Towards the end of 2012 I was doing a lot of fishing, and catching really well. During the start of 2013 I have been a bit “burnt out” and not really had the desire to go fishing, what with the cold weather and the amount of assignments set in college, wetting a line has been a rarity.

My first trip this year was when the country was covered in snow towards the end of January. Fellow Gardner sponsored angler Tom Oliver was off in search of a carp or two in the snow on the runs water on his syndicate, so I tagged along on a guest ticket. We were the only ones who had braved the weather so were soon setting up in “The Point” where Tom had been catching from lately. I went on the right, and flicked out some short zigs, which I thought would give me the best chance of a bite at this time of year. It seemed this was the right decision when a few hours later one of the zigs was off to a flyer, the result being my first carp in the snow, a common of around 12lb! That was the end of the action for me, but Tom showed me how it was done, catching six in a very short space of time the next morning, including all three rods going at the same time!

I was straight back onto college work after this session, but a few weeks later I managed to sneak in a day session at the FLE Fisheries Greenridge Farm. I was going to fish the Top lake, which is about an acre and well stocked with doubles and has started to do a few 20’s since the stock has been thinned out. After a quick wander around it was very evident the fish were in the top bay, but with the peg fishing that swim taken I settled into the back of the wind on a route I thought the fish would patrol.

The rigs were kept simple, with a couple of inches of 15lb Disruption, a size 8 Covert Continental Mugga and a balanced CC Moore Silent Assassin pop-up. The left hand rod was cast towards some fizzing in the margins, and the right hand rod went under the bridge to the island where I had seen some fish while setting up. A few handfuls of scalded pellet completed the traps, and I settled back to relax in the rare bit of sun we were having.

It didn’t take long for the left hand rod to hook into a fish, and a common of just into double figures was my first of the day. It went a bit quiet after that, but a brief feeding spell in the afternoon rewarded me with a double figure ghostie and a beautiful scaley mirror of just under 10lb which was the highlight of the day. I packed up soon after, happy with getting a bend in the rod.

By now we were coming into the middle of March, and an impromptu trip to France was arranged with Tom and his mate Andy Loble. We were going for a long weekend to Lac De Laneuville, in the champagne region of France. The weather forecast was pretty bag, as winter was still hanging around in France as well. The lake is very well stocked, and with an on-site kitchen we would have somewhere to keep warm.

We decided to spread ourselves out along the bank to try and locate where the fish were, and I ended up on the back of the wind fishing to the deep snag line. There were two obvious snags to put my two rods too, and then I found a deep, hard spot in open water for the third rod. All were set up with 25lb Plummet Leadcore leaders, a Covert Lead Clip and a 25lb Sink Skin hooklink to a size 6 Covert Incizor. I was going for the one bite at a time tactic, so the hookbait was a tiger nut or a peanut tipped with a piece of fake corn, fished over a couple of handfuls of hemp, chopped nuts and pellet, which I boiled before putting out. My tactics were rewarded on the first morning with a 30lb 10oz mirror on the short snag rod, which I had a brace shot with the 26lb’er Tom had caught as well.


I got the rod back out quickly as the sun was coming out, and I was sure that the fish were move into the snags to sun themselves. The rest of the day was spent having a social with Tom and Andy, and catching a few fish from the stock pond, before my middle rod let out a few beeps in the early afternoon. I was on it quickly, and latched into what felt like a much better fish. It put up an epic battle before being expertly netted by Tom. On the scales it went 35lb 14oz and I was more than happy with the result!

Soon after Andy hooked into his first of the trip, and managed a low 20 mirror meaning we had all beaten the blank. The lake switched off a bit after that but Andy caught a couple more 20’s on maggots, so not wanting to miss out on an opportunity I stole one of Tom’s maggot rigs and put a few spods of the week old maggots I had out onto my open water spot. It didn’t take long to be rewarded with a stunning 33lb common, which made up for the lost fish shortly before.

That is it for so far this year, but next month I have a few more trips planned. Hopefully the weather will warm up some time soon, and switch the fish on!
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