. The fish were all a good average size and mainly all upper doubles and they fought like demons! As the darkness set upon me I had banked around six carp and lost two and the action seemed to stop so I decided to top up the spot with just half a dozen more spombfulls. This did the trick and I very quickly netted an 18lb 8oz mirror on the snowman rig after a very spirited battle under the rod tips.

Another fish falls to a zig hookbaitAs the sky became clearer and darker the temperature was noticeably dropping and the fish stopped feeding for the rest of the hours of darkness. I awoke around 7.30am to a very foggy morning and no sooner had I got out of the bag had my middle rod on the spot went off. I netted the beautiful mirror and weighed it at 21lb 8oz my biggest of the session so far and my first twenty of the year. I released him to join his friends and got the rod back out along with a dozen more spomb’s of bait and was pleased with the way things were going. Around half an hour later I was away again and landed another mid double common although I now had a problem as my spreader block on my landing net had broken and was not repairable. I was in a right dilemma as the fish had started to show in the upper layers again in numbers around 120 yards out to my left and were gagging for a zig but it would not have been safe to try and catch them without a net. I rang my good friend and fellow Gardner sponsored angler Calum Kletta to see if he was around as he only lives five minutes from the lake and he kindly agreed to bring me a net down within the next half hour.

Whilst I was waiting I reeled all of my remaining rods in and set about attaching fresh seven foot zigs to two of them and a fresh snowman rig to the other. Calum arrived and I wasted no time putting two of my zig rigs in the kill zone at around 120 yards where the fish could be seen swimming around with their backs out of the water. Within minutes I had a double take and with a little help from Calum landed another pair of mid doubles. After sorting the fish the action continued and it was crazy for a couple of hours and I had yet another double take which resulted in me letting Calum take control of one of the fish which turned out to be the biggest of the trip at 23lb!

I packed away with the following fish to show for my results: 2×20’s, 1×19, 1×18, 2×17’s, 4×16’s, 2×14’s, 2×13’s and the 12lber that started the session. I also lost around five fish and an incident where I got bitten off that I think could have been one of the large catfish that live in the lake. All in all it was a great way to start my 2013 and has got me fired up to get out there again very soon and make the most of these mild conditions.
A lovely looking 21lb 8oz mirror