Dan, can we briefly touch on a session you had a few weeks back, with unfavourable cold weather, why did you choose the venue in question?
I was due to meet up with my good friend Lewis Porter for a social trip at the start of winter, we needed a venue that would be great to have a bit of a social but at the same time, provide us with a good chance of putting a few fish on the bank. The lake itself is relatively small, with a good amount of Canadian weed present, so I we thought this would be a good bet for the time of year as the fish would still be moving about between the weed. We had planned the trip months in advance and after having fished it back in the summer, I had a good idea of the tactics I needed to employ for this trip.
This isn’t the type of venue you fish week in week out, so how did you pinpoint the productive area?
With the amount of weed that was present in the lake, finding the fish simply wasn’t hard, because if you looked close enough you would spot signs of fizzing and sheeting in the area. The tricky part was actually presenting a hookbait effectively with such dense beds of Canadian present; I had to pinpoint a clean area that the fish were likely to pass through during the trip.
As the sun rose above the trees, it directly hit an area on the far bank, so this was a point of interest for sure. But with so much Canadian present, I decided to back off this a little and fish safely in the hope that the fish would venture around the area to my spot.
I was hopeful that this area would produce, so I placed one of my rods on it and introduced a few hundred small 10mm Live System baits over the top ready for the night ahead.
How did the session unfold, did it take time for the fish to get on the bait?
It was freezing cold on the day we got there and only a few hours after getting that rod and some bait in positioned, that spot burst into life. Despite being on my rod straight away, it weeded me pretty bad and after applying pressure, it kicked free and darted to the next weedbed. After a tense fight, we both finally got a glimpse of the fish and it looked to be a cracker.
It transpired it was the lakes biggest fish and a real pearler too, at over 30lbs I couldn’t believe I was looking at this incredible fish so soon after casting out. After doing the pictures, I quickly tied a fresh rig, topping up with a good quantity of 10mmers early afternoon.
With the fish clearly on the spot, did you make any changes to your approach?
I was introducing 10mm Live System baits and the fish were clearly eating it with gusto, so I increased the amount after every fish. With a number of big tench present, I just wanted to ensure there was a decent bed of attraction out there despite the cold conditions.
I also tightened the clutches right down and kept a fairly tight line all the way out to the rig after the last fish getting weeded up several times, I was surprised at just how much weed was still present for the time of year.
With the lake being so shallow, re- casting didn’t seem to affect the fish’s behaviour?
At this point I only had the one rod cast towards the area the fish where held up in and my rig was only just on the entrance/nearside of that zone so I think any disturbance just pushed them a few rod lengths away from me towards that far margin. Over time they would drift back in over the spot as time passed or the presence of the bait got the better of them.
I then caught another fish an hour or so after the first one on the same rod again and then moved my left hand rod closer to the middle that was doing the bites as greed got the better of me. I wanted to try and maximise the zone as such and this certainly worked as I caught two more fish just before dark as we got the log burner and dinner on the go.
What was the highlight from this productive early winter trip?
Catching the lakes two biggest fish; a mirror and common and ending up with a quarter of the lakes stock banked in 48 hours fishing in freezing conditions was all good fun. Just being able to fish the lake is a privilege, as Les Webber who runs an organisation called angling projects, helping kids get into fishing, owns the lake. Les does a fantastic job and works voluntarily to teach youngsters that art of angling. He runs the lake purely off donations to help secure the future of the sport.
The fish are old as the hills and came from Kingsmead over 40 years ago, thriving in the rich environment. Lewis and myself had a great time and much of that is down to Les input.
What do you felt stood you in good stead when it came to tripping up the number of fish you had?
Firstly I am positive that its 99% down to location, those fish where grouped up in a fairly small area and even though the lake is quite small it was obvious they didn’t venture very far at all given we had 6 rods out in a double swim and 10 out of my 13 takes came on one rod. I had basically pinned them into a corner of the lake that they wanted to be in to start with, it was a quiet corner with features in the margins and like I said earlier the only part of the lake that received the warm rays of sunlight in these short cold days we have at the moment.
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