Dave Lane Carp Fishing Diary | Early September

Early September with Dave Lane

Sorry it’s been so long since my last blog but, what with school holidays and an acute lack of carp there has been precious little to blog about!

I have still been off chasing the unknown, trying my hand on waters that most sane anglers would not look twice at. Unfortunately that is the only way I am ever going to realise my dream of a big unknown carp though, and it is par for the course to have more than a few blanks along the way.

There comes a time however, when I just want to get out there and get a bend in one of my many fishing rods and this time happens to be now.

Last week I decided to re-visit a small and tree lined lake not far from my home. It’s situated on the edge of the Thetford forest and is a picturesque, tree fringed lake with a large and well established island running along the centre.

Because of the surrounding forest it has a fair depth of silt, a build-up of years of fallen leaves that have rotted away on the bottom, forming a thick layer of detritus.

As a result of this the carp can be seen bubbling and fizzing up as they feed in the deeper water and this can lead to some exiting stalking situations.

I turned up on a Thursday morning, just for a quick day session as the conditions looked ideal.

I always think if you have a lake nearby and a bit of time on your hands, it got to be worth a trip out, even if it’s a quick one, as it only takes a few minutes in the right spot to catch a carp.

At this time of year, as the air temperatures drop and we get a few low pressure systems moving in, the carp can suddenly go on the feed and the lethargy of summer days can seem a thing of the past. September is actually one of my favourite months of the year and it has provided me with countless personal bests and memorable captures over the years gone by. In fact, I would go as far as to say that September, April and possibly February can be the best months of the carp fishing year.

On this particular trip I found the carp, as expected, bubbling up in the deeper siltier part of the lake and I spent a fruitless couple of hours chasing them about, using light leads and long nylon hook-links, a method I have a lot of faith in when the bottom is soft and silty.

On this occasion though, they seemed to be totally pre-occupied with whatever was crawling around in the detritus and I had to employ a backup method as time was ticking away and I had to pick the littlest one up from school at four o’clock.

About two in the afternoon the sun made an appearance and, within minutes, I spotted the first carp cruising along the sunny side of the island. This area is a lot firmer and I knew, if I could get a bait tight enough to the island, that I had a shout of a bite.

It’s exciting stuff when you have a bait cast into just eighteen inches of water and you can clearly see the backs of carp as they pass over the spot.

I think there must have been at least three near misses before the bow wave of a carp lined up perfectly with the exact spot of my single bait and then, suddenly, there was big swirl as he sucked it in and realised his mistake.

A lot of people will advocate the method of ‘locking up’ when fishing up against islands, fishing your line as tight as possible with no clutch or free-spool set and the bobbin right up against the rod but I totally disagree. The way I see it is this; a fish cannot actually take any line anyway, not unless he is going to climb out over the island and the usual result is that they shoot sideways along the island margin until they find a snag. As long as you have a small drop on the bobbin then you will know instantly when the bait has been picked up and, with a tight clutch, it takes just two paces backwards to pull the carp away from danger before he even realises what’s going on.

With the fish safely in the clear channel I had time to enjoy the fight as he plodded up and down over deeper water, putting a healthy bend in the rod as he did so.

Under the tip was a different matter and there were a few tense moments as he realised he was losing the battle but everything held firm and the forgiving action in the top section of my TF Gear Nan-tec rods easily absorbed all the last minute lunges.

Once he was beaten and lying on the mat I had a chance to relax and appreciate how well a few hours in the right conditions can go, instead of being stuck at home working I was holding up a heavily scaled twenty six pound mirror for the camera. With the fish safely returned and the gear hastily thrown in the back of the truck I just made it back to the playground in time, although I did get a bit more room around me than usual and a few wrinkled noses at the distinct odour of fish slime!

Carp Fishing & Stalking with Dave Lane

Dave Lane Last Years Wacker

After my lost fish disasters on the big pit I decided on a return to the North Met last week for a spot of carp fishing, to try my hand and, hopefully, find it a bit less crowded than it was in the spring.

