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Monday, 19 November 2012

Burrows 'Autumn Colours'

The leaves are turning and starting to fall, temperatures are dipping and the bank side, only a few months ago was buzzing and full of life. It's amazing how quick things change, the lakes are starting to have a stillness about them and with the nights closing in, the waters edge has become very bleak and remote. 

More days than not carp fishing seems to have turned into a riddle rather than a relaxing pass time. I have a fair few lakes on the agenda in regards to winter campaigns, it goes with out saying that Burrows is still high on the list. I have been paying close attention to my bait application and focusing on location, it's paramount this time of the year.

It has become apparent that feeding times seem to now come in short bursts and to maximise on this it's really important to spend a little extra time trying to pinpoint where abouts the carp are holding up. I've taken a few afternoons out to go down to Burrows solely to watch the water, from past experience I have reason to believe that the carp can hold in specific areas of the lake for a good few days at a time, on both trips I noticed a few fish topping up the far end of the lake, this is a part that I am yet to fish.

On returning to the lake I chose my spots wisely, after a bit of searching about with my smart-cast I found a couple of spots that I felt confident in. There was a fair amount of movement on the bottom of the lake and I felt these areas could hold the odd fish.

Bottom Make Up Of My Swim
The way it shelves down is pretty extreme, I felt I could fish a bait close in, when watching how other anglers approach this swim, they seem to cast to the middle, I had a hunch that the carp could patrol underneath the rod tips due to the changes in depth.

Bait Position Of Left Rod

Bait Position Of Right Hand Rod
I kept baiting up to a minimum, I didn't put any freebies into the swim, I thought PVA bags and single hook baits should do the trick, I made sure my bag mixes had maximum attraction. I ground up a selection of fruity baits and then added some Anchovy Paste, this helps to bind the mix together, creating an interesting smell.

Bag Mixes

Keeping my hook baits in a mixture of different glugs can give you a little edge on tougher days.

Instant Attraction

I am testing out Chris Knowlers new POM leads, they're very interesting, I'll go into specifics in another blog, I decided to rub clay over my lead system and hook link for added camouflage, I think this can really help especially if the carp are wary. 

A Little Bit Of Clay Does The Trick

I got my rods out, slipped some back leads on and sat back to wait, I positioned myself back from the waters edge, if carp were patrolling close in, I didn't want to spook them. Some fish showed themselves a little way out in front of me, that was a great sign, I knew a few were in the area, it was just a case of if they were going to get their heads down. Time passed pretty slowly, there was no wind, the lake was really still and silent, it was the first time I'd seen Burrows like this. It was a good chance to spot any signs of feeding fish, there really wasn't any bubbling going on, apart from a few carp topping, the lake was like a sheet of glass.

Time was ticking by when all of a sudden I got a single bleep on my left hand rod. I walked over and noticed my rod tipped was gently bending round, hardly at all, I decided to lift into it. The rod bowed over tight and line started ripping off the spool. I instantly knew I'd hooked into something pretty big because the lunges were very solid, the water is very clear so I got a glimpse of the fish as it surfaced, it was a big looking mirror.

I kept the pressure on giving it line when needed, I eventually slid her over my net, as I looked down on her I was convinced she was going to go 20IB. I got her into the sling, scales sunk to 21IB exactly, I was ecstatic, it's amazing that a single bleep on the alarm could produce such a fish, I felt she was probably trying to eject the hook bait, hence why she didn't bolt off on the initial pick up. I was thinking that my straight through fluorocarbon rig was probably the reason why the bait was taken, it's very hard to detect.

A Much Appreciated Autumn Carp

Self Take Photos Can Be Tricky
I slipped her back and got my rod on to the same spot, the hours ticked by and the alarms stayed silent. There were a few fish topping through out the afternoon but no more bites came. Before I left for the day I put some bait on the 6ft shelf with the plan to come back and fish it later in the week.

During this session I was starting to think about my baiting approach even more, I have primarily been using fruity baits since the temperatures have fallen. I started to feel like this could be limiting my results. I started to think about it systematically and I have decided that when I am using two rods I am going to fish one on fruity and the other spicy. When fishing three rods I am going to fish, Fruity, Spicy and Fishy, I believe this will give me a far broader insight into what works, where and how. With this in mind I wanted to get back down as soon as possible to see if I could get a quicker result.

Burrows Short Afternoon Session 'The Experiment'

I grabbed a few hours the following Sunday, this time around I chose to fish the first double swim you come to on the lake. This is the deeper end and the fish do seem to hold very close in to the opposite margin, as stated before, the secret is to get your bait within inches of the bank, I'm talking about 5cm, even though there's a lot of sunken trees the margins are surprisingly clear.

My Swim

I was fishing single hook baits topped of with a tiny bit of yellow foam, I always feel this helps on the visual side. I was using Starmers Octospice on my left hand rod and Bloodworm & Tuna on the right. I got my casts spot on first time so that kept disturbance to a minimum. 

I left them both for about an hour and then decided to recast, moving both baits slightly to the left of my original spots. My left hand rod tore off after about 40 minutes from the recast. The fish came racing towards me so I had to reel in a fair amount of slack like a nutter, as usual she woke up underneath the rod tip, I eventually slipped a spotless looking common over my net, scales sunk to 12IB, I struggled to get a photo because it was now pitch black and I was slipping and sliding all over the place.

A Quick Common On A Bleak Autumn Afternoon
I was feeling very inspired, the fact I decided to change to a spicy bait and get a pretty quick take made me feel like a huge amount of possibilities had opened up for me. I have mentioned in previous blogs that it's very easy to get stuck in certain modes with carp fishing, same swims, same baits etc, each time I feel I might be in a rut I remind myself that there's more than one way to catch a fish. 

There's so much trial and error involved and I find some sessions are solely for experimentation, I still believe if you put the effort and work in you will have a break through even if getting to that point means you've got to swallow a few blanks, when all comes good, it makes it all worth it. 

Until Next Time