Welcome to my new blog, hopefully I’ll be keeping you updated every two or three weeks on how the fishing is progressing and anything of interest that comes out of TF Gear to make your angling either more productive or just a lot more comfortable.
As the months go by I’ll share any tips and methods that are giving me an edge at the time and post photos of special captures as I go. Obviously you might have to bear with me a bit as we start because December is not exactly the most productive month of the year and, to be honest, January is usually even worse!
As I do every year, I have moved onto a water for the winter, one that will offer me a bit more chance of a bite due to the higher stocking level than my normal sort of low density summer waters.
This year I am on Monks Pit in Cambridgeshire, a twenty acre deep, and incredibly clear, water that I have fished for the last couple of spring seasons and a little bit of last winter.
As you’ll no doubt remember, last winter was practically a write off for at least two months as most of the lakes in the country were frozen solid and, the way things are going so far, it might turn out the same again this year, but lets hope not, eh?
I started my Monks sessions a couple of weeks ago now using a combination of maggots on one rod, boilies on another and also fishing zig rigged foam in mid-water; I have started to rely more and more on zigs over the last couple of winters, although quite why the fish would want to eat a little bit of old ‘flip flop’ suspended halfway up in the water I have no idea, but they do!
It seems to me that the colder the water and the higher the air temperature (often the case on a bright winters day) then the more time the carp spend lazing in the mid-layers of the lake. This is more pronounced on the deeper lakes and anything over ten feet deep is ideal for a bit of winter zigging. To put it into perspective, last year just after the ice thawed, I started back on monks and throughout March and early April I caught my first seven fish of the year, all on zigs without a single touch on the bottom baits so there is definitely something in it.
I do like to keep an open mind though, just as well really because I have yet to get my first bite on them this winter but the fish still seem well willing to feed in a more traditional manner.
The last session I had before the snow fell I managed to get two bites in forty eight hours, which isn’t that bad considering we had had some really bitter frosts and biting Northerly winds.
The first one came to a 360 rig fishing plastic maggots over a bed of about five pints of mixed red and white crawlers that I’d spodded out about ninety yards, a feat that left me suffering from frost bitten fingers and covered in groundbait dust from the plugs I use to stop ‘spod spill’. I refuse to go to all the effort of spodding only to see half the bait fall out after about ten yards so I mix a bowl of groundbait up and just poke a little in the back of the spod, I also leave a little water in the front of the spod if I’m using maggots to add enough weight for accurate casting.
There’s something about maggots in cold water that carp just seem to love, and a mid afternoon, thirty one pound common just went to reinforce the theory further.
It’s a great feeling to get off the mark when you either fish a new water or return to one you haven’t fished for ages, particularly in winter as it starts to paint a picture for you of bite times, feeding patterns and spots. Winter carp tend to be creatures of habit and the more of their habits you learn, the more fish you are likely to catch.
The other thing I never ignore in the winter is a showing fish, just the sighting of one carp can turn a session around and the next morning while I lay there in my nice toasty warm prototype sleeping bag, staring out over the swim, I saw a nice sized mirror just silently slide up through the surface and disappear again just as stealthily. Braving the nasty wind I leapt out and wound in two rods, one on a snowman and the other on a six foot zig; placing one a few yards each side of the fish.
It should have been the perfect move, it so nearly was when two hours later the snowman rig was picked up and I struck into a heavy old lump that plodded around in the deep water in front of me. For about three or four minutes he chugged up and down, nice and slow and nice and heavy and then, for no apparent reason, the hook just fell out again!
I hate losing fish at any time of the year but, in the winter it always seems worse, probably because they don’t come along half so often.
So it was a mixed session really, success followed by failure but, all in all a lot better than a straight forward blank, which is exactly what my next trip out was. To be fair though, between one visit and the next the weather took a massive turn for the worse and everything was like a Christmas card scene when I next turned up. I almost turned back on the way there because the snow was so savage but I am desperate to catch a thirty in the snow, maybe next week?
Hopefully, in the next few months I should also have some new fishing tackle to show you, I am currently working on a whole range of fishing rods that I am confident will be the best yet, I have used the early prototypes on the big pit I’ve fishing this Autumn and hitting distances of over one hundred and thirty yards with fifteen pound line, which is great, but the beauty is the playing action. It’s not often you find a blank that can marry distance casting with a good fish playing experience but these kiddies really hit the spot. I should be getting the first set of finished samples any week now and I can’t wait. There are loads of other goodies in the pipeline as well, but more about those in the weeks to come, for now I’m going out there to de-ice the truck as I can feel that snowy backed thirty coming on!