Well it was certainly a lot quieter and, surprisingly, a lot more scenic than the last time I was there. The trees had all leafed up nicely and the undergrowth had spread profusely, filling in all the gaps in the bankside and leaving the whole lake looking a lot more ‘carpy’ and nice.

I started off with the customary walk around the lake, climbing a few trees and peering into every nook and cranny but, after about two hours, I was still no closer to finding anything to fish for. I figured that, if they weren’t in the margins, then they must be further out into the lake out of sight so I found a nice swim that gave me a good view of the open water and just sat and watched for a while.

It wasn’t overly long before I saw a fair sized mirror carp slide up out of the water at about one hundred and twenty yards range so I loaded up the barrow and grabbed the bivvy and made my way around to the nearest swim.

One thing I had noticed on my travels around the banks was the proliferation on daphnia clouds, huge swaths of red slowly undulating in water like massive natural larders for the fish.

Daphnia is a massive source of protein for carp and it so easy for them to just swim through it like a big old whale shark, filter feeding as they go through. Quite why they would choose to ignore it in preference for an angler’s bait that they know may be dangerous I wasn’t sure and, going by the reports of how the lake had been fishing, I wasn’t convinced that they would.

As with all carp fishing though you have to take the rough with the smooth and, even if a lake is not on its best form, it’s still a lot nicer sitting out there trying your best than it would be sitting at home moaning about it.

Although my trip ended up being quite frustrating, as I watched carp just idly milling about in an edible environment, I still enjoyed every minute of it and, I found out later, somebody managed to bag a nice mid thirty just after my departure, from the other end of the lake.

Over the last week or so however, we have had a noticeable change in the weather, the evenings are turning cooler and damp and the mornings are refreshing, dew soaked and feeling a lot more conducive to catching carp.

I predict that the next few weeks will really start to pick up nicely and I am confident of a few good fish coming to the net.

In a couple of days’ time I am off to Oxfords Linear fisheries for the annual charity fish-in, held to raise funds for the Motor Neurone Disease association.

Basically it works by anglers paying to fish with the better known and mainly professional anglers in the industry (who give their time and help for free) this raises funds, as does a raffle on the last night.

The whole event is very light hearted and informal although there is a great chance for the paying anglers to pick up many tips and methods to take away to their own local waters and, hopefully, a few personal bests to be caught a swell.

Last year I had a lovely young lad called Sam to look after for the three days and I took him off stalking around the complex for most of the time. We eventually settled on Oxlease lake where I helped him to find a few fish and get them feeding on the surface.

It’s always an exciting method but, when he hooked into a very big fish indeed, it become a nerve wracking experience for me. I don’t think he quite realised what he had hooked until it rolled into the net.

At thirty two pounds it was, by far, his biggest ever carp and a real old warrior to boot.

I just hope I manage to send this years ‘visitor’ home with a smile on his face to match the one that Sam was sporting as he eventually headed off, tired but happy.

Dave Lane Carp Fishing Diary | August

Dave Lane Carp Fishing Diary

Well I’m back from this year’s MNDA charity bash at Linear Fisheries and it all went ok. I say just Ok because the fishing wasn’t spectacular this year, but that’s just the way it goes sometimes. It fished alright, it was just that the area we were in was a bit patchy and, unusually for me, I decided to stay put rather than go off hunting them. On previous years we have been very lucky with the weather, there has always been at least one full day suited to floater fishing and it’s been on this day that I have usually spent my time trying to ensure a decent fish or two from any of the other many lakes on the complex.

This year’s event coincided with quite a brisk North Westerly wind throughout and the conditions actually looked perfect for the swims we had been pegged in. Along with myself there was Paul Forward and Ian Stott and we had a trio of guys between us, all friends and all on their second visit.

Despite a slow start we soon had the lad’s spodding and casting accurately and in time the fish started to arrive. My swim was particularly tricky because of some snags out in front but we were situated on the causeway between Brasenose one and two so at least we had options.

