TACTICS

Fishing In Cold Conditions

The Cometh
ANGLER PROFILE DEREK GLADWIN
Team: Preston Innovations DELCAC Sponsors: Preston Innovations, sonubaits.com Pole used: Preston Innovations 2G-Ten

THE VENUE FRANT LAKES
Location: Frant, Sussex Directions: From Tonbridge Wells take the A21, heading south. After Pembury take the A264 towards Royal Tunbridge Wells, then turn left onto the Hawkenbury Road and the lakes are on your right. Sat nav users should use TN3 9AP Contact: 01892 616424 Website: www.frantlakes.com Day tickets: £8, concessions £6 Rules: Barbless hooks only, no bait restrictions

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ADVANCED POLE FISHING

p86-91_AP_01_ice-man.indd 1

21/11/07 1:22:25 pm

though. fishing needn’t be a no-no – it’s all about finding the right venue. Both lakes have a large stocking of skimmers and roach with plenty of match-sized carp. I find winter fishing very challenging but also very rewarding. Too many people associate colder weather with less fish being caught.When the mercury struggles to rise above zero. and these are normally in the 100-peg-plus Winter League matches. stays quite consistent – our fish must be tougher than their northern counterparts! I’ve brought the APF cameras along to Frant Lakes. More often than not a good weight of skimmers and roach can be caught. the matches and sessions I really remember are those that took place in winter. This is actually one large lake divided by a central causeway and wooden bridge. too. The water passes underneath and the fish are free to swim wherever they wish. The fishing. Of all the lakes on site those that I like best are Lakes 3 and 4. Having been an angler for many years.indd 2 21/11/07 1:23:04 pm . situated on the Sussex and Kent border. although when we do get some it’s normally quite bad. especially if you choose not to fish for the carp. when something special happened. W Here in Kent we are lucky in that we don’t always get the worse of the weather like the rest of the UK (it’s not called the Garden of England for nothing!). Preston Innovations-backed Derek Gladwin has the perfect venue very close to his home! alking to your peg when the grass below your feet crunches with each step is such a lovely feeling. Yes. it’s noticeably harder. but if do you catch a few fish you will take great satisfaction at releasing your fish back into the murky depths at the end of the day. The fishing here stays quite consistent – our fish must be tougher than their northern counterparts! ADVANCED POLE FISHING 87 p86-91_AP_01_ice-man. I always enjoy the matches on these lakes because you are pretty well guaranteed some bites. and although the postal address suggests it is located in Sussex I like to think it’s in Kent! I only get to fish Frant Lakes a few times each year.

In this swim I will only feed particles in groundbait. The skimmers came out to play despite the freezing conditions. When I fish here in winter I always use the same tactics.indd 3 21/11/07 1:23:19 pm . For this method. This mix is quite light and has a heavy fishmeal content without being overpowering. which is perfect for cold-weather skimmer fishing – I’m sure they will be comfortable in this depth. ADVANCED POLE FISHING 89 p86-91_AP_01_ice-man. use a bit of watercraft to select one that will give you a better chance of catching. For example. I target the skimmers and roach but I don’t mind if an odd carp plays ball. I’ve sat on Lake 3 on the causeway with my back to Lake 4.com’s Mix 1 Betaine lasts a full session. If you have the chance to choose your peg before fishing.5 metres so I’m going to fish just past it.In a winter-league match a good weight will typically be around 40lb but in perfect conditions a larger weight.5 metres so it’s a comfortable day’s fishing. nearer to 100lb. This is usually between 13 and 14. After a heavy frost that left a sheet of ice on the water’s surface I’m certain the fish will be out of the wind in the warmer water. Very quickly the ice has started to melt back into the lake and large sheets can be seen drifting across to the other side. making it harder to catch when they are already at a premium. always try to fish out of the wind in winter – it will mean you’re warmer for longer and the fish will be in the calmer water that gives them more protection from the cold. Today.09mm hooklength Size 20 PR32 Think carefully about how much you scale down your tackle in winter. There is no need to use a catapult because you will only spread the fish through the water column. casters and a few THE RIG 1g Preston Classic 8 0. on a flat area at 13 metres. Today I’ve found the shelf at 11. Lake 3 has a couple of distinct shelves and I like to fish past the furthest shelf into the deepest water. and today will be no different. On plumbing up I find the water is eight feet deep. you need very little groundbait and one bag of sonubaits. of skimmers may sometimes be caught.13mm PowerLine Olivette and three No10s Two No8 droppers 0. The biting wind is blowing over my back so the water in front of me is quite calm. The only other baits I have brought with me are some maggots. A few sharp taps with a pole pot on your cupping kit can disturb the thin ice and free up an area to fish into.

