Over the last few years, I have always got out and fished over the New Year period, and this year was to be no different. However, my original venue of choice, the River Severn, was a whopping 6.7 metres up at the time and consequently flooded right across all the neighbouring fields. A far safer, more sensible venue was required…

I quickly made my mind up to head a lot closer to home, and have a couple of nights on Johnson’s Lake on the Godalming Angling Society ticket; a water I had enjoyed a lot of success on in recent years whilst fishing for the amazing stock of big crucian carp. I have to admit though, with the forecast weather being extremely changeable (as we were due to catch the tail end of hurricane Frank followed by potential sub zero temps) I wasn’t holding out much hope for many fish.

As expected, the conditions were horrendous! Just trying to set up in the gale force winds was difficult, but eventually I got my brolly up – and just in time too as torrential rain soon followed.

Finally, whilst getting totally drenched I managed to find a small area that was slightly deeper than the surrounding lakebed, and I proceeded to spod out about half a kilo of groundbait. I often use the Sticky Baits ‘Pure Krill Liquid’ in my groundbaits in summer, but as all I was looking to create a strong food signal in the swim I upped the levels, using it almost neat to mix my groundbait. This was combined with a little flatbed method feeders and finished off with a size 16 Target Specimen hook and a couple of Enterprise artificial casters. The hookbaits were also dipped in the Krill liquid for added attraction and to help the fish to home in on the hook bait. These were soon cast out about 25 yards to my spot, and I was fully expecting them to stay there for the duration whilst I enjoyed a social of drinking tea and talking gibberish as normal.

Over the next few hours I recast a couple of times to keep the baits fresh, when surprisingly midway through the evening I had a take and I was soon sliding a little crucian of 2lb 14oz over the net. It was not big for there, but I was happy to get one in such adverse conditions. This was followed about an hour later by another one just an ounce bigger.

After that I topped up the swim with another few more spodfuls of groundbait and went to bed. I was woken just before dawn by another take on the left hand rod, and this immediately felt like a bigger crucian. I was expecting it to go high 3’s, but was amazed when the generous scales settled on a new PB of 4lb 4oz! It was a truly massive fish for that time of year, and especially pleasing considering the awful conditions. It was that cold that my net had frozen to the ground.

Then, just as we were sorting out the camera stuff, my other rod went off with another big crucian of 3lb 12oz. An 8lb brace of crucian carp in -3C conditions; hardly the summer fish we normally think of…

With the photographs done, I slipped them both back and recast. At this point my fishing partner, the infamous Nate Green, managed to get in on the action as well. Before the trip his Crucian Carp PB had been just 2lb 5oz, so he was over the moon to first up it to 2lb 15oz during the night, and then smash it with a fantastic new PB of 3lb 10oz – all on his first trip to the venue.

I added a few more crucians later that day, ending up with 8 of them including another 3 x 3’s, and a nice plump winter 7lb 8oz tench.

Overall, what I had thought would just be a cold wet couple of nights of blanking, turned out to be a great start to 2016, with us both catching new personal best’s.