Sunday, 28 December 2008

Winter Carping Pt4

I had a few days annual leave booked over Christmas and with Saturdays 22lb common fresh in my mind I decided a return trip to the lake was in order so I packed my gear early on Monday morning and headed back across Cheshire to my winter runs water.

Things had certainly changed since Saturday, the wind had eased right off and the carp had decided to show themselves. As soon as I pulled into the car park I was greeted by a carp crashing about 50 yards out and right in the entrance to the small bay off the main lake. I got out of the car and looked over at the area and inside 60 seconds and 5 more carp broke surface, in fact the more I looked the more I saw and the area was absolutely crawling with carp, it was an awesome sight with fish topping all over the area.

There was no time to waste, I had to get to work so I unloaded the car and headed for the bay swim that had been the scene of my boxing day and new years day twenties over last Christmas. I couldn’t get myself set up quickly enough, I had the rod pod down first and my two rods were put together in no time. My rods still had the pellets on from Saturday so I didn’t bother putting fresh baits on, I had to get the rods in amongst those carp as soon as possible so I just attached a pva mesh bag to each rod and cast them out. The first rig went off to right where a lot of carp seemed to be gathered and the second rig went straight out in front just on the edge of where another group of fish were showing.

I was settled in very quickly and I was expecting action straight away. Winter carp fishing can be a bit unpredictable, I thought I’d got my baits in quietly and that the carp hadn’t spooked but half an hour later I was having serious doubts about my swim, the fish had just stopped showing completely!. I made a decision to move the close in rod a bit further out into the middle of where the carp had showed instead of on the edge of the area, I had hoped to pick fish off without disturbing them and I’d obviously failed at that so I just went for the jugular so to speak.

I was actually contemplating a move to the centre of the lake when at midday all hell broke loose, the right hand delkim melted as a carp picked up my pellet and bolted for the horizon. I was on the rod quickly and after just a few seconds of playing the fish the left hand rod did the same!. With 2 fish on at the same time I was in trouble, I had to end the fight with the first carp as quickly as possible so I applied more pressure to try and bring the fish to the net. The carp actually felt quite decent, not as heavy as a 20 but certainly better than average for the water, this prolonged the fight and all the time I had the fish circling the other rod was running!. Eventually I netted a nice mirror, I secured the net and grabbed the second rod, by now this fish was quite a way out but it was still on. I had a job to cut down the distance between me and the fish in case it kited either side as I had bushes trailing in the water that might cause problems. Luckily the fish came straight into the net with very little fight and 5 minutes later I was stood there looking down at two carp in my landing net!.

I had a feeling of déjà vu, I’d caught a common and mirror brace from this swim on the 29th December 2007, just a week short of one year ago. Here I was again in the same situation, as I did then, I got my sling sack out and retained one of the fish whilst I weighed and potographed the first fish, the mirror weighed in at 16lb 12oz and after a few pictures I released this fish and brought the common to the unhooking mat, the common proved to be slightly smaller at 14lb 4oz but together they made up a nice brace of winter carp. Luckily everything had gone smoothly and I was happy to have both fish returned to the water safely.

First of my winter carp brace, a 16lb 12oz winter mirror

Second of my winter carp brace, a 14lb 4oz winter common

I rebaited my rods after my two fish and covered the same areas of the lake again. I sat back expecting some more action but after an hour nothing had showed and the area that looked like a carp stock pond two hours earlier was now empty of fish. I had a bite to eat and a drink from my flask and contemplated a move to the centre of the lake. After giving it until 2pm I finally made that move to the middle of the lake and to my prebaited hotspot. With the carp moving into the main area of the lake, this area would surely give me another chance before I went home at 4.30pm.

I put a pva mesh bag onto my hotspot at around 40 yards, the second rig went slightly off to the left about 50 yards out, this was an area I figured the carp may pass through on their way to the main area of the lake and the out of bounds area. Over the next hour I saw quite a few carp crash and they had moved out of range and into the out of bounds area. The fish obviously knew where to go to get away from angling pressure!. There was an odd fish showing closer in so I was hopeful of another carp before I went home.

I had to wait until 15.40pm before the run came, out of the blue the hotspot rod took off and my right hand delkim burst into life. This fish kited to my right and gave me a bit of a scare as it came close to an over hanging tree but some steady side strain had the fish close in and after a short fight in the margins I netted my third carp of the day. On the mat I carefully unhooked the fish and started my weighing process, on the scales I had 15lb 4oz, a few pictures followed and I returned my carp to the water, a nice mid double winter common to go with my brace of carp from earlier on.

Third winter carp of the day, a 15lb 4oz common

I had my rig back on the hotspot again for the last half hour of my session, by now a few carp had rolled in the area and I was convinced the hotspot rod was going to produce another fish. By 16.25 I had all my gear packed away with just the rods and the net to go. I looked at my watch waiting for 16.30 exactly before I wound in and started baiting up again. I was going to leave the hotspot rod till last as I was sure something was going to happen. When 16.30 arrived I walked over to the rods and just before I picked up the left hand rod it bleeped once, I paused for a second and sure enough the left hand rod in open water suddenly pulled round as a run developed!. I wasn’t expecting that, I was convinced it would be the hotspot rod but I wasn’t complaining, I hit the rod and began bringing my fourth carp of the day to the net. Everything went well and eventually I netted another nice common. I had to go digging in my rucksack for my scales and camera but eventually I got everything set up and my last carp of the day turned the scales to 16lb 8oz, another better than average fish for the water.

I was just about to wind in when this last minute 16lb 8oz fish took my bait

The light was fading fast and I still had work to do before I went home, I packed the rods away and thankfully the hotspot rod didn’t go before I wound it in although I was still half expecting it too!. Once my gear was packed away I got on with spodding in some more bait as I was planning a return two days later on Christmas Eve. It took me a while and not for the first time I ended up spodding in the dark. With this task duly completed I headed for home more than happy with my four late December carp.

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