March is always one of my favourite months to look forward to, as it is usually the time when everything starts to wake up after the long winter slumber. The daylight hours are increasing rapidly, buds are starting to appear on the trees, everything seems to be waking up and this in turn means the start of opportunist fishing for me; you’ll always find some lakes respond quicker than others this time of year depending on location, depths, weather and the fish stock and this is why I always like to keep at least one club ticket that has an array of waters to choose from alongside a main ticket so I can keep my options open as we move into spring.
Early this year summed it up perfectly, after slogging it out all winter for just a couple of bites I was desperate to see some fish, in fact from November to February I did not see a single fish show on the lake I was targeting. So as the light hours started to increase I started to get exited for what was to come, every margin was scoured constantly looking for the first signs of movement and feeding activity. All winter I had been keeping an eye on a spot that looked particularly inviting, a lovely snaggy margin that would get the sun all winter; I was sure that it would be a good spot once the fish started to move about.
It became my routine to stop off at the spot whilst fishing another lake, a small handful of bait was introduced every time; the water was lovely and clear and only about 4ft deep so from the top of an old stump I could watch everything going on, this to me is my favourite type of fishing I just simply love being able to watch fish feed and I don’t think there is any other way you can learn as much.
On a couple of occasions particularly on sunny days I caught a glimpse of the odd fish tucked up in the snag and I expect there were fish there throughout the winter but they were well and truly safe inside the snag. It wasn’t until the end of February that the odd fish started to venture out of the snags to visit the spot, regular applications of odyssey XXX in 10mm and some crushed 15mm baits gave them a nice bit of grub and the spot quickly turned from being a bit choddy and covered in leaves to gleaming and firm as the fish and birds started using it regularly. The XXX is a devastatingly lovely bait full of natural salts that the fish require this time of year which will keep them returning for more.
Through being able to observe the fish in the shallow water I quickly noticed that the carp were most active only for a few hours in the afternoon; this would suit me perfectly as I could pop in once a week after finishing work early, one rod on the spot and minimal kit was all that was needed for a couple of hours. I began by fishing a bright one on the spot but from up the stump I watched it clearly being ignored time and time again; I learnt quickly and changed to a match the hatch which instantly made a difference as the first one tripped up within minutes! I kept the bait trickling in over the next few weeks, as often as possible this time of year is key, but it is important not to over bait as the fish are still only just waking up and don’t need to eat much but to satisfy their needs. A small amount as often as possible is a definite edge and will keep fish returning to the spot time and time again.
This proved just the case and I managed to keep the fish coming throughout the month notching up twelve lovely commons in just about as many hours fishing whilst others were struggling around me for a bite. I love doing these short productive sessions at this time of year it’s like a breath of fresh air after winter and makes the most of the time whilst waiting for the main waters to wake up.