Of the six of us carp fishing there was only one dry net at the end but, to be fair, he did have to leave a night early for a prior engagement and, because of this, he missed the most productive period of all.

One of the lads, Jack, had about six fish I believe, so he went home with a big smile on his face.

Besides the fishing though we all had a terrific time and there was a live band on the second night, and a hog roast (Paddy the carp dog’s favourite part of the whole three days) In fact the food was amazing across the whole three nights we were there, egg and bacon in the mornings and a nice hot meal at night with plenty of cold beer and socialising. The whole event is geared towards enjoyment and it has no competitive atmosphere whatsoever, the main criteria is to make plenty of money for the charity and for everyone to go away happy, having had a time to remember.

I believe that this year’s event amassed more than £24,000 pounds in total so a big well done to everyone that freely gave up their time to make this happen and a big thank you to everybody that donated, from the paying anglers to the many tackle companies and individuals who gave towards the raffle. The biggest applause must, however, go to Len Gurd, Fran, Roy Parsons and the whole of the team who helped to organise the event, man the bar, make the food and keep everyone involved happy and content throughout, well done.

Dave Lane Carp Fishing Diary | July

Dave Lane Early Twenty Carp

What a wonderful week to be British!

The British and Irish Lions have won the tour in Australia; and had me leaping all around the room like an over excited schoolboy, Andy Murray has become Wimbledon champion and, hopefully, we will win the ashes as well in a few days’ time to ice the cake off nicely.

To top it all off the sun is shining and it looks like staying that way for a week or two, I am off on holiday to even sunnier Spain and everything is at one with the world, well my little world anyway!

The carp fishing hasn’t been exactly fantastic though and, in true British style, I think we can blame a lot of that on the weather leading up to this current hot spell.

I think this burst of summer however, will be exactly what the doctor ordered and I am expecting to return to lakes that have finally seen a proper spawning and are full of hungry carp.

Now is the time to be out there looking at what the lakes contain, getting to know your quarry and, hopefully, nicking the odd fish out of the edge or, even better, off the top.

I love surface fishing and I hope there is still a bit of nice weather in store for me to try my hand at it this year.

Nothing is quite as exciting as watching a set of lips close around the hook-bait and feeling that wall of resistance as you set the hook. The explosive nature of a fish hooked at close quarters off the surface is awesome and I can’t wait to give it a try.

I have been getting amongst a few lately though, mainly from shallow water spots in the margins or on bars as the carp have seemed reluctant to feed at all in the deeper water, although I am sure this will soon change.

I had a close encounter with a couple of bigger fish on my new pit the other day, not monsters but still a better stamp than I have been seeing although it didn’t end the way I had planned.

I had just spent hours getting my carp fishing baits into position without spooking the fish and I was pacing the banks waiting for the inevitable bite.

When it did come however, it turned out to be a small mirror that had somehow impaled the hook in its flank. Needless to say he then managed to spook every decent fish in sight and I was left right back where I started.

I moved the next morning and managed to find a few more carp to fish for but, unfortunately, they were not of the same ilk, although I did bag my biggest so far at 23lb pictured above.

The previous week was also an exciting trip when I spotted a group of carp milling around a weed-bed next to a small island. A shallow bar connects the bank to the island so I was able to put on my thigh waders and wade right out to them and place bait with deadly accuracy. Back on the bank I could sit there in total confidence that I was fishing as well as I possibly could.

It’s so hard not to keep checking a spot, even when you know everything is spot on, I just need to see the fish and know what they are up to at all times.

Luckily I didn’t have to wait too long, although it seemed like days at the time, and by the time it grew dark I had managed to land three carp, two twenties and a nineteen pounder.

So, even with the weather keeping the fish in a strange mood, it is still possible to trick the odd one into feeding; it’s just a matter of finding the right spot on the day.

