Ed Hawes, Spring's Arrival and the Target Fish
Posted on 14th April 2019 at 13:50
From a quick look through my photos and fishing notes I’ve worked out that I’ve managed 7 day sessions during March of various durations and experienced a variety of weather conditions and success with regard to fish on the bank. I have focused my efforts on the same lake that I have been fishing for the last few months, Bellwood, as I wanted to continue to develop my knowledge of the lake and the potential whereabouts of the fish in different weather conditions and times of the day from my time spent on the bank there throughout the winter months.
Temperatures have been wide ranging during the month from ground frosts at night to mid-teens and bright sunshine on some days, with the inevitable very high pressure that tends to have a detrimental effect on the fishing. I have found that my fishing success during March and early April has been very similar to February and closely linked to the weather conditions.
I began my first session of the month as I often do, by watching the water from the car park for any signs of fish to help me decide where to target. With cold temperatures and near gale force winds I couldn’t see any signs of fish, so I decided to fish an area of the lake that had previously proved to be fruitful in similar conditions fishing into the wind and I made the decision to keep baiting to a minimum and only fished single hook baits to try to nick a bite. Despite me ringing the changes with different hook baits I was sat behind silent alarms so, mid-afternoon I decided to make the move to the opposite and deeper end of the lake with the wind behind me, and fished a 12mm Scoberry Pop Ups close to a known snag. Due to the location of my hook bait I fished locked up and sat close to my rods.
After about 20 minutes my indicator slammed into my left hand rod and I was finally into my first fish of the month and after a decent battle I had a low double figure Mirror in my net. I had the feeling that I could nick another bite from this spot so I rebaited and got the rod straight back out on the same spot. 10 minutes later I had another take on the same rod which resulted in another low double carp in the net, this time an immaculate Common. I had to pack up shortly afterwards to get to work for a night shift but left contented that I had managed to catch on what had proved to be a tough and bitterly cold session, the day’s events did re-affirm my thoughts that you have to find the fish to catch them.
I had a few spare hours available to fish the following day so, with the weather conditions similar to the previous day and the lake free of other anglers, I decided to only fish a single rod to the spot that produced the fish the day before, with a Ronnie rig baited with a 12mm Scoberry Pop Up and catapulted out about 15 Scoberry boilies around the spot.
A couple of hours passed in the strong wintery winds and I was beginning to think about heading home when my indicator began to pull up and my Delkim sounded into life.
Due to the proximity of the known snag to my hook bait I immediately walked backwards after hitting the take to manoeuvre the fish into a safer area of water.
A spirited and strong fight ensued which I was pleased to come out on top of and I was soon sliding the net under a plump 17lb Common.
I returned to Bellwood to fish again 4 days later, arriving at 8am to very different weather conditions. There wasn’t a breath of wind and the sun was shining brightly, although temperatures were still quite low following a chilly night. As I sat on the barrier in the car park I saw a few bubbles towards the centre of the lake giving away the presence of a feeding fish or two so I decided to get a rig out on that spot with a VNX+ Wafter that I had been soaking in the matching VNX+ Activator, fished on a KD rig. To keep disturbance to a minimum, and hopefully nick a quick bite, I didn’t put out any freebies bait wise in case I decided to move but, to my excitement, my left hand rod peeled off about 30 minutes later and I lifted into a strong fish that gave a very good account of itself in a battle that lasted just under 10 minutes, a powerful looking Mirror weighing in at 16lb 10oz was my prize.
My next visit would be limited to a short afternoon session, so I arrived at the lake just after lunchtime with a single rod and had a walk around the lake for signs of fish.
I spotted a few carp patrolling a margin and passing by an overhanging tree so this seemed like an ideal spot to place a hook bait, with an underarm flick I positioned a glugged VNX+ Wafter with a small PVA stick of the matching VNX+ stick mix under the tree and placed my rod on my bite alarm before sitting back to watch for any signs of approaching fish.
A few hours later I had 3 beeps on the rod and the slack line that I had been fishing began to tighten so I struck into a take that resulted in me recapturing a beautiful apple slice scaled Mirror that had put on over 3lbs since we had previously met, not the biggest fish in the world at 16lb 2oz but a stunning creature that I hope continues to grow at such a rate into a really big fish.
