The following week was Saturday 20th December 2008, the weather had stayed mild all week with quite a few days topping 10 degrees, on top of this there was quite a big wind blowing and I really fancied my chances of putting a couple of winter carp on the bank this weekend.
After an uneventful journey across Cheshire I pulled into the car park for my first look at the lake. No fish were showing but they didn’t have to today, I went and stood in my usual peg and surveyed the middle area of the lake, there was a straight westerly wind piling straight into my swim with white capped waves crashing over my bank, it was perfect conditions for fishing the area I’ve been spodding bait onto every week before I go home.
I didn’t waste any time getting the rods out, I had them assembled and baited with a pellet each in no time, both rigs were accompanied by the usual pva mesh bag of freebies and I cast one rod straight onto my baited area and the other rod slightly off to the right and slightly behind my first bait. The baits were being fished at around 40 yards range but I still needed to put a bit of effort into the casts as the wind was quite strong.
I back leaded both rods and turned round to go and get my sounder box out of my bag, I got half way to my rucksack when one of the spools on my infinity reels started hissing away!. I turned back and grabbed the rod and sure enough, a quick strike saw the rod go over and I was into my first winter carp of the day. The fish kited to my right and I must admit it caught me by surprise, by time I realised what was going on the carp had taken out my other rod and left me with a bit of a tangle. It didn’t stop me landing the fish and after a 5 minute fight under the rod tip I netted my first fish of the day.
Untangling the mess wasn’t too bad once the carp was on the mat and with both rods out of the way I secured the fish in the water whilst I readied the camera for a few photo’s. I weighed the fish first and the scales gave me 15lb 2oz, a nice old common and a good start to the day!.
An early carp like this generally meant a good day was on the cards, my fish had come at roughly 11.15am and I was confident it wasn’t going to be my last fish of the day, it was just a case of how long I’d wait for the next fish and how many I’d end up with!. Nothing much happened after my first fish, I watched the water but nothing showed which was unusual on this lake. The mild weather was giving me confidence but I couldn’t understand why things were so quiet?.
It was 2.30pm before the same rod on the baited spot was away again, I had no trouble avoiding my other rod this time and after a spirited fight I slipped the net under a small common that had a bit of a gammy mouth. I went through the usual unhooking and weighing and despite its small size I took a picture, more for the blog than anything else as it wasn’t a particularly big fish at 10lb 8oz although all carp are welcome on a short winters day.
I had just under two hours of my session left so I quickly sorted out my rig with a fresh pellet and attached a new pva mesh bag to the hook before dropping it back on my baited spot at about 40 yards range. I watched the water closely for the last few hours, I saw one fish crash out in the out of bounds area of the lake about 180 yards out, this fish was off the back of the wind which seemed a bit strange as it was so mild and my two fish had come literally in the teeth of it. Another fish rolled off to my left at about 60 yards range and I thought about covering that fish with a bait but with less than an hour to go and two fish already coming to my net I decided to sit tight and see what developed.
I’d had my stealth brolly up during the day and with an hour left I decided to put it away, this meant I could sit and watch the water sitting down instead of standing as I had done for the last few hours, I poured myself a coffee from my flask too and just sat in the wind watching the lake for more rolling carp. I was busy looking at the bay behind me when a single bleep from the left hand delkim focused my attention on the rods. There was a big pause before a second bleep occurred. I had a feeling something was going on so I got up and walked over to the rods and as I did so my monkey climber suddenly shot up to the top of the needle as a full blooded run developed.
I was on the rod quickly and my light strike was met with a solid resistance. It took me a while to get the fish moving towards my bank, playing the fish in was a slow affair and I must admit, at the time it didn’t really register that I might be attached to a decent fish. As with most big carp, this one was like a dead weight compared to low doubles that are usually quite lively but the penny still didn’t drop for me?. I’d like to say I had a dogged fight under the rod tip but this particular carp just came straight up on top and waddled straight into my waiting net. It was only then that I caught a glimpse of the fish itself, it was another common and the gut on this carp and the shear width across its back meant I was looking down at a December twenty and a nice early Christmas present!.
My unhooking mat was hanging in a tree drying so I got it down and set up everything to weigh and photograph the fish, I’d actually began putting everything away in readiness to bait up so this carp caught me on the hop a bit. On the mat I zeroed the scales and hoisted the fish up, it was well over the 20lb mark and the needle settled on 22lb 10oz. Well I was delighted, I’ve had a few twenties from this Cheshire carp lake over the years but I didn’t recognise this one which made it all the more sweeter!.
I put the rod back out again but there were no more pickups this time. I got the spod out not long afterwards and deposited a kilo of pellets and maize onto the spot I’d just taken my three fish from. It took a while to get the bait in and it was just about dark when I’d finished so I headed off home happy that I’d taken a December 20 after all that cold weather a few weeks earlier!.