It was all change for his weeks session as the mild conditions held and I was able to head to a Cheshire stillwater to target carp. The venue itself I had never fished before but, from other anglers reports, I had noted that some carp were present amongst the vast shoals of tench and roach. Of course not knowing the venue to well I wasn’t expecting to catch though I was confident. The conditions for a winters day were perfect, I know my rig works on other venues and the bait I had chosen is a good ‘go to’ approach on waters you’re new to. All I had to do was try to work out where the fish might be laying up and go from there.
On arriving at the lake, which I must say is one of the most beautiful I have ever fished, there was already four anglers on the east bank at the south end. Today a light southerly wind was forecast so I had it in my mind the fish may be at the northern end of the lake. The two factors combined, the disturbance from the other anglers and the weather conditions, saw me scampering across the boggy land to seek out a swim at the north end of the lake. I had decided to stay on the west bank as the pegs looked less angler friendly than the ones on the other bank. I hoped that they would appeal less to an angler looking for a relaxing days fishing and so I might have more bank to myself.
The swim I settled for was an interesting one. It firstly offered me a lot of marginal options as there was an abundance of dying reed beds, something carp love at all times of year. The margins themselves turned out to be a three to four feet deep which seemed perfect. My open water swim offered more depth at a range of about 35 metres and interestingly had a huge reed raft, kind of like a floating island and would provide cover to any fish sitting in the deeper water in the middle of the lake. I planned to fish a simple KD rig with a bright, pineapple 10mm pop up in the open water swim, looking for single, curious fish to pick up the bait.
The margin swim would be approached a little differently. I expected this line to fish better during the latter part of the day and, thinking that any fish coming into the margins would be actively seeing out bait, I put down a small bed of particles and fished two critically balanced grains of corn over this. Whether these tactics would work I didn’t know but what matters the most is that I was confident in them. Theres nothing more important than feeling like what you’re doing will catch you a fish. It makes you fish better and fish longer.
As I made my first cast today the sun was rising behind my swim and the mist was doing its best to hang around for as long as it could. The air was still and only added to the anticipation I had. Would I catch? Had I made the right choices? If not, then what would I do to change this? I went about placing the rod on the alarm and setting the bobbin. I was fishing my lines semi slack today, letting the light bobbin take up any slack but not lifting the olivettes I use to pin down my line behind the rig. The margin rig was fished with slack lines and I went about putting it in position. I then sat back and took in the ambience. One of those mornings that makes everything seem good and all your worries distant. The tranquil setting was only disturbed by a group of noisy seagulls flying over but this soon passed and once again near silence descended. That is until I had one bleep on my open water swim. A definite liner. So there was fish in the area and moving at least. It took another 30 minutes but a screaming run shattered this peaceful scene and I was playing a fish. It didn’t feel massive but it didn’t have to be. It was just the icing on the cake.
This fish turned out to be the above common. It was an immaculate fish in its full winter colours. I quickly weighed it as on any new water, no matter what the size, I like to get an idea of what the fish weigh for their size. This fish was long and lean and weighed 9lb on the dot. It took just under an hour for that fish so I was confident of a bite or two more.
Soon after that fish the mist cleared and the wind picked up a little. Only a gentle breeze but it did take the edge off the air temperature slightly. I had plenty of layers on though and drank plenty of cups of tea. Keeping yourself warm in winter is also something that is vital. A cold, uncomfortable angler will not be an efficient one. Another hour went by without any signs on either rod. I recast both rods. The margin line was looking good, sheltered from the breeze by the reed raft. I didn’t feel I needed to put in any more bait here and I resisted the urge to do so. There was no signs of smaller fish so I was confident there was still a good bed of particles down waiting for a hungry carp to find. The open water swim was recast to a slightly different location about ten metres further out. It was possible the first fish had pushed any others out. I decided to recast this rod every hour to different locations to see if I could find any fish.
Midday came and went and I felt I was going to have to sit it out and hope later in the day the margin line would produce. I kept recasting my open water line, searching the swim, but I didn’t have any more fish from this. I didn’t have any fish from my margin line either. Dusk came and with it renewed anticipation that a marauding carp would find my bed of particles. The wind had subsided and it looked perfect for a bite. But I had no signs. I’m pretty confident that if any fish had been in the area and seeking feed, I would have had another run. Maybe the fish have been feeding later in the evening or at night? But as this was a day session I had to call an end and went away a happy angler and already looking forward to my next visit.
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Until next time,