It was Monday morning and I woke up to go to work and looked out of the misty window to see a carpet of white, the first snow fall of the year had arrived. I got myself ready and set off for work on this very cold January morning. I am currently doing some voluntary work at Narborough Trout and Coarse Lakes and upon my arrival I was to find that the majority of lakes had a ‘lid’ on them. Narborough has a main carp lake which has a very good head of fish in pleasant surroundings, so for this reason I feel it is always a great place to visit for a few bites and get a bend in the rod. An added bonus is that the majority of the fish have stunning colours due to the gin clear water.
I did my usual walk round in the morning to make sure all of the water is flowing correctly as the lakes are all fed by the River Nar that runs alongside it. These checks mainly consist of clearing any sticks, branches or debris that may get caught up in the inlets and outlets of the lakes. When it came to walking round the main carp lake I came across three small ice free areas in the margins. I decided to trickle a small amount of corn and pellet in these spots and if I found any fish feeding I would have a go at trying to catch one whilst on my lunch break. I occasionally do this, but this day of all really made me want to catch one as the thought of catching a carp in the snow really got me buzzing!
Work was carried out for the next three or four hours and soon it was time to have my lunch break. The bait had plenty of time to work its magic and I was hopeful that the fish had got their heads down. The lake is quite shallow and with the fish generally patrolling the far margin it really pays to have a stealthy approach. So with this in mind I used my Polaroid glasses, which are an essential for fishing on these intimate little venues, especially when stalking.
Having checked two of the spots it was clear no fish had visited as the majority of bait was still present. Approaching the third spot I was still optimistic and hopeful that there would be some carp feeding and this proved correct. Four or five mirrors and a couple of ghost carp were feeding willingly on the bait I had introduced in the morning and watching these fish on this particular spot was very exciting, especially as all of the surrounding water was still frozen.
I rushed back to my van to retrieve some of my essential fishing gear. My rig choice was four feet of 25lb Mirage Fluorocarbon leader with Critical Mass Putty dotted along it to pin it down. The rig also included a Covert Lead Clip and Tail Rubber, a 1oz Gardner Flat Pear lead with eight inches of Sly Skin Silt hook link. I attached this to a Size 10 Covert Mugga and I added a small piece of Supa Shrink to the shank of the hook for extra hooking ability.
I cautiously walked to the spot as to not spook any potential feeding fish and peered over the marginal plants, upon inspection it was obvious the fish were still over the spot and feeding. I slowly placed my CC Moore 8mm Mini Bite with a Micromesh PVA bag onto the edge of where the fish were feeding with minimal disturbance. I laid my rod down on the bank and then sat back in anticipation waiting for the action to unfold. Only two minutes later I saw my slack line tighten up and my reel go into total meltdown, the spool spinning into a blur. It was more than clear my rig had been picked up and that I was in! With the adrenaline rushing I picked the rod up and was connected to what I hoped to be my first carp caught in the snow for a couple of years. After a spirited fight in the ice free margin, I happily slipped the net under the fish and it was safely landed.
I unraveled the net to find a dark, pretty mirror in all its winter colours, not a massive fish weighing around 7 or 8lbs but a very welcome capture all the same. Some quick pictures were taken with the beautiful scenery in the background before safely returning the fish and watching it swim off back into its home. Mission Accomplished!
To summarize this article, even in the harshest conditions and with ice covering the majority of the lake the carp were still feeding, you just have to put your faith in good products, use the right approach and you could be out there catching some of your own carp in the snow.