FL10 (All 218 pages) - Page 209

Learning and Earning
n my last piece in Big Carp, I
had met with Rob at the
lake in mid-November and
was saying how much I was
looking forward to the onset
of winter with the promise
of some action, as I felt I had pretty
much narrowed down the fishes’
location to one specific area of the
lake. I had been regularly applying the
bait, and even as the cold weather
and shorter days began to kick in, I
was still receiving action during those
early winter trips.
Sadly, at the end of November my
mother died after a battle with cancer.
This put all thoughts of daily life into
perspective, as well as causing a total
loss of interest in fishing. My mother
was the one who first ignited in me
that magical spark of fishing excitement, and the feelings I had when I
sat on the bank of the Thames catching minnows, combined with the love
of simply being outdoors. For that and
for a million wonderful things she was
to me, I will never be able to thank her
enough. I’ll always try my best to do
that, though. The truth is, for several
weeks I had no desire to be out, and
coupled with the coldest winter I
have known, I really didn’t miss it. As
we came into March, I began to think
of fluking a last-gasp whacker from
(Top) I measure my rigs on hookholds.
(Below) Always watching, always
one of the syndicates before I
dropped my ticket, knowing a couple
of the big ones usually put in a backend appearance, and in the knowledge that I wouldn’t fish the lake
again I made an effort to get out.
Just prior to my break I had
received a new batch of dedicated
winter bait from Mike Willmott at
Essential. This was his Creamseed
mix with my favourite black pepper
oil, and it looked and smelled a winner. Now at this time I had the big
push I really needed, as one of my
friends called to inform me that he’d
just had a fantastic cold water brace
from the lake I’d fished most of the
previous year. This lake is not known
for much winter form, but his news,
and thoughts of unfinished business
from last year, really got me fired up
for a return. All ideas of a fairytale
finale at the other lake were forgotten,
and all I could think about was carrying on from where I’d left off. Now I’m
not making excuses for a blatant
swim jump, but the week after I was
set up in the same snag-filled bay that
he had his result from. In all fairness
this is known as the area that the fish
first appear in after the winter wakeup, and I did expect them to be there.
That’s my excuse anyway!
It was cold and bleak looking, and
in the chill northeasterly wind I was
fully kitted out in all my thermals, but
despite all that I was thrilled to be
back out. It was easy fishing too; simple underarm flicks with two rods
onto hard spots about 10yds out. I
knew the lines well, and just flicked
about without the marker until I got
that hard thump down. The lead went
down with a drop everywhere, but
there were these two spots that just
had that much firmer hit, and the rod
would spring back like I’d landed on
the M25. I kept it all nice and simple
with basic bottom baits, coupled with
strong tackle due to the ferocious
snags and a finely rehearsed battle
plan should I be fortunate enough to
hook anything.
The following morning dawned
cold and damp; it was one of those
March mornings that seemed to take
an age to become fully light and for
the temperature to lift those few pre-


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