Last weekend was unusual for the time of year... 16° in most parts of the Country...its February !!
I opted to fish a shallow lake in Stow on the Wold known as Chad Lakes. I'd never fished the venue before but I knew from my research that the maximum depths were about 6ft, which was ideal for these conditions. The water temperature was likely to be on the rise quicker than a bigger, deeper lake which would mean one thing. feeding Carp !!
I arrived at the venue around 4 pm and after a quick chat with the owner I loaded up my gear and dipped my nets (compulsory at Chad Lakes!!) There was one other angler on who hadn't caught as yet so I had a walk round to see if I could locate any fish.
This is THE most important thing about Carp fishing..location, location, location. I opted to fish swim 3 directly in front of the channel between two islands which gave me a few options. There were a couple of obvious 'points' against the islands or the channel in between where I'm sure fish would patrol. I was running short of time so I had a few gentle casts (important to be stealthy on shallow lakes) with a marker lead to get an idea of the makeup of the lake bed and depth. The channel was an even silty bottom with some obvious signs of leaf matter which was visible on the marker lead when I reeled in. My plan was to put a light scattering of the Monster Tier 1 mix over this area with a few boilies to hopefully get the fish grubbing about.
There was also a harder, clearer spot to the left-hand point of the island which I thought the fish would probably patrol and feed over. I decided to use a PVA bag approach here. The light was fading quite quickly by this point so with this in mind I quickly set up my first rod with a naked chod with a size 8 hook and a 12mm Mainline Milky Toffee pop up soaked in squid goo and cast it out into the channel between the islands. I put 5 spods of the Tier 1 mix over the top and scattered about 20 banoffee boilies in the area.
The beauty of the Chod is its a cast (pretty much) anywhere rig. The second rod was set up with a running in line lead and a short soft braided hook length of around 3inches tied to a size 8 hook with a cut-down banoffee boilie and essential cell pop up set up snowman style. I placed the rig and lead in a PVA bag filled with pellets and some crushed up boilies and cast it to this second spot tight to the island.
Around 9.30pm the right-hand rod fished in the channel over the Tier 1 rattled off but as soon as I lifted into the fish and felt it kick the hook pulled.. gutted !! Not put off I topped the area up with a couple of spods of Tier 1 and placed a new pop up on the chod rig and recast it into the channel.
Nothing else happened for the next day despite regularly topping up the channel with a couple of spods of Monster Tier 1 on a little and often basis it just gives that extra colour on the bottom.
On the Sunday morning after a succession of recasts it was my left-hand rod that eventually rattled off and after a short but rugged fight, I slipped the net under a gorgeous 18lb 6oz Mirror in her full winter colours.
The key thing I learned from this session was that this time of year you need to have the confidence in your fishing and to persevere with what you are doing and if you use a quality bait like Monster you will reap the rewards.
After nearly 2 weeks of up and down weather me and will manage to get on the bank Wednesday. It was definitely the best day for it pressure was low temperature was up and after hearing a few fish were banked on the weekend we were hopeful.
We arrived at fisherwick lakes mid afternoon wasn't that surprised when there were only a few pegs free. We grabbed 2 pegs near the hut will tucked up in a nice bay sun had been shining in all day, I had just open water but a nice gravel bar in front and I could see carp rolling.
I got the marker out managed to find a spot about 30yards out I flicked out 2 rods close one with a fin force banoffee and maize other was a banoffee wafter both using a simple but effective KD rig with a size 6 Gardner dark mugga hooks.
I had bought monster ghost with me spombed 5 over my spots. I love the ghost mix best it gives off a nice haze as it enters the water and smells the mutts.I flicked a 4ft zig 20 yards to showing fish. Will using the same rigs he dropped one in the middle of the bay using a natures bait berry bite wafter, one tucked up in the tree line tight to some snags with a natures bait alpha pop up and one on a gravel patch 25yrds out with an alpha 18mm bottom bait all with a few spombs of monster ghost over light started to fade I had a drop back and missed it I was gutted as that seemed to be it !.
Finally packed up around 9 no fish this time but the fish are definitely on the move and am sure it's only a matter of time before we bag a few monsters.
This weekend was the perfect example of how important it is to find the fish at this time of year.
My session was spent on the Smith's side of Hardwick and Smith's on Linear. I'd heard that a few fish had been coming out on Smith's so decided to head over and give it a try. I set up in one of the swims opposite the cut through. I found some nice clear spots at 40 and 60yds and decided to use a particle approach over the longer area so I put in around 10 spods of Monster Tier 1. I use this mix this time of year because it has a lot of smaller particles which not only helps to draw uish onto the spot but gets them grubbing. To cut a long story short I spent the next blanking.
On the last morning a swim had come free about half way down which had produced a few fish so I quickly picked up my rods and moved.
I stood and watched the water for about 15 minutes and a fish topped out slightly to the left about 3/4 of the way over. I gently cast a rig in the area where the fish had shown. The drop wasn't that positive so I reeled in and tried a little further. This time the lead went down with solid drop so I was confident I was either on gravel or a silty bottom. I cast my other two rods on the same line and those both went down with a 'donk'. I spodded out a few spods of the Monster Tier 1... Traps were set !
After about an hour the middle alarm beeped a couple of times and the bobbin dropped indicating a drop back bite. I lifted into the fish and after a short but valiant fight I slipped the net under a gorgeous high double fully scaled mirror.. get in !
I quickly replaced the banoffee and essential cell snowman and recast to the same area. I topped up with another 4 spods of Tier 1. It didn't take long for the middle rod to register again and I lifted into and landed a nice mid double scaley Mirror. I recast the rod and topped the area up again with a few spods of the Monster Tier 1.
After another couple of hours the left hand rod screamed off this time and I landed a small stocky Mirror.
That was the last fish of my session but it brought it home to me that the most important thing you can do when fishing is finding the fish and give them a quality bait like Monster particles because no matter how good the spots are that you're fishing over if they ain't there then you can't catch them.