A winter challenge By Paddy Ramsden

After finishing my time on Manor following the capture of Kempy’s Linear, I decided to spend the winter fishing St Johns. This is a water I had never really focused on previously but with the growing number of big carp in there packing on weight I felt there was a good chance of a lump or two, even one the A Team which would make the near 200 mile trip worthwhile.

25914

“Kempy’s Linear” 48lb 13oz

The fish weren’t showing but I did notice a couple of flat spots out in front of the social bank. All the swims were taken but after I had a chat with a few of the lads, I learned that one of them was leaving later that day…peg 12, that would do!

My plan would be to bait short of the fish, fish slack lines and let them come to me, fingers crossed. I introduced around 3kg of crumbed CCMoore Live System mixed with their Roasted Nut Extract and Amino 365, nothing to fill them up but loaded with cold water attraction. Tactics would be to fish the new ‘Whites’ over the top, food baits because the winter hadn’t really arrived yet.

LS Whites

Three rods went out in the dark and the kettle went on, patience was now key. Around midnight I put a little more bait over the hookbaits and within 15 minutes I was away on my middle rod resulting in an upper double mirror. An hour later, my middle rod away again and a mid double was banked. Two takes both to the middle rod told me the fish were concentrating over the majority of the bait so another kilo of the mix was dispatched, this time being spread over a little wider area this time.

IMG_8011 (1)

As the new day arrived, my left hand rod gave a couple of bleeps and I hit into a much better carp. The fish tore 30yds of line off my spool as I couldn’t hold it on my light rods, it then kited right towards the angler in the next swim. On a very tight line I managed to steer her away from his lines towards my right hand margin. Once she turned I managed to gain some line back and get her under control, she plodded around in the deep margins occasionally taking line back before finally admitting defeat. I was pleased to see a good common roll over the net chord which weighed in at 28.14, a great winter fish.

28.14 b (2)

28lb 14oz

hree carp in not much over 12 hours told me my tactics were bang on so out went a little more bait, new rigs were tied and out they went too. As the morning progressed it was obvious that the carp had pushed out towards the out of bounds bank of the lake. I took the opportunity to double check my spots, even getting my little weed rake out and clean them up a little. By early afternoon everything was back in position and when my right hand rod sounded it was no surprise. A small mirror was landed, probably under 10lb, the future of the lake.

As evening drew in, the fish were now showing closer and closer to me and I was sure they were on the hunt for a feed. A single bleep to my right hand rod was enough for me to hit into was evidently a big carp which ‘flat rodded’ me on its first run. Playing the fish on backwind, I gradually slowed the run and turned her to my left. The carp felt very strong and continually took line off me during the fight, we were now 20 minutes into the battle and I still hadn’t seen the fish. Every time my leader touched the surface he powered away again into the deep margins. Left to right, then right to left and back again with the line pinging off the tail or the dorsal fin, this was very nervy as I was fishing very light fluorocarbon line. On maybe the 5th pass he was near enough to the surface to check the hook hold…the good news was the hook hold was perfect, the bad news was I knew which fish it was!!!

Lowering the rod to my right and with the lead dropped, the carp responded by coming to the surface and I stretched into the lake with the net and he was in. Blackeye, Linear’s oldest and surely its most gnarly resident at a top winter weight of 36.3, that would do nicely thank you!!!

Blackeye 36.3 (1)

Linear,s oldest “Blackeye” 36lb 3oz

I managed two more fish overnight, both low 20s, before leaving first thing, ending the trip with 7 carp in total…. roll on winter!

Big thanks to Paddy for this article 

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