So April comes around and with it new opportunities, weather start's to improve, days get longer and more importantly we normally start on a new water, whether that be syndicate club or other.
For me it was a chance to reacquaint myself with a water i had fished before , the first time some 12 years back when i moved from Epping in sunny essex to Corby in Northants, now i had moved from one prolific carping county to another.
In the past i had spent my time on the Walthamstow Ressies, Lea Valley Parks and a few local waters , so the move to northants had sort of left me in a position as to where i was going to fish,
i knew that there was plenty of water, but where ? Don't ask me how but i got talking to some guy locally who put me on to a dayticket water about 15 minutes from where i lived , i was desperate
to get out so gave it a shot, it was august, it was hot but it was a nice little water , bit scruffy, bit of litter but close to home and somewhere to have a few hours, long story short, just after i had found it , it went syndicate . At the time i was still on Monks Pit in Cambridgeshire but decided to purchase a winter ticket. From what i could gather, the biggest fish was a common and came out at around the 28lb mark, it had a few twenties in and mainly doubles and as it turned out , that was pretty accurate.
Biggest fish i had was 25lb , some lower twenties and mainly doubles , i know i got a few strange looks as i owned a Stretch Limousine Business at the time and did drop in to fish occasionally in a 140" Stretch Pearlescent Pink Limo , some fat bloke got out and started fishing for the night.
Scroll forward 12 years and here we are again, the fish had been thinned out , not so many in now, it had been landscaped by the lease holder Greg and he had totally turned it around, this lake is alake you either know about or you don't, i personally call it the Secret Garden, secure, very green and very private.
I had booked 3 days off work from April 1st, as that is when my ticket started , kinda gagging to get down there for a 60hr session, the weather being april was very up and down, at the time we were seeing high temperatures in the day and it was freezing overnight , so unlike year before when i was wearing shorts and a tshirt, it was full on winter gear overnight in the main.
I knew it could be a moody water and it was proving to be so, the first 36 hours passed without a bleep, i remember i posted on social media " It aint happening and when it aint happening it is time to go home" as you do lol.
So we are well in to the second day now , clouds are gathering , it is around 10.30am and down it comes, it starts raining , well actually it was hail stones to begin with and then the rain, but i am thinking damn, going to have to pack away wet again, totally hate packing away in the rain.
Here i am sitting there , pouring down with rain and thinking to myself, knowing my luck i am going to get a run now, yep you guessed it away went my right hand rod which had been positioned at the drop off on the point of the island, it was an agressive take and after an interesting few minutes, i saw the fish in question, to be honest i was very glad being very wet at that point , as in front of me going in to the net was a fish known as Zippy , now i remember this fish being caught some 12 years back at 17lb , its is a very classy looking fish, only this time it pulled the scales round to 29lb 2oz, result !!! Certainly a fish I was targeting and there it was , the rain had certainly made the difference as had the drop on air pressure, i was starting to see fish topping around the area.
I noticed a huge patch of bubbles appear at around 70 yards to my left, only me on the lake so no drama , pulled a rod in quickly , rebaited , mesh bag applied of crumbed boiles and bang , right on the money , sat back waiting for the alarms to scream , made a brew as you do and nothing , made another brew etc etc , weather was fine now, bit of sun, no clouds but thought sod it, will do another night, approaching 5.30pm now, clouds over , rain and it proper comes down, yep screamer on the left hand rod, i am going to get wet again .. i knew what it was when i hit in to it, i really hate catfish, especially big catfish that basically do what they want, I knew they were in here so had beefed up line wise, using the ESP Syncro XT Loaded in 15lb, i prefer 12lb if i am honest but this line i have always found to do what it says on the tin and it did, 30 minutes later ish i am trying to net this near on 6ft beastie, 6 attempts later i manage to get the giant slug in the net. Now !! i have caught cats before, i have never had a photo with one before, never wanted to, usually it is net, and remove hook, bye !!! For reasons beyond me and the constant slagging off one of my mates as to why i do what i do , i weighed it, ok was 50lb 4oz , i even tried to take a picture with it, as you will see in picture , i am obviously over the moon with the capture, but it is out of the way now, 1st and last ever picture with a cat , i apologise now to you catfish enthusiasts, they are not me lol, ever.
Night time calls and once again freezing, frost ont he ground from around 11.30pm and i have a very nice sleep, courtesy of a nice bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, a racy french brand that enables the taster to sleep well, i do not re bait early hours and leave the rods out in position, end of island drop off , one to over hanging tree far margin and the 70 yard spot .
