I’m down with the carp kids, now!

Anglers Mail - - Anglers -

AGUY my age has the right to a few se­crets. After all, I can re­mem­ber the Bash Street Kids al­most when they first hit the block.

I was re­cently in­volved in a top-se­cret mis­sion on a hard wa­ter in Es­sex, but I needed help. Who bet­ter to con­tact down that way than my old mate Alan Blair? Sadly, Alan was work­ing in the Far East, so I called upon his col­leagues, Tom For­man and Dan Yeo­mans.

Alan told me that they’d got a real han­dle on this par­tic­u­lar carp ‘toughie’, so I called Tom. Alan was spot-on. The boys had caught half a dozen carp the week be­fore my visit, and Tom said that they would meet me there on the wa­ter.

When I ar­rived, there they were, bivvies up and rods out. The three-day ses­sion that fol­lowed was a game changer. I raided the lads for their knowl­edge, gen­er­ally about carp, but gleaned enough to perk up my all-round win­ter fish­ing to come.

We were fish­ing a two-acre lake not far from the M25. With depths to 5 ft and lots of silt, the wa­ter wasn’t what I would have gone for in the cold weather, but the lads told me I couldn’t be more wrong.

Dan told me: “The great bonus of silt lies in the food that it stores. We all think about fish­ing deep gravel pits in cold weather, but the blood­worm in silt keep fish of all species ac­tive through­out the win­ter. The silt it­self har­bours the warmth that carp need to keep feed­ing as well, an ex­tra bonus if you like.

“It’s a whole mi­cro­cli­mate down there. The over­hang­ing trees around this lake play a big part, too. The rest of the lake can be cov­ered by cat ice, but the wa­ter will be ice-free un­der the branches. A lake like this one can give carp heat and food in the tough times to come.”

Tom liked my story of fish­ing a dead ringer of a lake with Martin Locke back in the mid-’90s, when he got the carp fizzing after bomb­ing it with blood­worm.

Dur­ing the three-day ses­sion I briefly saw one fish ‘in silt’ and a cou­ple ‘bosh out’ (note the carp jar­gon), but that was all. For the rest of the time, apart from the ac­tion, you’d think the place was un­in­hab­ited. This was ab­so­lutely ex­traor­di­nary, es­pe­cially when you con­sider that I put bait here, there and ev­ery­where where you would ex­pect to see fish. I’m happy to say that Dan and Tom didn’t have any an­swers to that par­tic­u­lar one ei­ther.

I wasn’t sure about the whites and pinks in the lads’ boilies. They were all a bit lah-de-dah, but Tom and Dan were adamant that in silt and coloured wa­ter, the bright­ness at­tracts fish of all species, big time.

But I loved the vi­sion of their con­fetti-thin slices of boilie flut­ter­ing down the wa­ter col­umn, set­tling on the most un­sta­ble of beds. Ob­vi­ously, in a still­wa­ter, a 15 mm boilie can sim­ply sink out of sight in silt and leaf clut­ter, so flakes and pop-ups win out on wa­ters such as these.

What was re­ally buzzing around in my head was the idea of these baits in rivers. I was think­ing that they might be a good op­tion for chub, barbel and roach. Why am I al­ways stuck with bread flake when it comes to win­ter redfins, I was won­der­ing?

I was might­ily im­pressed by the pre­ci­sion of their cast­ing. They were ar­row­ing baits to within mil­lime­tres of the trees on the far bank. They weren’t happy un­til the casts were ac­tu­ally shav­ing the branches. It was pretty good to watch, be­lieve me.

The bait­ing was in­ter­est­ing, too. Tom would do most of the cast­ing, whilst Dan would creep along the far bank and sprin­kle in feed, light and tight, around

In win­ter, it pays to use a bait that fish can see eas­ily, in both rivers and still­wa­ters. Fish aren’t al­ways feed­ing hard, but they will pick up some­thing that tempts their fancy and catches their eye.

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