Keeping the bait to a sensible level also helps, if the fish are lethargic for most of the time then there is no reason to assume they will suddenly eat ten kilos of bait just because it has grown dark. Quite often when it is as hot as this they hardly move from their daytime haunts throughout the night and can often be found in the same spots as soon as it is light enough to see.

Anyway, I am off to lay in the sun for a while so tight lines while I am gone and, hopefully, stalk yourselves out a few monsters while I am away.

Dave Lane Carp Fishing Diary | Early June

Isn’t it funny, a few years ago we would have all taken this week off and crammed the lakes to capacity for the glorious 16th of June and the start to a new season. After an enforced lay off of three whole months, we would have all been champing at the bit to get back out there and wet a line.

I know a lot of carp fishing waters still hold fast to the old rules but, even so, there are very few anglers who don’t find somewhere to fish in the meantime.

Personally I am all in favour of a close season, I would just like it to be for three weeks in January so that I had a decent reason to stay at home in the warm.

I’m glad that things have changed though, the spring is such an exciting time to fish and, even though this year was not so good, we get to see everything waking up and the fish starting to feed once again.

More often than not the middle of June is spawning time and the beginning of the season often used to be marred by the carp starting their rituals just as we all turned up to fish.

I saw a little attempt at spawning a week or so ago, on a new and extremely large pit I have just started fishing.

The lake itself is roughly two hundred and fifty acres and location is obviously the main aspect of success on a place like this. I am not entirely sure of the stock in there but I know it could possibly have a few old original carp left somewhere in its depths, mixed in with two sets of stock fish, both of which are at least six or seven years established and could also be a fair size by now.

I was over the moon to find a group of carp within a couple of hours of my arrival for my second session; they were cruising around in some shallow water next to a huge reed-bed that stretched along a hundred yards of bank.

Within half an hour of watching I had seen at least six or seven different fish and that was all the incentive I needed to haul my gear up to the top end of the lake and get a couple of rigs into position.

Big pit angling is my favourite form of fishing and, if you add the fact that I had no real idea of what I might catch, you have the perfect water in my book. The excitement when that magrunner bite alarm screams out its battle cry is electrifying and I still visibly shake when I am playing fish from a lake like this, even though I have been carp fishing since god was a little lad!

The first take came mid-afternoon and was a double figure common, looking a bit on the plump side.

The next fish managed to hold off until the early hours of the morning but then it all seemed to go a bit mad. By the time I packed up the following day I had managed to up the tally to seven fish, most of them were male mirrors in the eighteen to twenty two pound bracket, obviously ganged up before spawning as this constituted a real red letter day on a pit this size and with not a huge stock.

All of the carp I banked were in mint condition and stunning examples of what a carp really should look like, huge scales and fantastic colours and every one of them fighting fit.

On my last morning they started to show the odd sign of getting a bit ‘jiggy with it’ and, although they didn’t actually start to spawn, there was the odd little thrash about in the reeds.

I did hear from the bailiff that, a day or two after I left, they absolutely smashed the reeds to pieces in a wild sexual frenzy, lucky buggers, and I am sure that the fishing will now return to a normal state.

I am under no illusion that it will get a lot harder as the fish start to split up into smaller groups and I will be walking my legs down to stumps in an attempt to keep on top of them but I am looking forward to every minute of it and, who knows, maybe I will be lucky enough to hook a long forgotten monster one day soon.

Dave Lane Mirror | Fishtec

Dave Lane Carp Fishing Diary – First from North Met

North Met First Fish

Well I have been a bit lacking on the blog writing front recently and for that I apologies. I have recently moved house and been kept busy putting together cabinets and hanging shelves, erecting sheds and all the other paraphernalia that goes with the wonders of a re-location. I’m just glad that moving swims is so much easier!

My carp fishing has changed a lot in the last few weeks, as has the weather, and with spring finally sprung I moved on to the North Met pit in the Lee Valley.

