It Only Takes A Minute Or Two

The first of five

There’s no such thing as not enough time, say Jules.

During the course of a year I am in touch with literally hundreds of carp anglers over many carp fishing issues, and many times the big moan they have is that they don’t have enough time to go fishing ‘properly’. “If I had the time that Terry, Chilly and co had, I’d catch loads!” Yeah, right! Zzzzzzz…

Just like most readers of Carp-Talk, I too have limited time to go fishing and I am constantly questioning myself whether it’s “worth going” or not. Inevitably it is! Hopefully this piece about a special day in February will inspire you to get out there and give it a go yourself. After all, what have you got to lose?

I just left the rods to fish for a while

 Angler Profile

  • Name: Julian Cundiff
  • Year of brith: 1963
  • Hometown: Doncaster area
  • Favourite venue: Savay
  • Favourite tactic: Diffusion leader / Fang multi-rig
  • Most memorable catch: Catching a 49lb, 38lb and 31lb whilst sharing the moment with Kevin Nash

Adding hot water to create the ‘mush’

The cloud in the water was amazing

I knew either zigs or floaters would produce on the day

With a very wet January behind me and the annual Three Lakes Syndicate meeting at 9am on the Sunday, it was going to be a rare winter weekend when I wasn’t going to wet a line. Mid-week had seen me at Birch Lake (using flexi-time I had built up doing criminal courts around the county) and I’d had 10 fish in frankly appalling wet and cold conditions. Although I was resigned to not fishing on Sunday, when I thought about it, even if the meeting finished at 12 noon, I could be set up by 1pm, and that would allow me at least four hours before I had to leave (dawn to dusk fishing). Not much to play with, but any time fishing is better than not going at all, so the gear was prepared and the venues considered. If it was wet and windy, Trotters would be a better bet, but it was cold and dry then it would be Strawfields. Both offered excellent close-range carping opportunities so I made sure I covered those bases.

Bait-wise I like to fish over mush/slop in the winter so I made up the following combination:

  • A kilo of Nashbait Amber Strawberry crumb
  • One large tin of hemp
  • Three tins of liquidised sweetcorn

This was made up on Saturday and I’d add hot water to it once I was lakeside. It smelt beautiful and tasted really sweet… I need to get out more!

As ever the syndicate meeting was a blast, and fair play to the owner for treating all those there to breakfast and hot drinks. Roger did his ‘Queen’s Speech’ and we all felt excited for the year ahead. Out of Frankie and Bennys where the meeting had been and, with a clear blue sky above me but a biting cold wind, I knew Strawfields would be my best bet.

Sadly, like many waters, the lake had suffered some predation from vermin and, although it had been attended to, I had no idea what I would see – or maybe not see! A walk around the water and every single margin was gin clear, which was not a good sign. Normally I look for slight colouration, bait up and before dark they tend to move in, but no matter how much I looked nothing inspired me. There was some evidence of predation, but I hoped the special ones would still be there.

I tried to think like a carp… Where would I be if vermin had been stalking me in the margins? Yes, in the middle out of harm’s way! So that’s where I’d fish. With 14 feet of water at 70 yards range, I wanted to get the carp’s attention quickly so, once I’d found my mark and clipped up, I got the rods assembled.

Rather than fish on the bottom in the high-pressure conditions, I intended to fish one on a zig and one on a roving surface rod. I knew the carp loved surface baits so mixers were the order of the day. The kettle was boiled and hot water added to the mush until it was the consistency of lumpy soup. As I intended to use mixers on the surface three large handfuls of mixers were added to the slop so they would rise and fall, coated in the soup-like substance. The spod rod was paced out, clipped up and out it went. Ten minutes later I was done and a large white cloud could be seen at range, hopefully soon to be investigated by the carp! Rod one on a zig was fished bang slap in the middle of the cloud and rod two, the surface rod, was cast just short and, with the wind behind me, the Bolt Machine was allowed to drift into the cloud.

For the first hour nothing happened at all and in all honesty I left the rods on the Sirens and let them fish for themselves. Dare I say, I even read a book and just chilled out? Every 15 minutes I fired some mixers out and let the drift carry them to and over the cloud. At 3pm I saw the first mixer get taken and it was time to get serious. More mixers were fired out and the surface rod readied. Sadly I managed to stand on the tip as I set up, so what had been a 12ft rod was now 11ft 10in., and I was fishing without the top 2in. – hey ho! The hookbait was a piece of trimmed cork and it was hooked Martin Clarke style on a size 10 Fang X. Three feet of hooklink and a 30g Bolt Machine completed the setup – game on!

Normally I over-cast and wind it back into the ‘kill-zone’ but with the wind over my shoulder I simply undercast and let the drift take it and the mixers over the white cloud. Within seconds a carp swirled at the cork hookbait, and the combination of pin-sharp hook, large Bolt Machine and braided main line did the trick. After a dogged scrap carp number one was in the net. More mixers were fired out and the self-timer shots taken, rod out again and let’s see what happens.

I caught on the floaters – but how many of us use them in winter?

I fished mid-week and had 10

By 4.30pm I had nobbled five on the surface baits, but nothing on the zig. With dark clouds looming and a soft rain falling, the action stopped as quickly as it started. Packing up into dark, I was more than happy! Five carp off the top in February when in all honesty it would have been so so easy to think I hadn’t got enough time and given it a miss. Glad I didn’t!

It proves that when you get everything right, time is not a barrier to success.

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