March and it is only a matter of weeks till the official start of spring and that fact has never been so hard to believe as right now as I write this piece with Storm Doris battering at my window with her strong winds and icy cold sleet.
A huge part of my love of angling is witnessing the changing of the season’s first hand, being an all year round angler I get such a buzz from witnessing those little changes beginning to happen. At times it can be quite humorous to listen to people going about their normal day to day lives questioning when spring will arrive when in reality all the signs are all around them.
A few days ago I was on a local river chasing chub, slightly above zero degrees on the temperature and with sleet and snow flurries coming down I was amazed at what I found down a secluded river bank. A patch of Daffodil’s standing proud out of the ground with their green buds just waiting to burst into spring with those bright yellow petals.
It was a sight for me that came with mixed emotions, on one hand it meant the end of the river and pike season was close on the horizon but on the other hand a tinge of excitement was building for the sessions to come chasing carp, tench and silvers.
I am great believer in the saying “Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail” and it is a phrase that is so true in fishing. We of course hear the stories of anglers who go out pike fishing for the first time and catch a twenty pounder but these stories are usually down to sheer luck. I believe if you plan and put the time in you can get results over a sustained period and that along with a slice of luck can show positive results.
The gear for some might still be in its winter hibernation spot in the shed and thoughts of bringing it out might well of not happened yet but, for me, now is the time to begin the preparation for those sessions to come.
Here are my top spring tips for preparing for a new water…
1 Putting the Time in….
It might sound simple but it’s a hard fact with this game that there is no Substitute for time on the bank. It’s a saying that is just as true for time spent looking at a water as it is time spent behind the rods. I like to fit these visits in around work and day to day life. Got a job to do in the house and need to nip get some materials? Make sure your visit that Hardware store conveniently involves you passing the water you plan to fish. Remember it only takes you a second to spot a showing fish or fish activity that can help you later on.
Time spent on a venue gives you a feel for the place and you do click with some venues and not with others, building a rapport and getting to know the daily cycle of your venue can really help in building that picture before you even wet a line.
2. Visiting at the Right Time….
Although any time spent on your chosen water is valuable time there are times of day that are consistently more productive for spotting activity. Without doubt first light and last light are these key times to visit a water. Over the years chasing silvers on waters I have lost count how many times I have visited a water a number of times in the daytime and left thinking it was devoid of fish only to return on dusk to see fish topping all over the pond or river. It is also amazing what a boost seeing fish topping can give you for your campaign to come, you know the fish are in there at least!
3. Baiting up…
Baiting up is of course a deadly tactic in getting ahead of the game but at this time of the year I like to wait till we get that rise in temperature that always comes mid to late march. The temperatures then are normally up towards double figures and this offers two huge advantages. Firstly you know there is a good chance that the fish will be moving and looking for food so that bait you have put in will be getting eaten and not just rotting on the bottom. Secondly it allows you to bait up marginal areas where you can actually see if the bait is going or not.
This year I have found a little pond I want to fish where I have heard rumours it contains carp and tench. This past week I have been feeding a deep margin with corn and pellet and on each occasion the feed has gone and on two occasions I have caught a carp tail up over the bait. Being able to see this I know corn works well, the fish are getting confident in picking it up and more importantly I know the fish are in there.
4. Watch Your Back…
My final tip is a slightly unfortunate on in it highlights the dark side of angling, well not just angling but the dark side of human nature. When waiting up or visiting a water always be wary of other anglers either having the same mind set as you or wanting to cash in on all your hard work.
There will always be that angler that is watching and noting down your spots letting you do all the hard work and you then leave your house full of excitement for that first session only to arrive to them set up in that spot you have been baiting up. It does happen so be wary.
I like to bait up on last light into dark with a few handfuls of bait in my coat pocket and of course take along the dog with you as no one questions a man walking a dog but appear on your own and all eyes are on you.
Well there are my top tips for preparing for your spring and summer campaigns I hope they help you out and tight lines for the coming sessions!! Remember Effort Always Equals Reward!
Thank you for reading