I had heard a lot about the lake in the past but never actually set eyes on the place, although Google Earth is a wonderful tool for a bit of armchair exploration; it’s just a shame you can’t see the fish jumping on there.

It’s an interesting venue, being comprised of two separate lakes that are joined by a pipe that the fish freely swim through and plenty of islands, bays and channels make for a really varied and exciting layout.

My first trip coincided with a bit of early warm weather and, amazingly, I found some of the biggest fish in the lake all lazing in a snaggy half sunken bush at the bottom of a tiny bay, more like a finger of water really. Bearing in mind that the lake is around sixty acres I was surprised, and excited, to find a concentration of eight or nine fish in such close proximity, particularly as there was nobody fishing for them.

It didn’t take much figuring out as to where I was going to start my little campaign and I soon had two carp fishing rods set up in the nearest available swim and cast out in perfect positions to intercept any fish that left the snag and travelled back up the finger.

The important thing about snag fishing is to make sure you have taken the safest option possible and that anything you might hook is going to end up on the bank and not wrapped around an old sunken tree root. To this ends I had carefully scoured the water with my Polaroids and made sure my fishing line was clear of obstructions and, with everything set, I sat up close to the rods to wait.

To be honest I wasn’t actually expecting any action until the evening when the fish might decide to move out and I was just wondering if I may have set the traps too early when one of them went off.

I had only been fishing for an hour and already I was into my first carp on a new water.

Because of the nature of the swim I didn’t let him gain any line and it was a bit of a hit and hold tactic I employed really. I could feel him twisting and turning in an attempt to gain some ground and then, with a wave of his tail, he rolled over on the surface and knew he was heading for the net.

He wasn’t the biggest fish I’d ever caught, in fact he was probably the smallest of the whole bunch I’d seen in the snag, an out-runner that was not considered big or old enough to sit in the main snag with the big girls, but he was very welcomed all the same.

It’s always good to get that first fish and to get one so quickly was a real bonus, although the swim did die a bit of a death after this and the rest of the gang melted away throughout my first night without stopping for supper as they passed me by.

I knew that the Met would only be a short interlude for me during the spring as I had a water lined up for the beginning of the tradition season but I intended to try my hardest to get a few more over the coming weeks. Plenty of walking and staying very mobile was the plan and I was really looking forward to putting it into action, everything depended on the weather though and the water temperature needed to rise considerably before the fish would leave the cover of snags, reed-beds and the like and start using the lake properly, hopefully it would happen sooner rather than later.

Don’t forget to take a look at my Carp Fishing Video Diary!

Dave Lane Carp Fishing Diary May

Well I had two more trips after my initial success on the North Met, only these were not quite as successful, mainly due to the fact that the fish were practically living in the out of bounds areas, either that or deep within a huge reed-bed, just trying to make the most of the pretty poor levels of sunlight we were having.

On my fourth visit to the water, a short one night trip due to the bank holiday stealing half of my session, the weather had picked right up and it was actually hot for a change.

I set about walking the entire circumference of the lake and determined not to set up until I had found something to fish for.

The first thing I noticed, being the day after bank holiday, was the litter everywhere, not from anglers I hasten to add but from the general public as the North Met is actually part of the Lee Valley parks and is used by a multitude of different people. Just why people think it is alright to leave all their discarded wrappers, bottles, bags and even used nappies laying around the place I do not know. If they turned up for their picnic and found the public areas looking like a rubbish dump then they would be disgusted and go elsewhere but they think it is totally acceptable leave it in this state, just who do they think cleans up after them every time?

Anyway, rant over, but I do so abhor litter in any form whatsoever and there is just no need.

I took a long slow stroll around the lake, with the dog charging on ahead at every opportunity and chasing anything that look stupid enough to run, squirrels, other dogs, ducks, sparrows, he’s not particularly fussy although he couldn’t actually catch his own tail but that never stopped him trying.

