Free fishing on Christmas day at Barlow

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When I opened the bedroom curtains early last Sunday morning, my garden pool was totally frozen over, not a good sign – as I was planning a maggot bash on my local ponds.

As most readers will know by now, I’m based at Barlow Fisheries, where the winter fishing can be rewarding if you time it right.

Experience shows midday to 3pm is the most productive time for a bite or three.

I’ve even caught roach on the drop when half the pond has been frozen over, not to mention the annual ‘January Tench’ sessions, where banking a tench has been managed three out of four years.

I failed last year, but it was extremely cold if you remember!

But when ponds are frozen over, I’m not one to start breaking the ice.

In my opinion, smashing through a layer of thick ice can’t do the fish any good.

As a fish keeper, tapping a fingernail on the glass of my fish tank shows how the fish are disturbed by vibration.

It must be quite a shock to their system to have lump hammers, gym weights and heavy chains crashing through their icy roofs.

If your favourite lakes are frozen over, there are always rivers to have a crack at.

Steep banks can be very dangerous, so take extra care this time of year; as one fishery manager, who shall remain nameless, but for arguments sake we’ll call Steven, found out recently.

Wading through the brook, he tangled his feet in a tree root and flopped face first into the wet stuff.

After a few expletives, well a lot of expletives really, he said the water was a little cold and had to go home for a hot bath and a change clothes.

Of course, nobody laughs when someone drops in… much! Deep joy!

It was deep too!

So, for me, it was a relaxed walk around the banks and chance to share a cup of tea with Rex Ward, the fishery owner.

He tells me that new midweek winter open matches have been planned for the matchmen, £10 all in.

He also reminded me that anyone wanting to try out their new fishingtackle, it’s free fishing on Christmas Day!

You’ll be surprised how many anglers sneak in a couple of hours with new poles or fly rods… ahem!

Have a fin-tastic Christmas! Tight lines and best wishes.