I arrived at an ice cold and windswept lake, it was quite noticeable that the air temperature had dropped by a good few degrees. With the wind-chill factor decreasing temperatures even further, I had a good feeling the carp would be somewhere on the back of the wind. I had a good look around, but saw very little, so in the end I decided to set up in an unfished swim from the weekend (always a good starting point and sheltered from the wind by the large island that lived in the middle of the lake). With a wind that was cutting straight through me, I soon had the bivvy set up and the cooker on full bore. As the weather was against me somewhat, my baiting was going to be light and thoughtful for this trip. I had only bought half a kilo of Trigga Ice 10mm’s with me. I’d arrived with a a firm plan set in my head, which is not something I tend to do or recommend if I am honest. I’ve done enough winter/cold water carping to know mass baiting isn’t the one for most winter sessions!
I flicked a lead out 35 yards to a bar which sloped off the end of the island and after a few seconds I soon felt a firm donk as the lead hit the lakebed (that will do nicely I thought). As I wanted to keep disturbance to a minimum, I clipped up and my main spot which was around twelve feet deep, was chosen simply on that one cast. I accurately sent out 25 or so 10mm Trigga Ice boilies with the catty, which was very much helped by the wind if the truth was known. Within minuets a Covert Wide Gape Talon Tip soon followed suit, which was accompanied by a little and not so friendly snowman presentation. With two rods sat side by side, the other found a hard donk at the bottom of the near marginal shelf, which again peppered with a few 10mm’s.
The afternoon rolled by without so much as a bleep, with my head poking through the top of my bivvy door for most of it. I was doing a good job of keeping out of the cold wind, very much like the carp were probably doing too. I checked the water temp and it had dropped by another single degree, so I hoped a little bit of smell in one area was going to be plenty to help trip up a carp during any short feeding spell.
Just before dark the rod I’d flicked down the margin burst into life. I made my way to the rod, trying not to slip on the damp grass in the process. After a short but scrappy battle, a 28lb fully scaled mirror rolled into the net. With cold wet knee’s and a wet top, we both did our best to put on a brave face as the icy cold wind was a real shock to us both I can tell ya! I soon had some self takes done and slipped her back to her slightly warmer home.
Talking up a bite!
That evening I got talking to a friend about how common it is to receive line bites on this venue before a proper take occurs. During the warmer months I did more stalking than anything else and while watching the carp, it was quite noticeable that the big girls dragged their bodies along the lakebed, which caused some very slow and deliberate liners. Coincidentally just like the ones I was receiving right now!
We both agreed how we thought a lump was well and truly on the cards and all night I sat up expecting every bleep to lift the bobbin and keep going. However, no such luck came that night. Having stayed up until 4am I could take no more, too many cups of tea and no sleep makes Nick a grumpy bugger! After hearing a carp roll just beyond the island bar and a few liners coming every hour, I was confident but a little disappointed that I had yet to receive any action.
After finally dropping off, I awoke at first light to a cold nip in the air and all seemed quiet as I set about putting the kettle on. Before the kettle had a chance to boil, I had a series of bleeps as the bobbin pulled up tight and slowly dropped back. I felt it was a little strange and as I stood by the rods, I watched carefully and saw the line twitch as the bobbin tried its best to settle again. Not taking any chances I picked up the rod to be greeted by a surge of power running in the opposite direction as the fish tried to reach the nearest weedbed. I was soon playing a fish along with a big ball of weed and I could feel that horrible grating sensation as the line made contact with snail shells that the weed was covered with. The fish ploughed through the back of the weedbed and with shaking knees, I soon managed to coax the fish safely back. As the fish settled down, obviously with a clump of weed over it’s head, ten yards of steady pressure and they were both landed safely and engulfed in my waiting net (weed and hopefully a carp!). After uncovering my prize through the mountain of weed, I was over the moon to see her dark flanks catching the morning light. Looking down into the net I was sure I’d landed a big 30lber and what a stunner too! After a careful weigh she went 40lb 9oz, which was more than I’d hoped for from a December session. Like anyone I was buzzing and skipping around like a big girl. With a handful of 40’s in this lake, I’d waded through 98 carp since June and not managed to find a real big fish, well till now anyway! I’d stalked over thirty odd 30lb plus carp from the water, however I wasn’t complaining! With the fish gently slipped back and left sat sulking in the weed, I had a word with Nick who runs the water and it turned out it was a new forty for the lake! I had to laugh as I still hadn’t managed one of the known 40’s after all. On the plus side I had the pleasure of naming the beast and because she is one, I went for the name ‘Peach’. What a stunner she is and not one that visits the bank too often either.
After checking my Pro main line, I was very pleased to see it had taken the whole ordeal in its stride. It still looked as new after its battle through a weed bed. Talking of the weed bed, due to the battle it had been moved out of the swim I was fishing, I wasn’t too sure what the outcome would be. It could either spook the hell out of the area and upset the fish, a bit like someone stealing your pillow in the middle of the night, or it could make them curious to see what foods items are on offer, after the roots have been ripped out.
A quiet night followed and the next morning I was up early and felt a move was on the cards. I’d seen a couple of fish roll on the other side of the lake (not a bad move at all as it was right next to the car park). By 10am I was set up and fishing at different depths down the marginal slope in the new swim, which I’d settled in for the last night of the session. A very welcome 18lb mirror disturbed my sleep in the hours of darkness, but as always I look at the big picture. I did managed to see some fish elsewhere as I packed away, so I gave them a light sprinkling of bait before leaving and a plan was hatched for my next trip down. To be honest I can’t wait to get back for another cold water session, so till next time and still buzzing.