February 14, 2018 4 min read

I’ve managed to fit in a couple of sessions through January and the fishing seems to have been kind, even though we’ve had some adverse conditions throughout the first month of the new year. Although I was one of many sat pining out the office window during those balmy days of 14 degree temperatures, I have managed three nights across a couple of weeks on Oxlease.
Throughout the Winter the lake has been producing fish, but as is the way during the colder months, only in specific areas. By keeping my ear to the ground and visiting the lake from time to time when I couldn’t afford the rod hours, I have been able to settle on location relatively quickly.
The first session saw me completing a 24 hour session. After dropping into a swim which had produced fish in the previous few days, I sat and watched a lifeless surface for approximately two hours. After a few mugs of tea had warmed chilled fingers, I walked a few swims along to see a fish head and shoulder into the surf at around 80 yards. Not wasting any time, I quickly returned to the swim and grabbed the rods. Being only three or four swims along the bank, I removed the rigs and simply flicked the leads to the area I had seen the fish. The first lead actually hit a number of fish on the leads descent, as did the second. Confidence was high and with the rods clipped to 18, 19 and 20 wraps respectively, the rest of my luggage was collected. All in all it took me 15 minutes to move everything and despatch all three rods. Two had gone out with zig rigs attached, fishing at 6 and 7 feet. The third was fished on a solid bag. I watched the water intently, but after a further couple of hours nothing more was seen. I changed the zig depths and colours for the entire afternoon, still hitting fishing on the leads descent on numerous recast, but again nothing. Frustrated, I finally stopped chopping and changing in an attempt to force a bite at around 11pm. I awoke to a stuttered take at around first light. I had fully expected one of the zigs to go having felt fish in the middle layers, but the bag rod was the culprit and a spirited fight ensued. Netting a very pretty mirror, a good friend had arrived just in time for some photos in the early morning light.
With no more action and having returned the favour for my friend with a well-deserved carpy cuddle himself, I planned a second session around 10 days later. The session really emphasised how keeping in touch with the lake and listening to the bailiff’s can benefit us anglers. With his information after some considerable punishment from yours truly, I was content on swim choice. This didn’t mean that I disregarded reading the water in front of me, but I had a good base of knowledge with which to start. Despatching three solid bags with the previously successful method, I sat and watched as 6 fish showed themselves over the rigs throughout the afternoon. With little happening, I busied myself tying rigs and things and fed by hand a vibrant little robin which paid me regular visits.
With confidence high, I deposited a small amount of bait over the rigs and was content that the night may bring a result. Awakening to static bobbins, that nagging disappointment lay over me most of the morning. I switched one rod to a zig rig but with the wind increasing in strength and the temperatures beginning to hover above freezing, confidence was dropping considerably. As light drizzle gave way to calmer conditions around midday, the middle rod invited the bobbin to slap the blank and I was unexpectedly away. A good solid resistance eventually gave way to another nice mirror of almost identical size to my fish the previous session; at 25lb.
With the weather regaining its strength and vigour towards demolishing my brolly, I changed all three onto the winning tactic and deposited some more bait ahead of my second and final night. Again, the night passed uneventful and with the lake getting busy, I refused to re-cast and add to the onslaught of lead and spod peppering the surface. Keeping the area quiet seemed to work as a pristine linear of 24lb 12oz was landed once again around midday. With the rod replaced and pictures completed in some glorious afternoon sunshine, I was confident that I could catch another before the 6pm gate closure at the fishery. Low and behold, the same rod was away only a few hours later and signalled my last and third fish of the session. The fish felt better this time and certainly gave a far better account of itself. At 27lb, it was indeed only slightly larger than its predecessors, but a great ending to an enjoyable couple of sessions on the venue.
All the fish were caught using a solid bag setup. This incorporated a section of Pin Down leadless leader, a 3.5oz drop off in line lead and short 3 inch braided hook link. A size 6 CRV hook with a slip D style setup housed a bright hook bait, within a solid bag of Gemz 50/50.
I’m looking forward to getting back now. Once a method and location has been found in the winter months, it can usually lead to a really productive spell. All being well I’ll be back in touch soon.