Winter match success - Mark Gormer

A January winter charity match on my local Essex syndicate proved to be one of my most memorable fishing trips to date.

My whole plan leading up to match day was to try and cram in as much fishing as possible over a busy Christmas period but, as usual, all the best laid plans never turn out as they should, the main culprit this time being the Christmas flu!

But I did manage to spend one day on the bank and with the mild weather spell we had in December long gone, the day time temperatures had dropped to highs of four degrees. I spent the day roving both rods around an area of the lake I thought the carp may be held up in but with no luck.

I left that evening thinking to myself I really should have spent a few hours around an area of the lake called The Lawns where I had previous winter success. This area has two great features - an underwater bar and plateau with a nice gully running between them.

With all the recent rain fall we've had it should be 9ft deep - perfect for a few carp to be held up in. It was at that point I thought that’s where I need to be come match day!

On match day I came out fourth in the draw and The Lawns swim was still free, so with the wind due to swing around later in the day and start blowing a cold northerly, being over in this area meant I'd be on the back of the cold wind.

Decision made - The Lawn swim please! - and with the barrow already loaded I wasted no time in getting to my swim and trying to get some shelter from the relentless rain that was driving in from the south east. I'd have to put up with this for most of the day until the northerly came and brought dryer but much colder conditions.

At 10am we were allowed to cast out - no need for any maker float as I know this swim very well. My right rod went out about 30 yards to the gully, the lead touched down with a thud. I managed to catapult out a quick five pouches of boilies over the area without losing too many of them to the gulls.

The left rod went out 50 yards on a single hookbait to an island reed bed which used to produce a lot of fish but in recent times has slowed somewhat, but in a match I found this hard to ignore.

Throughout the day the conditions are not improving the rain is really starting to come down - the fish really are not giving any clues away as to where they are. After drinking what felt like my eighth cup of tea the rain has stopped the wind has swung to a northerly and I just had a fish show over my right rod: "If only I can nick one before dark" I thought.

One hour past since I saw the fish show, there was an hour of light left and I was thinking about a recast when I had a really positive liner on my left rod. A couple of minutes past and the bite alarm on the right rod gives out two singles bleeps, the bobbin has pulled up tight and the rod tips pulling round - not long after I’m slipping the net under a very big carp!

First on the scene to help with the weigh-in is Dan Bruton! "If it goes over 36lb it’s a new PB..." I tell Dan. "Congratulations mate - 36lb 14oz!" responds Dan. I’m absolutely made up a new PB and in January too.

After the traditional match BBQ and a few welcome drinks the rest of the match passed by with no further fish being caught. The fish was caught on the every reliable six-inch 20lb N Trap soft hook link with a lead clip and the Dark Matter tubing with 15lb Touchdown touchdown main line.

What a great start to 2015 - a new PB and £200 raised for cancer research.