The Only Way is Essex 3 - Dan Bruton

As you can imagine, the fishing recently has slowed down considerably - daytime temperatures haven’t been getting above four or five degrees.

We’ve seen big cold winds, heavy rain, sleet, snow and, of course, a fair few frosty nights, so much so that most lakes have had an icy lid on.

I did have one nice little result a few weeks ago, which resulted in a couple of low 20 commons, one of which looked amazing in the lovely early morning red winter sun.

I’d spent a few weeks trying to find them and I ended up fishing an area that had done me proud the previous winter. After that I decided I’d start to bait in a particular area that hadn’t been fished for almost three months, it has decent late winter form so I hatched a long-term plan.

A few days before I was due to angle, I made my way to the lake after a night shift to get my first hit of bait in and on arrival I was greeted with a 60% frozen lake. Luckily the spot I wanted to bait was ice free, it was a risk making the 2.5-hour round trip, but I hoped it would be worth it, especially as it was belting down with snow whist pulting four kilos of 12mm boilies in!

I arrived at the lake around 7am a few days later and the van was reading -5 degrees, I was convinced the lake would be frozen but to my amazement it was 90% wobbly! I quickly got rods in place and it was lucky I did because I watched the lake freeze over before my eyes.

A few hours later the sun popped out and a brisk wind kicked up and it was enough to free my area of ice. In the afternoon sun, the right hand rod started pulling up and the line cut through the water, it then dropped back down, it repeated this three or four times and eventually hit the clutch and a fish was on!

Five minutes later a lovely golden mirror lay in the folds and at 25lb 12oz it had made the driving and baiting worthwhile. I popped the rod straight back out and got a mate to roll off some photographs.

Just an hour later, the same rod absolutely melted off - no messing about this time and it was a proper scrap. It took me all over the place, so when that one was safely netted I was very relieved.

This one was a jaw dropping common and spookily also weighed 25lb 12oz. It’s amazing to think the lake was frozen just a few hours before these bites.

Again, these fish were caught on Trent Baits Freshwater Shrimp boilies. I’d changed my set-up to naked chod rigs utilising the new Heli-Safe beads and they worked a treat, dropping the lead for both fish. It’s something I wanted to play about with before going to an ultra-hard lake this spring.

Chod rigs comprised of 25lb Mouth-Trap, Size 6 Kaptor Choddy hooks threaded on to Kontour Mainline straight through. It’s also worth mentioning that I used the Line Saver beads that help protect the mainline from chaffing when playing a fish.

It’s cold out there, but get out and give it a go - you may just be rewarded!

Be lucky,