Scratching The Itch - Tom Burns

It’s not often you’ll find me on the banks of a local day ticket water with snow on the ground! Like most of my fishing, it serves two purposes. Firstly it’s warm relief from the day-to-day stress of the real world and secondly, to feed this insatiable itch to go and catch a carp.

I’ll admit that over the colder months the itch is often trumped by a movie and a takeaway but on this fateful day a planned social with some colleagues had me poised at Blasford Hill’s gate at 7.30am, awaiting my opportunity to try and catch a carp whilst not succumbing to hyperthermia.

Now three degrees might not strike most as life threating cold but let me tell you, it was far from barmy!

The day started full of optimism. Darrell Peck, who had caught a number of carp from this venue the previous day, had tipped us off. I’m no Darrell Peck but let’s say I fancied my chances.

After divvying up three social swims on the partially frozen lake myself, Ben and Shaun began setting up on the Northern bank, in what was by now a good couple of inches of snow.

I’d opted for a swim that allowed access to a deeper section of the lake towards open water. Due to the weather conditions we were the only anglers mad enough to attempt a days angling and thus had plenty of water to target.

My rigs consisted of a heli set up from my previous trip and with numb cold hands becoming increasingly useless, I bravely opted to change nothing other than a new hook and cast to a soft deep silty channel in the lake. Nothing Darrell Peck about this slap dash angling!

It did however result in a fantastic upper double common within minutes and completely snapped me back into angling mode. From that moment on myself and the other two guys sorted tactics, changed swims, fettled with hook baits and baited to induce bites throughout the day.

The action was relentless and multiple bites where forthcoming. The weather was a mixture of grey dark clouds resulting in some fairly heavy snow showers, adding a lovely wintery gloss to a fantastic days angling.

The day out was over in what felt like minutes. The gates closed at 4.30pm and saw us packing away hastily and rushing back to the car park smiling from ear to ear. The final count… 19 bites between us topped by a sole-warming 31lb common.

In conclusion, there are easier months to catch carp granted but there’s little doubt that a days fishing with mates can result in some album shots that will stay with you forever.