In recent years – April has been a really good month for me. Especially during the middle and end of the month, the weather usually starts to warm up and the fish really start to feed, although it can be feast or famine, by that I mean with the water temperatures still on the low side the fishing can either be very good or virtually as hard as during the winter.
This year with the weather over the Easter period being very cold and the postponed opening for the touring caravan residents there have been fewer anglers fishing, and the fishing has been fairly quiet on all the park lakes. There were anglers that were prepared to put a bit of effort in and except the inevitable blanks and these anglers started to pick up one or nice fish and some respectable catches, especially as the weather did start to get more spring like towards the end of the month.
The Residents Lake was, as with all the lakes initially slow. I did hear of a couple of nice carp being caught early on, but these were unconfirmed. As the month wore on several anglers had some good mixed catches of bream, small carp and silver fish as well as the odd mid-double figure carp. Kingfisher was in quite good form, particularly with its good head of silver fish.
Anglers fishing Fountain View 1 had plenty of small carp in the 5 to 6lb class on not only ‘method feeder’ tactics, but also on boilies and buzzers. My wife Claire and I had a couple of very enjoyable daytime session’s taking carp to just under double figures as well as some nice tench and bream.
Not much news from Fountain View 2 and Willow Banks other than plenty of silver fish were taken as well as a few bream, tench and one or two carp to just under double figures.The Ski Lake was quiet, but one or two reasonable fish were taken. Steve Knight had a 13lb mirror carp early in the month and I heard that a few good tench were taken, although as with most of the lakes results were a little inconsistent. One or two nice roach were taken over the pound mark, but apparently it was only in one’s or two’s.
Heronsfield was as inconsistent as ever. Here it really was feast or famine. As usual Michael Dodds put a lot of effort in and was rewarded with several carp to 13lb 8oz as well as some lovely tench, although like me had to endure a few blanks nights on the way. Interestingly all of the carp known to be caught were common carp. Also the lion’s share of fish caught (including the tench) was taken in the dark.
Canada Lake was not in particularly good form this month, with several regular anglers struggling to catch, although when the carp fed, they did feed! Towards the end of the month a couple of good catches of small carp were taken.
Grebe, Mallard, Teal and Lilly Lakes were very quiet in terms of numbers of anglers fishing during April. This may be partly due to vehicular access being restricted, which was a shame really as particularly Grebe Lake produced a few really nice fish to the anglers that were able to walk to the lakes. Like a lot of anglers I thought the newly stocked carp would be the first to feed, but in fact these smaller carp were seen and not heard (I mean caught!) They were holed up, either in the rushes or when the weather became milder was cruising around the surface. Mark Jones had a lovely common carp of 10lb 4oz (see image below) during the middle of the month and his wife Christine caught a ‘bag full’ of silver fish. I even heard of one angler catching some good carp ‘shallow’ of pellet waggler.
‘The First Match’
The first match in the 2013 series was fished on the 20th April by a full house - 23 anglers, fishing both Mallard and Grebe Lake’s. Conditions were really odd with a very hard frost first thing in the morning, followed by some lovely sunshine and quite warm temperatures. Fishing was hard for most anglers, with the top 3 places being taken with just one carp.
In 1st place was my wife Claire who was drawn on peg 5 on Grebe Lake. Claire fished her favourite method feeder tactics towards the island. She thought she was in for a bundle when she took a stunning 9lb 4oz common carp within the first 10 minutes. Although Claire fished hard all match she had no further action, but was delighted to take her first win of the summer, together with a maximum 12 points.
2nd place went to Graham Johnson who was drawn on peg 21 right in the car-park corner of Mallard Lake. Graham took one good looking linear mirror carp on the feeder early on together with a few pole caught silver fish later in the match for a total of 5lb 10oz.A very ‘chuffed’ Paul Hickson fishing his first Cosgrove match was drawn on peg 16 on Grebe Lake, as with the top 2 took a nice carp early on, followed by some pole caught silver fish to take 3rd place.
