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Nicking a bite or two!

19/01/2022 - Bait Articles

Happy New year to you all, I hope you had a good Christmas and New Year, ours was quite in that we
spent a lot of time with our families just enjoying Christmas and seeing the New Year in. I kind of like the
New Year, it’s a time to plan anew, set things in place and get rid of things that have gone before, sort of
wiping the slate clean…I always like to start the New year with a few things planned, and hopefully this
year we will get to see them through! My wife Sal is well on the mend after nearly two years of Cancer
treatment, hopefully the Pandemic will start to ease and we can get about a bit more, the plans of
passing my business over to my daughter are moving forward, so we have a lot to look forward to. I am
just in the process of planning our first fishing trip to France in April, Family holidays booked for July, a
trip to Parco in August and hopefully, we will get to eastern Europe in the Autumn as well. So, a lot to
plan and aim for as well as plenty of fishing in the UK and hopefully some quieter time of the banks, with
more folk back at work this year. But first the here and now.

Although I don’t tend to night fish much from late November through to early February, I do like to keep
getting out, even if it’s only for shorter sessions. It’s not so much the cold but the 14 hours of darkness I
struggle with, it’s also about where I want to or can fish as well. Maybe it’s my age, but I like being on
my own, so I stay away from busier places, which usually means less chance of catching. To me though
it’s not just about catching, it’s about learning what is needed to get a bite from somewhere new, that’s
the challenge I like…it means putting up with a few blanks, but I can live with that, I fish for myself not
others.

My last couple of trips to the big Pit in the Autumn had proved fruitless, so it was time to turn my
attention to my chosen winter water. let’s call it the Airport Lake, which is at the side of Leeds and
Bradford Airport. Almost 700 ft above sea level, which can make it rather chilly at times. Although you
can night-fish it, I have just opted for a day permit. My plan for the winter is to try and get on the bank
every ten days or so, even if it’s only for an afternoon, until the days start to draw out again in February
and I can start to think about night fishing again and turn my attention back to the big Pit. Now, I did fish
the Airport Lake last January and February without much success, so I knew I was going to have to try a
bit harder this year. It’s a tall order to just fish once every couple of weeks and expect to catch, the
anglers who catch regularly are the ones who put the time in, it might take 2-3 trips to start to see
where the carp are moving to and from or holding up away from angling pressure. So the odds are
stacked against me from the off, but that’s life, no point mumping about it.
My first planned session was for early December, if you remember we had a couple of days of heavy
snow, where we lived it was a total white out. It’s been a long time since I was out fishing in real snowy
conditions, and I was really looking forward to getting out on the bank for a day. As my T6 is 4-wheel
drive I knew I wouldn’t have any problems getting to the lake, so I loaded up for a day out fishing in the
snow. Hah! What I didn’t take into account was the sub-zero temperature that followed the snow, what
did I find when I arrived at the lake? It was frozen solid! Chuffing marvelous…that’s this trip done with,
off home I went.

My next trip was some two weeks later, conditions were mild and once again I was looking forward to
getting out, there had been a few carp caught from the lake as well, so I was keen as mustard. I arrived
at the lake mid-morning, bites have been tending to come in the afternoon, so it would give me time to
decide where to fish and get set-up. The spots I had fancied were taken, so I had to settle for getting as
close to where I could to have access to the middle of the lake, I have an underwater map of the lake
which showed the contours and make up, so I could see where the main bowl was with slightly deeper
water. A lot of the carp that had been coming out were on the hundred-yard mark, which is just short of
the middle. So that’s the range I opted to fish. One of the reasons I do try to keep getting out in the
winter is to keep my casting and spodding at a proficient level. If I didn’t fish at all from November
through to March, my joints would seize up a bit (especially at my age!), so keeping fishing through the
winter months prevents that happening, it’s also about getting out and getting my fishing fix as well.
As I’m fishing short sessions, I have adopted my baiting approach to suit this, if you see the picture
included, I am using crumbed Supafruit boilies, small Supafruit pellets, a good dollop of Supafruit DNA,
sweetcorn and some maggots. It’s a good mixture of bits to create a cloud in the water and not overfeed
the swim. There aren’t a lot of smaller species in here so I am trying to create a carpet of bits for the
carp to mooch over, as they do at this time of year, then they may be tempted to pick up the odd morsel
of food. As I am fishing at 100 yards it’s relatively easy to put three rods on a tabletop sized area, the
reason for this is that I can fish different hookbaits and presentations over the baited area. If I find one
working, I can then change the others to match, that’s the thinking anyway.

I got set up and then, put some bait out with the Spomb. I have just taken delivery of a my new Spod
rod, the Daiwa Basia TT Spod rod. It’s a doddle baiting up with the medium sized Spomb at this range. As
I am fishing in about 6 feet of water, I started off with 6-8 Spombs of bait, then top up with 2-3 every 20-
30 minutes or so. The thing about fishing at this time of year especially on short sessions, I feel it’s
important to be pro-active and work a bit harder than usual, trying to force a bite as it were. After an
hour or so of fishing and watching intently I started to feel the urge to move. There was no movement at
all in front of me, the indicators were totally static. My eyes were drawn to an area a few swims up, I
couldn’t say why, but they just were. Now you might think that on such a short session it’s a waste of
time moving, but better to be one hour in the right place than 3 hours in the wrong one heh? location is
always the key and more important in winter fishing than any other time of year I feel. One of the things
about short session fishing is having just enough gear for that session, so everything fits easily onto the
barrow. So, I upped sticks and moved a few swims up to my left, within half an hour I had the rods back
in and was putting some spod mix out, what was noticeable now was that I was getting indicator activity
almost straight away. I had a few lifts on the right-hand rod, which had a standard pop-up on, but
nothing developed. The middle rod, which was a Green Beast wafter tipped with maggots, rattled off,
after a short fight I netted a small carp. Not the size I was after but it’s a bite and a carp on the bank. I
had 2 more runs, landing another small carp and losing one. So, overall, not a bad afternoon’s winter
fishing with a couple of carp on the bank, well worth the effort and the move, though not very large
carp, something to build on for future sessions.

My next trip down two weeks later, the lake was really busy, and I couldn’t get anywhere near where I
wanted to be, that’s life heh? So that was a blank. That was it for December, let’s hope January’February
is a bit more productive in the carp catching stakes…We also have a couple of fishing shows to look
forward to with the DT Baits stand (all been well), so maybe I’ll catch you at one of those. I’ll let you
know how we get on, whether it’s at a show or on the bank, whatever you are doing, make sure you
making the most of and enjoying it, life’s too short.
Catch you next time.
Andy
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