Spring success - Craig Runham

After the success the previous week at my syndicate lake I had a slight fire burning in my belly. I was soon sweet-talking my wife to shift around a few things so I could get out the following weekend!

Low and behold I was soon opening the padlock on the gate the following Saturday morning. The weather was appalling with rain pouring from the sky and a stiff westerly breeze crashing into the crystal clear margins. The lake looked lifeless after a quick stroll.

The previous week after the capture of the common, I had spread around two kilos of Cell around the rear of the plateaux - the same area that had produced all my winter bites. I have been baiting up on the Sunday morning for some time as I'm sure it is making a difference.

The area is silty and full of bloodworm. I am sure this is the last flourishing bloodworm bed available to the carp this winter. That's why the spot is the only one to produce any bites and it's also the only area I have seen signs of fish movement too.

My friend Mike Patrick was already set up in a swim to the left of the plateaux. This wasn't a problem as I could still access the spots from the swim slightly further up to the right of Mike. The rods were soon sent out to the area on the rear of the plateaux - satisfying thumps on the rod tips of all three rods told me I was on the right spots.

Once again I had stuck with the rigs that were working so far on my winter campaign. Hinge rigs tied up with Hybrid Semi Stiff in silt shade for the boom section and 25lb Mouth Trap for the hook section.

White corkball Cell pop-ups were doing the damage previously with all my winter bites coming to these. The water had risen in the lake by almost a foot and the spots I was fishing were 18 ft deep now.

Shortly after getting the rods into position and everything set up, good friend Simon North pulled through the gate and wondered over for a chat. He decided to join myself and Mike for a small social also a takeaway was planned to for the evening ahead…

By ten pm I was tucked up in my bag and struggling to keep my eyes open - the week’s work had taken a toll on me and I was soon drifting off into the land of nod. At 2am I was woken up by a fierce wind blowing into the front of the swim. Waves were crashing into the old wooden jetty at a steady rate.

It was a proper storm - the trees began creaking all around me, bits of branches were floating down the lake. When I had drifted off to sleep a few hours prior there was barely a breeze. I could imagine the strong winds having an effect on the carp’s behaviour, hoping this would stir them up and maybe a bite may materialise soon.

The storm finally began to calm down by 4am and I drifted back to sleep. I opened my eyes at 7am and peered across a grey moody windswept pit. The bobbins remained in the positions I had set them the day before. I still felt highly confident of a bite at the time.

Most action this winter had been past 9.30am. I pulled on my boots and popped over to Mike’s swim clutching my cup. Simon and Mike were already up and had slept through the storm. I relayed the storm to them while they laughed about not hearing a thing.

We sat down watching the water from Mikes swim all morning drinking tea after tea. We still had not seen a single show since November and today was very much the same. Bite time was drifting past and by 10.30am we had all decided a blank looked inevitable.

But at 11am my Delkim sounder box burst into life. I was soon up and running the short distance to my rods. My spool was emptying at a fast rate of knots and the receiver was struggling to keep up. I plucked the rod from the rests and was met with a fair resistance - from the start the fish felt heavy.

I leant into it from its position out in the centre of the lake, all the time thinking it could be something special. After a very good tussle a nice common was seen twisting beneath the waves.

It wasn't the something special we had all hoped to see but its winter colours made up for it. It looked to be around the mid -20lb mark as Mike slipped the cord underneath the golden winter common. A quick inspection of my hook hold showed the size six Choddy buried a good inch back. The rigs were certainly working with not a single loss all winter.

I got everything prepared on the bank ready for the fishes exit so Mike carefully lifted my prize out on to the mat. We all were amazed by the beautiful colours the fish was carrying - it also looked to be a tad larger than we all first thought. On the scales it went 28lb 12oz - my fourth winter capture from the lake.

I had put in a lot of hard work and a lot of effort this winter for just four bites. I have landed four fish out of four takes, which showed my rig choice was correct.

Roll on the spring, Every day that passes I notice small changes that shows that it’s on the way.