Posted by Aqua Products Monday 22nd May, 2017
Winter turns to Spring

With the light levels on the increase and winter slowly turning to spring, I am more than excited. For some reason, this winter has been a struggle for me. I haven't been out on the banks as often as I would like, mainly because my mrs has just given birth to our first son. I can't make too many excuses as I have managed to grab a few nights, but the magic just hasn't happened.  The nights have been bitingly cold, and the fish in the venue, an 8 acre estate lake, just haven't showed up. You would think that they would show some sorts of signs, but it has been pretty dismal...until recently!! More about that shortly... 



At the beginning of March, I had some filming booked in for CC Moore at an old boyhood haunt, Castle Ashby in Northamptonshire. I always plan a trip or two to this venue in the winter. It's a magnificent, silty estate lake, lined with trees and reeds, a water lost in time. It feels old and worn, not your average day-ticket lake. At only 5 or 6 acres, with maximum depths of 5/6ft it's a great venue for a bite or two when the going is tough.  

I was up at the crack of dawn. The kettle was boiling in the confines of my warm, cosy kitchen, and boiling hot water started to brew a piping flask of PG tips. Milk in, two sugars, I grabbed my sandwiches and I was soon in the van, complete with my carping companion Barley, heading to the lake. It was still dark outside and I felt excited by the day that I had before me.  A short 20 minute journey and I was pulling into the bumpy track which I followed over the bridge and down towards the car park. I soon had my rucksack, quiver and other bits on the barrow, and set off on my adventure. 

I stopped in a few likely-looking swims to look for any signs of activity and to my surprise saw a few fish show tight to an island. That'll do, I thought. With just bare leads, I got a couple of rods clipped up within inches of the island. Two hinges completed the presentations, complete with Acid Pear pop-ups. A few clicks of the spool and the lines were bowstring tight to the island.  Things didn't go according to plan and by 10am I was getting itchy feet. Knowing the lake well, I had expected an occurrence. I left Alex, the cameraman, to man the rods for a few minutes whilst I trudged off down to a quiet, sheltered area, at the stream-fed end of the lake.  I perched on a tree stump, which gave me a higher view, and I must have seen 15 black shapes, boiling and muddying up the shallow water. Plumes of silt and mud were creating a turbid, tea colour and it looked alive with carp. There were a few anglers present halfway along the bank, and rather than sprint back to get my rods, potentially alarming my excitement, I casually strolled back. Upon seeing Alex, I whispered what I'd seen and quietly reeled the rods in. A couple of lighter leads were attached and I was soon flicking them out over the back of the fish. The rods were laying on the floor, lines were slackened and it was time to wait. Thirty minutes or so passed before the clicking of my clutch signalled a take. After an intense battle, I netted a belting old mirror of around 20lb. Well chuffed, and this was further later on that day with another corker of mid doubles. It was a thoroughly enjoyable day at Castle Ashby.


Smells Like Spring

My next trip was back to the Cambs estate lake and I was desperate to get off the mark on there. I arrived late afternoon, the sun was beaming onto the waters surface and spring was in the air. It smelt like spring, the flowers were gaining colour and the carp were moving. I noticed a few fish in and out of a shallow, snaggy area, and so location was easy. I plotted up straight on the fish and after a couple of flicks with a light lead soon had some areas to settle on for my session. I was fishing short choddies complete with CC Moore Acid Pear pop-ups and I introduced five pouches of Pacific Tuna baits over the top. The session couldn't have gone better. At some point during the night, the bobbin pulled up tight and I slipped the net under an incredible old mirror. This was followed up with an ancient common, both nudging 27lb. It has been a great start to the year and I am gagging to get back out.


James Armstrong


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