Catching For Fun - Finley Todhunter

Finley recalls a recent day-session where he managed to bank a couple of carp during very tough conditions. Over to Fin to tell the story...

"Well, we are well and truly into winter now. The trees are bare and we’re lucky if we get 7 hours of daylight at the moment, which isn’t ideal when you’re only planning on fishing day-sessions.

I arrived at the lake for a very quick day-only session just as the sun was coming up over the horizon. The gear was quickly loaded onto the barrow and I began my walk to the lake. My heart sunk as soon as I managed a glimpse of the water; it was frozen over and had a solid lid. Most people would be very tempted to head home, but I continued on my walk around the lake towards a swim that I had a good hit of fish from last winter. I say ‘good hit’ I mean two or three fish, but that was great fun on a day session, especially in the depths of winter! Here’s to hoping for a similar result today!

As I was setting up, the early-morning sunlight and wind helped the ice to melt – although it did feel like it was taking forever, I was buzzing to get the rods out! One rod was 2-rod lengths from the bank and the other a short overhead chuck to a deep bowl area next to the dam. Although the sun was out, it didn’t make much of a difference to the temperature and can’t have been much higher than 2 or 3 degrees! With that, I decided it would be a good idea not to introduce any bait what so ever, as I had a feeling that it would have a negative effect on the fishing. Within the next hour, I had seen some activity of fish but the rods remained motionless. At that moment I wondered if the fish were up in the layers, so I put a short 3ft zig on in hope of out-witting one that way!
5 minutes after casting the zig I had a very twitchy indication from my alarm. All of a sudden it went into meltdown as the fish charged for the snags. After a bit of ‘two and throw’ with an angry carp, it seemed to become a competition of who could pull harder, which isn’t the easiest of things for me because I’m rather small – but we got there in the end! I was confident that I would not have a hook pull as I had sharpened the hook with the ‘Diamond hook file’. By this point I was beginning to shake and get nervous, I could tell it was a good fish but since the lake record is just over 20lb it made it even worse. Shortly after a common rolled at the net and as soon as I seen its tail I noticed it was the ‘big common’ It’s not the biggest in the lake but what a great result, I was on cloud 9! In fact I still am now as I’m writing this article!

I lifted the fish onto the mat and at that moment I realised it was my first ever December carp and what a fish to do it with. After a short video and a couple of photos for my YouTube blog series (Fishing With Fin), it was time to slip her back.

The day continued with no activity so I took the opportunity to do some filming of the beautiful scenery and what tactics I was using. Fishing doesn’t half make you hungry, well it does for me and whilst cooking myself some food I managed to set a pan of rice on fire – scary stuff! With the fire put out, I sat back in hope of another bite before it was time to pack up. After seeing a fish roll on my spot, I started to film my rods to see if I could capture the bite on camera and just after 30 seconds after clicking record the inevitable happened! BEEEEEEEEEP!

After a short battle, a little mirror was scooped up in the net! I was buzzing, two fish on a short day session in these cold conditions was a right result!

The light was fading quickly so I packed up before filming the fish to end the video. If you would like to see the session from a video point of view, head over to my YouTube channel ‘Fishing with Fin’."

  • Catching For Fun - Finley Todhunter