Following on from River Weaver Pt1, I’d had a taster of the river weaver carp but with no night fishing allowed in the winsford area I decided to move my weaver carp campaign downstream and targeted the sections of river belonging to Northwich Angling Association.
Legal night fishing on the river weaver was allowed on Northwich AA stretches so I got myself a night ticket sorted and following the end of my fishing on well known cheshire carp water capesthorne hall, I did a full summer on the river weaver.
The stretch of the weaver I targeted for carp was known as the ‘oak tree’, there was a small stretch of bank that was never pegged for fishing matches and being a bit of a walk from the car park nobody bothered fishing it either. The spot I chose was ideal, upstream lay a few known holding areas, the old river, vale royal locks and the railway arches at the upstream end of the ‘dredger length’. Downstream lay marshals arm, the boatyard and further down lay the crescent and another lock the name of which escapes me. With these holding areas both up and downstream, I was in the perfect place to intercept any carp that travelled the river during the night either looking for food or simply travelling between holding areas.
I adopted the same tactics I used during my first weaver carp sessions at winsford, a big bed of hemp, groats and boilies fished on the marginal shelf. The weaver is a deep river, the centre channel was around 15-16 feet deep and the marginal ledges were an even 4 ft in the area I fished and they extended from the bank outwards for just over a rod length. By baiting the whole width of the shelf heavily with 5kg of particles and several hundred boilies before starting I had a good spread of bait to hold the carp as they passed through my swim. I also had a lot of attraction slowly being carried downstream and it wasn’t uncommon to see carp rolling 30 yards downstream as they latched onto the food signal from my bed of bait.
The diagram shows my swim and my baiting tactics. One rod was always fished on the bait, the second was always placed 10 yards upstream on an area where the marginal shelf narrowed considerably, this spot I just baited with 20-30 freebies, a sort of light scattering just off the main bed of bait, a tactic that proved to be extremely effective at picking up the bigger fish, in fact the small patch of boilies just off the main bed of bait accounted for a staggering 80% of my biggest carp!.
The fishing was quite often hectic, I started fishing in mid-june when the river season opened and I fished every Friday night right through until the end of october and not once did I blank!. I did have a couple of sessions when I only caught one fish, the rest of the time it was multiple carp captures with runs coming at all times of the night. Apart from a couple of other carp anglers who fished the first week or two of the season, I never saw another carper all summer!.
The fishing seemed to get better as the season wore on, the more I baited with hemp, groats and boilies the more the carp came, they literally must have got used to finding bait in my swim. October in particular proved to be an amazing month and I caught 20lb+ carp 3 Fridays out of 4 during that period, culminating in a superb common of 23lb 14oz at the very end of the month. That common was just mint, it turned out to be my biggest carp from the river weaver and it gave me a stunning fight in heavy flow following a lot of rain. I remember looking at my watch when the run came and looking again when the carp hit the landing net, an arm aching scrap that lasted 35 minutes, I’m sure the fish had never been hooked before, there wasn’t a mark on it, a truly stunning carp.
Following an extremely successful summers carp fishing on the river weaver, I wanted to carry on fishing throughout the winter. I wasn’t keen on doing nights and fishing a large bed of bait between holding areas for travelling carp. I decided to just fish days and go looking for them in the spots they spent most of their time instead. One of the most famous lengths on the weaver for catching winter river carp was northwich boat yard, the carp used the boats as cover and it was known as a winter holding area. One swim in particular caught my attention, a peg known as ‘the dock hole’, this was at the end of the boats and was a small arm off the river with no flow. Inside this area was a moored boat which meant more cover and a rest for the fish. The dock hole turned out to be a very good spot indeed and fishing just early morning sessions from around 7am until midday I rarely blanked during the winter months, in fact the dock hole threw up carp in some amazing conditions!.
During the winter months river weaver carp fishing pretty much got turned on its head, during the summer, cloud and rain meant runs but during the winter it meant chocolate brown coloured cold water and a blank. The best winter conditions came during prolonged periods of high pressure when the water began to run slower and clearer, this often coincided with lakes being frozen and I caught quite a few winter river carp when there was a sharp frost on the ground. My best capture came during an extreme cold period when I caught a 15lb mirror from the dock hole swim with 4 inches of snow on the ground!, every lake in Cheshire was frozen over that weekend, even the mighty redesmere was under several inches of ice yet against the odds I caught a lovely mirror which to this day still ranks as one of my very best captures, I remember the daytime high that day was -7 degrees and my gas stove froze solid, an amazing winter carp capture that I can’t see myself ever bettering.
The boatyard wasn’t the only stretch that held winter carp on the river weaver, the old river was a mass of snags and the carp spent lots of time held up there. Rather than fish static I preferred to rove on the old river, there were a couple of spots that proved to be very productive and it was just a case of fishing them for an hour each until the fish were found, if you hadn’t had a run within an hour the carp simply weren’t there and you just moved on to the next area, once located they were easy to tempt and you could usually manage a couple of carp in a few hours during the afternoon.
I really enjoyed my time fishing the river weaver for carp, it always felt like pioneering stuff. There were so few anglers on the bank, most wanted to try but very few actually had the balls to invest the time in fishing there because they thought location would be a nightmare. As it turned out, it was one of the easiest north west carp waters I’ve ever fished. I stuck to one swim, baited heavy and just intercepted the carp as they moved along the marginal shelf, it literally was that easy and I think you could repeat my results from literally any peg on the river!.