Like most of you out there having endured one of the slowest winters on record it was a great relief when finally by mid April the sun finally decided to make an appearance and spring kicked in at last. Most of the waters throughout the country have been slow to start as water temperatures remained very low, basically we’ve been a month behind in the weather stakes and the effect on the fish has been severely noticeable.

Solid mini pva bags worked well...

By the second week of April I could wait no longer and decided a couple of trips to Linear Fisheries were long overdue. The latter part of 2012 had seen me spending a number of nights on Manor Farm and I managed to land a number of nice fish to over 30lb in the weeks leading up to November. Unfortunately the floods that hit the fishery put an end to my winter campaign, but with April now here I was keen to resume where I’d left off in search of a Manor Farm whacker.

My first session fell the second week of the month and after arriving early on the Sunday morning I spent a couple of hours prowling the banks looking for signs of fish. It soon became clear that the river bank held a number of carp, as a few fished rolled out at long range but unfortunately all the swims there were taken. Luckily an angler in one of the prime swims was just fishing the day so after securing the swim I spend some time checking out a few other spots before retrieving my gear from the car and preparing my rods and rigs. By late afternoon the angler decided to pack up so after thanking him and wishing him well, I jumped straight into the swim and got all set up before dark. Tactics were a simple choice and one of which I have huge confidence with. After preparing three solid Gardner Mini PVA bags with short 15lb braided Trickster hooklinks, I whacked them out the 100 or so yards to where by now a number of fish were giving away their presence. I’d got a selection of Richworth’s new baits with me including their Solid Bag Mix and the awesome S-core boilies, which I’d crumbed up and mixed with some of the stick mix. This combination formed the bases of my sold bag mixture and combined with my favoured hand rolled 10mm and 12mm Richworth special hookbaits gave me utter confidence in both bait and tactics.

A stunning fully scaled mirror!

The evening and night Passed without any action but at 5am the next morning I was away on the middle rod. After a scrappy battle in the early morning light a small but pretty mirror around 15lb was secured in the net. Over the next eight hours a further four bites resulted in four more fish topped by a real pretty scale perfect mirror just over 20lb.

Despite being small fish the action was more than welcome and proved just how effective the tactics and bait are as only one other fish was landed that day despite a number of anglers on the water. I was more than confident the next day but unfortunately that seemed the end of the action as the fish seemed to move out of my water possibly due to the pressure. Luckily for him my good mate Adam Clowes moved into a swim further up the bank from my spot and with some excellent angling landed seven more fish to over 33lb on exactly the same tactics. With twelve fish between us it was a great start to the spring.

My favourite hooks for zigs.

I couldn’t wait to return a few days later this time with the added pressure of the film cameras with me. Being a consultant for Richworth and Gardner Tackle one of my roles is to help out with filming, DVD projects, show work etc. It’s something I really enjoy and relish the chances to perform in front of the camera whenever given the opportunity. This session was shared with Richworth Baits media man Pete Wilson and we’d got a couple of nights to ideally catch a few fish.

The session went superbly well with a number of fish caught on a variety of tactics. Even though none of the big fish put in an appearance it was great to finally get some action after such a slow and painful winter and we landed a number of fish over 20lb between us.

As the weather warmed up, I finished off the session with a couple of fish that fell to zigs fished over the same area I had been fishing the PVA bags. Small slivers of Gardner Tackle Zig Rig Foam fished with the superb size 12 Mugga hooks, which nailing the fish in the bottom lip.

A trip had been thoroughly enjoyable and as the fish began to wake from their long winter slumber I couldn’t wait to return to have another go at some of the monsters of Manor Farm.
A lovely 23lb common for Tim.