Blue Pool result for Craig in arctic conditions!

Despite terrible conditions, Craig Runham still managed to catch one during his annual winter social with a few mates.

He had been looking forward to a chance of spotting a few fish at Burghfield Blue Pool and potentially stalking one out of the edge, but upon hi arrival he discovered that plunging temperatures had left the margins covered in cat ice, and rain had coloured up the water to the extent that he couldn’t spot anything!

Craig explained: “Every year around Christmas my friends and I have a social on a venue where we can hire the whole lake, and this time we chose the well-known Burghfield Blue Pool.

“The lake is known for its tap-water clarity and being a stalking anglers dream, but when we saw the conditions we knew that the chances of a stalked or margin feeding carp was near impossible, and really we were just glad to see that it wasn’t completely frozen!

“We’d all met up at 8am and after breakfast at a nearby café we headed for the lake and even had to use a can of de-icer to get the padlocks on the gates open!

“We were fishing in pairs and had drawn for swims before we arrived, but unfortunately myself and Dave ended up on the car park bank and knew that it had done very few bites recently – I really wanted to be in the corner where Korda filmed the Underwater DVD in the past!

“Having not been able to find any fish in the edge, I located a bar around 45 yards out, and after a bit more plumbing I found that to the left of my swim it rose up to 11ft, as opposed to 14ft directly in front of me. I decided to target this area and put out a small amount of chopped Key Bait Solutions Nut Mix boilies along with red maggots, but then left it alone to see if I saw any signs of fish over it and opted to fish zigs along the bar to start with.

“We sat around that evening trying to keep warm, as the temperature had plummeted to minus six, and just after 9pm my Delkim sounded and the left rod pulled out of the clip. I picked it up but there was no resistance, and when I wound in the rig everything was fine and the size 8 Mixa hook was still extremely sharp, so I flicked it back out to the spot.

“As expected there was no more action that night and I awoke to a ‘winter wonderland’ with everything covered in a shimmering layer of diamonds, and the only thing that wasn’t frozen was the lake in front of us – although we knew it might not stay like that for long if the temperature dropped again that night!

“Myself and Dave reeled in and went and had a chat with the other lads, and we all agreed to move onto one bank, so we could fish across to the far margins on the Burghfield bank where I suspected the fish were held up, as well as having a bit more of a social.

“I was proven totally wrong when another 24 hours passed and none of us had any action, and we now only had 24 hours remaining before he had to be off of the lake. There was an area of the lake to my left that hadn’t had any pressure since we arrived, so I decided to cast single hookbaits to it.

“The bottom was silty, so I opted for a hinged soft rig, tied using 20lb N-Trap Semi-Stiff for the boom section and 25lb Mouthtrap to a size 6 Choddy hook, fished helicopter style with a Heli-Safe bead. That was fished with a single white pop-up which was critically balanced before I cast out and felt it land on a soft bottom, and then once I’d sunk the line I slackened it off.

“I placed it in the rest and reached for the second rod, but before I could even pick it up the clutch began to tick on the rod I’d just put out and I was in to a very angry fish. It stripped 20 yards of line, but then as I started to gain on it, it started kiting towards an island and I had to clamp down as pull as hard as I dared to. Despite my best efforts I could feel a grating sensation and the fish boiled under some branches on the island.

“I carried on pulling and felt something give, and luckily for me it was the branch and finally I was winning, and at that point I was convinced I was attached to a big fish, as every time I gained line on it, it bored off back along the margins again.

“Finally a decent mirror rolled into the waiting net, and I didn’t really care about the size as given the conditions it was a very hard-earned capture it weighed just over 26lb – and turned out to be the only bite, as well as being my last fish of the 2016!”