After a cloudy night and no apparent frost on Saturday morning I decided to make the trip. The first thing into the car was the sat nav, if I had to turn off a main road because of a go slow, the sat nav would plot me a new course to the lake and I figured I could avoid any potential trouble.
As it turned out, the roads were clear and as I headed south through ellesmere port on the motorway, a quick glimpse at the Shropshire union canal in the backford area revealed it to be ice free. As I pulled into the car park at the lake, I was relieved to see no ice to be found on the lake either. I was half expecting it to be frozen or maybe part frozen but fortunately neither was the case.
I unloaded my carp gear in the car park whilst watching the water for signs of fish. The first thing I noticed was that I’d left my skeetex thermal boots at home. This was a disaster for me in more ways than one. My peg was partially flooded and I needed my boots on in order to get to the front of my swim, without them, the bushes either side of my swim were restricting my casting. Moving was the obvious option but I decided to stay put as the swim gave easy access to my prebaited winter hotspot. Apart from restricting me round my half flooded out swim, I was in for a cold day and I knew my feet would be like ice blocks before the day was out. I decided to sit it out though, I’d driven a long way and I wasn’t going home just because my feet were going to get cold!.
I got myself set up and comfortable, once everything was sorted, I tied a few pva mesh bags of pellets and hair rigged a pellet on each rod. One went straight onto the prebaited winter hotspot and the other I put into area b on the swim diagram.
Despite it being flat calm it was obvious the prolonged cold weather had made a big impact on the carp compared to the previous week. I watched patiently waiting for a fish to crash or roll but nothing did and my usual good start of banking a fish in the first hour or so was gone. I continued to scan the lake looking for signs of fish and at just before 1pm a carp rolled over the far side. The far bank is an out of bounds area, its out of casting range and out of reach from every peg on the lake so even a move wouldn’t have put me on that rolling carp. Having seen one fish over there I focussed on that area and sure enough, I witnessed another 3 carp shows in the next hour.
The best I could do to get near the fish was to change my 2oz inline leads for a 3oz distance lead fished on a safety clip. I kept the two bait pva bag to help avoid tangles, I would have to sacrifice a few yards but I needed to know my rig was sitting right and the pva mesh bag helped achieve this. I’d never cast these new tfg rods any great distance before, they’d only been used up to 90yds maximum and I really needed the yards to give me any chance of catching today. I couldn’t help wishing I’d had my infinity x rods with me but having opted to leave them at home the new tfg’s would have to do. I’m pleased to say the tfg’s did ok, there was always a piece of me holding back because they were new rods but I comfortably made over 100yds with a 3oz lead and a two bait pva mesh bag. This was still short of where the carp had all rolled in the previous hour but at least it put me a lot nearer to them and there was always a chance the fish could move towards me in the few hours I had left.
Happy I’d done just about all I could to get near the carp I sat and waited for a bite. I spotted a couple more carp roll in the next hour, each time in the same place and it looked like they just weren’t going to move this time. With nothing to show for my efforts by 3.15pm I’d resigned myself to a blank, I looked around my swim for bits of my fishing gear I could start packing away before I got the spod out at 4pm. I’d already begun to tidy away my gear when out of the blue the left hand delkim bleeped a couple of times then went into a slow but steady run, I watched the monkey climber pull to the top of the needle as I was going for the rod and as I bent down to pick it up, the baitrunner started clicking away slowly. I swept the rod back and it arched over nicely. The carp was quite a way out and there was very little fight from the fish on the way in. Once into the margins the fish put up a bit more of a fight but I was always in control of the situation and after a few minutes plodding round under the rod tip I slipped the net under a nice looking common. It was a small, fat fish but it was very clean and in excellent condition. The scales gave me a weight of 13lb 10oz, not a massive fish by any means but it saved a blank on a freezing cold December day.
With a spare pva mesh bag already tied and waiting, I put the rod back out to the same area in the hope I might repeat my good fortune then continued to tidy away the rest of my fishing gear. At 4pm I got the spod out and began spodding in my mixture of hemp, maize and peparami. I left the rods out whilst I got on with the job of spodding After all, I was fishing at least 100+yds out and the area I was spodding to was only 30-40 yds so it made sense to keep them out there just in case. Alas no more action came my way and when I’d finished with the hemp, maize and peparami, I put some pellets out with the catapult then pulled the rods in and headed for home before my feet got any colder!.
For the previous few weeks the carp fishing on my winter water had been good, the carp have still been very active but these past few days of cold weather really seem to have taken their toll. I felt like I’d got out of jail catching that common and from now on, I think the fishing might get a bit harder. A slowdown in the action is always expected at this time of year and I now feel my winter carp fishing is well and truly under way.