Darren Burroughs, Winter Days
Posted on 20th March 2018 at 15:48
To be truthful, I hate the winter! I lose motivation with the freezing cold days and biblically freezing nights. Carp fishing becomes really difficult but, if you keep going, you can get some great results and each capture is oh so sweet. I moved away from doing nights in December, January and February as I realised I didn’t enjoy freezing at night and if I caught it was a day time bite. So it just made sense to me to do some day sessions and, most importantly, fishing I would enjoy in the cold months. I am so glad I did I caught some cracking fish and had great fun doing it.
The first session was with team member Nathan. When we arrived we had a walk round the lake. There was a northerly wind blowing and it was bitter on the end of that. We set up on the other side, on the back of the wind, in a swim which faces towards an out of bounds bank. We set up a stall at 80 yards down the out of bounds bank and put 10 spombs of maggots, sweetcorn and VNX+ boilies. Two rods had been cast onto that area and two rods were cast out to the left - mine with a PVA bag and Nathan's on a single pop up. We had turned up at 10am and nothing had happened for a few hours. The sun was getting stronger and it was lovely sitting under the brolly making the brews. Although I say nothing had happened I had managed to be picked up 3 times by coots the BUGGERS! The rod with the PVA bag was changed to a single and cast 60 yards out, ten yards further than it was placed originally. 12pm rolled around and my mind switched to getting the bacon on but, before I could do that, my left hand rod on the single rattled off. After a short but spirited battle, I slipped a small and chunky common carp into the net. With a quick picture I put the carp back.
The fish went back and the rod was cast back on to the spot with a fresh pop up. Me and Nathan decided to move the rods off the baited spot as it had produced nothing. All the bites were coming on singles, so we cast the rods long, down the out of bounds bank on singles. I finally cooked the food and after finishing one sandwich, I was tucking into the second when my rod cast long ripped off. I could tell it was a small carp and after a short battle it was soon in the net. This time it was a mirror of about 3 pounds but it was covered in scales which looked cool.
I got down to the lake early Sunday morning and got back in that same swim. There is a big bush to the left of the swim so I had to wade the rod out a little way to get a better line angle. Two rods went on that out of bounds spot and the other rod went straight out in front of the swim at 45 yards range to a small island. I don’t know why, but something was saying to me put bait out. Just one of feelings you get when you are fishing. So I put one handful out over the out of bounds rod and four handfuls over the rod placed next to the island. I then sat back and had the first coffee of the day. The hours rolled by but I wasn’t worried because the bite time last time was midday to 3pm. It was getting warmer as the day went on. As it hit midday it was 8 degrees, ALMOST TROPICAL after the weather we had experienced over the January period. At quarter past twelve I hooked into a very hard fighting carp. It beat me up trying to get to the island. I directed it short of that and then it pulled left further into open water, brilliant. The fish still fought hard stripping line off my reel. After 10 more minutes the fish finally graced my landing net. It pulled the needle round to 13lb and was again an immaculate common with massive paddles - no wonder it fought so hard.
I didn’t think the day could get any better but then my left hand rod went off and after a short but spirited battle the fish was mine. Peering into the net I could see flecks of orange. I lifted it up in the sling and it went to 15lb and what a lovely Koi it was, with vibrant flecks of orange down its body.
That was the end of the day and as the sun went down I packed up a happy angler. It was a reminder how fun short days can be even in brutally cold weather.
Then Nathan was in I, but I'll let him tell you about that. We got the pictures finished and slipped that carp back and I got round to the most important job which was getting the brews on. The drinks were finished off and my mind again went to getting the bacon rolls on for lunch. I was getting the pan and bacon out of the cool bag when my left hand rod ripped off again on the good old VNX+ pop up. I swear, anytime I thought about food the rod ripped off. At first I thought it was a bigger carp because it was taking line off the clutch. Then it stopped fighting and charged towards me, so I thought it was a small carp. I saw a vortex in the water at 40 yards out and the carp bolted straight towards me and I was winding as fast as I could just to keep some tension on the line. Then it was fighting hard under the rod tip for 5 minutes doing it best to wipe out the other lines. We finally got the carp up on the mat and it was a lovely low double common which was immaculate and looked amazing in the winter sun. I can’t explain the face I was making in the photo, I think it’s my posh look. It doesn’t matter you’re not looking at my ugly mug anyway!
As I was putting that carp back it tried to cover me in water with a big kick of its tail, but luckily most of the water missed me. That was to be the last fish of the day. A couple of hours rolled away as I sat back drinking tea. It was a sweet day and left me wanting more. I remembered why I went fishing in the winter, watching the wildlife and catching carp is great. I can’t forget the sunsets they are awesome this time of year.
I was back down the lake the next Saturday - again me and Nathan had managed to squeeze in a mornings fishing. We were on the opposite bank, still fishing down towards the out of bounds bank. I wanted to be on the back of the wind as it was blowing a cold north westerly. Unfortunately it was not to be that morning. The weather man said it would be the same wind the next day. So I spread half a kilo of bait along the out of bounds bank as I left.
It was put back and the rod was cast back out onto the same spot with another handful of bait over it. Another Successful Baits Team Member, Jack, turned up to see how I was getting on and we were chatting away when my right hand rod to the island was away. The rod bent over quite a way and I was thinking it was a bigger carp and I was right. The fight was slow and ponderous. Then the carp got tangled up in my other line and I had to wade out to slide the net under it. It was a ghostie and it was fairly sizable for this lake as most carp are about 6lb, and it was easily double that. When I hoisted it up it went 16lb. It was the big ghostie which is a wicked result in winter and one I wanted after picturing it for Jack last summer.
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