Marks blog, Feb 2015
Winter Location and Giving Back
Time? Recently it would seem that this commodity is rapidly speeding up as I’m getting older! More and more I struggle to find this simple four-letter word, praying for a few more hours in the day. All of this of course is my own doing, choosing to fill my life with a number of different fishing-related projects that fill my time to bursting point. The rise and growth of Baitworks in the last few years has forced me to take on another additional factory to handle our ingredients alone! This has come as welcome news, as I was considering yet another move to bigger premises (we only moved into the current one 18 months ago!). This new factory can aid us in yet more expansion without the need to move (again).
One of the other projects is an event that we have ran every year for the last five years. We basically bring in a well-known speaker for a night and raise money via the door and raffle takings etc. We have been blessed in the past with anglers such as Simon Scott, Jason Hayward, Adam Penning and Terry Dempsey. All of these anglers kindly give their time and talk for free. Free! Why? Well, we give back every penny made on the night (around £3,000-4,000) to local waters in the area. A fantastic gesture from all our speakers, because they believe in our ethos at Baitworks, which is to ‘give back’. This event so far has purchased 115 carp that have then been given free of charge to local lakes, clubs etc who otherwise would not have been able to stock fish due to financial restraints. The importance of progressive stocking programs is absolutely vital with the current predation issues that are facing our sport at present, and I’m afraid, are only going to get worse.
Hey, what strange winters we are having? Going from a total whiteout a few years ago to these tropical, mild, wet winters has changed everyones winter fishing as we know it. Some lakes that are local to me have always had areas of the lake that would consistently have winter fish holding up in them. These may be snags, old weedbeds or just simply an area of the lake that they like to be in. For the past two wet, mild winters, the fish have been so active that these areas have been void of fish. I have found them in all sorts of areas, some of which you would never think they would spend time in! This has changed my approach to winter fishing when these conditions are prevalent. You see, in the past when we get the full on cold weather, the carp, being creatures of habit, will gravitate to their usual haunts for safety and security. When this happens, and more importantly, if you know this area, you can apply a steady trickle of bait because of the almost captive audience. I have found this situation can be very consistent for action and you can almost tempt a bite every session as the fish will not move far from this area. This makes for a very consistent winter. Now, throw in slightly milder conditions and we have a winter carp that is still getting all over the pond making location somewhat tricky! I much prefer the milder weather but can’t help thinking that my winter bite-rate was much better with regular frosts on the ground!
TIMING IT RIGHT
This winter I have been fishing short sessions, shaped around very short feeding spells. Churn Pool is a lake that is local to me here in the Cotswolds and has fantastic winter form. Being stream-fed means that there is a constant flow of water moving through the lake. This constant flow has a double-edge. For one, any warm rain that we receive will run off the surrounding fields and flow in to the stream that feeds the lake, which very quickly increases the temperature. The second is that when it is very cold, the simple movement of water from the inlet at one end to the outlet at the opposite end is enough to keep the fish moving and also the water temp fairly constant.
With a few videos to shoot for our new website, I set about fishing for a few short day sessions with Justin Badman who works with me at Baitworks. It took us a few hours to locate the majority of the lake stock but once we had fished a few different area with no liners, we eventually found them all at one end of the lake. Fishing long to the far bank in a new part of the lake gave us a number of liners on all rods signalling their presence. We positioned the rods all over this area using different baits soaked in various liquids. This method rewarded us with a fish each in the afternoon. A lovely 20+ for me and a stunning 28lb+ for Justin. The bites cam between 1-4 p.m. from this particular area. With this noted, we returned the following morning to the same area. Again the process was repeated, and, like clockwork, between 1-4 p.m. we had another three carp between us to 23lb. With the videos shot we returned home and then planned for the remainder of the week. It seemed pointless to fish the mornings in this area, as the bites were all after 1 p.m. With this in mind, we worked in the mornings and then by midday we were opening the gates to Churn Pool to fish the productive spell. This yielded carp every day for us that week. We ended up with a dozen or so carp between us, with Justin having the lions’ share as the fish were approaching from the right-hand side of the swim. That’s my story anyway!
Looking back over the week, I actually feel that just fishing the short sessions rather than sitting behind the rods around the clock helped us prolong and maximise our chances overall. If we had fished a long session, say a couple of nights or so, I’m sure that we would have caught for the first day or so but I’m sure that they would have quickly moved to another area due to six lines constantly running through the area.
Only fishing for four hours out of the 24, we only ever nicked a couple each day during the main feeding spell when the fish chooses to feed. A sort of a ‘smash and grab’ approach without the need to sit through 12-14 hours of winter darkness that numbs the soul and mind! If you can work out the lake you are fishing in the winter the results can be fairly predictable. Get out there and maximise your fishing.
Well thats about it for me. I will be popping out for a few more day sessions over the next few weeks, so I hope that my run of luck continues…
Until then, good luck with your fishing. To keep up to date on my latest fishing sessions you can catch me on the social media links below.