Members Article

A Winter Session on Stemps Pond

I was really hoping to draw the famed peg 15 in our last match on Stemps as I had been lucky enough to draw peg 1 the match before. In the event the angler who drew 15 came away with a dry net however quite a few of us did that day as it was bitterly cold and we had to break the ice in a few swims.

I was however determined to have a go at the winter carp and I finally managed to get back to the lake on the 25th January. Arriving at 10.30 with a temperature of 80C I thought I was in with a good chance of finding a few fish feeding. This was a much better prospect than my previous visit when the temperature was knocking around freezing all day. It was really good to get out and see a little sunshine and the thought of a few hours on Stemps really lifted my spirits after the gloom of the last few weeks.

I settled into the peg and decided to fish along the edge to my left. I set the pole up with 5lb main line to a 4.4lb hook length with a size 15 hook and the float was set so that the bait lay on the bottom by 3″. I started by cupping in 2 cups of micro pellets with a few grains of sweetcorn at about 8 metres along.

I baited the hook with a single grain of sweetcorn and after about 30 minutes of no activity my pole float started to move as the carp had obviously come into the area and started to feed. Suddenly the float sailed away towards the brambles, to which I reacted by tightening into the fish and firmly pulling away from the snag. After a spirited fight I managed to net a carp weighing between 2 and 3 lb. After 10 minutes with no bites I decided a change of bait was required and went back out with a 6mm hooker pellet the float sailed away within seconds and a skimmer bream was soon safely netted.

This told me that the smaller fish had obviously moved in and where feeding on the micro pellets. I put in another cup of micro pellets and put the float straight over the same spot. Within minutes I was playing another carp, which was of a similar size to the first. The swim died for 30 minutes or so before I managed to net another carp then disastrously I had the hook pull out of the next.

After this disturbance I felt it was time to feed again so I cupped in more pellets and sat it out catching a few skimmers on the pellet until the float slowly slid under again and I tightened into what I thought was going to be another skimmer but I immediately knew this was something much better. The 18 elastic worked it’s magic as for a good 5 minutes or so I had to gently steer the carp away from any danger. Finally after what seemed an age I managed to slip the landing net under a lovely common which weighed in at 7lb 12ozs.

My day was capped when 15 minutes later I connected with a fish, which did not fight like any of the previous carp it just bored deep. I thought it was a tench until it finally surfaced to be a dark bronze slim carp. On studying the fish in the landing net its appearance was almost that of a barbel and I guessed it must have been one of those wild carp we hear about as it seemed to have age but only weighed about 1lb.

All in all a very pleasant way to spend a Monday and I proved to myself that I can get a decent bag of fish out of peg 15 – roll on the time I draw it in a match!
Kevin Leighfield