I sit there with a brew, Yorkshire ofcourse thinking i will stay and do the 3rd night as you never know, 10.30am again and the rain starts to come down, de ja vu hey, i sit there thinking nah, no way, then yes , yes way, right hand rod melts off again , leave it out !! away we go , get soaked but whatever now, few minutes pass and in the net is another gorgeous dark fish, this one called paw print, on the scles and round they go to 28lb on the nose, thank you very much, cracking fish and you know, you do not care being soaked when you are catching , do you !! All settled back down, weather gets sunny again and all is good in the world, i have had Zippy so i was happy as Larry .
For the past 5 years i have been using Key Baitsolutions ASM boilies, i have always managed to winkle a few fish out, but had so many big hits on this bait it is incredible, i do tend to smell of ASM when fishing and for those that have not had the pleasure, it is gross lol, i totally swear by it, you still have to fish well to catch , but when they get on it , they seem to stay on it, a good bait for me is easily digestable, soft bait if you like and we just love each other, end of discussion , as do the fish. Ok so a few hours later i get a run on the 70 yard rod, another scaly devil but a bit smaller at 21lb +, nothing happens overnight and i pack up early next day and head home for a kip and look forward to my nightshift that night.
Most of my fishing tends to be single overnighters , it can be hard work sometimes getting the right swim or right area, but it is swings and roundabouts, i am very relaxed with my fishing , gone are the days when i used to beat myself up if blanked etc, fortunately the blanks are seldom but they do happen. 10 days later and friday mornig comes around, i work sunday to thurs night at mo, i say i work , but you know, office jockey, anyway i say right i am leaving at 5am as need to get to the lake , they know i fish as i bore them all the time, we say our fond farewells and i am off to where i have been dying to get to for the last 10days, get in the car park, only a couple on, have a chat with Rick who is fishing the car park end trying to get the info out of him, but like me he tells you what you want to hear lol, so make my way to other end of lake , 2 swims down from where was 10 days ago.
Only have 24 hrs, had no sleep since day before but knew it would be a no brainer sleep wise, the 70 yard chuck from previous sesssion was now a mere 55ft chuck, it has some nice weed there and this was the area i baited up, i do use quite a bit of bait if i am honest , it is an expensive hobby , but it is the bait that makes things happen, if you can totally trust a bait , then for me you are 90% there, then it is down to you're end game to make the magic happen, this is also taken care for me by a very good mate, known him 20 odd years, he runs a start up business called Carp Tackle Online, Mark is a great guy but above anything else , he is a carp angler , so the gear he does sell is spot on, i am probably the fussiest person on the planet and he knows this lol, i keep things simple, but i do demand quality gear that does what it says it does, Carp Tackle Online sells great gear at very reasonable prices , too cheap in my opinion but hey, not my biz lol. I started using his gear last year probably same time as now April, i was on Monks Pit and had 27 fish out by June so knew it worked well. I digress, so i baited the far marginal area with around 3kg of boilies , i was going for a boilie only approach, i used 18mm baits and just spread them over a dinner table size area and fished the 3 rods spread out over this 6ft area, 1030am again and first fish 21lb on the nose and yay it is a common , that will do nicely, bear in mind this is a common water and all i have had so far is mirrors, we take a few pics and back she goes
not sure on time now but middle rod bangs down and yet another fish of dead on 21lb is here, a mirror this time , nice scaly one too !! , two fish ;
happy days , i can sleep now, pressure off and time to grab a few hours before night fall, nope !! bang , away goes the middle rod and this one is keeping deep, we have a dance , but line is being recovered , 5 minutes later after fight which more ploddish than brutal, a nice big old school common lay in the net, now i knew staright away it was adecent 30+ but one has to be sure , i zeroed the sling , fish was still in net side of lake, ok we are zeroed, fish out of net , into sling, on the scales , 37lb smack on , i'll have some of that , magical fish, been in there years and a true english common carp , happy as larry i am , we take some pictures , few of the lads shake the hand, what it is all about, god i love fishing.
Night passes, no action i go home a happy chappy.
Next friday turn up, lake is busy, settle for a swim not entirely happy with , go to sleep , been on nights, was lazy , never worked my swim, as a result blanked like a pro , went home. Atleast I got some sleep !!
So pre may i booked another 3 days off, 28th april i am on it for potentially 3 days ,see what happens hey, wife has been primed , she is a good un, never stopped me going fishing , i try to deliver a healthy balance , hence why i only do one night a week on the bank, sometimes it can be longer but generaly speaking it is once a week for an over nighter.
