IT’S time for our must-read Sunday blog. Every Sunday we welcome coarse fishing all-rounder Colin Mitchell.

For many years Colin was a senior Angler’s Mail magazine staff man and he has enjoyed a long, interesting journalism career.

He understands match fishing, pleasure fishing, carp fishing – the lot.

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EVERYTHING was right. And end to the cold weather was forecast, a warm day, overcast… the fishing was going to be bang on. At least that was the theory.

Once again I am going to have to learn to stop wearing blinkers, forget about some of the fishing ‘certainties’ and last, but not least, stop being a slave to the Met Office weather app!

Temperatures had gone up for three days on the bounce. Always a good sign for fishing. I went to bed my head filled with hope. I was up on time, drew back the curtains and… there was a hard, white frost! Even worse the sun was already out! A sudden frost and bright weather usually equals rubbish fishing. My heart sank. But I’d promised to pick up Mike and he is always ready for his fishing I had to load up the car, grab some bait and go.

It was a choice of a local venue with big perch – forget that with the sun so bright, unless the stripeys had invested in some dark glasses – or a water where I felt we might get a few bites.

First fish of the session

So Finch Farm it was. There are plenty of all species in this venue between Maidenhead and Bracknell and, if all failed, surely the gudgeon and small roach would have a go. We got there to find just two guys at the bottom end, strategically placed out of the wind. The Anaconda snake lake was still covered in ice and there was cat ice in places on the main lake, where we decided to fish. I knew a swim just near the end of the island was a fraction deeper than other spots and would offer some shelter from the bright skies.

A pinch of micro pellets and just half a dozen maggots cupped in tight and then a red and white maggot on the hook, a small 18, push over to the far bank rushes, which had not yet burst into Spring life. Fifteen minutes after starting a dinky little carp was on the bank. Nice…at least no blank. Then I had one of the customary goldfish (three wishes for each one according to fishery manager Lech. It doesn’t work, the Lottery numbers never came up). As the sun got higher my jacket came off, the bites became more regular and I topped up the feed more frequently.

Mike had started with a small carp and then added a chunky goldfish. We then both caught regularly through the day, mostly goldfish, various carp, a few rudd but surprisingly none of the bream I had expected. And later in the day what I thought was a really nice carp turned out to be a decent tench between 3 lb 8 oz and 4lb. In all I reckon I had more than 30lb, excellent on a day that should have been difficult and a tenner well spent.

A surprise tench rounded the day off nicely for Colin

So what went wrong? (Or should that be what went right?).

My theory is that the sun warmed up the fish, got them stirring. The hotter it got the more the fish felt like feeding – a bit like us humans feeling better with a bit of sunbathing. It was so noticeable that as the day got warmer the more I had to loose feed to keep the fish interested and the more frequent that bites became.

I’d seen this in the past when the usual best spots – the ones with overhanging trees – on canals were rubbish after hard frosts like this and the open water swims, where the sun hit first and strongest, were best for bites.

It’s because fishing is so unpredictable that we love it so much and when a good day like this comes out of the blue it makes it even more worthwhile. Mike and I are now also of the opinion that Finch is one of those venues where you can virtually guarantee to catch no matter what the conditions.



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SUPERB British made match tackle, and a fantastic Action Replay, where rising match star Brad Gibbons targets silver fish before switching to specimen carp.  All in this week’s TOP VALUE Angler’s Mail!