FREE LINE 03 - Page 123



Curse of the Black Swan
to the lake every Monday or Tuesday
morning along the dreaded M25 and
up along the M4. I didn’t realise how
many lakes there were along the M4
corridor; they were dotted either side
of the motorway. The funny thing was
I never saw anyone fishing these
lakes on my journeys back and forth,
which just shows you what a good
time winter is to be out when the
banks are at their quietest.
As I pulled into the car park, which
looked out onto the lake, I was pleasantly met with the sight of a most
beautiful lake with two big islands
and a large expanse of water in
between, a bay to my left, and the
biggest area of open water up at the
far end of the lake. This area interested me most because prior to
obtaining my ticket, I had got the picture of the lake up on the PC, and had
seen that this was where the warmer
west and southwesterly winds blew. I
had also spoken to a few current
members, and found out that this was
a good winter area, which had done
some of the better fish over the past
few winters. Something else that
struck me on that first glimpse was
how much weed was present in the
lake. It seemed that this year there
had been quite a bit of weed in the
lake, which in my past experience
was not a good sign for the coming
winter. I’ve found that the fish tend to
shut up shop and stay snuggled up in
the weed, which is definitely a degree
or so warmer. This is also where the
natural food tends to congregate in
these warmer areas, and if I was a fish
I know where I would rather be, all
tucked up in the warm chewing on
some easy food rather than venturing
out in the cold to be pricked in the
mouth and dragged up the bank. But
we would persevere and give it a go,
as there were some lumps to be
caught, and it only takes one bite to
make your winter worthwhile.
That first month I managed to get
down four times, doing my usual 48 or
72-hour sessions. I had decided to
move around and try to fish a swim in
each part of the lake until I found an
area I was looking for that I could
trickle a bit of bait into when I left. I
prefer to keep introducing bait all the
way through the winter; I’ve found
this to be the best way of catching. I
(Above) Cold, frosty winter morning.
(Below) Curse of the Black Swan.
suppose it’s a confidence thing, but I
just can’t get my head round fishing
singles all winter. Whilst I agree they
catch a lot of fish, I’d rather work hard
at finding a nice silty spot on the edge
of the weed, introduce a couple of
kilos of bait when I leave, and give the
fish something to find if they come
out of their weedy homes when I am
not there. I’m sure getting them used
to feeding freely and without fear on
the spot just gives you a much a better chance of catching a few more
than you would fishing those single
hook baits. Whilst I’ll chuck out singles when I arrive at first light, I’ll
always introduce 20 or 30 baits
spread out over the area just before
dark to pep up the spots. Also I’ll put
bait out if I catch one, again scattered
over the area. What im trying to do is
maximise my chances of a bite, and
by clipping up my rods and walking
them out to predetermined markers
along the bank, I cut down on the disturbance of using a marker float. So
I’m introducing bait onto any fish that
may be in the area, rather than wanting to get the singles or stringers out
there working for me with the least
disturbance. I have found this to work
for me on more than one water in the
winter. I suppose being prepared and
doing all the work beforehand by clipping up and baiting before I leave creates these extra chances. As I said
before, it only takes one bite, and I
FREE LINE 123

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