Messingham Sands – winter 2000
Probably the best way to change your life is a marital breakup and, although I was not married, my parting from Julie was just the (sad) kick I needed to move to new waters and try new things. Brian had long extolled the virtues of a water not too far from him called Messingham Sands and its potential for good winter fishing. I’d spent a few years winter fishing at Catch 22 and Tyram Hall so something new seemed a good idea. It was time to pull on my big boy pants and start afresh... in more ways than one. Unlike most venues that I fish I decided not to have a preliminary visit but, instead, just to turn up and fish it with Brian and his son, Martyn. Even more strangely, I decided not to do too much delving into what may or may not work and instead, simply take what I had confidence in. That was small, high attract pop-ups, ball pellets and braided main line. Those Messingham carp had better get ready I thought to myself.
The first trip was a Saturday in early December and I met Brian and Martyn at the gates of the fishery. A typical cold winter day greeted us and with no one else on the syndicate lake it all felt very nice indeed. To be honest I was still coming to terms with the breakup and fishing was not my top priority. Yes, it was nice to be out with friends but once the rods were out I wasn’t unduly concerned with catching, but about getting my sh*t together. We decided to make it a social, so selected the first three swims on the road bank and, with two rods apiece, plopped them out at anything from 30-60 yards.