When It All Comes Good
John Claridge looks back on a successful winter on Farriers Lake.
It was the start of November and I was beginning to think of what I was going to do during the winter. There was one area of Farriers where the stronger south-westerly winds blow down towards it, but the swim itself would be sheltered off the back of it. There was plenty of weed around and, as it’s a little bit deeper than the rest of the Lake, it seemed as good as place as any to try and target.
The swim I began to fish the area from was the High Bank, which is opposite where I was planning to fish, but the wind was blowing easterly, so this swim gave me good cover from it. I like fishing to wind lines in the colder months and it seems to serve me well. I knew this area had previous form in catching the mirror that I had longed to catch too.
I found a nice silty channel that could be fished from either this swim or the one I had originally planned and got the rods out, a couple on chods and another on a balanced bottom bait. I baited up with what I had been using since the summer, Sticky Vor-Tex.
The fog was really thick the following morning and it wasn’t until around lunchtime that it began to clear. I was fishing with tight clutches because of the weed, so when the left-hand rod pulled up tight. I pulled into a heavy fish. It didn’t do a great deal other than use its weight to prevent me edging it closer. It got locked in a weedbed, but I got it free after a bit of steady pressure. I could see it wallowing on the surface and it didn’t look huge, but certainly a low thirty. It then went back down and it wasn’t until the fish got near the net that I could see it was a little bigger than I first thought. I gave the chap opposite a shout to give me a hand with the pictures and we weighed the fish in at 39lb – what a way to start the campaign.
I was back down the following week, this time armed with the new test bait from Sticky. The Manilla smelt and tested lovely; it seemed the perfect choice of bait to begin to apply for these sweeter-toothed commons in Farriers.
I went into the swim that I had originally fancied, which is also somewhere that nobody ever fishes, and I’d been baiting up with around a kilo of mix every other night leading up to the session. I was mixing some chopped, whole and crumbed baits together with some small Bloodworm Pellets and plenty of Pure Krill Liquid. The plan was to put maximum attraction down, but little food for the birds to keep picking up. It was the end of November when I arrived, buoyed up and hopeful of some action. The wind was smashing a south-westerly and it was nice and sheltered where I was.
The left-hand rod pulled up tight and I landed a nice little 23lb common in the rain. I had caught it before, so slipped it back and got the rig back out.
That was it for that trip but I kept baiting the swim every other night after work. It was December and time was restricted with Christmas round the corner. I managed to get a night in another swim, but no joy.
I was back the following week and this time the swim was free. It didn’t take long to get a bite and I soon had a 30lb 3oz common in the net. I did the pictures and slipped her back before getting the rod back out and topping the swim up with some more bait. When my 24 hours were up I baited it before I left, planning to be back down in a couple of days to feed them again.
Christmas meant that it wasn’t possible to fish until the new year, but I continued baiting, and when I did get back the weather was still nice and mild, though there was mud everywhere. Just before it got dark the right-hand rod pulled up and I slipped straight over in the mud. Caked in mud, I picked up the rod and played in a nice looking mirror. It was one I had before and weighed 23lb 6oz, a nice result. I was just setting up the tripod when the left-hand rod was away, and I landed a nice 23¼lb common, so I had a fish in each net. It was dark by the time I got both fish returned and the rods nicely back in position.
I was woken at some point in the night by the left-hand rod and it felt like a good fish. The commons don’t seem to do a lot but the mirrors do, so I was hopeful it was the one I wanted. It was a mirror; a 32lb 14oz one, in fact, and a lovely fish too. I got the rig back out and put some more bait out.
I recast them both to make sure they were bang on when I woke in the morning. I was sitting back and enjoying the morning when the right-hand rod was away. I knew it was a big fish and after a short fight, I had a large looking common in the net. It looked very close to 40lb and on the scales she went 39¾lb - my biggest January carp, so I was over the moon.
I started to pack away a few bits and the recast rod was away again. It kited to the left quickly and I thought it was a tench, but then realised it was a carp after it surfaced. It was another common at 23lb and a great way to end the session.