The bluish black backs of the carp I’d been watching slowly drifted away from me and under what appeared to be an island of trash and some sort of scum. It was as if they had eyes on their tails and had spotted me watching them as they moseyed along the shallow water. My hands were cold and uncomfortable not to mention, covered in sweet corn juice. Besides the short warm spell we had recently, it has been bitterly cold. This is how I ended up here, watching these fish. While most of my regular spots have been ice-free for a while, it was here I felt I had the best chance of hooking up.
I made my way around the bank, trying to understand where exactly it was that these fish were hiding. Eventually I found them again grouped up behind a fallen log. From behind some small birch trees, I carefully tossed in a handful of sweet corn to gauge their reaction. Even with a few grains within an inch of their lips, they showed no interest. Could I really blame them? I imagined myself in the same position as these fish, cold and seeking comfort. Meanwhile, some jerk comes along and tosses a handful of french fries on my face. One of the fish soon drifted away, something I could only interpret as “bugger off”. That is exactly what I did.
Looking back at last year to what seems like a much warmer winter, it wasn’t till late in March that I caught my first carp. However, seeing these fish, this early, marks a new milestone for me. This is the earliest I’ve ever been “on fish”. Having these types of early season spots is extremely valuable and I imagine the anglers who are catching consistently in the cold have paid for their ice-out spots with lots of time and blanks.
Location location location, this is a lesson I learned last season and one that I am carrying into this season. It may seem like an obvious one but what I am looking for this year is to positively establish that carp are present where I am fishing especially in places where there may not be any known captures. It’s to easy to dump a load a bait in one spot and wait for something to happen. When you blank like this you start questioning everything from your rigs to your sanity. Chances are there weren’t fish anywhere near you. You’re better off finding them so you can at least can rule out their absence as a potential contributor to your empty net. If you can see them, even better. You’ll see that they aren’t really that picky about what your hookbait is as long as they can see it.
With a winter storm headed our way it may be another few weeks before any more carpy activities take place. However, after the snow melts and the ice thaws it will be time to put all the crazy ideas and theories that have been born of cabin fever to the test.