How Gav Walding caught the Pig during a winter campaign…
Did you feel like things were coming into place on your chosen venue, with the cold of the winter still lurking about, was your motivation still high?
Well, I felt things slowly starting to fall into place. Despite doing the whole winter with not a lot to show for my efforts other than a few colds and some seriously fogged up images of a capture, things were generally very slow. It was no doubt hard, sightings in winter are usually few and far between, I couldn’t wait for some warmer spring weather to turn up and get the fish moving again. One particular area of the lake, right off the back of a cold winter wind often does the first bites of the year. This area is actually closed for most of winter because it is part of a nature reserve that dictates it must be out of bounds to anglers. I started to see a few sightings of fish in this bay towards the back end of the winter, so I had a good idea where they were located. These first regular sightings of spring were exactly what I needed to keep the fire burning and the desire to do the work nights alive.
So following the sightings, what did you do next?
As soon as I saw that fish were right in the bay, I couldn’t help but try hatch a plan and get something going, if my next capture was to come from anywhere I knew it would be there. I started to regularly introduce small bits of bait into the bay until it was finally open again for angling. Small pouchfuls of crumbed Live System, 10mm baits and some halved baits is what I chose. I know from previous years how finicky the fish can be in this bay; a small amount of angling pressure and they will soon be off. The small baits and crumbed boilie meant I could keep disturbance to an absolute minimum, small amounts of crumb create masses of attraction in the water column but make very little impact when they hit the surface. The bay itself is reasonably long, but small in width, a simple overhead cast and your on the far side before you know it. I baited for a few weeks with this simple mix, often just turning up with my catapult and a small bag of mixed boilie pieces. I could travel light to the swim after work, apply some bait and then get off home, safe in the knowledge I was working the area on the lead upto the opening of the arm.
When did you feel it was right to get started with your angling in the bay?
Having prepped the area for a few weeks, I knew by the time it would be open again, it would have seen a good few introductions of Live System. It was still fairly cold around about the time, which is completely understandable for late winter. We were forecast some freak mild weather in Feb, which turned out to come and stay for a good few days. This certainly had a good affect on the fishing on most of the other waters on the Stanwick complex, but nothing had come out of Roman yet to my knowledge. I was getting itchy feet, wanting to get into the bay and fish, but I had to wait another week or so before I could. I began to apply a little more bait as the weather warmed, spreading it along the far margin and around the rest of the bay. A good spread would ensure the fish would need to move between mouthfuls, building their confidence in the area. I hatched a plan to fish back-to-back nights on the week it opened, but luckily enough, one of those nights coincided with the weekend, which meant I could get those all important extra few hours in the morning.
So, finally it was time to get fishing the bay, what was your initial plan of attack?
I had a good idea of where I needed to be, right at the end of the bay, which commanded the far, undisturbed area I had been baiting. I got down on the Thursday night after work and it looked absolutely spot on! A light breeze, but mild temperatures in the day and the night certainly made it feel nailed on for a bite. Like most of my quick overnight fishing, I opted to fish chods presented on fluorocarbon straight through. The water on roman is very clear and the fluoro aids with invisibility and suppleness. I soon had some lovely washed out pink Dairy Supremes mounted and balanced out perfectly on the rigs. One cast with each rod and a light lead was the order of the day, keeping everything as stealthy as possible to reduce disturbance. Thankfully, all the rods went out first time with a nice drop, there was still a fair amount of light silkweed present but I was more than confident that my rigs were presented effectively. The night actually passed uneventful and before I knew it, I was packed up and off to work. Unbelievably, one showed itself at first light, right in the bay area, so I was absolutely bang on in the right area.
That must have been a difficult pack up, did you return later that day?
It certainly was difficult, but that’s the way of work nights. I couldn’t help but think all day at work about the one fish that showed on the spot. It certainly felt like a long old drag to the end. Thankfully, we managed to finish the job early and I was quickly back down the lake barrowing my kit directly towards the swim. The rods were all ready to go and I had them all positioned perfectly by teatime. I woke up the following day having heard a few in the area during the night and my confidence was riding sky high. The morning passed by, but luckily I had those extra few hours with it being a Saturday. I was beginning to think my chances had gone, when one of the rods which was completely slack slowly pulled up tight. I was on it in a flash and straight away it felt like a good fish. I don’t know whether I was more dazed by having not had a carp on in a while or the fact that I was still at the lake in broad daylight! Either way, I took it slowly and before I knew, it was laying in the bottom of my net. At first glance, I thought it was one I had already had, but on later inspection it turned out to be one of my target fish, The Pig! I was pretty elated and soon enough, word had spread across the lakes and a few good mates had come by to witness the awesome creature.
What a buzz mate! You must have been relieved?
Yeah for sure mate, I was over the moon. To share the buzz with some great friends certainly made the capture extra special and all those long, dark work nights were soon a distant memory. We got her back to the water, rattled off a few shots before returning her to the depths. Without doubt my spring was already made!