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The Frozen North
nick and provides some challenging
scenarios when it comes down to
actually fishing in the stuff. In winter
though, I’m not a great fan, unless it’s
a lone weedbed in an otherwise featureless lake. Other factors that may
well affect the winter fishing in some
waters could be to do with angler
pressure and/or nuisance fish populations. I don’t really like to use the
phrase “nuisance fish” so I’ll rephrase that as “silverfish”, bearing in
mind that the average roach caught
in The Wyre on carp tackle throughout the years is probably 1.5lbs, with
specimens of nearly 3lb being
reported, and “2’s” commonplace. I’ve
heard it said that the cormorants
could well have played a part in some
waters becoming trickier in winter,
with them decimating the silverfish
stocks, making the competition for
food seriously reduced, leaving the
carp with much more natural grub
available to them, thus making our
baits even more useless. I don’t think
this is the case where I fish, but its
something worth thinking about.
The past two winters I’ve have
spent my time fishing Banton’s Lake
on the Wyreside complex near Lancaster, North Lancashire. It’s not
really known as a prolific winter
water, but it has produced the odd
fish in past winters, and there’s a
good chance of a lump here anytime
of the year. Banton’s is the local 20’s
factory to be honest, with a growing
stock of 30’s building up nicely. Prior
to the 2007/8 season, there were
probably only two or three fish over
30, with the biggest resident, Two
Bleeps” going 38lb-plus at the back
end of 2006. This season however the
six or seven high 20’s that are in there
have done the 30lb mark, and
exceeded it more than once each,
making the estimated stock of 30’s
around eight or nine. These different
fish are of varying strains, but all
proper’uns, some nice and scaly, and
some nice-looking leathery beasts as
well. The other lakes on the complex
seem to be more productive in winter
than Bant’s but I love the lake, and the
quiet banks are enough to keep me
coming back each winter from now
on I reckon, even if the fishing can be
tough. The Wyre has become a halfdecent winter lake for people who
can be bothered to sit it out over the
cold months, and my good friend
Jamie Robb had a good winter in
2005/6, taking quite a few fish, on one
occasion taking four in a day off the
Back-to-Back swim fishing 4ft zigs in
6ft of water.
Even in winter Bant’s is pretty
25lb-plus – the second fish
after the small common.
chocked with weed of varying types;
the main one being Canadian, which
goes a bit smelly and dark in winter.
Then there’s the starwort, which
seems to be a nice bright green colour
all year round, normally home to various breeds of water snail, even in the
winter. There are many features in
Bant’s; it’s a gravel pit of ten to twelve
acres, and has bottom contours of the
proverbial egg-box type, housing
many bars, plateaux, drop-offs, and of
course in between all these gravely
features you’ll find the silt beds and
troughs – winter food larders.
The 2006 season was my first back
at Wyreside for over four years, when
before this I did three consecutive
seasons on Bant’s, then dropped out
due to the “coming of age” so to
speak where beer, music and women
(possibly not in that exact order)
occupied my mind for a few years. It’s
inevitable at that age, and for those
who are at that point now just go with
the flow – if you love your fishing,
you’ll come back at some point. So
last year I fished a fair bit and did ok
on Bant’s through the spring, summer
and autumn, but I’d struggled to get
into the bigger fish. I’d never really
fished the place in winters gone by,
but I was ready for a bit of winter
angling come the back end of the season, and Bant’s was to be the place to
quench my thirst for a lump, or so I
hoped at the time.
I’d been using Essential B5 all year
to good effect, but most people were
on Nashbait, and a lot of it was going
in, making it was the “going” bait, but
I stuck to what I knew, along with a
couple of other lads, and continued


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