Happy New Year to all of you and may all your dreams turn into bent fishing rods, wet nets and huge carp.
Now that all the festivities are over, the remains of the turkey has finally been deposited in the bin (and good riddance to it) and the relatives you thought would never leave have at last got the hint, it is time to dust off the rods and get back out there on the bank.
The weather this winter has been so mild hasn’t it, it’s more like Autumn than winter and even a mild frost is a rarity, or at least it is around here.
The winds though, they have definitely been the main feature of the last few weeks, howling great Westerly’s and South Westerly’s have been ravaging the lakes and clearing out all the deadwood from the trees. My dog has loved it, everywhere he looks there are sticks to play with, it’s like doggy heaven.
I had a trip up to Monks just before the new year, just to get a bit of a fix before the enforced lay-off and I also wanted to play about with my maggot presentation a bit, just fine tuning the rigs as the Monks carp seem to love those little wrigglers in the winter.
There were three other guys on when I arrived, which is fairly busy for mid week so I was surprised to find one of my favourite swims still free, particularly as it was nice and sheltered on the back of the wind. I do like the back of the wind in winter, I think it produces equally as many, if not more, fish than ‘on the wind’ and it makes the whole session so much more enjoyable as well.
One of the guys at the lake had taken a trip to the maggot farm so I picked up my order of two gallons and set about spodding it all out there using a ‘spomb’ which are so much easier for the maggots than a conventional spod.
With both the bottom rigs on clear spots, a couple of zigs set up at varying depths and the hardcore bivvy set up against the elements it was just a case of sticking the kettle on and waiting, and waiting, and waiting!
The peak on this bivvy really makes such a big difference when the weather is a bit iffy, from where I sat I could still watch the water perfectly but the wind and occasional shower where kept just out of harm’s way, no annoying dripping of rainwater into the front of the bivvy area either. You do need to be comfortable at this time of year as the winter nights just seem to drag on forever and I think there was about fourteen hours of darkness to endure, luckily though the boredom was interrupted about six in the morning by a take and, after a brief but unconvincing tussle, a little mirror of around sixteen pounds rolled into the net.
Although he wasn’t the biggest of carp he was the only fish between us all that night so I was still quite happy and full of confidence for the second night, so confident that I used up the remainder of the bait and put extra effort into making sure the rigs all landed bang on the right spots. Quite often in the winter the takes can come at pretty much the exact same times each day so I was surprised, and a little disappointed when I woke up at first light and nothing else had occurred.
The conditions had stayed the same and, you would have thought, ideal but the carp had different ideas, in fact that was the only bite between all the sixteen rods fishing throughout the entire two days.
Personally, I am not convinced that the mild and windy weather is any better in the winter. We all tend to relate it to feeding weather but, is it what the fish really want. Surely the winters should be cold and frosty with high pressure and nice crisp sunny days, I know one thing for sure, it’s definitely what we need for the zigs to start working properly. I have yet to get a bite on a zig this year which is very strange as this has been my most successful method over the last two winters, it’s one of those methods that can just kick into gear at any time though and, when it does, the results can be amazing.