After a good hour or so of looking I climbed a small tree situated on the mouth of a dead end bay. It was a perfectly situated swim as it sits adjacent to a gap that the fish have to pass through on their way from one end of the lake to the other, a natural bottleneck with a small bay set to the side for resting and sunbathing in. A very shallow bar cuts across the swim about twenty five yards out and forms the mouth of the bay so that, once the fish have passed over it, there is nowhere else to go but into the bay, passing right through the little swim I was now standing in.

I stood up the tree for a bit and then saw what I was after as a carp appeared over the bar and slowly cruised beneath me, shortly followed by three more and this was all the encouragement I needed, I was off like a rabbit for my carp fishing rods.

Luckily I had stashed the barrow about five hundred yards away when I arrived, being almost at the end of my first circuit meant that I was nearly back to the fishing gear anyway and it didn’t take long to get everything into position.

Before casting I spent another ten minutes up the tree just to make sure I was picking the best spots and then I flicked out three rigs into the best looking interception points, scattering about a dozen free baits around each one.

It was one of those situations where you just know you are going to catch, definitely the best chance I had since starting on the lake and I wasn’t at all surprised when my left hand rod signalled a drop back after only half an hour of casting.

The fish had kited around into the bay, away from the bar and the small island in front of me, perfect really and it was a good tussle in deep clear margins that followed. I could see about ten feet down into the water so I knew it was a decent fish way before I got him into the landing net.

He was a nice long and old looking mirror of thirty one pounds, almost a leather along his flanks with a great big head, what a way to start a trip.

With the photo’s done and the rig back out there I put the kettle on and sat back to bask in the sunshine but not for long!

May 30lb Carp for Dave Lane

This time it was the left hand fishing rod and that was where the danger really was, the shallow bar had a snag growing out of the top and, had he managed to clamber over it into the main lake than I really would have been in trouble, I was a real battle of wills for a few minutes and huge surges of water washed up the side of the bar as he tried over and again to gain the sanctuary of the open water.

Eventually he realised I wasn’t going to give in that easily and he tried to make it into the bay but he’d gambled his biggest energy reserves with the bar and I soon had him under control.

Once again I could see him way below the surface and this time I knew I had hooked a real biggie. Every time he turned and twisted below the rod I could clearly see his deep flanks and huge shoulders and I knew he was somewhere around the forty pound mark; quite a scary thing really knowing just how big they are so long before they are beaten.

Beaten he was though, eventually, and into the net he went with a last defiant slap of his tail.

On the scales he stopped just short of forty, just a few ounces mind and still a real whacker.

This one was more of a big pit chunk, a real deep bellied, broad shouldered beast and he looked just fine with the sunlight bouncing of his orange flanks.

Near 40lb Carp for Dave Lane at Fishtec

With two fish under my belt I knew I was staying put for the night, even the swim was tiny and barely more than a little grassy slope to the water.

The night was quite eventful as well, I had a further four takes before it grew light, two of these I unfortunately lost but a pair of twenties finished the session of perfectly. As if often the way at this time of year I awoke to a completely different day, the sun had been replaced by cloud and rain and the fish had moved off to find more suitable areas to live in but I packed up happy with my results.

Next week I will be starting my campaign on a huge 250 acre clay pit, full of bars and mystery with an unknown stock, right up my street!

Dave Lane Carp Fishing Diary – End of March

Here we are then, April has finally arrived, the official first day of spring has been and gone and the clocks have gone back to provide us with a glorious extra hour of evening light. Of course the next line should read “The sun is blazing down on the lakes, the daffodils are all out in bloom, and nature is resplendent in all her glory” but the reality is that it’s still snowing!

Never mind though, let’s just ignore that fact because the time has come to get out there with your carp fishing tackle and catch some fish, who cares what the weather man says, it’s April and the fish must be starving by now. I have had two more trips to the Estate Lake, possibly my last two for a while because it is nearly time to move onto pastures new.

One of the two visits doesn’t really require much in the way of a blow by blow reportage as I just cowered away in my Hard-core Bivvy, sheltering from a bitter North-Easterly wind and snow flurries, but we are not going to mention that again are we?

