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Bespoke Baits 

Using nature's

shapes

Welham Winter Wonderland 

Having spent many years fishing local with very few rewards I thought it would be a good idea to take a winter ticket on a venue that has some winter form.
Having visited Welham twice before I was familiar with its layout, fish stock and the fact that it was good for a few fish in the winter I took the plunge. 
I wasn't able to get down and fish my first session until mid November. I dropped into peg 6 and fished Bespoke Baits Winter Bite Snatchers on two rods and my own Cell Banoffee Wafters on the last. 
By 8am in the morning I was four fish to the good including a nice 20 pound common and had lost 2 due to  them kiting behind the tree to the left hand side. The Bite Snatchers winning against the Banoffee Wafters but only just.
The following week I returned but fished from the New Dam Wall. One small fish saved the blank during the night. I had a wander in the morning and found what looked like most of the fish slowly cruising about in Stalking. I returned with one rod and a net almost certain to catch but could not tempt a bite. I even had them taking floaters but not the one with hook in it.
The following week was much same I fished in Dam Wall during the night but blanked this time and found them again in Stalking in the morning. 
A much more constructed approach was going to be needed. I ended with three rods in and around them, one of which had a large worm on a floro  carbon hooklink found under a nearby log. I stood on the mound watching as they cruised passed my baits - an amazing site as I'm sure all of the stock were in this swim. 
Home time was drawing near and still no signs of a bite. One bait I hadn't tried was my Grub hook baits. Searching in my bag I found a jar of Red Wafter ones. I threaded one on to a IQ2 D Rig and cast well past where the fish were. I gave the rig a min to settle then plucked it out of the silt and carefully laid it at the far side of the fish. A bit slack on the bobbin and jumped up on the mound again to gauge their reaction. Still they just wanted to cruise up and down. Then one of those moments when think why has that alarm bleeped it's not meant to happen. The newly cast Red Grub was tightening up after only a min in the water. A nice mid double common taking a liking to the red grub and saving what was looking like the first blank of the winter. 
So the pattern continued, I would normally fish in the deepest end for the night as it looked like they came in to that end during darkness. Then pack the bed and bivvy away and go looking for them in the morning. 
End of January we did see some snow and saw me rushing down the A19 to try and catch a snow carp. With an accident on the way into Malton a hairy drive on an untreated back road soon had me pulling up in Welhams car park. 
A strong breeze made fish spotting very difficult so I dropped into New Peg 10 (old 9). This would give two options. First intercepting fish moving to and from the deeper end. Second being close to pegs 11 and 12, an area that the fish seemed to like being in during the day time. 
The night did not provide any fish and I woke to a bright windy cold day. The ground was frozen solid around my bivvy. Finding them was going to be hard in this wind. 
Then just before 9am and bivvy collapse time a Green Cell Camo Cocoon that had been sat all night 10 yards off the corner of the island had been picked up by one of the ever faithful Welham Commons. No need to go looking blank was saved.
My first blank did not come until early February when the lake froze in front of me and I decided to wind in at 9pm to save any dramas in the morning. I wasn't complaining as I had had a great run up till then and comparing it to other years 14 fish during the winter was a massive achievement in my eyes.
Out on the boat breaking Ice the following weekend was an eye opener as what you would think is a flat silty bottom turns out to be more like an upturned egg box, with holes that the fish have dug right down to expose rocks were clearly visible. Deep holes around the Island will be great food gathering areas and with Gaz cutting trees right back in some areas will be great new fish catching spots.

I had purchased two tickets so I could drag a mate along now and then and was out done on one occasion by some old ex soldier named Tony Carter. Tony managed to bag himself a new PB and what was really interesting going out in the boat to replace his rig he noticed all his freebies were still there and this common had picked up his Floro Pop Up first.

With only a couple of weeks left and only one possible chance to fish I would just like to thank Carl, Gaz and his wife Louise for their help and hospitality. I can recommend the venison steaks and those chickens produce the best tasting eggs I have ever tried, make sure you have one with your breakfast.
Martin