As you’d have read in the last two Big Carp Mindset articles, I’m definitely one who prefers to plan things out, and when things don’t go quite to plan I adapt but still stay focused and often reflect on John’s saying to keep me going…
Last month I finished up by saying that I had been walking, prepping and learning a new water ready for the Spring. I also mentioned how I had a thing about wanting to master catching big fish on zigs and hopefully catch a February 40. Well despite my efforts I failed at both. As for the zigs I tried all sorts from changing depths, colours and hooking arrangements, but the closest I got to catching on them was a few weird takes, and I only connected with a couple of them. Unfortunately, they both fell off mid battle so a zig expert I am not! And as for how the February 40 went? Well it didn’t! I still think that if I were going to tick that box, it probably would have fallen to a zig. Maybe it was one which fell off? I do not know, and never will do but both were fails.
Anyway, moving on, I continued to press on with my Winter campaign and as we all know we were getting some awesome record-breaking mild weather during late February and into early March. This weather had my head in a bit of a spin because, although I don’t believe for one minute that the Frimley fish had stopped moving all winter, they were really starting to show. With the Winter tickets coming to an end and more of the full syndicate members getting the itch to go to the lake, it started to become busier by the day. This in turn made it a little bit harder to frequent a few swims I’d been concentrating on, so by the end of February it was time to adapt my approach and start fishing for opportunities rather than relying on the baited areas located where fish had become localised throughout the Winter. As I mentioned in part one, a busier lake forces the fish to move around and after a whole Winter staring at pretty much the same views, I was quite happy that during my last few sessions I would see me moving about with the fish, chasing a few opportunities as and when they arose.
To be able to fish like this I find I need to be a bit more focused, rather than in ‘camping mode’, so comforts and distractions have to go or be limited through a bit of personal discipline. With this in mind, the first things to be taken out of my kit are luxuries like DVD players and iPads, and I put a restriction on the amount of time that I spend surfing social media and looking at things like YouTube. Without all these distractions, it is inevitable that my eyes are on the water more, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that you’ll see more signs of fish.
At the end of February, Wayne who photographed the mirror in my last column, paid me a late-night visit and as we sat chatting and watching the water, I told him about my plans and changes. Wayne was always one to push me and he always said I had incredible mental strength for carp fishing and that is why I’m one of the few who keeps going year in, year out, all year round. Wayne had fished a lot of top waters, mixing amongst some of the best anglers, so he had seen a few things and learned a lot along the way. It wasn’t uncommon for Wayne to sit up and walk a water at night, so we would often sit up late watching the water while keeping warm around a Coleman stove, eating ginger nuts and sipping copious amounts of tea.
Sadly, that night I just spoke of, was to be Wayne’s last late-night visit to my swim, as he suddenly died a few days later. Several weeks after I was still coming to terms with losing such a good mate, but I keep hearing his words of encouragement about my mental strength. To be completely honest his death was a massive blow to me. Wayne knew of my obsession to catch two of the big commons in Frimley, fish known as Gregory and Lily, so I vowed to achieve this for him.