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.