From Freezing to Floaters ...All in the space of a month

My first twenty off the top this year

Firstly Majestic Pool … Good friend Graham Drewery, had arranged an overnighter for us both at a water we had never fished, called Majestic Pool. It’s a lovely water near Beverley, East Yorkshire, with a good head of fast growing carp to well over twenty pounds. It seemed a good idea to try and visit the water for a short day session before our overnighter to get a bit of a “feel” for the fishing. This we did the week before, and we managed to pick a day when the wind was gale force, and just standing up was an issue. Never the less we had an enjoyable day, and managed a couple of mid double fish, so our confidence for the coming overnighter was high.
Graham and I arranged to meet at the lake at mid-day, giving us plenty of time to select pegs, get set up etc. I remember sitting having a cup of tea, watching TV, just prior to setting off, when the weather forecast came on. It was not what I wanted to hear. It might be spring, but a big high pressure was forecast with easterly winds, clear skies, and a severe frost overnight. My last action before setting off was to swop my standard sleeping bag to my 5 season one. Looking back I made a mistake on swim choice; I had the weather forecast in the back of my mind and opted to fish the deeper open water. I kept bait to a minimum, just a light scattering of 14mm Nutrabaits Trigga Ice, and single 14mm baits on the hook.
The weather forecast was right, and by early evening the sky had cleared and the temperature was dropping like a stone. Not long after sunset the ground was white over, it did not bode well for the night ahead. We sat talking for a while, listening for signs of active fish, but the lake went quiet and still and the icy cold really kicked in. It was time to “wimp out” and make for the sleeping bags. The night passed without a single bleep, but it will be memorable for the cold, I awoke with a thick layer of ice on my sleeping bag, and the bivvy was iced up both inside and out. I opted to have a recast, and soon regretted it, as the ice on the handles made casting difficult and my hands white and numb.
As the sun rose in the sky the change was remarkably rapid. Soon all the gear was steaming in the sun, normal feeling had returned to fingers and toes, and it was possible to concentrate on the fishing. There had been no signs of fish overnight, but co owner Phil Sainty had managed a fish late afternoon from the far end of the lake, it was time to have a wander. We packed all the main gear away, and just took a pair of rods each to the far end. The sun was high in the sky by now, and doing a very good job of warming the margin we’d just moved to. I opted for single heavily glugged Techni-Spice boilies, and went as light as I could, with small leads, just gently swung out along the sun drenched margin. Personally I’d gone from barely able to feel my fingers to sweating in a matter of an hour or so.
I immediately started to get line bites, there were obviously a lot of fish in the vicinity. My confidence was rising as fast as my temperature. The line bites continued, from small lifts of the hangers to right to the rod, only to drop back down again. I was constantly leaning forward, sitting back, but it was only a matter of time, when one of the lifts didn’t drop back down, but instead the reel clutch started to click as a fish gained speed towards open water … I was in, a last minute fish to save the day!
  Last week it couldn’t have been more different. I’m sat in polo shirt, with leaves on the trees, a warm sun beaming down on me, and carp on the surface taking mixers. Can it really only be four weeks since the water in the water bottle was frozen solid?
I’ve got my new Floater rod and reel (Longbow DF Floater Special and Tournament SS 2600 Whisker) and mid morning they are put through their paces as a good fish confidently sucked in my flavoured mixer hook-bait. It turned out to be my first twenty off the top for 2011, and it’s fair to say I was well impressed with the performance of the new gear. The rod has a lovely forgiving action, and the reel clutch silky smooth, perfect for the lighter hook-links I use for my floater fishing.
Both trips ended well, but they did remind me how tricky Spring can be so ….
Five Top Tips for Spring Carp
1) Only bait heavily if you are sure the conditions are right and the fish are feeding.
2) Be mobile so you can move onto fish quickly, the feeding spell might only be short.
3) Fish will often be very mobile so check likely spots regularly.
4) Fish will often move through the layers as the water warms up, so it can be worth giving zigs a try.
5) Have a range of baits from high attract glugged baits, to standard bottom baits, to floaters, you never know how the fish will be feeding.
Good luck with your early season fishing, whatever you end up doing!