It’s been a busy month so far, but I have managed to wet a line on two separate occasions.
After my last couple of sessions at my syndicate water, where they really gave me the run around, I was determined to get a step ahead of the carp. Well I couldn’t cope with moving every morning like my last trip! With that in mind, I decided to fish the first afternoon off the barrow in Roy’s swim as it’s called. With rigs cast out and very little free bait introduced, I kept my eyes peeled for shows and liners, just to see if I could pinpoint the carp’s whereabouts. With a cold wind blowing into the corner, this time of year can be confusing for many anglers as what seems cold to us can be warm to the carp. Let me explain… With the water at a rock bottom 4 degrees or just under, a chilly 5 or 6 degrees wind will still have a warming effect on the water, attracting the carp to the windward end of the lake. After testing the water temperature at different depths, I hung the bare thermometer in a tree, which will give me a half decent wind chill temp as a comparison. Stating a bit of the obvious here, but if the wind chill is warmer than the lake, even though it could feel cold to us, they will be happily sat on the end of it.
This session was one of those confusing times, as the wind and the water temps were more or less the same by 0.1 of a degree, so the carp could really be anywhere round the lake! Sticking to my gun’s I sat huddled behind my barrow out of the wind. I was longing the get the house up, but no I had a plan and I was sticking to it. The afternoon slowly rolled by without so much as a bleep then just as the mid-afternoon light started to fade, a sharp bleep came from my receiver box. It was a little muffled by the wind to be honest, but a bleep all the same. I glanced at the rods and wondered weather is was just the wind. Then Beeeeeeeeeeeep! The bobbin shot into the alarm and all hell broke loose as the rod tip flew round at pace, alarm screaming and line being ripped from the spool. I skidded down the bank as quick as I could and with my heart beating out of my chest, I finely made it too the rod. Skidding to a stop at the water’s edge, I was soon stood with a tight line pointing in the direction of the fish. After a few minutes she found a dying weed bed and calming down somewhat, with a couple of half-hearted runs and a disgusted nod of her head, she was mine. At 29lb 14oz I was pleased to say the least and as light just began to fade she went on her way back into the depths of the lake.
I was just thinking that a night here would be good, and then I saw a show across the lake in the fading light, then another right on the point of the island. This swim I was in was always worth a fish, but like I said once before they soon spook and move out quickly! With a lovely fish under my belt, I set about a move around the lake. Unfortunately the carp didn’t really want to play ball at all, a small 16lb common slipped up to my Covert Wide Gape Talon Tip blow-back rig, just after a couple of tell-tale liners (which is normal for this water to be honest). Two nights in the cold wind was enough this trip as I was still shaking off the Xmas flu which someone had kindly shared with me.
A few days later I had a run of talks to do, one in Nottingham and the others in Norfolk, which all went well and I was lucky enough to have great audiences at each. I must say the Nottingham one was a great laugh, as the guys there listening were well on the ball (which made for a great evening all round).
Very Next Session
My last trip to the lake started after a long day at home. I’d dropped a little behind with things after sorting the talks out, so after a little work from home I managed to sort some fishing time out. At 3pm I found myself rolling some 10mm’s Trigga Ice for the session ahead. I hate rushing my angling, but needs must sometimes. Me being me, I didn’t want to waste the morning’s bite time, so after loading the van and a 3 hour drive, I set about finding some carp in the darkness.
Without a single show in the dark, I went on gut feeling and dropped in the swim I’d been baiting and fishing for most of the winter. At 11pm I’d just got the rods out and the house up for the next couple of nights. Luckily this was a cosy little swim and out of the wind, so the gales which were planned to hit the next day could do their worst.
As the night rolled by at 1am I had a few liners, first on one rod then on the other (fish passing through I thought?). With a guy fishing round the other side of the island, it came as no surprise the next morning, he told me he had a carp just before 1am, which sounded about right after the liners. Reading between the lines on captures and shows, patrol routes aren’t that hard to figure out. I always make notes of capture times (others as well as my own) and shows along with the weather patterns. Feeling confident throughout the day, my lightly peppered spot on the island bar burst into life just on tea time. After a spirited battle, a 26lb common was carefully unhooked on the mat. I do love a common and even more so in their full winter colours!
This was the only carp which graced my net this session. I do think the gales put them off a little and having all my lines wiped out on the last night as half a tree blew through my swim couldn’t have helped. I did have a bit of a lazy session to be honest, well as far as walking the lake and looking for shows, but I made up for that writing by a Rotary Letter piece for Carpology whilst on the bank, along with another article. Busy, busy, busy!
Just to finish off, my next trip has been put on hold as the freezing weather has led to a lid going on the lake. As daft as it sounds, the longer the lid is on the better water temp wise. I think the ice acts just like a car window, magnifying the sun’s rays and acting as protection from the elements, cold winds and further frosts. Just to prove the point for you I fished the Mangrove some years ago, with the water temp being at a rock bottom 3.9 degrees. The lake soon froze over with only a couple of frosts as water colder than 3.9 degree’s is less dense so it sits near the top of the water column. Anyway, after the Mangrove had the lid on for over a month, I made it down as the ice had just melted. With the effect of the sun and added protection the water had from the ice, it had warmed up to just under 7 degree’s, even with the ice melt going in. I went on to have a winter session of a lifetime, with 14 carp to over 40lb; like I said the longer the lid is on the better!