Following the coldest December for a century, most anglers have been happy just to find an ice-free swim and wet a line as we enter 2011. For match angler Martin Preston, though, his first competitive outing of the New Year saw him go slightly better and achieve the almost impossible in the freezing condition – a match-winning bag of carp totalling over 128lb.
Fishing a winter open competition at Somerset’s Viaduct Fishery, the Dorset matchman fished against 30 other anglers to amass a grand total of 128lb 13oz.
The weight was enough to beat the second place angler by over 53lb, with Martin putting the midwinter haul down to just a couple of turns of his reel.
“I caught nearly all my fish on just a single hookbait of maggot on the lead with no feed,” Martin told AT.
“The trouble with this method, though, is that you get lots of line bits and foul-hooked fish that scare off the rest of the shoal.
“What I did was, as soon as I got a bite, I’d wind in two rotations of the reel handle. If it was a true bite, the tip would carry on going round and I would strike into the fish. If it was a line bite, though, I’d avoid foulhooking a fish and the movement of the bait would normally result in a bite.
“My best weight from Viaduct is 236lb in the height of summer, so to take over half that during one of the coldest months we’ve ever had was a great surprise,” he added.
Viaduct Fisheries’ Steve Long was also more than impressed at the weigh-in.
“It’s a stunning weight to put together at this time of year, especially given how bad the weather’s been in the last month or so,” he told AT. “The sub-zero temperatures have made the fish move to the middle of the lake and stay there, and with ice in the way you haven’t got a chance of catching them, so we’ve worked really hard to break the ice and keep it from refreezing by using aerators.
“The temperature on the water has risen ever so slightly which could have also been just what was needed to take a net of fish like this.”