Tony jumped into the swim opposite the tree and fished two rods with his usual method of Sausage Oil criticals attached to a size 4 wide gape and small 1oz lead. He fished both rods tight to the snag tree locked up and we just knew that he’d have a good day. Dave set up to his right and I was in the next swim. With just open water in front of me I fished my home made popups with small bags of pellets and threw a few balls of groundbait in the area in the hope of interesting anything that might cruise by, this consisted of white crumb and crushed hemp.
Tony was first off the mark, and second, and third, and I think he got to 10 fish, commons and mirrors to low doubles, before Dave and I even had a bite. It was good to watch and each fish, remembering it was the end of December, was a real occasion. Eventually Tony gave in and allowed Dave to creep one of his rods onto the end of his spot providing Dave with a couple of nice fish, but still I remained fishless.
It was after lunchtime when I went for a stroll around to the fallen tree and spotted a section of bank the other side to where Tony was fishing that screamed carp. I revisited our swims and told the guys I was going stalking. I set up a 1.75tc barbel rod with a centrepin loaded with 5lb line and fixed a small waggler to the line culminating in a size 7 ESP Raptor. The float took just one BB shot so I was fishing very delicate. I arrived at the swim tiptoeing gently and placed myself well back from the waters edge. I plumbed the depth and found three feet just off the rod tip; I removed the plummet, attached a Sonubaits Sausage and Hemp hookable pellet and lowered it off the rod tip. A few minutes passed and the float started dancing around, there were fish down there but they were more than likely mopping up the small loose feed pellets I'd thrown in. Eventually, after about fifteen minutes the float slid away and I connected with my first of the day, it was a relief but I didn’t have time to dwell on the occasion too much, I had one very angry carp attached to my line which was trying its best to reach the snags. With constant pressure I kept the fish clear, you just get so much more control with a certrepin in such conditions, although you do tend to feel every lunge amplified through the rod and up your arms so it can be pretty hairy stuff. The fish took a gulp on the surface before heading into the net and I called out to my friends that I’d actually managed to get off the mark, and with a remarkably pretty fish too, but after the commotion they were already on their way. A linear mirror of low double figures, weight was immaterial; a winter carp of this stature was enough to keep me happy all year, well, what was left of it anyway.
After the pictures were taken I fished on for another hour or so and landed two small commons and a gold fish, yes, it was white with a red head, very odd but with the wind increasing and the rain starting to fall it certainly brightened up an otherwise chilly afternoon. At four pm we decided to call it a day. A superb days winter fishing, hats off to Tony for landing 16 carp and as I wished my friends a Happy New Year I felt for home, Pheasant stew and a nice hot bath.