Day ticket winter success for Marcus Clark

Marcus Clark had been planning to spend the winter on a large Lea Valley pit, but with conditions generally being so bad, so decided to change his plans.

During a couple of trips to Bayeswater, in Essex, he managed to notch up five fish between 24lb 10oz and 29lb, despite only having fished the venue once before.

Marcus explained: “With the weather being so inconsistent I knew that I’d be wasting my time on the big pit, as up until now it hasn’t done a bite since I had my last hit of four fish back in early November.

“With my work commitments, and not having a specific winter venue sorted out, it left me in a bit of conundrum, so in the end I decided to take advantage of the vast array of day ticket waters across the country which hold some lovely big carp.

“I did a couple of trips to Orchid Lake in December and January and managed a couple of nice scaly scraper twenties, but unfortunately I hadn’t kept my camera battery charged and with the cold weather it didn’t even have enough power to take one photo!

“At the end of January, I headed down to Bayeswater’s day ticket lake for the second time ever, and upon arrival was greeted by a carp showing right in front of an unoccupied swim. I was soon set up and put three rods in the vicinity of where the fish had shown.

“Nothing happened that day, but shortly after first light the next morning I received a steady take on the middle rod and bent into my first carp of the year. After a spirited battle, I had a gorgeous scaly 26lb mirror in the net, but unfortunately it then turned very cold with freezing winds and ran for the next 24 hours, and that ruined the chances of any more action.

“With other commitments, it was late February before I was able to get out again and I opted for another session on Bayeswater. This time it was busier and I had to wait all day to get into an area that I fancied being in, and a quick move at dusk proved to be a good decision.

“It was quiet the next day and not a single carp was banked or seen by anyone on the lake, but the following day proved to be very different. My first bite came just on dawn and turned out to be a 25lb common.

“That was followed by three more bites resulting in three mirrors between 24lb 10oz and 29lb, but that was to be my only action of the three-night session. But I was pleased as no one else had a bite so I must have been doing something right. All of the action came in a 12-hour window, which just proves how crucial timing can be in the winter!

“My tactics for all my winter sessions have been the same, and are something that I have used very successfully over the years. The rig itself is very simple, with a standard hair rig tied from 20lb N-Trap Soft, with an inch-and-a-half stripped back from the eye of the hook, and a small piece of putty moulded around the spot where the stripped and coated bits meet, plus another piece about halfway up my eight inch hook link.

“I use a very short hair and thread on a piece of Fake Food floating corn and another of slow sinking, so that it sits tight to the hook. I then using a piece of bait floss and a sewing needle to thread on seven maggots, and tie that to the end of the hair loop instead of using a hair stop.

“With a size 8 Wide Gape, this leaves the hook sitting straight on the deck, with the corn and maggots sitting just off of it – this is very important, and if I’m using bigger hooks, then I will change the type of corn or number of maggots so that it sits the same way every time.

“I fish this with a Hybrid lead clip and attach a small FunnelWeb PVA bag to the hook, filled with boilie crumb, maggots and a couple of pieces of corn, plus some sort of sweet liquid attractor such as Goo to give it extra pulling power.”