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The turn of the year saw a new challenge arrive in my fishing . I was fortunate enough to find myself with the opportunity to join a large, low stocked, weedy syndicate water in Northampton. Although I have fished large pits of up to 100 acres in the past, I consider myself quite the advocate of small intimate waters where care and precision are key, but could I really resist the chance to fish for a number of clever, very large English fish. Like hell could I. 
As a venue it was unlike any other I'd fished, you could be sat with 4 acres in front of you but then, due to the island arrangement, see nothing else of the vast expanse of lake which lay beyond. Speaking to the fishery team I was informed that 5-9 fish is a good year and starting at the beginning of what turned out to be a very bitter March wasn't going to aid my chances. During my first month on the venue I only managed 96 hours, life, it would seem, got in the way. 
The first 48 came at the start of March. Arriving at the lake, which is renowned for giving minimal signs of fish activity, I opted for one of the 4 point swims, this one a large central expanse of water, the theory being that it gave me a large area to view and due to the island layout any moving fish should be funnelled through this area at some point. I got the rods out and a good scattering of VNX+ boilies over the area. Later in the day fellow angler Nathan Flatley arrived and set up next to me. The wind was howling and the bitter cold was biting as it ripped around the pit. None the less, it was good to be out and we sat down chatting as the evening drew in. As we sat in the bivvy light we were given our first insight into the task we had taken on, the light on the ground had attracted dragon fly larvae and the ground was alive. Even this early in the year in these near freezing conditions the level of naturals was phenomenal, how on earth do you compete with a natural buffet; it was a conundrum but one that we had to figure out. The rest of the session passed without event, apart from a blistering take on Nathan's right hand rod, which saw it wrap round and the inquisitive mallard that had been situated near by fly away as it tried to steal a free meal. Although it was entertaining to watch it didn't do much to lift our spirits and we trudged off only to return two weeks later. 
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The next session saw us target a different area of the lake and the scenery couldn't have looked more different if it had tried. The warmer days had sparked a bit of greenery but the continual bitter nights had stopped the lake from beginning to bloom fully. Once again the rods went out, this time on 3 small gravel spots located between the blooms of weed that were starting to grow up in thicker beds. Once again I was joined by Nathan. By this time the odd fish had starting coming out of the venue, of which most had been over the magical 30 pound mark. The hours passed and other than the view of hundreds of birds that roost on the lake of a night, and a small stocky surfacing just off the back of my spot, nothing occurred to take my attention. Once again our efforts lead to nothing apart from Nath's obligatory duck bite, which by now was becoming the highlight of our trips. It's funny how these sessions start to play on your mind, is it the rigs, the bait, what am I doing wrong? And although I was fairly confident I wasn't doing anything wrong, the rigs were sharp and the bait is top quality, it still plays on the mind. Although unsuccessful again this time round, we would see what April had to bring. 
carp fishing bait successful baits
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