Kev Horton see's in the new year the Avid way
I’d had an amazing Christmas with the family and we were now in that period where you have no idea what day it is. So that was it, I was in need of some bank time. So I decided to see the new year in with my friend Ryan on a local water that was kind to me last winter.
We opted for Blackthorn fishery, a beautiful 4 acre lake in Shropshire which has been built by the owner Charlie purposely for the carp angler. It hosts four incredible lodges which can be rented by anyone throughout the year, but can also be fish by his members via bivvies too. The lake holds some stunning carp with the lake record standing at 35+lb.
We arrived at the lake at around midday and opted for a large double swim in front of one of the lodges. This area of the lake commands a lot of water and the main central body of the lake so was perfect for six rods and great for a New Year’s Eve social.
Ryan and I decided to fish two spots each, one spot out to the centre area of the lake and another each towards the islands we had to the left and right of the swim to edge our bets.
Due to having some success on the lake last winter I knew that the bites can be very finicky at times. So I went with an inline setup with the 3.5oz retro inline leads to try and help nail these cagey Blackthorn fish. To accompany this I went with a simple but effective wafter rig using the clay coloured coated hook link to match the lake bed and one of the super sharp barbless WGP hooks in a size 4. This was attached with a simple knotless knot, I then cut off the tag end and attached a hook swivel and hook bead to mount my pink Juice wafter hookbait.
The fish in this lake do like a decent mix, so my chosen concoction was as follows. I started off with a kilo of 10mm Triple-N, also some crumb too. I then added a couple of tins of Scopex corn and a few handfuls of Krill pellets and lastly two pints of the winter favourite, red maggots. I gave the mix a generous amount of Triple-N liquid to really add some flavour to my mix and hopefully draw any passing fish and tempt them into feeding.
I spombed out around 10 spombs over the two rods and four over the single rod towards the island spot. The main aim is to try and keep the baiting as tight as possible, the last thing I wanted was to have loose feed scattered around. My aim was to concentrate the baiting and hopefully this would help with picking up a fish if or when they decide to get their heads down.
Well we were all set up and the social was under way. The temperature was pretty mild and we were confident that something could happen this trip. The pressure was also good with it sitting around 980 ish which filled us full of confidence going into the first evening.
With both of us feeling pretty tired still from a few Christmas drinks a couple of days earlier, we opted to put our feet up and enjoy the sun slowly dip over the Welsh hills with a brew. We were soon interrupted with a slow drop back on Ryan’s left hand rod. After a nervous battle, I did the honours and slipped the net under a cracking 26.14lb mirror for him, it was safe to say he was over the moon to have a NYE carp and have been off the mark so early too.
The night passed with no more action for either of us. But I was still very confident as the morning is when I seemed to get bites last winter. And at around 9:30am the middle bobbin hit the blank, but then dropped straight back down. Before I had chance to even think about anything it was back up tight to the buzzer. I jumped up and lifted into the fish, which held on a tight line. I could tell it wasn’t a double straight away as it seemed to just hold tight and plod around. After a great little battle the fish was almost ready for netting so Ryan was ready with the next. Then I heard a bleep and before a knew it my island rod was bent into action and clicking off line. For all the anglers that have been lucky enough to have a double take it can be a little worrying. But we stayed calm and got the fish into the net safely before lifting into the next.
Now my initial feeling was this fish is an angry mild double due to the head shakes, but that somewhat changed as the fish really started to use its size and power to stay deep. As I slowly got the fish in closer Ryan alluded to the fact it was throwing up huge boils on the surface even due to the fact it was still around 6’ deep, so we both had a feeling it could be decent.
Eventually we slipped it over the net and was absolutely buzzing when I saw its width. The owner came around to help with the weighing and photos and was amazed to have caught a New Year’s Day brace of a 27lb 8oz and 33lb 4oz mirrors.
It’s safe to say I was a happy angler. We managed a further upper double each before our session came to an end. But all in all, it was a great finish to 2017 and start to 2018 for us both.
Until next time
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