Cast out to spots and we have a 17lb common to start with just as it is turning dusk :
, it does go cold overnight, no frost but cold, mist on lake, pea souper, cannot see other bank when casting, next day it is sunny, noticed a fish top in one area twice, i find a close in marginal spot on the far bank between two weed beds and fire in 100 boiles to the area, then a bag and it flies in to the spot, a very tight to the bank cast, 5 minutes later we are cradling a nice 30lb 4oz common, nice one , well happy !!
The area i am fishing has some nice weed beds with some very convenient gaps leading to the far bank , the fish can be seen milling around in the weed beds when the sun is out , accurate casting in between gives good presentation, i always stick a pva mesh bag on pre casting as i find with the snowman hookbait , it sits perfectly when the bag starts to break down. Once again all goes quiet but i bait the same spots around 7pm, fresh baits on the hairs and cast out once again for the night.
The temp dropped once again, and a mist developed over the lake from 11.30pm , will be the cold air hitting the lake water which was warming up slowly due the sun throughout the day time hours, have to be honest , i did not expect anything that night, i got in to my bag, watched a movie on netflix via my phone and was fast asleep come midnight, i know i must have been fast asleep around this time as at 00.15hrs , the sounder was blasting out , middle rod again, i sort of got up out of the bag eventually, hit in to the fish and and to be honest with no drama, i netted a nice common within a couple of minutes , it looked a healthy one, chunky and first thought s were it could be close to 30lb, left in the net whilst got the camera gear ready, zeroed the scales and weighed the fish, nope not a 30, but a nice healthy looking 28lb 15oz , one of the guys came round to take some photo's for me , they aint great lol, but that is another story, thanked him and back to bed i went for a very uneventful night again.
Next day , sun pops out and a few carp started to cruise the lake, i am in second point, a great swim to intercept them as casting is no more than 45 yards, i look around for my controller float and it has disappeared , I had used it the day before so it had to be somewhere , no it wasn’t , so I constructed a make shift float to use, have to say I was very happy with the resulting vision I had made, I cast it out and to be honest it was next to useless lol, but you have to try atleast right !! Yes I really do , do these daft things Fish were still cruising and I was getting annoyed with myself as to where I had put this controller float, I emptied the bivvy twice, all bags , buckets, everyewhere ..
A Eureka moment as I saw that I had a small marker float in my tackle box , that will do it, ok it was the brightest orange that orange could get but that will do surely . Out it goes, I had to put my sunglasses on as the float was brighter than the sun, a couple of fish passed by the float and I swear if fish had teeth they would have been smiling at it going past, but I stuck with it.
The geese were hammering the freebies, so I decided to just cast the single whittled down asm pop up I was using to imitate the dog biscuits, after a good 2 hrs I cast one out , right over towards the far margin, as the float settled and the bait sat nicely a foot or so from the float, a huge pair of lips came up and bang, we are in !! It was a battle royale , I had to get in to the lake to land the fish, I was using my floater rod, though whilst 3lb tc was very tippy and ultra forgiving when the fish dive and rattle off at speed, this fish fought like a demon, loads of powerful lunges but everything held out and me now down to my thighs in water, landed the fish, I looked as it came over the net and whilst not a massive fish, the colours and scales were on it were amazing.
I zeroed the scales again, fish into the retainer sling and she went just over the 20lb mark by a couple of ounces , but what a magical fish !!! Steve Seymour was visiting the lake and he kindly took a few pictures for me hopefully capturing it’s glory, an awesome looking creature .
That essentially was my April, the next day was going to be May 1st so that was all my fishing done and dusted for that month , I love April for many reasons, the fish start to wake up, nature starts doing it’s thing, days get longer and I had fished every weekend over winter, it is nice to be sat outside at 9pm , well latter part of the month, it is the beginning of the new season and you know that soon we will have some nice sunny weather, holidays abroad , I love it !! May will be same business as usual on the syndicate but mainly just weekly overnighters .
2020 - Tight lines , check out our end gear here at Carp Tackle Online
Before I go, you will probably notice I always tend to be wearing my black hat, now this is normally always a talking point, it has been described as a pair of my wifes old knickers on my head to a plastic bin liner and many other things I cannot say , it is actually a wax hat by Jaxon just put the record straight lol
Hope your april will be smashed , new water maybe , for some they start going fishing again etc etc, but whatever you are doing and wherever you are doing it, I wish you all a successful season and may monsters be present. Enjoy and tight lines Steve The Hat Cartwright !! Roll on 2020