Being well into December I’m just waiting for my first blank of the season to come and visit me. I’ve been very lucky this year, with multiple catches on most sessions and some stunning fish to boot! However, with the icy cold winds and a few frosts becoming the norm now, I have been watching the water temp fall by almost 2 degrees between each session. After doing my normal scan of the weather and taking notice of the average air temp, I’d noticed a drop in pressure and a rise in the air temperatures, accompanied with strong and almost gale force South Westerly winds. This happened to coincide with when I had planned my next trip, so happy days!
Effort equals Reward
Arriving at the fishery, I wondered whether the carp would be sat on the end of the wind. As soon as I stepped out the van the cold chill of the wind cut me to the core (does the weathermen ever get it right?). I soon gave up on that idea and without even as much of a temperature reading to help me decide (not that it was needed) I was soon standing in a swim called Roy’s on the end of the wind. I wasn’t feeling it at all, well apart from the chill of the wind anyway. Looking out at the lake, it looked good but boy was the wind cold! With that I kept walking round the lake as I was eager to see a show, but with no luck in that department at all, I settled on the swim I had the 40 from a good few days ago on the back of the wind.
Having chosen the furthest walk from the van instead of the cold swim that was only 100 yards or so away, I was hoping my choice was going to be worth all the effort. Carefully manoeuvring my barrow down the muddy path, I eventually made it round the lake to the swim. Having bust a gut and sweating like a pig, I just about got the rods out and set up before the wet stuff came (low pressure equals rain). With the kettle on and watching the water like a hawk, a quiet couple of hours rolled by without a single bleep coming to my rods. With the light starting to fade, I felt quite happy and waited to see what the night would bring. Well, I was happy till I saw a fish roll out in Roy’s over the other side of the lake and yes you guessed it on the end of the wind!
Talking myself in and out of moving in the dark, I decided to bite the bullet and move. However, the heavy rain came and I’d talked myself out of it till morning! The little voice in my head kept saying a lump could be round the corner if I stayed put! At 9:30pm the rain stopped and I was itching to get over the other side of the lake. Auto pilot kicked in and without another thought, I just pulled the barrow round and started loading it up in the dark!
By 10:30pm I was cast out and on spots I’d caught from before. I was just settling down in bed and a gust of wind made all my alarms sing a bleep or two, yet to my surprise one kept singing! Looking out the bivvy door my tip was bent round, with a faint clicking which could just be made out from the sound of the buffeting wind. Sliding down the bank, I was soon stood in the dark with a bent length of carbon in hand. After a spirited fight a 20lb common came to the net and was soon released again. With the rod back out I was once again ready for a bigger prize and ready for my bed if I’m honest!
Wind in the Willows!
The morning came round slowly, mainly due to spending most of the night clearing weed and tree branches from my lines. After checking the water temp and wind chill, it appeared they were quite evenly matched at a chilly 5.5 degrees. Wind and carp is a funny subject really. If there’s a new wind coming, the carp seem to know and will be at that end of the lake waiting, even before it decides to pick up. It’s one of those un-known parts about the carp habits. Just like when they bosh out, they seem to signal each other on occasions, which is slightly different to head and shouldering when cleaning their gills though after feeding though. I learnt a lot about carp body language whilst stalking this summer. One of the most interesting things for me was when carp were boshing and rolling out in the lake, the other carp which were sat in the margins seemed quiet aggravated and moving/shoving whilst feeding.
With the wind gusting at a judged 65mph, I was spent most of the morning removing sticks them from my lines! It was coat on/coat off for much of the day and I even had all my lines wiped out by half a tree at one point. The short day seemed to skip by quickly and by 2:30pm the light started to fade. A coot screech as a carp rolled down to my right, which gave me a real confidence boost. After having so many weed bleeps through the day, as you can imagine I lost a bit of focus on reading the bleeps.
At 3:15pm I had a slight lift on the bobbin and went down to remove some weed, but with no weed there I just thought I had some hanging where I couldn’t see. I slackened off a little line and returning to my warm-ish bivvy, however I was quickly back at the rods as the bobbin rose right up to the alarm. Picking up the rod I still wasn’t sure if it was weed or a fish at this point. But sure enough after feeling the line pull through weed, I soon made contact with a nodding head. With tunes coming from my line in the wind, it wasn’t long before the fish was powering deep in front of me. A wide dark back popped up and with another half-hearted flick of its tail, it was safely guided into the waiting net. With the light fading quickly, I found myself rushing around to get a quick snap before the darkness set in. A lovely chunky mirror of 30lb 5oz and caught out of a very cold 5.5 degrees lake, now that’s cold water carping! I safely slipped her back into her watery home and I got thinking as I do. Another show and another bite on fading light conditions (can you see the connection?).
That was the last bite of the session or fish seen for that matter and it seemed they moved out after the disturbance of the capture. As I packed away on my last morning, I did my normal water temperature readings (5 degrees from top to bottom) looks like the wind had chilled the lake and gave it a good mix in the process. During my next blog I will go into my cold water bait application, with a little why and where thrown in for good measure.