A tail of winter success…

By Billy Mckinven

As I arrived at the lake it was quite busy for the time of year, so I decided to have a walk round and speak to the anglers round the other side of the lake. I was mainly trying to find out; who had just come and who was going. Four out of the six people that were at the lake fishing was going that very day; so I decided to go in a peg called the gap away from any previous pressure, well as much as I could anyway on this busy syndicate. 

I had a couple of spots in mind already, where I had done well in previous winters, so it’s as good a starting point as any, I thought! I wasn't going to put much bait out, as they temp had dropped dramatically in the last few days; compared to earlier in the week. I used about 1/2kg of retro baits essential 5 which is a proven winter bait, one I turn to as soon as the temp drops. Pop ups were the hook bait of choice, to ensure presentation over any debris of fallen leafs etc. The pop ups rig I used is a very safe version of the 360 rig, made from soft supple gardener trickster braid and shrink tubing with a slight curve in it to aid the 360 movement. This is a rig I got from an old friend Nick Burrage and have always used for all my pop up presentation’s, as it's 100% safe and devastatingly effective. This is a must in my eyes as you get very few bites through the winter so every pick-up counts.

There hadn't been many fish off at all in the last 4 weeks, only 2 in fact so I wanted to make sure if I had a pick up it would convert to a fish on the bank and make the best of the trips I had time for! 

I was on for 48hrs with no action until just before dark on the second night, with 2 shows over the bait I had put out at the start of the session. It wasn't until the following morning, a few hours before the OFF the alarm give off a couple of bleeps; as I looked out of my warm bed the line was tight and the bobbin had lifted up to the rod butt, but without a screaming run. After a quick check of the line, I lifted the rod and surly enough it was a fish on. I soon new it was a decent fish from the slow n steady movements it was making, but never imagined it was a target fish I had been after for 5/6 seasons. As the fish got closer I could see it was a big common, but still none the wiser until it rolled over the net.  I saw the 3/4 scales just below its dorsal fin and then I knew!! What a fish regardless of size… I was over the moon!

A target fish and a new UK PB all in one swoop!! 

It just goes to show that persistence pays off in the end, as I had nearly gone thro 3/4 of the lakes stock; in 5 or 6 seasons to get my prize!

What a fish ! Just as awesome as I had imagined! 


Tight line people and never give up !