So I guess the hottest autumn on record has finally finished then? At Least the Carp fishing is still good!
I was out the other night and by Christ it was cold, the jetty in front of me was covered in ice by five o’clock in the afternoon and the weather man is predicting snow soon, I suppose it all had to come to an end sooner or later.
The fishing hasn’t been particularly brilliant lately either, at least it hasn’t for me anyway.
I’ve had some good sessions when shooting features for the magazines; three fish in a morning one week and then six in a day the following trip which makes for good articles but chasing the bigger ones for my own personal angling has somewhat dried up. I suppose it’s a bit like the weather, all good things come to an end eventually.
I can’t really complain though, as I have just had my most consistent years angling ever, I managed from February to November without a single blank session and that’s by far the best I’ve ever done.
Eventually it was the weed that beat me back more than anything, and once I stopped fishing over on the big lake at Reading I hadn’t really got a contingency plan to fall back on so I was stumped for a bit.
I spent a few weeks just dotting about on various waters that I fancy for next year but I’d left it all too late for the remainder of this year. The harder waters often close down as the weather starts to degenerate, particularly if there are not enough anglers fishing them and therefore no bait going in.
After a spell of chasing my tail I decided the best bet was to drop back onto Monks Pit for a couple of months and see if I could winkle out a couple from there and, hopefully, the one biggun that I didn’t manage to catch in the spring might just be obliging enough to make an appearance in the bottom of my net.
It’s not a fish that comes out very often, in fact it just went eighteen months without making a mistake so it might be a bit of a big ask, but as the man said ‘you have to be in it to win it’, and does weigh just over fifty pounds so even the slightest chance has got to be worth taking.
The problem with winter fishing though is the never ending hours of darkness you have to endure; at the moment it’s about fourteen hours a day! It’s not so bad if you have somebody else there to pass the time with but, if you find yourself angling alone it can drive you crazy and, in reality, I think that’s what puts most people off fishing throughout the winter months.
I’ve just got myself a new fishing dog, a Collie cross with an Old English Sheepdog, and he goes some way to helping relieve the boredom but he doesn’t exactly say much and, on our last trip, he slept for over twelve hours each night so I I found myself reading a couple of books instead.
In the past I used to suffer the cold and dark and stare out at the lake hoping for sightings of fish but, nowadays, I like to get nice and comfy and warm and read, or even watch a film on my little DVD player. I find it far easier to bear if you are at least comfortable and I have even started taking a bivvy light with me as well. I find that just having a bit of illumination in the bivvy, other than a crappy old head torch, makes life a lot easier and makes reading or rig tying a lot easier as well.
A decent bivvy with an overwrap is a must and a nice warm sleeping bag, after all if you get cold during a winter session then the only way you are ever really going to get warm again is to go home so I try to keep warm at all times. Sensible clothing, hot meals, a good pair of boots and gloves and suddenly it doesn’t all seem such a hardship, and the results are often there for the taking if you are brave enough to man it out. Winter fishing is always a lot quieter on the banks and it often throws up a higher percentage of the bigger fish in any lake, so it really is worth persevering.
On Monks the fish seem to have a definite preference for maggots during the winter, in fact I think this is becoming a bit of a trend of a lot of waters at the moment and, although they are fiddly and a lot of work to get out there on your spots I think they can really pay dividends and turn a blank session into a successful one. I’ll certainly be giving them a good go over the next few months anyway, and between that and the zigs I’m hoping to get a few winter carp on the bank. I’ll let you know how I get on as I go; hopefully the next blog I write will be a big success story and have a string of huge fish in it, that’s the plan anyway, and it’s always good to have a plan!