Well, I'm back again! I ended the last piece with the capture of a couple of carp from an ice coved snow capped water – well, things didn't get a lot better for me regarding snow and the following weekend I had to go to a huge carp show in Italy – 5 hour delays sitting on the plane on a runway wasn't fun and, when I eventually got to the show, it was so deep I was concerned the visitors wouldn't attend. That said, the Italians are so passionate they didn't disappoint and, even though we had more snow fall over the course of the weekend, the place was rammed and a good time was had by all.
Back on home soil and the weather had picked up a bit, allowing me to continue baiting my spring waters in search of some proper roach and big old carp.
I've been using a new bait over the winter, well since early Autumn, and the fish have kept eating it right through the winter and in some cases I've actually noted significant weigh increases when really the fish shouldn't be getting any bigger at all – great sign. So, the following week was spent visiting the waters in both early morning and late evening – I'm a great believer in that I would rather go and bait LOTS in smaller quantities, as opposed to going once a week and filling it in – the more time I can visit the water, the better, as this also gives me greater opportunities to see what the fish are up to. On most of these baiting up trips, I had spotted good roach showing in certain areas of the lake. Every day I monitored this and, towards the end of the week, I started to prime the spots with hemp, groundbait and maggot, knowing it was time to see just how big the roach really went.
The following week only saw the weather getting worse and, other than baiting up, I fished one overnighter with Kev and we both blanked. This session really was short and we arrived not long before dark and were gone at first light, not even giving me the opportunity to get my roach tackle out.
The following week saw a break in the workload at Nash (so much so that Kev even dashed away for a weeks holiday) and I decided to get down to one of the waters with just my roach tackle so as to not be distracted by the carp fishing (I really am terrible and struggle to stay focused on just one species much preferring to catch WHATEVER is feeding on the day). Anyway, the first session went really well and using a mixture of Sensas Roach 3000 ground bait, Fish Frenzy Halibut Mix and a healthy portion of crushed hemp, I pulled some roach onto my spot and started catching a few fish. I wasn't fishing far out and with a 13ft rod I was almost just swinging my waggler out onto the spot, one small no 8 drop shot just above a 0.10 hooklink and a size 18 hook finished the set-up off. My hookbaits and loose offerings were red and white maggots that had been flavoured up with a Scopex and Intense Sweetener combination or a red worm or lob tail. I suppose I fished for a couple of hours, just into dark, loving every minute of it with the final outcome being a lot of nuisance perch and half a dozen pristine roach up to about 10oz – my roach campaign had begun.
The following evening I was back again (couldn't resist bring a couple of zig rods for the carp) with the intention of chucking the zig rods at any showing carp and spending an hour or so after the roach. Tactics and bait were exactly the same as the night before, with the only noticeable difference that I put loads more groundbait in to kick it off – firstly because the water temperature was higher than the previous night and, secondly, because I knew I couldn't get out again this week so I wanted to finish what I had already mixed up.
Surprisingly, there didn't appear to be the numbers of perch in the area and I actually caught more roach than perch – the roach were much the same stamp until my float quickly dipped and I leant into what was clearly not a hand sized red fin. I just love roach fishing, getting them feeding competitively, the fast bites, being so on the ball with striking and then that unique battle before the fish hits the surface and just glides towards the net – this was that exact moment, everything had come good and I slipped the net under what was clearly a proper fish leaving me kneeling on the floor with a huge smile on my face! At 2lb 3oz it was actually a PB and with the sun going down behind me I quickly started ringing some of the lads from work to see if anyone could come and get me some pics. It just wasn't to be and, 5 phone calls later, it was apparent that everyone was thinking the same thing and they were already fishing at various locations as a result of the recent mild weather. "No worries", I thought, "I'll get some self takes". When am I going to learn? NO – I'm no good at them (need to learn) and I would be better off getting a good shot on the mat!
Anyway, terrible photo aside, I was made up and decided to have another few casts only to realise the temperature had plummeted so much that the line was freezing in my guides!!
That weekend, I collected Kev from the airport with his flight now being delayed (not having much luck at theses places) to then forget where I had parked the car and, when I finally did find it and pull out of the multi-storey, I then realised I had a puncture – talk about one thing after the other! Anyway, I spent that weekend working on new developments and generally catching up with emails before a busy week ahead that saw me out of the office a lot of the time at meetings and having to disappear to France towards the end of the week for yet another very successful show. I do love visiting the guys in the other countries that we sell into – some really great anglers who I am always learning so much from. This was the last European show that I needed to attend for a while and with spring really starting to burst through I was getting all G'd up for one of the best times of the year – roach, here I come . . . . .
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