December and January aren’t normally months I’d associate with good fishing. Its normally a bit cold, the fish can be very fussy and not in the mood for chasing food. This year though, I decided to try and get out a bit more in the winter months so with my new thermal base layers, jacket and flask I’ve been up the lake pretty much every week for the last 2 months. We’ve been pretty lucky here down in Kent, the weathers been warmish, wet and very windy at times but we’ve had no snow and very few frosty mornings, all of which make it much easier to spend a few hours next to the water.
And so how has my winter fishing been? Well, its been fantastic so far. Out of 7 visits in Dec/Jan I’ve had catch rates all above 6. The action has been frantic at times, on all different types of flies fished in different ways. The key has been finding the fish but once found its been great sport.
December started off much how November ended with most fish caught on Cats Whiskers. At this time the water levels were low and clear. Towards the end of Dec we had a lot of wet and windy weather and the lake soon filled up and went a bit cloudy. After a few weeks of pulling large black lures on intermediate lines things started to change. On one morning I was fishing next to Martin who was pulling fish out every ten minutes on a black lure but I didn’t have a touch. I even tried the same fly in his spot but didn’t get a touch for the next hour. I had a hot drink and a think and decided to go back to floating line and a 3 fly setup – black nymph on the point, traffic light nymph and then a trusty FAB on the top dropper. Fished slow drifting in the breeze this instantly caught me a great 6lb rainbow…and then another 6 more including a few browns.
The next session I used the same setup from the start and had a great morning with 7 fish. The last few weeks have been much the same with a slight difference on fly on the middle dropper. I noticed a few weeks ago in the returns book someone had caught on buzzers so I decided to stick a buzzer on my middle dropper. To my surprise I had 4 on the buzzer, 4 on the black nymph and 1 on the FAB – a great morning and so nice to feel those savage takes on the buzzer. The next session was pretty much the same although I’d picked a day with 40 mph gusts! I wasn’t expecting much and could barely get a line out at times but still managed 6 with 2 falling for the buzzer.
Its only January but it feels great to be fishing nymphs properly and not relying on pulling lures, which is what I’d expect this time of year. Maybe its the warmer winter again but at this rate winter fishing will become the best time of year with summer and early autumn a real struggle.