The other trip was far more productive, the air temperature rose a couple of degrees, the fish decided that it was in fact spring after all, and I caught not one, not two, but four carp in a frantic twenty four hour period.

Not only were the bites forthcoming but, for the first time this winter I managed to get two of the pick-up’s from a new area, rather than just out in the middle in the silt.

There is an island out to the left of the swim I have been concentrating on and it has a hard gravel shelf that runs around its perimeter. There are various trees and bushes that overhang the margins out there and these provide the perfect haven for carp. By clipping up and adding a yard at a time I managed to place a bait tight between two of these snaggy overhangs and present, for once, on firm and clear lake bed, a perfect trap for any island margin patrollers.

I have obviously tried this ploy a few times over the last couple of months but always without success so I was over the moon when this was the first rod to rip off. More than just another capture this was a sign that the fish were finally on the move and willing to leave the sanctuary of the deep silt in search of food and sunlight.

Over the next twenty four hours I managed another island bite and two more fish from the old spots in the middle. Although none of them were monsters I was still well happy with four carp to mid-twenties after the previous week’s non-entity of a trip.

24lber-Dave-Lane-Fishtec

It really does take such a little change in the elements at this time of year to kick start the chain reaction that results in a successful session, a few hours of sunlight or a swap in the wind direction can be all it takes.

Talking of which, look out for the weather this coming weekend as they are forecasting the first bit of South based wind for months, on the strength of this I am predicting some big catches all over the country so make sure you are out there to cash in, remember where you heard it first!

I will be out filming the new TF Gear DVD all next week, we have some exciting new products to showcase and, hopefully, there will plenty of action on the rods as well, I can’t wait!

Dave Lane Carp Fishing Diary

Well, it’s been a few weeks since my last blog as I have been a bit busy with my writing schedule, carp shows and trying to extricate some carp flesh out of the Estate Lake.

What a terrible month it has been for weather again, this winter seems to be the longest I can ever remember and every time we think we are through the worst of it, along comes yet another cold snap.

As I write this the date is showing on the computer as the 8th march and the little weather symbol is threatening yet more snow at the weekend followed by temperatures as low as minus five for my next session on Monday. I don’t know about the rest of you but I can’t wait for a nice bit of sunshine where we can all sit out side in the evenings in a pair of shorts with a cold drink and watch the sun slowly setting over the lake as you wait for your carp rods to scream off.

I think the fish are in a bit of a quandary as to what’s happening as well, February is usually a very productive month but not so this year.

It started off well enough, in fact it started very well indeed and on my first trip of the month I managed to bag myself three nice carp.

I had set up in the same area that I had my previous captures form, figuring that the carp were not going to move far in cold water. The first day was un-productive but, just as the sun started to creep across the horizon; I had my first take and duly landed a common of around twenty four pounds.

As seems to be the way on this particular venue, one fish usually means there are more to come and a couple of hours later I was away again on the same rod. This time it was a mirror that graced the banks, not quite as big though, he weighed in at eighteen pounds.

Although this is quite a small fish in comparison to some of the beasties in there I was still well happy with my result. Two fish in a morning in February is good angling in my book, no matter what size they are.

Although the day had started nice and sunny, by mid-afternoon the clouds had thickened and a wickedly strong wind had whipped up, to be honest it looked like even more snow was on the way.

About five o’clock I had a third take, this time a real belter and the fish I’d hooked into was obviously far bigger than the previous two. He charged about all over the place, three times I managed to get him close to the net before he turned and belted back out into the middle again.

Eventually though, he waved the white flag and slid over the net cord and, just as he hit the bottom of the mesh, the skies opened.

Huge great flakes of snow like white mice were whipped across the surface, almost horizontal in the force of the wind. I pinned out the landing net with the fish inside and darted for the cover of the extended porch on the Hard-core bivvy, from here I could crouch down out of the weather but still keep an eye on the net. It fell so hard and fast that I thought I might, at last, get the snow carp picture I so wanted but it turned out to be far too windy for it to settle. After about ten minutes it eased up and battled my way out into the wind to take the photos.