The elastic is a No5 Preston Original Slip. pear-shaped body and a visible plastic antenna. a very stable. because it looks like it’ll be a bit blustery at times.com 4mm expander pellets for the hook. even when the thermometer struggles to rise above zero! Good old double maggot brought the better fish. I keep everything really simple and have just one rig set up – after all.indd 4 21/11/07 1:23:43 pm . The rig is set a couple of inches overdepth because I want the hook bait to keep very still. 90 ADVANCED POLE FISHING p86-91_AP_01_ice-man. which is how the skimmers prefer it. with an olivette placed 18 inches from the hook and a few small shot directly below it to stiffen the line and prevent tangles. My shotting pattern is very simple but it works. The bait cost for a full day out is.TACTICS Fishing In Cold Conditions With light lines and elastic make sure you net every fish… just in case! Derek has no problems using fishmeal groundbaits to attract fish in winter. My float is a 1g Preston Classic 8 that has a carbon stem. Below this I have two No8 droppers. I use 0. A larger shot shows this up more prominently than a smaller shot. it’s very cold and I don’t want to be faffing around sorting loads of rigs out! The lakes hold the colour a little and this means that you can get away with slightly stronger gear than you might normally expect to.13mm Preston Innovations PowerLine. these get the bait to the bottom quickly and show hold-up bites if a fish takes the hook bait before the rig settles. therefore.09mm of the same material. I’ve tied the rig to a top-four kit and left a couple of feet of line above my pole float. By using this very simple rig and feeding technique you can have a very good day’s pole fishing. tied to a short hooklength of 0. under a tenner. sonubaits. as you don’t feed much bait at all. A size 20 PR32 hook completes the rig.

but some of them go up to 20lb and prove more of a challenge! A very rare crucian carp was next. from a skimmer. The first frost is always a bad sign.TODAY’S SESSION Today I woke up and everywhere was white with the first frost of the year. I had to wait a few minutes before I got a sign. I had accumulated a near-30lb bag of fish. As we arrived at the venue I was greeted not only by a sheet of frost covering the ground but also a thin coating of ice on the lake – I immediately warned the photographer that it might not be as prolific as I first promised! However. At 4oz it was a small skimmer. This was accurately cupped in by using a far-bank marker. and my broken hooklength was changed for a new one. when the skimmers backed off you could catch some small roach on a single maggot. but a sharp dip and a rise showed there were a few fish around my groundbaited area. but at least it was a start. this was soon followed by my first bite. ensuring I’m never fishing too far away from the baited area. You can land a lot of the carp in these lakes on this light tackle. Sure enough. in which I hadn’t had to do anything more complicated than feed when I stopped catching and alternate between single or double maggot.indd 5 21/11/07 1:24:17 pm . I left the groundbait to work its magic for a few minutes while I drank a cup of coffee – don’t go without a flask when it’s cold! When I returned to the peg I baited up with a single red maggot and shipped out my pole full of anticipation. Shortly afterwards. hoping to get a response. After 90 minutes the swim slowed down until it was virtually at a standstill so I cupped in another ball of the same mix and a few casters. I went about the fishing in exactly the same manner as I do normally. I cupped in two balls of groundbait that contained some casters and a few maggots. and hoped for the best. and then the skimmers came back into the peg. but when the skimmers came back double maggot picked out the bigger fish. I was greeted with a positive bite and yards of No5 elastic streaming across the lake… needless to say the carp won. so I expected the fishing to be slightly slower than I had originally hoped. I packed up earlier than expected because I was probably the coldest I had ever been! The photographer was nowhere to be seen and had to be dragged from the warmth of his car to take the final catch shot! Put all thoughts of cosying up in front of the fire to the back of your mind – fishing through the ice can bring great rewards! ADVANCED POLE FISHING 91 p86-91_AP_01_ice-man. I sat on an average peg that looked out over the whole lake. By alternating between single and double maggot I was able to keep fish coming. After three hours of fishing. I did try the pellets a few times but they didn’t work as well as normal. if it’s a very bad one then it can signal the end of your fishing before you’ve even started. and it looked bleak! After getting my tackle sorted and making sure the ice had either melted or been helped out of my peg I was ready to start fishing.

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