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Winter Woes and Creation of a Bait
he last time I wrote
my diary piece I had
banked my PB common from the Nene
Valley Complex that I
had been fishing
through the summer. On my next session down I arrived before dawn and
spent five hours walking round in an
attempt to find the fish. I only saw
one show and I wasn’t certain that it
was a carp either, but I decided to set
up in the swim nearest to area and
avoid the temptation to return to the
swim of my previous success. I saw a
few other shows in the area during
my three-night session, so I wasn’t
too far away from the fish, but I didn’t
have any action. After that session I
decided to start on the water a bit
closer to home that I had joined for
the winter. I must admit that I generally don’t do that much fishing at the
end of the year; I normally feel a bit
burnt out from pushing myself hard
throughout the warmer months by
trying to balance work, family and
fishing. So December is normally a
month off, but because of the limited
f i s h i n g t i m e l a s t y e a r, t h e m i l d
weather and a new challenge (and
probably this diary piece), I decided to
push on and try and do a night a week
and spend the rest of my time off with
the family.
The first session on the new lake
ended in a blank but I saw a few fish
show and learnt a bit about the place.
It is around three acres in size with a
number of fish in, and it’s probably
fair to say that it isn’t the most scenic
lake that I have fished, but the quality
of fish made up for that. The story
goes that the farmer who owns the
lake used to own a trout lake up the
road back in the 1960s. The lake got
quite weedy so he decided to buy
some carp to colour the water up and
stem the weed growth. He
approached none other the Donald
Leney and bought several carp from
him. I don’t know what happened to
these originally fish; I suspect the are
long gone, but the fish in the pool are
descendants of the original Leneys, so
I don’t need to tell anyone reading
this that they were good looking carp.
As far as I can gather the lake doesn’t
have any recent winter form, but I am
told it has thrown the odd one up in
the cold in the past. At 12-14 feet
deep it isn’t the perfect winter water,
but with the limited weed growth,
small size and only 25 miles from
home I thought it was worth a go.
On the last Sunday in November I
was working on the Greys and Chub
stand at the Sandown Carp Show. As
the crowds started to ebb I found
time to check the weather report for
(Above) A willow waving in the
(Bottom) The three-acre lake.
the following day and it gave out a
massive drop in pressure over night
from 1020 to 991! I knew I had get out
for a night and it paid off with my first
fish from the water. It wasn’t the
biggest at 22lb 4oz, but it was a nice
start to my campaign. The hookbait
was a whittled down boilie, but I
fished it over a big bed of maggots,
corn and breakdown pellets. The bite
came on the last day in November
and I must admit I thought I had a
winning formula that would catch me
some winter jewels. The next session
coincided with the first frost of the
year, so I blamed the blank on the cold
weather. The following week I was
back down again for an overnight
session and in the early hours I
received another take over the maggots from the same spot. Unfortunately the fish didn’t stay hooked for
long and it soon got off.
I had to wait until after Christmas
for the next take. I was fishing a 9ft
zig that I cast towards a showing fish
in the night, but it was 12 hours later
when the indicator hit the deck in a
rapid drop back bite. But I struck into
nothing! One of the problems with
long zigs is that if the fish comes
towards you they tend not to hook
themselves properly and have plenty
of slack line to allow the hook to drop
out. I did four or five nights throughout January without any action, and if
the blanking wasn’t bad enough I was
told I was told I was going to be made
redundant, again! In fact my last day


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