Dave Lane 34 Mirror Estate Lake

Although there was no snow on the ground there are obvious signs of it bouncing off my jacket so I suppose I am getting closer every time. To be honest though, I’d rather give up on the snow photo and catch one in the blazing sunshine instead; surely it can’t be long now can it.

This lovely orange coloured mirror tipped the scales at a shade over thirty four pounds and he turned out to be, not only the last fish of the session, but the last fish of the entire month so I have no idea what went wrong there.

The lake just seemed to shut up shop totally, although I did manage one more bite the following week but that turned out to be a twenty pound pike!

Hopefully at some time in the next two weeks I will be moving onto a new water for the spring and summer, I have a good one in mind that is stacked full of thirties, a few forties and, hopefully, the odd surprise, I can’t wait, and I’ll keep you posted as to how I’m getting on.

Good luck with whatever waters you target this coming year and lets all hope for a nice warm spring.

Dave Lane Carp Fishing Diary – January

Well that was that then, the second coming of the ice age soon put paid to my little run of catching carp.

I turned up last Monday full of confidence of finally achieving my lifetime ambition, a big carp in the snow. The white stuff was falling out of the sky in flakes the size of white sugar mice and an even crisp coating covered the banks, but not enough to put a damper of my carp fishing enthusiasm.

The drive through the Estate was pretty hairy as, half an hour before light; mine were unsurprisingly the first set of tyre tracks on the lane. Even in four wheel drive it was more than a little slippery but I arrived in one piece and with no dents or scrapes.

Pushing the barrow was easier than normal though as the sloppy mud on the paths had frozen solid and I trudged straight up to the swim I had been so successful ion the previous two visits.

Surely this would be the week that I returned victorious with a camera full of images a big golden carp against a Christmas card background?

I knew I was up against it though as the forecast was for a rapid deterioration in the conditions and hideously cold temperatures during Tuesday night, this combined with a swing in the wind to the East meant there was a very real chance of the lake freezing over.

To start though it looked perfect, the snow kept falling and the baits all went out in the right spots first time. I put the bivvy up to shield my kit from the snow and settled in for the duration.

The first bite time came and went, shortly followed by the afternoon chance without as much as a sniff.

As soon as grew dark I knew I was in for the long haul as I have only had the one take in darkness and the nights seem so interminably long at this time of year but a film on the mini DVD player and a good book helped to pass the time.

Once again the morning feeding spell came and went and I busied myself by making a snowman for company, it was looking really good until Paddy decided to eat both his stick arms!

Fishtec-Snowman

Once I had re-cast all the rods with fresh baits there really was very little to do apart from sit and wait some more and consider the sanity of doing another night as they were predicting temperatures of minus eight that night.

Luckily I had come well prepared and the layers of thermal fishing clothing I had on kept me nice and warm despite the biting easterly winds.

Once again darkness fell only this time the forecast came good and by midnight I knew that my chances of that magical snow photo were as far below zero as the thermometer was.

I snuggled down for the night and, as I awoke on Wednesday morning, I was actually surprised just how nice and warm I felt, I had my trusty Hard-core Sleeping bag tucked up around my chin and the fleece lined cover keeping in all that lovely warm air, it was quite a shock when I peered out of the bivvy doorway and saw fifty ducks all walking in single file across the middle of the lake, my quest for a carp had failed but I suppose my testing of the new winter range of clothes and sleeping bags had been a roaring success. I was tempted to just stay in bed and pretend I was still fishing but, eventually, I had climb out and start the long and arduous task of packing away a frozen bivvy and breaking the ice to retrieve my lines with fingers that felt like frozen sausages.

As they say though, you have to be in it to win it and there is still plenty of winter left to try again, and plenty more snow on the way.