The fishing had really slowed up towards the end of last year and I have been clocking up the blanks. None of which bother me, blanks have their place in the process and I know that I am not doing anything wrong, it's just the way it is. With each blank I pick the positives and understand that some days it really doesn't matter what you do, the carp just aren't having none of it. The way I see it, if my bait goes in the water each time, even just a few handfuls, it's still fishing for me even if I am not physically on the bank.
Back In The Summer
It's been a fair few months since my last visit, it's exciting times, Starmer have had a new bait in development and I've finally received the finished product. I don't know much about it, it's a nice dull color and smells like it has a hint of onion in it, it's called Mexican Hemp. My plan is to introduce it moderately and consistently in to a few of my waters, I feel that Burrows is the perfect place to start. I will not be fishing with it until we have slightly milder weather because it has a high oil content. I may well rig it up on a few future sessions but I want them to get a taste for it first.
Starmer Baits Mexican Hemp
Regarding my presentation, I have modified it slightly, through the recent blanks I have been trying to think how I can entice the fish to bite. There's something about the straightforward bottom bait approach that has been niggling away at me. For this session I have decided to use critically balanced pop ups with a slight difference. My chosen baits were Banana Cream and Caribbean, I have a huge amount of confidence in them both.
The rig I was fishing was a 'Fox Illusion' 'Super Nova' combi, the reason for this is due to how clear the bottom is and I wanted to make my rig as inconspicuous as possible. I seem to get great hook holds on this specific combination, there's something about the rigs mechanics that makes it hard for the carp to detect.
My Combi Rig
I treat the pop ups by washing them out in lake water and glug, this turns them into wafters and you can then doctor the presentation accordingly. To add a fraction more buoyancy I use a slither of zig foam underneath the bait. I want the bait to hover with the hook sitting up just underneath it.
I put half a PVA nugget on the hook when I cast it out, because the hook point is resting on the lake bed I tend to only fish this over soft clay and shallow silt to avoid any damage to the hook point. As I have mentioned in the past, the nugget on the hook slows the decent of the bait. I have had consistent success with this presentation.
View From Above
My thinking behind presenting a bait like this was to raise it just above ground level in hope a passing fish might just stop by to investigate it. This time of the year I want to make it easy for the fish to spot a bait and even easier for the hook to fly up and trap them.
Bait application for this session was stripped right back, I put about thirty baits around each spot spreading it a good five meters. Usually the water around this time of the year is very clear but because of all the rain we are having, it's still very murky. This is being created from all the surrounding farmers fields being so waterlogged and the excess water running into the lake. Because of this I decided I was going to fish the exact same spots as I do in the summer, usually I wouldn't be able to do this, the darker water works in my favor.
View From The Swim
Even though the winter so far has been pretty mild it has had a clear effect on the fishing. Baring this in mind I didn't have any fixed expectations for the session. I got both rigs out on my chosen spots and kept my eyes on the water, having fished Burrows so much, I know that if I don't get any action in the first forty five minutes or so, I either have to move or sit it out and wait. The day was full of scattered showers I decided to just sit on my hands, I know that carp visit both of my zones, I just had to have a little faith.
It was a good three hours before I got my first take, it was on my left hand rod, a carp had fallen for the Banana Cream once again. The take was a ripper and the fish put up one hell of a fight, just as I netted her my other rod was away. I scrambled for it and lent back into another fish, it felt like a pretty decent size, after a modest scrap I very gently eased her into the net. From total silence I'd had fifteen minutes of utter mayhem that resulted in two lovely looking mirrors.
The Second Beauty At 15IB
After slipping both fish back and getting the rods back out, I paused to take a breath. I was so pleased with the result specially for this time of the year. The day ticked away and both my rods remained silent, I packed up shortly after dark with the plan to come back down over the next week or so.
I have been very busy with my work so it was a good few weeks before I could get back down again. When I arrived at the water it was still murky, windy but very mild, there were a few short moments when it felt like spring was on the horizon. I adopted a slightly different approach this time, firstly I upped the amount of bait that I introduced. Before casting out I dissolved some Strawberry Mivvi pellets in a little lake water, ground up some boilies and added some GLM method mix, this was mixed up sloppy and spread lightly over my chosen spots.
Strawberry Mivvi Pellets
Green Lipped Mussel Method Mix
I baited up four zones with the plan to move my bait on to each one throughout the day. I felt confident that there would be carp holding down my section of the lake, I wanted to try and find them, getting four spots going made perfect sense to me. This is an approach I have used on and off in the past and it's worked very well.
View From The Swim
After both rods were out I made sure I had my binoculars at hand, this way I could keep a close eye on all my baited areas. The wind was heavy but it's pretty amazing what you can spot when you look hard enough. This time of the year I will literally move on a single bubble or the slightest of flat spots.
After two hours or so I moved both rods to "spot 3" and "spot 4" 'in the picture above'. I didn't bother introducing anymore bait, there was more than enough out there. Again, after another couple of hours I put the baits back to their original spots. It was shortly after doing this that I got my first take, it was off of spot 2. The fish came in with no fuss at all, it was a nice little mirror in the single figures.
It certainly wasn't a big fish by Burrows standards but was awesome none the less. I got her back and got the rod back out on the same spot, introducing around twenty baits. The hours started to pass and it was very clear that the fishing was slow. I decided to recast my left hand rod into slightly deeper water, just as the sun was going down the rod tore off. This felt like a better fish but really wasn't fighting at all. I eventually slipped my net over a perfect looking common, I didn't weigh her but I was guessing she was around 12IB.
Cold Water Common
This fish signaled the end of the session, the light was fading fast. It goes without saying I was pleased with both sessions, it certainly wasn't easy. It goes to show that you can still get away with a fair amount of bait even at this time of the year. Obviously it doesn't always work on all waters but I know Burrows enough to know pretty much what I should be doing. All in all it was a solid start to 2014.