I’m down with the carp kids, now!
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.