It’s been a while since I have put pen to paper because I have barely fished for carp since returning from the World Carp Classic in October last year. I decided after the event to take a break from carping, something I hadn’t done for a few years as I was starting to burn out a little, especially as I had slogged it out for the last two winters with not a single result until early march. Despite what many may think I love fishing for all different species especially in the winter time and that’s exactly what I did this year and had a great time too with many successful days for all manner of species.

I started to think about my carp fishing plans around the begining of February and began by going through all of my kit. I treated myself to some new reels too and after spooling up with my favoured Pro XM mainline I decided to get a better rod bag to keep them well protected in transit. I couldn’t have timed it better as Gardner‘s improved design quiver and rod sleeve system had just come out and after using it for a month or so now I can honestly say its the perfect design and well up to the job. The days spent tidying my kit, tying new rigs and preparing bait got me fired up to get back on the bank and I was starting to get the bug back.

I started with just a quick overnighter that didn’t yield any results as it was extremely cold and bleak, but I was glad to be back out and already planning my next trip for a couple of weeks time after a trip perch fishing with a friend. We had a great day and I managed seven with five over two pounds, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the lake and was back the following week this time for two nights. I arrived after work on Thursday evening and had a quick look about hoping to see the odd sign to give me a clue. There was only two others on and after looking in a swim which was on the road bank I noticed a few small blows of fizz so decided to give it a go and set up for the couple of nights I had ahead of me.

Now most anglers fishing were still filling it in with lots of boilie, pellet and bulky food items, as for the one winter I decided to take a break it fished right trough. It had however slowed right down, so I decided to go with only a couple of Spombs over each rod with a mix of hemp, crumbled Carp Company Ice Red boilies (no whole or even halved baits) and maggots. I added a small amount of groundbait and lots of liquids to boost attraction even further and before long I had three rods out and felt fairly confident. The night was quiet and the following day the diving birds were a nightmare picking up my hookbaits at regular intervals. During the early afternoon I topped up each spot with three more Spombs and redid the rods with fresh hookbaits.

Around an hour after finishing, my left hand rod was away and I immediately remembered why I love carp fishing so much! It wasn’t a massive fish and was soon in the net, but that didn’t matter as it was the first carp I had caught for a very long time and gave me a huge rush of adrenaline. I followed it up with another upper double mirror the following day and was satisfied my subtle approach was a good idea. I didn’t manage to get out the following week due to other commitments and on my return it seemed a few had been out including a gorgeous 36lb fully to a good friend. After seeing the pics I just wanted to be there myself and managed to make good time of the journey after work on Thursday arriving to a slightly busier lake with four on this time. The swim I had caught from was taken so I decided on the woods bank as it held good form for this time of year and was currently devoid of anglers which suited me just fine. It didn’t take long to find a couple of likely areas and I particularly liked one spot on the left of the swim that had a shallow hump and nice big clear smooth silty area to the nearside that just screamed good for a bite.

I again baited with the same mix and fished one rod on the shallow spot with a combi rig tipped with maggots and the other on a hinge stiff rig on the silt spot. I managed a small 13lb mirror the following day just after topping up the spot and it looked good for another bite. Around 3am the rod fished on the shallow spot was in meltdown and it felt a much better fish holding its ground and running me all over the place. After a spirited scrap in the half moonlight under the rod tips I eventually slipped the net under a 28lb 8oz mirror and slipped it in a retainer. A friend came around the following morning to do the pics and the fish looked stunning in its winter coat and I was made up to say the least.

I’ve been out a couple of times since but the lake has gone very quiet again and I think this is due to the sudden increase in angling pressure with almost every swim taken most weeks now. I am back in a bit of a routine now and should be doing a couple of nights each week so if all goes to plan next time I sit down to write this I may have a bit more to talk about!