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I’d been toying with the idea of taking a bash at the newest of the Nash Lakes in Royston, Herts. There are two lakes there; Wood Lake and Kingfisher Lake. Charlie Pitt, a team member and adversary from last years team trip to the fantastic Petit Pretre in France, had called me during the week and said that he was thinking about Royston - as they say ‘great minds think alike’. 
Mark Jordan Successful Baits UK Ltd Carp Fishing Baits
We turned up at 7am in the pouring rain and, at just above freezing, it was very cold. Two other people had already been fishing for the previous 24hrs. I had been speaking to one of the bailiffs during the previous week to try and get a feel for the lake and what tactics would be best to employ on the session. He had told me that the few fish that had come out over the winter had been from the ‘diving board’ and the other one aptly named ‘Toilets’. Typically, these were the two that were already occupied, so Charlie and myself had a walk around the lake to see if there was anything showing or any signs of activity that drew our attention. We walked both lakes and noted that they were very well kept and you could see that there had been a massive amount of work put into making the pegs comfortable and very user friendly. 
We decided to set up in a swim just to the left of ‘diving board’ called ‘Slimfast’. Now those of you that know me will probably find that amusing! Its name comes from the fact that it is a long narrow peg that only just fits two bivvies on it (cosily). We dropped all the gear off out and parked up in the designated area, then set about getting the rods on the dance floor. I was using two different baits, VNX+ which I had pre-soaked in VNX+ activator liquid and Nasty Shrimp, pre-soaked in Nasty Shrimp activator liquid
VNX+ and Nasty Shrimp Boilies Successful Baits UK Ltd Carp Fishing Baits
At 6pm I started to cook dinner, pork chops, mashed potato and baked beans. Yep, that’s right, I was a Michelin starred chef in a previous life! Polished off and washed down with another coffee, I found myself tucked up by 7:30pm as I was feeling very cold and very tired due to the busy days I had had previously at work. Don’t you think it's strange that during the day, while you’re alert and observing as much as possible to make sure that you don’t miss any clue or piece of information, you don’t hear a railway that’s about 40m from the lake side? Well, no sooner had I dropped off into a deep slumber then ‘wallop’ the 20:00hrs from P’boro to Kings Cross came hurtling through past the lake. My heart racing as if my bite alarms had just disintegrated in the best one toner ever heard, it took me a little while to come back down to earth and settle before being woken by my 'phone alarm. I like to get up as close to first light as possible so that I can freshen up the baits and get them set for any morning activity that my occur. 
On the VNX+ I was using a standard DF blowback rig with a 18mm bottom bait and a 16mm VNX+ pop up, to make it balanced so it would drop slowly to settle on top of the very slight weed growth that was covering most of the area that I had leaded. It had a small stick mix and a few Spods of activated pellets. It was 22ft deep and one of the deepest areas in the lake. On the other rod I was using a multi rig with a small stick mix and a single neon pink Nasty Shrimp pop up over a few freebies of activated 18mm Nasty Shrimp and chops, cast to a slightly raised area on the lake bed at a depth of around 18ft. I was wary of using too much bait due to the very cold temperature and the fact that they just hadn’t started to wake up so were not feeding very much. 
The sky was wearing its grey, fluffy wet looking coat, though it did keep taking it off throughout the day in brief spells with the odd breakthrough of sunshine, but the temperature didn’t get much above 4 degrees. We were settling in to a cup of coffee when I had a couple of small bleeps on my left hand rod (VNX+). The bobbin was moving up and down about 5mm so I made my way to it and as I got there it tore off, with the bobbin smashing into the rod before springing off the line. I tightened the QDS and wound down until I felt a little resistance and then leaned into it to set the hook properly. I felt the resistance and then ‘ping’, nothing! Slack line and just the drag of the weight in the water. I think there was a fish trailing line as I felt resistance but it wasn’t what I would have expected. Gutted at what had just happened I reset my rod and wrapped up to the 12 wraps I was fishing at and put it back on the spot, still unsure whether I had been done or not. The rest of the day was spent dodging the rain and the trying to catch rays of sunshine as they split the clouds and graced the lake with the little warmth that was on offer. 
VNX+ and Nasty Shrimp Successful Baits  UK Ltd Carp Fishing Baits
The grey cloud had given way to a beautifully clear morning with blue skies. My bivvy was covered in frost, which I wiped off to ensure that it wasn’t packed away wet. I had almost packed my gear up before Charlie emerged from his bivvy and started to rip into me for keeping him awake all night with my snoring. I didn’t think he could hear me due to the thick hairs that grow out of his ears, but decided to just apologise and appease him with a cup of coffee! 
Our time was up and we had had no more action. The two others on the lake had not had anything either, but they were there for 5 days so I am sure they would have had some action eventually. All in all it was an enjoyable session. Wet, cold, in fact freezing, but very enjoyable. It's amazing the warmth that you can get from a good friend, especially when they have a heater in their bivvy! Up till that point I had thought bivvy heaters were for the ‘feint hearted’ and not a ‘carpy’ thing to have. Well my opinions have changed and if being ‘carpy’ means being cold for the sake of it then I’ll wave at you from the comfort of my not so ‘carpy’ but very warm, comfortable bivvy… 
Tagged as: Mark Jordan
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