After the last trip to my syndicate water, I had a normal week at home catching up with some work, along with the dreaded job of drying my gear out and making ready for my next adventure on the bank. After several late nights and early mornings playing catch up with this and that, I’d caught up just enough to get a few nights on the bank. With the morning spent rolling 10mm’s on the Monday, then an hour studying the weather and wind movements, I was soon sorted and buzzing for an early start the following morning. After a night of clock watching, we’ve all been there before (is it time to get up yet?) nodding off for 30 minutes at a time, by 4:30am I’d had enough and got up a full hour before my planned alarm call. After a quick coffee I was out the door and heading off down the motorway. After spending three hours watching the trees go by, I finally pulled up at the lake.
Walking around an empty lake in the cold morning air, it was a totally different lake altogether from my last session. The long cold nights had already taken their toll, leaving the lake in a foggy old state. With not a breath of wind and as for fish spotting, it was hard enough to see the water never mind about a fish! Taking a quick temperature reading, my thermometer read a solid 9 degrees (a drop by 1.5 degrees from my last trip) so it was all starting to point in the same direction… lethargic carp! This was starting to tell me that the carp would be held up and not eating much by all accounts, but with that said as I’d found in cold water sessions before, it’s a great time for a big girl as the temperature drops. A fall in temperature always upsets the smaller carp first (less mouths and still munching big girls!). Without seeing a single carp, I set up in the swim I ended up in last time, which gave me a great view of the main body of the lake and I could soon move if I saw anything to go on through the mist. With small-ish traps set and a nice half kilo of bait placed tight on one rod, I was ready for a bite or two or even three (I have always been a bit greedy!).
Rig wise I had decided to change the hook pattern, which is something I do as the water gets colder. I opted for a beaked pointed hook (Covert Wide Gape Talon Tip) as my straight pointed Mugga set up relies on the carp spooking, hooking themselves a little more. With the beaked style pattern of hook, I’ve always found them nasty sharp out of the packet (which is down to the fined down beak point). I set these up to catch as the rig rolls over the bottom lip, just as the slow moving carp ambles away. During the summer months I will often use a pattern with a straight point hook (Mugga) fishing for snatchers and quite angry fast moving carp! Apart from the hook and a little bit more shrink tube, the rig is pretty much the same and on the plus side the hook holds are spot on! My main thought on cold water carp is that they feed for survival, if they find bait’s when they have their short feeding spell they take them more confidently, well as long as they can get the rig in their mouth of course. Anyway, I’m gassing again, so let’s get back to the session!
With the rigs out and after finely getting set up, I settled down for a chilly old session. With water dripping from the almost bare leafless trees, it made it feel like a right miserable day to be honest. As the day rolled by, not a single fish broke the surface and my alarms remained silent. Even the cold fog didn’t seemed to move (not the best conditions for a bite at all). I was soon in bed as the light dropped, and then on queue a wave rolled back towards my swim, it was a carp and right over my baited area! Without a single liner by midnight, I was getting the feeling the carp were sat somewhere in mid-water, but never being one for zig fishing, I stubbornly stuck to my guns.
Beeeeeeeeeeeep! At 2am I was awoken to a screaming sounder box. I was soon stood playing a carp in a t-shirt (I will never learn) with more than the rod shaking, I was glad to finally get her into the net. After a quick weigh, a mirror of 24lb was soon returned to her watery home.
Morning soon came round and not one more bleep disturbed my sleep or the whole of that day if I’m honest. The next indication came when Mark dropped into a swim further down the bank. The disturbance he created whilst setting up must have moved a fish or two my way, as just on dark I received a welcome line bite (which lifted my confidence somewhat). It pulled the bobbin to within an inch from the alarm, then fell slowly back down again! As the night fell the fog hung in the air, which gave the whole session a black and white feel. After waking up for a call of nature during the early hours, I was amazed to see the fog had moved on, even in the dark I could for the first time see the far bank tree line. By the morning I’d made the decision to move to the swim next door, this came about as I saw no less than five carp role in front of the peg! Quickly making my mind up to move for the last night, within seconds I had half my gear stacked behind the new swim. With just my bivvy and rods left I decided to fish it ‘sneakily’ as I call it, with just a couple of 10mm’s and a rig on each spot (if the fish are there I didn’t want to scare them away with bait). I’d just finished setting up camp and made myself a coffee, I was expecting a liner or two, but I was shocked when my margin rod doubled round. With the alarm screaming, I slipped into auto pilot and before I knew it, I was soon stood bent into a very upset carp. It decided to go deep and play tug of war a little longer and in the clear water it soon got my knees knocking I can tell you! Still not happy with me, she shook her head from side to side even as the net engulfed her. At 11am without a sign of fog, I had a few of the members round to take some pictures. It’s great sharing a capture and it’s not something I get to do very often (as I fish on my own most of the time).
A very speedy bite resulted in the shape of a 34lb 12oz mirror and if I’d have known it was going to be that quick and my last bite of the session, I would have just taken one rod round. It was well worth the move for such a stunning fish and like they say effort equals reward! Even as I was packing away in the rain, I had a little spring in my step!