Spring Underway – Alex Grice

I say this every year, but it has to be one of the slowest winters on record! With every type of weather system flying around over the past few months, including sub-zero temperatures, Siberian winds, and snow by the inch, it is finally nice to say that spring certainly feels like it has arrived.

I managed to fish one night in Feb, catching a lovely 20lb+ common from a well-stocked Suffolk venue, following a night of freezing temperatures. From then on out, it has been pretty tragic on the weather front and as a result, I have not managed to get out for a night since.

I was due to meet up with my good mate Gav Walding for a quick night before the big one show at Farnborough, we had plans to do some work and then spend the night fairly socially catching up. I got down around mid-morning and after a quick walk around the lake, I was pretty undecided about where to go having not seen any visual signs to go off. Two other anglers were on the lake and with the lovely spring sunshine beating down on the water, I headed for the far bank which looked good from where I was standing.

The lake is renowned for doing early bites on zigs, so this was an obvious starting point for the day ahead. The depths are pretty uniform for the venue, ranging between 6/7ft in most areas. I had already done a bit of prep the night before and had a bundle of zigs tied up ready to go. My plan was to fish the zigs on all three and rove them around every hour or so until bites were forthcoming. I had a little tip-off from my mate Brad that the 3/4ft depth was the one to go for, which made obvious sense with the fish starting to wake up and move around the pit once again.

After a few hours of roving the rods about, I decided to go slightly further with one, on the off chance that they may be sitting a bit further out into in the lake. Well, after getting a lovely drop on the rod at about 50 yards, I decided to leave that little black piece of foam to see if it could tempt a passing fish. Well, it didn’t take long and after a heavy drop back on the barrel bobbin, I was playing a fish once again. Nothing beats those first few of the year, but at the same time, I was taking it easy on the light link in the weedy, clear depths. Moments later, I was bundling a jet-black mirror into the net and the relief was certainly felt.

I quickly got the fish unhooked, leaving it resting in the net while I got the rods back out to the same area. It looked prime for another bite and Gav was on his way, so I decided to put the fish in the retainer for half an hour while I waited for him to get down. Not half an hour later and the rod was away again, this time peeling take that was quite clearly a carp! This fish was having none of it and after a spirited battle, trying to take me down the snaggy margin; I finally had it under control. It looked to be another cracking mirror, so I was chuffed, to say the least.

After a quick brew Gav had finally made it down, so went got to work getting the fish out and doing the pictures in the dreary early spring backdrop. Both fish looked in tip-top condition coming out of a dreadful winter and as I lifted the first from the mat, the feeling of excitement for the year ahead was certainly back in full force! I kept the zigs out for the remainder of the day and night, but with the wind picking up, no bites were forthcoming. A quick pack down the following day, followed by a coffee with Gav and some hot porridge had me full of energy once again. One more show to go and it was over, so I made the journey down to Farnborough for a cracking weekend with the boys. Roll on some more spring-like weather, as I am simply buzzing for the months ahead.