Result on limited time for Katie.

Juggling a full-time job and a busy social life doesn’t leave Katie Watkinson with much time to go carp fishing, so she makes sure that she takes advantage of every opportunity that she gets!

That means making sure that she is out on the bank, even when conditions aren’t favourable, and this persistence paid off during her latest short session in-between other commitments.

She explained: “I think we can all agree that this winter has been a pretty harsh one. It’s been far from ideal for carp fishing, with at least three weeks of the lakes, and most rivers, close to me being frozen over. So instead of getting out there, my angling addiction had to be fed by watching YouTube and endless rig tying sessions.

“Prior to the big freeze, I had done a few short, uncomfortable sessions at a very small ‘off the radar’ lake, containing some lovely old carp. I knew from prior experience, that single hookbaits could often give you an edge so that was the route I followed.

“Despite previous successes, these winter sessions at the quiet venue had proved uneventful. A friendly old bailiff who regularly patrolled the banks would often stop for a chat about the carp in the lake, and tell the same stories he told each time we spoke. That was about as exciting as those sessions got unfortunately. With conditions looking grim on the forecast, it was looking like it was going to be a while before the fish started to give themselves away, so I pulled off for a few weeks to let winter run its course for a little while more.

“After what felt like an age, the weather finally took a turn for the better and the water started to move again. I managed to engineer a few hours on a Sunday, so despite the sleet and snow, I loaded the carp van and headed off to the Lea Valley in search of a carp or two. The water temperature was still incredibly low and no fish had been caught for some time but undeterred, I set a few traps and settled in for the afternoon. The trip was again unsuccessful, but my advice in tough times is to keep plugging away and believe that eventually, it will happen. At the end of the day they are only carp and they have to eat.

“The following week the temperature shot up into double figures. Not quite warm enough to crack out the flip flops, but it almost felt like spring. While I was stuck at work in the city, my Instagram feed began to fill up with images of people catching carp from all over the country. All I could do was wish I was one of the lucky self-employed people, living the mid-week carp dream.

“The weekend finally arrived, but due to family commitments I had to attend a meal on the Saturday evening. It was lovely to be out but my head was at the lake, and I knew that come the next day, I would be back on the bank.

“I was up early and headed straight to the Lea Valley. Once at the lake, I didn’t waste any time positioning my rods tight to a line of snaggy trees along the far margin. I fished simple N-Trap Semi-Stiff multi rigs, tied up with Size 8 Choddy hooks. This, coupled with a balanced pop-up, gave me excellent presentation on the leaves and debris that lined the lake bed. Like I do in nearly all my fishing, I had set the rods up with Korda’s Heli-Safe Lead Release System. When fishing near snags, it’s essential to drop the lead as soon as possible to help gain more control over a hooked fish, and to turn him away from danger. This is something the Heli-Safe System does every time.

“The hours passed and nothing had shown, but eventually, as I was starting to think about the depressing task of packing up, I saw a fish roll deep in the snag I was fishing to. The excitement of seeing a fish, after months of ice-capped lakes and hours of staring at lifeless water, was enough to make it all worthwhile. I settled down again for one final tea. After another look on Instagram I noticed a few fish had been caught on a lake nearby and I began to wonder if I had made the wrong choice of venue.

“Thirty long minutes passed after the fish showed and as I began to pack a few bits away the right-hand rod pulled up tight and I lifted in to what had to be a carp. The fish, although only small, took me right around the houses. I gained a little line back and it almost made sanctuary in an overhanging branch to my left, but with a bit of gentle persuasion, I turned him away from danger and slipped the net under him.

“On inspection, I noticed he was covered in leeches from lying in the deep silt over the winter, and from this I deduced that he had not been up and active for long. I was extremely happy with the result of the almost two-tone common right at the death of the session. I rid him of the parasites and took some quick pictures to remember him by, before returning him and heading home for some well-earned dinner.

“It's amazing how catching a fish can affect your mood. This became apparent as I sat on the train into work the following day, looking at all the pale, depressed faces of the other passengers, smiling to myself as I relived the capture from the previous day.

“In winter, it is tough to catch any carp, especially when time is limited. However un-cool it might seem, nipping out and trying to catch a few smaller ones, for me, is all part of the winter fun. That said, bring on the spring so I can get back to hunting a big’ un!”