Winter carping is good for your ‘elf!
19 December 2016
There’s nothing like a festive carp fishing session to invigorate you. Arctic wind and regular hail showers didn’t put me off. All wrapped up and armed with some of my own boilies that I’m testing, I was eager to get a bit of time on the bank to see if I could tempt a fish from its winter slumber. Any fish in these conditions would be a triumph.
I have a privileged position being on the fishery most days and have been trickling a bit of bait into a couple of spots I fancied. Priming a swim beforehand is a great tactic if you have the opportunity, especially if your time on the bank is limited.
With the cold weather and less activity in the water, all the colour had gone. At this time of year our lakes go gin clear, and this is typical of lakes up and down the country. With this is mind, I tied up some fluoro-carbon leaders and hooklengths. Fluoro-carbon refracts light on the same wavelength as water making it near invisible in the clear water. It also benefits from being very stiff and has great anti-tangle properties which means you can use slightly longer hook lengths, getting the hook bait further away from your lead set-up.
Another consideration at this time of year is debris on the lake bed. Our lakes are surrounded by trees, which is very pleasing on the eye and makes for a very attractive fishery, however the down side is the leaf and branch litter being blown into the water by the autumn winds.
PVA foam nuggets protect the hook from picking up debris and allows the hookbait to settle gently on the lakebed, especially on those longer hooklengths.
Bait choice requires a bit of consideration too. The bait I’m using is ideal for cold water, it’s a high leakage, high energy seed based bait flavoured with strawberry attractors which I make myself.
Short underarm casts are all that is required to get the baited rigs onto the spots. The tips of the rod are pointed down into the water to keep the line out of the wind, and a slack line is employed to keep the leader pinned to the lake bed.
As I got settled, with hot coffee and mince pie in hand, the right-hand rod screams off! The fish tears around the swim and I must let him do his thing. This one is full of energy and not willing to give-up without a fight, which is unusual for this time of year as they tend to be a little more lethargic.
Finally, I managed to drop it into the net. Ten minutes into the session, 11lb 6oz Common – job done! This turned out to be the only action of my 4-hour session, I packed my barrow with a huge grin on my face. A beautiful carp in freezing conditions caught on your own bait – it doesn’t get much better than that!
Some of your kind words...
A brilliant stay as always. We stayed in a cottage this time which was beautiful and very well equipped. Lots of lovely little touches with a welcome hamper and lots of board games. Hubbie was well impressed with the huge TV too. Loved the courtyard and we were lucky enough to have the weather to BBQ 2 of the days. All the staff from reception to the shop to the entertainment were friendly and very accommodating of both my girls. Used the chippy which has recently changed hands and the food was still great. There is lots to do, loved the swimming, the zip wire, the park and walk in the woods and around the fishing lake. Have to be honest though we missed the caravan...... will definitely be back, hopefully in the Fernworthy van with the hot tub.
Had an amazing weeks holiday. The park was immaculate, the outdoor pool was spotless and the cleaning blocks were cleaned regularly. All the staff were very helpful and the shop on site was reasonably priced. We went with two kids (aged 6 and 7) and our dog, the kids were never bored and had an amazing holiday. We will definitely be returning next year!
My family and I stayed for 5 nights in July, aged between 13 and 40 and we all had a brilliant family stay. The teenagers loved the outdoor pool and the woods and we all loved the donkeys. I’ve been coming here since I was a child and it’s still got a lovely relaxing atmosphere and has all the facilities you could want for a camping holiday. I must say the fish and chip shop is the best we have ever had at a holiday park, reasonable prices and good sized portions. We have booked to come back again on 25th August for a week and can’t wait!
I visited when my relatives came over from Canada and fell in love. I was lucky enough to stay for a week last August for my sons 2nd birthday. It has got to be one of my favourite places to go. Absolutely beautiful, quiet, good facilities, lovely restaurants. The staff are outstanding. I can't wait to come back again this year!
Stayed in campervan for a weekend. Great campsite good location, plenty of things for all to do. Great fishing lakes all in a short walk through the woodland to the lovely Dawlish Warren and Dawlish. Couldn't fault.
Highbridge, United Kingdom
We have had a wonderful experience, the site is very clean, ALL the staff were friendly and helpful especially the bar supervisor, entertainment was second to none, we'll 100% return...
The Warren Family
I just want to say how impressed my fellow Motorhomers and Caravaners were with the welcome and service we received during our stay. Staff in the office were polite and helpful at all times. Scott the restaurant manager was most accommodating when I enquired about reserving space for 25 to 30 of us for lunch after a walk. The service in the restaurant was speedy the food hot and varied. We were very pleased with the standards. Staff in the restaurant were cheerful and polite and helped make our meal most enjoyable. We had such a good time that we will be returning again next year for our Xmas Rally.
The best holiday park we've been to in our motorhome. Our children aged 2 and 4 loved it. Great facilities, entertainment and activities in one of the best parts of Devon!
Delicious fish and chips, friendly and helpful staff and delightful woodland.
Suze - Cornwall
Good location and dog walking, we'll be back and it can't come quick enough.
David - Portsmouth.
Loved the Zumba class! Can't wait to come back!
Elise - Exeter.
A* facilities, always very clean. The pool and food offer great value for money!
Stayed in Honeysuckle Cottage, stunning views over the Exe Estuary.. fantastic place for a family holiday
Ian - Australia.
My little girls aged 2,3 and 5 loved the entertainment.. all they can remember is fun, fun and more fun!
Anonymous - Cheshire.
Quiet and relaxing in a stunning location.. Can't wait to return
Ethan R, Burnham-on-Sea
We usually camp 3 times a year and hire a caravan after the Christmas break at Cofton, and will continue to do so. We thoroughly recommend staying there. Great for families or just the 2 of you.
Jilly B, Cheltenham
Go for swimming and food at this fabulous holiday camp... facilities A-star so clean and just great value for money would defo use over and over again which I do.... I'm a regular visitor. Dip and dine always good option as the food and snacks are fantastic in the bar cafe area near swimming pool!
Excellent toilet block and lovely hot showers. The on site pub was spot on with really friendly staff..
Joan L, Bromsgrove
The superbly equipped Woodside Cottage was beautifully clean with a fantastic Hot Tub. Waking up to horses and cows in the rear field.. stunning!
So friendly and clean, it’s a home from home and we couldn’t go a year with a visit!
Bernice Procter, Swindon
I always pay a visit to Amelia's Pantry, you can just Relax, Indulge and Enjoy!
‘Wonderful facilities, especially the swimming pools! In a lovely setting, for us it is simply the best campsite we have found.’
Margaret Hayes, Leeds
We have been coming to Cofton since 2009 and have stayed at least 12 times. We love everything about Cofton: the location and scenery in and around the park, the quality and cleanliness of accommodation, the friendly welcoming atmosphere; Everything about Cofton is great!
Ethan Robinson, Somerset
‘Dog walks, cycling, lovely country pubs… It suits our every need’
Kay Hancock, Bristol