With the settled period of weather I returned the following morning to find a new South Westerly wind blowing across the lake into a bay where I have previously caught well from a far margin spot where I have found the fish to patrol and feed on.
I had prepped up some chopped glugged VNX+ boilies, so I baited the spots with a couple of handfuls and returned to my swim where I wrapped my rods up to the known distance for this swim that I have recorded in my fishing notebook. Due to the choddy bottom at the spots I chose to fish Ronnie Rigs with VNX+ Pop Ups so that my hook baits could be properly presented amongst the debris on the lakebed.
After an hour or so I had an absolute peeler of a run on my right hand rod and I lifted into a strong fish that gave me a bit of a run around in the battle before I eventually managed to slide the net under an old warrior of a Mirror that weighed in at just under 18lbs.
A great start to the day so the rod went back out on the same spot and in the afternoon I had a very subtle take on the same rod where the indicator began to lift so I struck into the take and managed to add another low double figure Mirror to my name, a great way to end a session and I left the lake shortly afterwards pleased that my knowledge levels of the venue that I had built over the previous months had greatly assisted me to catch these fish.
Initially I had no plans to fish the following day as I was meeting an old mate in the afternoon, but with conditions identical to the previous day, temptation got the better of me so I headed down to Bellwood for a few hours and was very surprised to find that nobody else was fishing.
With the previous days events fresh in my mind I headed straight back to the same swim as the day before and again baited the far margin spot with some more chopped glugged VNX+ freebies and chose to fish the bright yellow 12mm Pineapple Pop Ups over the top on my Ronnie rigs. A few hours had passed and just as I was considering moving a rod to a patch of feeding bubbles that I had noticed in the centre of the bay, my right rod took off and I lifted into what initially felt like a very small fish. As I eased the fish towards me it decided that it had other ideas as it approached my bank and all of sudden it felt a lot heavier and put up one hell of a scrap under the rod tip. As the fish surfaced and I began to slide the net towards I caught my first glimpse of my prize and my heart skipped a beat as I realised that it was the one that I’ve been after! My target fish and one of the biggest in the lake, a stunning heavily scaled Mirror. I unhooked the fish in the net and scrambled a quick phone call to my good mate and fellow Successful Baits team member, Andrew Murchison who works locally and came and did the honours with the photos for me. This beautiful fish tipped the scales to 23lbs exactly which is also a new British PB for me.
With the success of this early bite I decided that this swim was worth spending the next few hours in so I catapulted out about 25-30 activator glugged VNX+ Traveller baits and fished both rods to the spot that had produced the earlier fish baited with VNX+ Wafter hook baits. With night time temperatures still low I felt that was still too early to be using any heavier baiting. I added another Common of around 12-13lb in the morning sunshine and left the lake mid-afternoon as the bright conditions seemed to coincide with no further signs of feeding fish.
I didn’t get another chance to get back out on the bank until the end of March for a day session, but this came during a week of unusually high daytime temperatures reaching nearly 20 degrees and a sustained period of very high pressure which remained at 1040mb. Unsurprisingly, I didn’t catch that day but the forecast for the following week looked much more favourable with the pressure dropping off to below the magic 1000mb mark, stable temperatures and overcast weather which is perfect fishing conditions is my book and my week ahead certainly wasn’t disappointing.
To say I was overjoyed would be an understatement, I got the rod back out on the same spot thinking the day couldn’t really get any better. About an hour later the left hand ripped off and as I slid the net under a decent looking Common the right hand rod went as well, with no other option I ended up with both fish in the same net and with some careful organising managed to weigh and photo both fish, at 16 and 17lbs a pretty decent and very exciting way to end a short unplanned session.
When I had started fishing this particular lake back in September which is around the same time that I joined Successful Baits I had set myself a target of 10 fish as the stock was known to be quite low, at around 50 fish. 6 months later I’ve caught more than double that, including my target fish. These results have been partly down to the hard work that I’ve put in over the winter months to learn spots and gain knowledge of the water in terms of where I’ve seen and caught carp in different conditions and partly down to using the great products available in the Successful Baits range. I’m off the France for a weeks fishing in April and when I return I think that it’s time for a new challenge on one of the other lakes on my club ticket. Tight lines all, Ed.
Tagged as: Ed Hawes
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