I pulled into the car park and looked at the lake. Once again I was the only angler there. With the rain being so heavy, I got myself into my igloo 3 and my skeetex boots in double quick time and headed off to my swim. Short session winter carping usually means the rods are first out but on this occasion I opted to get the brolly out and store my gear first, there wasn’t any point in me or my gear getting soaked and sorting out a couple of pva mesh bags for each rod required being dry!. Despite the foul conditions I was able to make myself really comfortable. For once, the wind was blowing over my head so I was able to set up the brolly with a great view of the lake.
Winter Swim Diagram.
The picture above is a diagram of my swim, there are no features, it's just silt silt and more silt with an even depth of 6ft virtually all over. My prebaited spot is 30-40yds out in front of me (A), I’ve picked up carp from the nice clear area (B) by just fishing stringers or small pva mesh bags, this spot is around 80yds out. From the start of my winter carp fishing this year I’ve noticed fish showing off to my left (C), this spot is also around 70-80yds out. Usually, I start with a pva stringer on areas A and B but with a really cold wind blowing down the lake from left to right I opted to start with a rod on my prebaited spot and a rod off to the left on area C as this was off the back of the cold wind. I dropped my first rod onto the prebaited spot, a gentle lob saw the rig land perfectly. This week I started with peparami instead of my usual pellet hook bait, I’ve been mixing peparami in with my hemp and maize when spodding so I figured I’d give it a go today. I was just about to cast the second rod off to the left when I heard a carp crash. I couldn’t have been any further away from the fish!. The carp crashed off to my right, way off to the right of area B and about 90+yds out. I guess it was just instinct but with the rod in hand and a pva mesh bag already on and ready to cast, I quickly re-adjusted my feet, lined myself up then whacked the baited rig straight at the crashing carp. My luck was in, I’m not used to these new tfg x series carp rods yet but the timing of the cast was good and the rig flew out to the area and landed perfectly. If anything it may have been a few yards short but it was certainly very close to where the carp crashed out and I was happy to leave it there.
With the rods out I headed for the cover of the brolly, a quick check of the watch and it was 11.15am, I’d made good time and hadn’t lost any fishing time despite my prodigy carp rod deal earlier in the morning. I grabbed a brew from the flask and sat back to watch the water. It was bleak but with the wind over my head and some trees for cover I was actually more comfortable than usual as I generally sit with a westerly wind blowing straight in my face. Once I was settled in the rain actually eased off and after 10 minutes or so it pretty much stopped. I’d just finished eating a chocolate biscuit when the right hand monkey climber rose steadily to the top of the needle, the rod tip whipped round and the delkim warbled it's distinctive tune, I was on it straight away, a soft strike saw my new rod hoop over again and I was into my first carp of the day. The bait had been out for 25 minutes and after a short 5 minute fight I slipped the net under a small common that I weighed in at 11lb 4oz. It wasn’t a massive fish but on such a foul day it made my journey worthwhile. Besides, a carp before midday usually means a multiple catch, it was 11.45am and I still had another 4 hours to fish before I started my weekly spodding.
I covered the same area again when I recast but the next carp I saw show was even further off to the right, it was obvious the carp were on the wind despite it being cold so I pulled the other rod off my prebaited spot and cast that one into the same area the carp rolled. Despite covering showing fish nothing much happened for the rest of the afternoon, the rain kept coming and going and I kept watching the water but nothing much gave itself away. I was getting increasingly restless and with nothing showing I was wondering if the carp had moved. I was still pondering my winter carp location when a fish came clean out of the water right on top of my prebaited area!. That was it, I had both rods in and re-baited with a fresh pva mesh bags in double quick time, one rod went right on the bait and one just off to the side of it. The rod off to the side of a baited area often produces fish for me and quite often the bigger specimens. It’s a good tactic to employ and despite it being the 8th December, I was still happy to use the tactic to try and get myself a bigger fish. I retired to the cover of my brolly once again and waited. It had gone quiet again so I grabbed another brew and opened a bag of crisps only to drop them when the rod on the prebaited area rattled off. I was in again and hooking the fish closer to the bank certainly gave me a bit more control than usual. The carp kited left and eventually came into the margins under steady pressure, it felt bigger than the low double earlier in the day and this proved to be the case when I eventually slipped the net under another common that turned the scales to 16lb 6oz.
I sorted a couple of photos and got the rig back out as soon as possible. If the carp were on the bait, there was a chance of another fish in the half hour I had left before I needed to start spodding at 4pm. I was right about the other chance, just 5 minutes after the recast the same rod was away again, another decent scrap in the margins saw another common roll into the net, another double that weighed 13lb 8oz.
3 double figure carp was enough for me, on a foul day when most north west carp anglers would rather go Christmas shopping, I’d had another good result. I fished on until 4pm with no further action. I left the rods out whilst I got to work with the spod. It was just about dark when I’d finished my weekly winter prebaiting, the usual mixture of hemp, maize, pellets and peparami all went in and when I’d finished, I packed the rest of my gear and headed off home a happy carp angler again. The 3 carp all fell to the green peparami fished with a couple of pieces in a pva mesh bag. I was pleased to catch a couple of late fish off the area I’ve been prebaiting, it’s just the encouragement I need to keep with my winter baiting plan and I’ll be back next weekend for another go.