Not everyone wants to get out on the banks during the colder months and sometimes I question my sanity when I’m freezing my wotsits off and the alarms are deadly silent, however I am a firm believer of both,”making your own luck” and “everything happens for a reason”.
Recent weeks on my winter ticket has seen the lake switch off and got my mind working over time, what do I do? Should I change tactics? Where do I go instead? And so a decision had to be made about the next trip/session, the decision was in the lap of the gods though as I had what can only be describes as “man flu”, felt like death warmed up from Sunday to Wednesday, it didn’t look good.
I had a change of fortunes on Thursday, i was feeling better and the spring in my step returned meaning I had to have “the conversation” with her in doors, come on, be honest; you have had those conversations too. Thumbs up from the ever faithful and wonderful wife (I know but she might read this) so I was packing the car ready for the off from work on Friday evening.
I had been watching the weather all week and boy did it look good for Friday night, strong south westerly winds, rain, 10° and a drop in pressure. Could I ask for any more, apart from a result in the back of the net?
Work was done so I got changed and jumped in the car, a slower than normal journey because of the rain meant that I arrived at the syndicate at about 18.15. A walk about looking into the darkness wasn’t really much help and no sounds of fish which was not unusual for the lake. I then decided to go purely on the direction of the wind, blowing left to right across a swim called “The Beach” was the deciding factor.
Being a regular at setting up in the dark I was done within about 45 minutes, with the rods put out to known spots with simple tactics being the order of the day, a snowman hookbait with a stick of crushed boilie on the left rod, a single hookbait on the middle rod, and a snowman rig and small stick of boilies on the right. I was set ready for the Carp gods to work their magic.
Shortly after setting up I realised that I had a problem with one of my Delk’s, a constant bleep that wouldn’t stop. I took to Facebook to ask and the suggestions were around the battery or the alarm being damp, I changed the battery but I knew this wasn’t the issue because I had a one month old Duracell super power or whatever they are called and sure enough the problem persisted, so it was listening for the clutch for the night.
No more than 40 minutes had passed and I had a run on the right hand rod, fished at range, a few seconds into the scrap and the hook pulled, looking back at what happened I blame myself for this one. Fishing at range over some pretty savage bars I put pressure on immediately with no quarter given, this is purely to keep the line tight and high so its above the bars to stop the chance of a cut off.
Not one for sitting around and thinking about what might have been, the rig was checked and the rod went back out to the spot. Sat in the bivvy watching the Derby vs Man utd second half and I had one of those moments where you think your heard what you want to hear but you aren’t quite sure, ipad to mute and, “hell yeah“it’s the clutch screaming away, boots on, door open and a quick but steady run to the rods because the banks were sodden by this stage. I lifted up the rod and turned the handle to disengage the baitrunner and there it was, a nice weighted plod on the end of the line. Now I am sure that most of you know that feeling and I bet you do the same as me, you start asking yourself what fish it could be; Is it the one? Is the biggest one? Is it one of those that haven’t been out for years?
Now regardless of whether or not it’s the one you want, it is still important to maintain the focus and secure your prize in the back of the net. The fight was limited on the way back from the mark until she was a few rod lengths out, at this point I still had no idea which fish it was but was keen to find out. A little bit of give and take and the argument was won, the head torch was pulled from the pocket for a quick look and it looked 30 all day long, not one that I was after but still buzzing.
Not fished the lake for about 4 months and the first fish I land is a 30, what a result. The fish was well behaved and sat without any fuss in the net whilst I done the necessary wetting of the retainer and zeroing of the scales. All set I gathered up the net around the prize and felt the weight, this was definitely a 30 and shortly after the score was on the board, 31lb 01oz Mirror, my first winter 30, happy days.
Rod recast to the spot and ready for the next one, but this time it came off of the long rod and in the shape of somebody’s pet missing from their pond, a ghost common of 11lb 03oz. With the continued problem with the Delkim I effectively retired this rod by casting it close in and swapping the dodgy alarm with the good one, it proved the right thing to do.
It was now about 11.15 and I had only been fishing for about 4 ½ hours, by this stage I was happy with my result and a quick reality check that it was still January took place, I was now looking to get my head down for the night.
Just as I was about to drop off the left hand rod was away again, this time a 17lb 02oz Mirror. The rod was recast, photos taken, and I was back in the sack but it was to be a case of déjà vu.
Just as I was about to drop off again the middle rod was away and this time it was an 18lb 05oz Mirror, same routine and back in the bag, absolutely knackered by this stage and part of me was hoping for a peaceful rest of the night because I had to be away by just after 9 o’clock the next morning.
Now to want more would be greedy for January right? Well I did have a little thought to myself about how nice it would be to have a twenty to complete the haul. I got my wish at 5.45, not a pretty fish at all and to be honest it is a bit of mug fish, it’s called “The Parrot”, not the size of the
name sake British record up the road, or as pretty, it went 20lb 12oz and the picture will tell you all you need to know.
The end of January and a 15 hour session results in 6 takes with five fish landed to 31lb 01oz, I will take that any time of the year, especially in January. Let’s hope that the next session is equally rewarding, until then I wish you all the best of luck when you’re out.