With spring just a month away, some of the best fishing is right around the corner. At this time of year and for the next few months, the fish are at their heaviest and if you can make the most of the warm spells and south westerly winds then you’re in for some fantastic fishing.
Last year, due to the national lockdown, we missed out on some of the best fishing while the fish were awakening from their winter slumber and piling on the pounds ready for spawning. In the month leading up to the lockdown, I was finally gaining some momentum on my local park lake, Rochford Reservoir – which from now I will refer to as ‘the Res’ for easy reading – and managed to catch 9 fish from 13 takes.
Once we were released from the prisons that were our homes, I only did a few sessions on the Res before firstly the heat turned the fish into lethargic surface swimming beasts who seemed to taunt me when they swam straight past my bread bomb without even flinching. Secondly, I became busy with work and went on a bit of a holiday to see family in the north. And finally, I spent more time chasing bass with my dad at the local tidal river.
By the time I finally gave the Res another shot, autumn was well on its way and I spent many evenings after work and sixth form on the banks of the Res fishing into the hours of darkness when the fish were much more active than in the day. In the 4 or 5 sessions I did in this period I managed my biggest fish from the Res and witnessed a friend catch the biggest carp in the lake, a near 30lb mirror.
That brings us to winter, the hardest time of the year but if you can find the fish you’re sure to have a good day providing the weather isn’t Baltic. I proved this when I caught six in one sort day session in early December. It was the most fish I’d caught at the Res in just 8 hours fishing. I’d caught more on a previous session, but I was fishing for around 12 hours.
My approach was simple on this day, I hair rigged 1 and a half 11mm boilies and, using my baiting pole, shipped it out to some marginal snags with a handful of pellet and crushed boilie. In winter, I think it’s especially important to use a top quality boilie. In the summer, the fish are greedy and may eat whatever you chuck at them, in the winter I’ve found that they can be extremely picky. On this day, I was trying out God’s Gift by Baylys Baits which is a fantastic cold water bait and now my go to boilie for cold water. I had 7 bites that day, all of them on the rod with the God’s Gift. The other rod remained motionless all day.
So now I’ve caught you up on my last years fishing at the Res, I’m going to outline what I plan to be doing over the next couple of months and my reasons behind my thinking. Of course, I’m no expert and I’m not claiming that what I’m about to write, is exactly right. It’s just how I think the fish will behave and how I’m going to respond based on my very little experience in comparison with some of the people who will be reading this.
I fished the Res on the Saturday just passed. Yeah, that’s right the one where it didn’t stop raining. I must admit it was a terrible decision, me and about the 6 other anglers on the lake all blanked. I don’t regret it at all however because I learnt something. The neighbouring River Roach had burst its banks and had been flooding into the Res. The Res was also up about 6 inches from its usual level. It’s connected to the river via an inflow and outflow, this means that it gets a fresh supply of water continuously and more importantly, it warms up and cools down much quicker than most lakes.
Due to the heavy rain last week, I suspect the water had chilled rapidly, causing the fish to swich off and hunker down. Before now, I never really thought much about the effect of the river on the lake. If we have a warm spell for a few days, most lakes will take a day or two to switch on and will remain a bit more active for longer when the weather cools down again. At the Res, especially if there’s a warm spell and rain the water can warm up quicky and I suspect, it will produce some good fishing.
I’m hoping to test out my hypothesis as soon as I can. Looking at the weather report for the next week, warmer weather and rain are expected on Tuesday and Wednesday, meaning the best fishing will be on Wednesday and Thursday. Luckily, I have Wednesday off from virtual lessons, the Sixth Form would usually set this day aside for ‘Health and Wellbeing’ so I think I might just go fishing as it fits the bill perfectly and if my predictions are right, the weather is a recipe for success.
Over the next two or three months, I’m going to be keeping a close eye on the weather, and as the days get longer, I may even be able to do some afternoons when I have no lessons. I’m hoping that a Res 20lber graces my net, there’s a good few in there now and I have my eye on a couple of them in particular. My membership runs out soon and I doubt I will renew it due to the fact I’ll be over 200 miles away later this year when I’m at university. This gives me just a few months to catch a 20 from the Res, will I do it? I bloody hope so and I’m going to give it a good shot.
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