Sunday, 4 January 2009

Winter Carping Pt5

After 4 nice doubles on the 22nd December I was keen to get back to the lake on Christmas eve, I set the alarm for 8am and when it went off I woke up with a splitting headache and I felt sick. There wasn’t going to be any Christmas eve fishing session for me this year so I rolled over and went back to sleep in the hope that a few more hours might see me right.

The next chance to get out fishing again was 2 days later, I was fully recovered by then but unfortunately the weather had taken another turn for the worse, gone was the mild weather and lovely westerly wind that had brought me 7 carp in the last 2 trips. Instead, bright sunny conditions and a bitingly cold easterly wind were the conditions that greeted me when I rolled into the car park on boxing day morning.

The conditions may have been poor for catching carp but they were very good for spotting them and I found the fish within minutes of getting out of the car, they were occupying the centre of the lake just off the back of the cold easterly wind. Occasionally a carp would poke its head out of the water and I even saw the odd back breaking surface as the fish tried to take advantage of any warmth the sun had to offer. The carp were well within casting range of my open water swim so I set up there and slowly put my rods together.

I put my first rig on my prebaited hotspot at 40 yards along with a few freebies, this spot was proving to be very consistent as usual and my intention was to keep a rod here whilst I would drop the other rig in areas I could see the fish in order to pick them off. With conditions being so bad I wasn’t very confident in the roving approach, it always seems to work best when there is a big wind on the water to disguise any lead splash.

On my last session I had set up on a huge shoal of carp that had eventually vacated the area I was fishing, I had caught two of them before they left but leave they did. These carp were not liking lead weights on their heads at the moment and sure enough, just 10 minutes after casting a 2oz lead in amongst the showing carp, they had disappeared. It was an hour later when I spotted the carp again, they had moved off towards the out of bounds area and they seemed to be holding in an area that was around 90-100 yards out and slightly to the left of where my first cast went. I decided to try again so I wound the rig in, clipped on another small pva mesh bag and tried again. I planted my feet when casting and stepped into the cast to generate the extra power I needed to reach the fish as they were right on the edge of my casting range. My 2oz lead weight landed around 90 yards out and this was the near side of where the carp could be seen.

With my cast made I sat down to see if the fish would move again. I was disappointed when they did, the next time I spotted a carp they had moved out of range and I was left scratching my head wondering how to get a bait anywhere near them. Today, they just didn’t seem to want to know. A change of tactics was called for so I simply left each rod where it had been cast. It was going to be a waiting game today and I simply had to keep quiet and wait it out.

Having abandoned the roving style I just sat and watched the water, I had a bite to eat and a drink from my flask and around 1pm I fell asleep!. I slept for around an hour and when I woke up and had another look for the fish I found nothing had changed. I was sitting and thinking about blanking when at 2.30pm the hotspot rod suddenly let out a single bleep, before I had chance to focus on the rod my monkey climber pulled up to the top of the needle as a full blooded run developed.

That good old hotspot, its such a consistent area, it had saved me from blanking on numerous occasions over the last few winters and the area had come up trumps again!. I hit the rod and sure enough it arched over and took on its battle curve. The fish took very little in the way of line, just the occasional shake of the head before it began kiting to the right. Steady side strain kept things on track and in the margins I had a great fight with a common that just didn’t want to give up. Eventually the carp had no choice and as the fish tired, I slipped the landing net under a nice mid double that at least meant I hadn’t blanked.

I secured the net and got the camera and weighing gear ready, once set up I lifted the fish out onto the unhooking mat for a closer look, the carp was nailed in the bottom lip as usual, a clear example of just how effective my basic carp rig actually is. With the carp unhooked I weighed it in at 16lb 2oz, a nice common that was slightly bigger than average for the water and a nice result on what was a very very poor day for carp fishing!.

16lb 2oz Boxing day common that saved a blank!


After a few quick pictures in the sunshine I returned the carp to the lake and got on with trying to catch another one. I still had a few hours left so it was well worth trying the hotspot again. I recast my rod and again topped up the swim with a small handful of pellets that I just scattered around the area to try and pull in any passing fish.

Unfortunately nothing else occurred, the carp that had moved out of range of my roving rod decided to stay there and as they didn’t drift back over as the day went on it became obvious that I wasn’t going to have any luck on that rod. The hotspot also stayed quiet and I had no more action from that area either. At 4.30pm I got the spod rod out and deposited another kilo of bait onto the hotspot. By now the temperatures where already below zero and I reckoned my kilo of feed would probably be the last food these carp would see for a while as a frozen lake would be the most likely outcome of the heavy frost that was now falling around me. I packed up and headed for home not knowing how long it would be before I returned again, this cold weather front looks to be in for a few days so this boxing day session may well turn out to be my last carp session of 2008.

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