The Perfect Start - Jimmy Hibbard

Just under a month ago I began fishing my chosen winter water, in search of a forty-plus mirror. My first session was an overnighter between work. I used this session just to get a feel for it and maybe even spot a few lumping out so that I could then start preparing myself, as I’d get a rough idea of where to start. I only saw the one fish, which gave itself away just as I was packing up for work. That was enough for me; I could then use it on my session as somewhere I could start.

I was back down just a few weeks later, jumping into the swim I’d seen that fish lump out in a few days before. I rushed getting the rods out, as the sun was setting behind me. I fished singles that night but nothing came of it, By first light I wanted to get the rods recast, as I had the rest of the day to fish so I could have bit more of a play about in the swim. After three or four casts, I had found a nice deep area in front of me, which was more of a gully about 10ft wide, full of soft silt. I was retrieving the lead on the last cast when I felt a fish hit the line. Rig-wise, I swapped my lead clip setup over to a helicopter, using the No-Trace system on Kable leadcore with a 2oz lead. I set the top bead five inches above the lead to compensate for the soft silt. I used the supple hinge rig that I've used all year, and in which I’m very confident. I marked all three rods at the same distance and deposited a light scattering of bait over them. It wasn't long before I noticed a few bubbles and could tell that there where fish moving around in the silt. Moments later the middle rod was away, which resulted in a 25lb mirror. This was the only fish of the session. Before I left, I topped up the swim with a bit more bait to prepare for my return.

The following week I was back in the same swim. The rods went back out into the silt gully and I hadn’t even got the Stow on before the line was pulled tight in my hand. After a long battle with the fish under the rod tip I managed to slip the net under a chunky mirror, which went 27lb 8oz. After chatting with one of the bailiffs, Dave Garner, it became clear that I’d caught a fish called Heart Tail, one that doesn't see the bank much. So, I was well pleased. After that session it began to get a lot colder and the activity of the fish as slowed down a bit. I’m now in the process of working them out and finding their location again.

So, until next time