Four-Fish Hit Topped by January Thirty - Dave Finn

"Last winter’s fishing was pretty slow and I fished through some horrible conditions, just ‘going through the motions’ when the chance of a bite remained slim at best.

I vowed not to put myself through that again and decided that I would fish for some action whilst keeping my target waters primed with bait, so that when conditions dictated I could hopefully take full advantage, rather than spending hours sitting behind motionless indicators.

With a warm weather front pushing in and temperatures already holding up I decided to jump onto one of my target waters in the hope of catch a rather large mirror. The carp, as in a lot of lakes at this time of year have a habit of showing on fading light or into the hours of darkness, so with this in the back of my mind I went on a recce mission the evening before.

The following day, and armed with the knowledge of what I'd seen the night before, I headed to an area where I'd seen the majority of the activity. Terminal tackle wise I kept things pretty simple, using Kontour and 6ft of leadcore fished helicopter style with a rig that I initially saw my good friend Elliott Gray use to great effect on the Underwater 8 DVD. It's basically a variation of a hinged stiff rig but the hook holds I've had with this rig are some of the finest I've ever experienced!

Two Cell pop-ups were despatched out into the pond and with the gear still on the barrow I just kept an eye on the zone. Fading light saw the first one show, so armed with the knowledge that they were still in fact in the area, I whacked the brolly up and set about cooking my dinner. It was mega mild and I chilled on the bed listening to the evening footy match.

I must have been shattered because all I can remember was climbing into the bag about 10:30pm, I'd obviously been out for a while. Remarkably, an hour later the bobbin pulled up tight and I was into a hard-fighting winter carp. Soon I had slid the net under a lovely looking mid-twenty common and it spun the scales round to 27lb 4oz. I was elated and slid the fish back to fight another day. Another 200 15mm Cells were scattered out into the area and it wasn't long before I hit the bag again. As I lay there another couple of fish showed in the area and I knew they hadn’t gone far.

At 2:30am the same rod pulled up tight and soon a nice 18lb mirror lay before me on the mat. Once again a fresh rig and another decent helping of the ever faithful Cell was despatched back out onto the bite area.

Things couldn’t have gone better. Well, in fact they did get better still though, as at 6:30am a steady take had me doing battle with another one of the lake’s residents. This time, as with the others, the hook hold was both deep and perfect and the needle on the scales spun round to 24lb 8oz.

To get a bite in winter is satisfaction enough but to have three in a night was something that I'd never imagined would have happened to me. I had toyed with folding and earning some brownie points with her indoors but given the action I'd received I decided to hold on for another night. I sticked out another 200 baits, clipped the rods up and wound them in to rest the swim before going for a walk around the pit and back to the motor to get some fresh supplies.

An hour before dusk I put the rods back out into the bite zone. The temperature had already started to plummet and after making a hot-water bottle I just lay in the bag chilling. I saw very little that night but perseverance paid off as at 2am the same rod as before was away. I knew it was a good fish by its sheer power and weight. After a good, slow, dogged fight the fish slid over the net cord. On the scales it spun round to 31lb 8oz and I was delighted to have a January thirty under my belt!

Before I left I baited it with around four kilos of crumbed and whole Cell, and I've been trickling it in ever since, waiting until it's just right again!

Until next time...

Dave Finn"