My own match was very disappointing. I was quite pleased when I drew peg 25 on Mallard, which had produced well in previous matches. I fished a method feeder for the first 3 hours without so much as a liner. I really needed to get something in the net, but couldn’t buy a bite on the float! I decided that it was to be ‘big fish or nothing’ so went back on the feeder to have just one massive wrap round. Despite the fish fighting really hard I managed to get the fish within netting range and could see it was a good common carp perhaps in the 8lb range. A couple of times it dived for the near bank rushes, but no problem, then it just dropped off – “b***er” or words to that effect. I checked my end tackle and it was perfect so it was just one of those things. I did change my hook just in case, but had no further action, so had to suffer a blank!
My own fishing this month started off this month very quietly. Actually I didn’t do any fishing for the first couple of weeks.My first night of a 2 night session in the middle of the month on Heronsfield Lake was a blank, apart from a lovely run mid-morning on the Friday. I thought I’d hooked a small tench as it thumped around out in the lake. I don’t know who was more surprised when a ‘tufty’ popped up onto the surface. I managed to land and release it without any problems. The weather was really cold and windy, but the second night suddenly came to life and from midnight to mid-morning on the Friday I took 6 tench with the best a 6lb 8oz beauty waking me from a very deep sleep at 4am.
A week later, having been trickling some bait in all week and the temperatures slowly rising, I did a two night session. I was well pleased when at 8.30pm on the Thursday evening my margin rod absolutely roared off. The carp fought really hard all the way to the bank. Not a massive fish but a stunning 12lb common was a great way to start my summer campaign on the lake. The night was quiet, but at dawn my margin swim started to produce quite well with the tench getting their heads down. I took 5 nice tench to just under 6lb up to 10am, then the swim switched off. The 2nd night again started quite well, with 2 tench and a small common about 6lb in darkness then at 5am I had what I thought was a real lunker. It fought in a very slow heavy manner reminiscent of a very big fish. I was a bit disappointed when a common carp of exactly 10lb was drawn into the net, but actually I was annoyed with myself for feeling that way, having caught such a lovely fish. I went onto to take a further 3 tench until 8am and that was that. Most of the margin caught fish of both species came to a ‘snowman’ set up, which for those that don’t know is a bottom boilie together with a fake corn or pop-up top bait on the same hair. This presentation is ‘bang on’ on several levels. The hook bait sits on the bottom like a little snowman, which if you balance the baits correctly becomes virtually neutral buoyancy making it very easy for the fish to sip the bait in. The variations in baits are endless, particularly if you mix and match the colours and flavours of the corn or pop-up ‘topper’.
As I mentioned above my wife Claire and I enjoyed a couple of daytime sessions on Fountain View 1. Actually we fished during the day between my 2 night sessions. The first session was really cold with a strong North-Westerly blowing straight at us. Interestingly when ‘method feeder’ fishing, especially in cooler temperatures I would normally advocate keeping you’re casting really tight. Claire found that the fish were all over her swim and could only catch one fish from any single spot. Working really hard to find the fish she had some lovely hard fighting carp to just under double figures.Last year I spoke about one or two anglers catching and moving pike, well already it’s happening this year. Only a couple of weekends ago I had to speak to a guy who had caught a nice pike form Heronsfield and was just about to drop it in the river (Ouse). I did inform him that not only was it illegal to move fish, but all productive natural waters around the country have a good head of pike. Contrary to popular belief they do not kill everything in the lake. They prefer to eat the dead and the dying and as such help to maintain a healthy balance of fish in the water. On a more selfish note I fish for them during the winter and if so called anglers throw away all they catch, there won’t be any left for others to catch. Also if they throw away just ‘jacks’ there will never be any to grow on to become ‘doubles’ or bigger. Un-hook them carefully and please return them from the lake they came from.
May, can be a brilliant month. The weather usually takes a serious turn for the better and the fish really start to feed, usually in preparation to spawning. It is now time to start putting some bait out. I still like to bait up on a ‘little and often’ basis and prefer not to go for a big hit of bait then wait approach. If you happen to visit the park a day or two before you fish it really is worth putting some bait out. Working on the park I am able to pre-bait several day leading up to a session.Pre-baiting need not cost a fortune, my favourite mix for carp, tench and bream is particle and pellet based, using mixed hemp, pigeon conditioner, corn, mixed pellets and chopped boilies together with various oils, which now the water is warming up really are effective. It really does work.I always take a week’s holiday during May; such is my faith in this month’s fishing and I am really looking forward to doing some longer sessions on the park.If you have any, good individual fish, good catches or any interesting stories please keep in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org