Carp to low 20s wee being caught at Swan Lake too as well as the odd double-fiured specimen. Roach and bream have been feeding well at McGregor Lake for those anglers seeking a change from the ever-present carp.
Mark Horspool struck gold on his latest visit to BHAA’s Gingerbread Lake where plenty of sightings of carp have been made but few fish caught. Mark was elated to have caught a 30lb plus common carp but only a few hours later he had a second run that resulted in him catching another huge common. His fish weighed 30lb 14oz and 32lb with one of the fish a long lean fighting machine whilst the other was a superbly proportioned specimen. Another member to catch a big common was Mark Arnold who landed a 33lb common, a new personal best for the angler.
The week started really well with another big carp being caught at Gingerbread Lake. Kevin Gormley spotted carp moving through his chosen swim and after a few hours he connected with the big fish, a 31lb 4oz common carp. Also, during his overnight stay he landed a good-sized tench too indicating that fish were starting to feed. However, a couple of hard frosts early in the week killed sport completely and when the sun eventually came out fish were more interested in basking in its heat rather than getting their heads down. It was a similar story on both Swan and McGregor Lakes where only the odd carp was to exhibit any signs of feeding. It remains to be seen what effect the very warm weather will have during the current week.
Winston Pogmore returned to a BHAA controlled stretch of the Ivel near Sandy from where he caught a 5lb plus chub on his previous visit. Sport started more slowly this time and, for a couple of hours, all he could catch was the odd minnow. He kept feeding his swim with breadcrumb and a trickle of maggots and put a bunch of them on to his size 16 hook. He soon landed a 3lb 10oz chub but then hooked into a really powerful fish that he thought was probably a pike. However, when he finally netted the fish it turned out to be a 6lb 15oz chub, his biggest ever chub. His friend Alan Wilkie fished the same stretch of river catching two big chub weighing 5lb 4oz and 5lb 14oz. The latter of the two chub he has caught this season on three separate occasions!
Barrt Fox fished at BHAA’s Sandy Lakes fishery for pike using a ledgered smelt mounted on a single No.2 hook and two swan shot to enable the bait to slowly touch bottom. He only had one take during the day but was over the moon when the fish turned out to be a 24lb 5oz specimen. Barry is convinced that the use of single hooks is far less harmful to the pike than conventional trebles and just as effective at hooking the fish.
Winston Pogmore decided to fish on The Riddy Nature Reserve stretch of the River Ivel in Sandy trotting a float baited with maggots on a size 16 hook. Regular feeding of the swim with a steady trickle of loose offerings soon got the fish feeding. At first, it was small dace, roach and gudgeon that fed and even the occasional minnow but then chub moved in. He caught two good fish weighing 5lb 8oz and 3lb 10oz during his short session.
The lakes seem to be waking up too. Nigel Cleaver fished an overnight session on Swan Lake from where he caught two fish, a 12lb mirror carp and a 10lb 4oz bream. The secret of catching big fish at this time of year seems to be to introduce a small amount of bait on a regular basis. Excessive baiting can be counter productive and frequently attracts diving ducks into baited swims where they greedily mop up the free offerings. Young Lewis Vereeque proved he has not lost his Midas touch when he landed a 10lb pike using a sprat dead bait mounted on a single hook.
After reading Paul Elt’s article on trotting, BHAA club member Thomas Finney was keen to try the method himself. Thomas fished a stretch of the River Ivel in freezing conditions with snow still lying on the ground, hardly the best of conditions. He was fishing only a short session and, after moving swims a couple of times, he had his first success, a 4lb 8oz chub. He returned to the river later in the week and found a really productive swim from which he caught a 4lb 2oz chub followed by a couple of smaller fish and was broken by another fish. Later, he moved to a swim from where a friend, Ollie Jenkinson, had caught two 3lb plus chub earlier in the day. He trotted his float through the swim and struck into a good fish which turned out to be a 5lb 12oz chub, a new personal best for the Sandy angler. He handed his rod to Ollie and he too caught another big chub, this time a 5lb specimen. He returned to the river the following day but only managed a single chub, a 3lb 8oz fish mainly because his rod rings kept freezing up making trotting nigh impossible. Instead, he opted for a bit of pike fishing and was rewarded with the capture of an 11lb fish. Early in the following week, he was back on the river where his very first trot down produced a fat 5lb 10oz chub for him. Another move of swim enabled him to catch a further three fish, the best weighing 4lb 12oz. Thomas said that he is now hooked on trotting and has targeted a six pound chub before the end of the season.
Whilst almost every carp angler has long hung up his rods for the year, Little Paxton anglers Scott Parkin has continued to put the time in at BHAA’s big fish venue Gingerbread Lake setting a new lake record along the way. In the weeks preceding the recent freeze, Scott caught three big carp including the awesome ‘Cluster’ weighing in at a new all time high of 43lb 7oz. Also, he caught another huge mirror, a 38lb 14oz specimen and a superbly-conditioned 19lb common carp.
A member fished on a BHAA-controlled lake where a single take late in the afternoon resulted in him catching a 27lb 12oz pike. Another member fishing at a different lake caught a 20lb 14oz pike but he was a little disappointed as he had caught the same fish a week earlier weighing 21lbs!
Carp were still active at McGregor Lake where a few fish were observed leaping clear of the water after overnight rain. The previous week, Brad Curtis caught four fish during a day visit, the best weighing around 11lbs. It seems as though the fish are spending much of their time in the surface layers of water so zig rigs may well be the best method during the cold weather.