Nicking A Bite - Dave Levy

Getting out fishing in the last six weeks has proved harder than ever with 99% of waters staying iced over for weeks around Essex. The problem is that when the lakes are iced over for so long, all the plans that you had to spend winter fishing a particular water are blown out the window. The lack of bait going into the lake normally means the carp really slow down.
The one day a week I’ve been getting out angling, though, has mostly been spent pike fishing and I've received a lot of good sport with over 30 pike from three different waters - I had a good few doubles, but no monsters - anyway, I won’t bore you with my pike fishing exploits.
Carp wise I had a day out and caught two doubles from a little runs water near my home in Wickford, Essex. But, it wasn’t until Jerry Bridger from Crafty Carper called me last week and said I was due to meet up with him for my monthly feature that I thought I better get my act together.
I told Jerry I would meet him at Holyfields Lake in the Lea valley. Holy is always good for a bite in the cold months, but when I walked through the gate in the morning I was met with the site of an iced-over lake. Sod it!
I can’t wait for this winter to end. Jerry turned up and I opted to just chuck two baits out in the River Lea for a few hours in the hope that the now hammering-down rain would melt the ice. The river runs right behind the lake and has done carp to 42lb in the past, so I wasn’t wasting any time not fishing.
By 11am the ice was looking well thin, Jerry set a spod up and for the next twenty minutes we smashed the thin ice away.
Once the wind got up we had broke the ice up enough to fish, we moved to a swim that gave us a bit more water and got lines in. The lake itself is only about four acres. I had cast two rods out to the centre and was sitting doing some photos for the feature when I received a liner - the fish bolted off my line only 15 feet out, so I reeled in one rod and dropped a bait on it.
The rig was a plastic corn hook bait, with a size 10 Wide Gape and five inches of braid. To this, I attached a small bag of maggots and dropped it where the carp had been. We carried on drinking tea and suddenly one of Jerry’s alarms was screaming, he picked up the rod and the carp came off almost right away. As gutted as he was, we both thought it was a good sign and at about 4:30pm the rod I’d moved close in rattled off and an ice cold carp was on.
Within a few minutes, a nice double-figure mirror lay in the net. After smashing the ice to fish it felt well worth the hassle, not a huge carp but welcome. I packed away happy. As I sat in the traffic on the M25 I was thinking what should I do this year, I’m waiting on a few tickets, but if they don’t come through then I still have my sites set on a huge fish to target - more about that next time!

Keep at ‘em.

Dave Levy