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Tracks in the Snow

January 25, 2013

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We are nearing the end of January and the snow lies thick and crisp and even. The lakes are frozen in part, which has left us with the rivers to fish. I did a quick session as I already posted on the Marne before the freeze, with my mate Lolo and was keen to get back.

January 11th

I returned alone this time. I chose a different stretch of the Marne, but one I really like. My mate Séb was due to join me but cried off due to a bad back. The cold snap had been announced so I wanted a chance of a barbel before it arrived.

I arrived at the river around 9h15 and it looked great, slightly higher than normal, and still holding some colour. After nearly getting my car stuck on the muddy banks (thank god for 4 wheel drive & low ratio) I was able to cast out a couple of lines. The current was less than my last trip and 125g held at about 20 out.

After about three hours and a couple of bream on the pellet rod I decided to move upstream to another peg. Rods were cast back out with same baits, and within 15 mins I had a serious drop back on the right hand rod. I wound down, thinking I had lost the fish, and a nice chub rolled at my feet. It went 4lb 8oz, so I was chuffed.

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Except for another bream the rest of the session was uneventful… still no barbel in sight.

January 16th

Shaun Harrison had commented on Facebook that “with the cold weather announced it was time to get out on the banks and catch a fish in the snow, as water temps would still be good”.

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I suggested this to my mate Lolo and he agreed, it had to be worth a few hours. So, we decided to fish my little lake for a few hours to see.  It has a very high density of fish so I figured something would be feeding.

I arrived just after midday at the lake and cast out a Drennan Method feeder filled with my pellet mix and baited with a piece of Frolic dog biscuit. All was quiet for the first hour as I waited for Lolo to show up.
Then my line slackened a touch and the swinger dropped an inch or so… Ahha!! activity, as it tightened back up again I struck and felt a fish on. It didn’t do too much and soon I had a nice fat crucian carp in the net. At 5lb 11 oz I was more than happy.

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Laurent turned up finally and cast out… but apart from small tench to his rods we had no further action.

January 20th

A quick sortie with Laurent to see if we could reiterate the last trip by catching fish in the snow. This time we’d had a heavier fall and it was still coming down when we arrived. However the lake was starting to freeze over and apart from a small bream that hanged itself on Laurent’s rod, we called it a day when the rods rings started to freeze up.

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January 22nd

With the weather having calmed down a bit and the snow falls abating, a trip to the river seemed a good choice. Laurent and Seb both fancied this idea also.

We chose a stretch on the Marne we regularly fish, and despite the snow that fallen during the night, we were in place, rods cast out by 9h45. I was secretly hoping for a barbel, but a chub or two would do.

We chose our swims, spreading out a fair bit to give ourseleves the best chance. As I set up I noticed several sets of animal tracks in the snow. One was what looked like a stoat or weasel. The others were definitely a coypu. When it snows it always amazes me just how much wild life there is around the waters we fish that we just don’t notice or see normally.

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Anyway, I set up my usual pair of rods. I decided to fish one rod with the proven Quest Baits crab boilie & paste… and the second with a mashed bread and luncheon meat combo. My colleagues opted for bread.

After a short while, Seb shouted that he’d hooked a small chub.  Just as he came up to my swim to weigh it, I saw the rod top of my boilie rod bounce round. As I approached the pod it did it again so I struck and made contact with a fish. This turned out to be a small chub also and tipped the scales at 2lb 8oz.

22 jan02

Alas it was the only action I was to see. I must admit I was somewhat disappointed, the river looked great and I know the section holds loads of chub & barbel. But hey a fish in the snow was a result.

Seb managed another even smaller chub and a fish called a Nase that I’d never seen before.

Well the weather has been bitter these last few days, but milder conditions are forecast for next week.

Cheers

Gareth

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