January 40 for Ash

January 40 for Ash

Who says fishmeals don’t work in winter?

For the last few years I’ve not switched or changed my bait when it comes to my winter fishing.

The limited time I do get to fish through the winter, I’d rather use a bait that’s been applied through the warmer months.  At that stage the fish have been well conditioned to feeding on your chosen boilie. In my case the Sea Monsta!


Feeding the correct amount and in the right places is far more important at those crucial times. Even in winter there are small feeding window. 

Especially when certain moon phases combine with a big weather system or a prolonged period of slightly milder conditions arrive!

The most recent January full moon saw all those factors combine together and falling on a Friday night! 

Waking up on the Friday morning seeing a big full moon setting across the fields out the front of our house. Then clicking on the nemesis that is Facebook, only to see Charlies Mate from Frimley being landed at a whopping 55lb.Tthat got me thinking I really need to be out in this! 

The last full moon I managed to fish was November. That time I was fortunate enough to catch Orange Spot at 39.04. The time before that in May with Blind Eye at 40.11. Its clear the Top Lake has a real track record for producing on full moon phases.


I don’t normally fish in the month January due to work commitments, with the Carp Shows just around the corner! This year we had decided to concentrate on targeting 50 shops for the Cornz by the end of spring! 

Whilst putting more effort into the media side of the business, oh and a new website for Tails Up & Ashbury. This gave me a small window to do a quick night!

Arranging child care for the afternoon, I soon found myself sat in the office Friday morning thinking, yep there’s a chance to do the night! 

A quick look in the freezer. Fortunately, there was some boilie prepped from my last trip in November.

After the bait is rolled I prep it with the matching liquids and powders before then freezing.  As the bait thaws it sucks all that extra attraction into the bait. 

I believe this is an edge at all times of year but especially in the winter months. The release of attractors is slower due to the cooler water temperatures, meaning when the feeding window opens your bait is still realising a steady stream of attraction.

This brings me back onto why I don’t change my choice of boilie for my big carp fishing in the winter.  

On the The Top Lake, I’ve fished a similar way for the last few years and applied a lot of Sea Monsta boilie during that time. In winter I use plenty of crumbed boilie, a mix of pellet and corn plus extra liquids and powders. 


The Slick Oil liquid is a blend of oils and extracts, not just fish oils so its use is more suited to 12 months of the year.

The Sea Monsta powder is a blend of all the best bits that go into the bait at low levels. Things like Crayfish meal, Shrimp Meals, Seaweed Extracts, GLM, Himalayan Rock Salt and other products cover many different attractive and nutrient rich amino acids. A blend I first put together over a decade ago and I religiously apply it to my bait!

There I am at work. Its now 3pm, thinking I really need to get on the road. With the new Ashbury Website Live and the majority of the work completed. I threw the gear into the van, nipped home to drop the dogs off, as they are now getting old and prefer to be tucked up on the sofa with the cat for company!

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A few supplies picked up en route. As the light was fading, opening the gate, dressed in my normal clothes with none of the normal winter clobber on, thinking “wow its mild”! 

With only 3 of us booked on for the night and having just been informed James couldn’t make it as he was not well. The dreaded lurgy has been brutal this winter so far, but lets not go down that rabbit hole!

Anyway, as George wasn’t due down for a few hours I knew I had some time to watch and listen to where the fish were. As darkness fell and the moon rose, it wasn’t long before the first show and then another. Half a dozen shows later, I began to get my bits together and think about where to place my rigs. 

With experience, I have plenty of spots marked out at various horizons. Given the areas I had heard fish show, even in the moonlight due to the A12 lights, it was fairly easy to spot exactly where they were. 

Not to everyone’s taste but where I can, I use a bait boat as it means I can deposit a small amount of bait quietly and right in amongst them. For me its no different to using a long pole but more efficient time wise.  I’m not just dropping and hoping. Many of the spots I have are based on fish showing previously.

I spend the next day markering those areas to find the real money spots. Sometimes it can be a few rod lengths away but I’m looking for a certain type of spot depending on the time of year and where they have been showing.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get good drops from 2 out of 3 rigs. I decided to leave them for while just in case the fish showed in different areas later that night. 

Standing like a scare crow for several hours watching, listening. George had arrived and set up opposite me, to the right.

At this point I was already getting itchy feet and it must have been nearly 11pm when I decided to reposition one of my rods. Doing so George rang me to say “have you seen them fish showing” to which I replied I’m just about to wrap a rod up now, however while your on the on the phone let me know if I’m at the right distance. 

As the boat hit the clip he said a bit further. As I’d clipped up at 3 slightly different distances, I let the first clip out and the second was bang on the money where they had been showing. I have an app that makes this so much easier as it gives you a guide as to where to start and its very very accurate.

Given that George was opposite me I could use the angle from his swim to the horizon marker, to the angle from my swim and work out the distance relative to that, effectively triangulating the spot. Easy right! 

The first drop landed soft. I decided to wind another rod in and place it just to the right but drop it a rod length closer, on my first clip. Dropping the rig with a good thud on the rod tip, it was game on! 

Some nights you just turn in and go to sleep! Not this night though, there was a sense of optimism, almost nervousness! Even though it was January, only something an angler will experience I believe, a big moon, moody conditions with the chance of a big fish!


Enjoying a fire and a couple of beers, we sat chewing the fat, talking shite as normal. Around 1.30am one of the rods was away! 

Buzzing to get a bite! It wasn’t long before a known common of around 30lb lay in the net! 


However during the fight it had picked up the other rod fished on the same zone, that came in covered in horrible black silt weed! 

Having not used my time wisely, I found myself with no hook baits or pva bags tied. It was probably an hour later before both the rods were back out there fishing. 

This time I wrapped them both up at the same distance, receiving mega drops on both. The excitement only grew as I knew I had a real chance of catching one off my list! 

Around 4am, having tied loads of pva bags and fresh hook baits, I was sat there thinking I really need to put up my bedchair and get some sleep!

For some reason over the next few hours I kept drifting in and out of light sleep before finally awakening to what I thought was a dream. The rod that had been wiped out was away! 

Kiting hard to my left, this fish knew what it was doing. However, I soon had it under control. As she begun to come up the shelf  she powered off again, right out back into the lake. 

I found myself back winding without any real control before she just stopped and I gradually brought her back towards me! In the moonlight, wallowing towards the net, that unmistakeable sound of a big fish. I watched her slide over the net and soon switched the head torch on to see my prize. Secretly hoping to see a big golden common, called Bruce

James with Bruce | 42.10 from Ashbury Fsiheries Top Lake 


It wasn’t Bruce but as I turned it on its side I could see it was the biggest mirror in the lake, known as Sparkies Sister

Letting out a little high pitched cry of  “my first January 40s in the net”. To my surprise George soon replied from the other side of the lake! 

At the time I didnt think it looked that big in the net, that was until we laid her on the mat! It was massive,  we were rather excitedly discussing exactly just  how big.



On the scales she went 45.04!  Sparkies Sister, A new current lake & venue record for The Top Lake


Products Used

Tails Up | Boilie Products

Sea Monsta Fresh Frozen Boilie

Sea Monsta Slick Oil

Sea Monsta Liquid Extract

Sea Monsta Powder

Sea Monsta Amino Pellets

Sea Monsta 3in1 Pellets

Tails Up | Hook Bait

Sea Monsta 14mm Hard Hookbait

Sea Monsta Bait Spray

Sea Monsta Hookbait Powder

Cornz | Little | Yellow


Korda | End Tackle 

Krank s4, Spinner Swivel

20lb IQ, Lead Clip, 

4oz Heli Lead


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