Cold Water Crackers - Dan Highley

I live in Wakefield, West Yorkshire and if you’re not already aware, we aren’t spoilt for choice when it comes to carp fishing. Decent fishing usually means a few hours travelling. My luck changed at the beginning of 2013 when I heard that a lake close to my heart and on my doorstep had been bought by a guy called Jack, who is now a close friend.
The lake in question is Millfield Pool; a stunning, mature, well-kept venue that Jack has done an amazing job with, because at one point it was on its last legs. My uncle had introduced me to angling many years before at the venue.
I started my campaign on Millfield around May and I was soon catching on a regular basis. Although pleased with this people around me were catching the better fish. Between May and July I caught often but they were all stockies, with the best being a 19lb 12oz mirror.
By August I was fishing every week, but just quick overnighters, mostly on a Monday night, due to work commitments. Although this was only a short period of time at the lake it seemed to work for me, as I was keeping in touch with the lake and applying bait regularly. Thanks to the consistent approach, I started to catch more. I knew I wasn’t far off getting things right.
When I visited the lake for the first time for a look round, I saw some pictures of the stock and a certain fish caught my eye straight away; one of the zip linears. I became obsessed with catching this fish. Luckily it did happen in October and I was chuffed to bits. The fish weighed 22lb but the weight was irrelevant. The following week I was back at the lake on the Sunday and I managed another scaly stunner, again weighing 22lb. Things were starting to turn and my confidence was high. Over time I figured out where the fish patrolled but majority of time you would find them in the snags.
I was fishing with boilies only. These were mixed-size, original and pink Cell, courtesy of my mate Mark. I was using plenty of bait too; around two kilos just for an overnighter. I was fishing all three rods to an area near to the snags all on soft hinge rigs. These were made from 20lb N-Trap soft for the boom and 20lb Mouthtrap for the chod section with a size-six choddy hook. Over time the area I was fishing became firmer, I knew they were well on the bait now.
Due to a change in shift pattern at work and the Christmas period, my fishing was limited, so to a new year… 2014.
With the weather been so mild I thought it would be a good idea to book a few days off work in February. I turned up at the lake on Saturday the 1st, due to the weather I thought the fish would be in the shallower water in front of the snags. It’s around 8-10ft (the average depth here is around 14-15ft). I baited on a little-and-often basis with whole and chopped boilies with pink Cell pop-ups, glugged up with Almond Goo on all three rods.
After only a few hours the right-hand rod was away and I landed a stunning 28lb 10oz mirror; one of the originals, which made the capture even more special. The next morning the same rod was away again and I landed a stockie common around 15lb. Monday morning came and I hadn’t had a bleep all night. However, at 9am the middle rod pulled up tight, and after a short scrap I netted a beautiful mirror, resplendent in all its winter colours. I was blown away by this one and it weighed 25lb bang on. An hour later I followed this up with another stockie common.
What a session in February and a great start to 2014. As you can see from the pictures the fish here are awesome, and Jack tells me there are plenty more uncaught beauties so come give it a go yourself.
Tight lines guys.