I've had a long lay off over winter even though it's been mild compared to recent years due to circumstances, I started to get the urge around the end of February when things finally settled down.
Normally when I'm not fishing all my spare time is used up tying rigs & hook lengths but for someone like me who does nothing at all around the house I have not had a spare moment so didn't touch a spool of line until the beginning of March. After a couple of weeks making rigs & hook lengths I got done what I needed, it seems it's starting to get more time consuming making rigs, tying loops & hooks one handed but I have the use of my index finger on my right hand so it could be worse.
This blog covers a trip to Side Farm & 3 trips to Pond 5 Aston KJS.
Our first trip this year was at Side Farm, we called for bait on the way & got to the fishery about 7.30 the car park was empty so we had the pick of the pegs. I had number 6 Les was on 5 we were a bit close to say we had the place to our selves but on a Friday we expected we wouldn't have too much company & we could have a chat.
My rig was a Rizov pencil float 0.3grm .12 line to a .10 hook length with a B611 18 elastic a doubled Midi 4 to 6, I didn't expect anything over a couple of pound so this should be more than enough. Baits were maggot, micros & expanders.
I knew what the depth in this pond is so had a quick bob around with a plummet as always & found 3ft to my right at 8mtr it slowly shallowed about 4" 3 mtr to the left. I put a few pellets left & a few dead maggots right, starting with maggot hook bait in the right hand swim first I had no indications after 5 mins lifting the float every 20 seconds or so, I thought a extra couple of inch worth a try when I came back the very end of the maggot was nipped. A couple of inches added & a few more maggots in the kinder another 5 minutes still nothing so dragged my rig over the pellet line after a few minutes it dawned on me I was about 7" over depth, I have never felt comfortable so much over depth on the pole so I had to move. I'd marked the float on my pole but didn't want to fiddle with my set up so fed the maggot line again dropping my hook at the same rate as the loose feed just at the last second moving the float to stretch out the laid on line.
Within a few seconds a bite resulting in a small Roach 2 or 3 ounce followed by a couple more, I had my first Ide after thirty minutes & it got quite hectic then as quick as they came it seems they had gone.
I had a feeling I'd not fed enough so put a 200 ml pot of dead maggots in & had a coffee I gave it a few minutes, having a word with Les he was having the exact same trouble as me with fish comming & going.
I was aware I should have fed at least another line but I just couldn't be bothered I never fed the margin either but a couple of chaps were fishing to our right in the high pegs that were fishing the margin & doing nothing so I left that alone as well.
After my drink the fish had returned with Ide to a pound & a half with the odd Skimmer of 10 ounce or so but they went again, this kept happening through the day & I knew I would be busier with another line but still couldn't be bothered. I had mostly Ide a few Skimmers & 2 nice Crucians all on maggot apart from the Crucians, most of what Les had were on pellet.
It was a bit stop & start all day but both Les & me had roughly the same 15 to 20 lb so it was worth the trip as far as I was concerned

Next I was at Aston, it's the only place I go on my own so it's becoming a bit of a favourite for me even though I only started fishing here because it's flat banks with no real walking, having said that the car park at the end I like to be is a bit of a mess with the new building that's going up so I will avoid it in future for a while.
Any way the first of the three trips was at peg 34 I like this peg because of the pipes on the island opposite, the fish congregate there they also hang round peg 1 at the pipes across the same as 34. these pegs are best fished with the pole but even though the fish are mostly Carp from 8oz to 3lb plus Barble from 6oz to a pound given half a chance they'll snag you up so careful.
Personally I cant fish the pole above 8 mtr so the method does it for me.
Today though with the over night frost I used a small scoop feeder that I get from 6am tackle the 6mm pellet almost fills the feeder, so just a pinch of micros in the feeder + banded pellet a few more pellets to hold the hook bait or dead maggot with a 18 hook.
I had an Ide of about 8oz first cast on maggot then a few small Carp but not really alive with fish like normal, I put that down to the bit of frost. Tony the bailiff came round the bank with tickets & asked how I was doing, he was surprised when I said struggling he told me the open was won with 67lb from this peg on pellet either side of the gap in the reeds across. That cheered me up no end, in the middle of summer I normally fish 8 or 9 hours when the fish are going bonkers & the tip is ragged round before I can get the line tightened & at best I recon 50lbish is all I can manage.
By the way I finished with around 10 or 12lb so I've a long way to go ha ha.

Second at Aston I avoided the obstacle course & had a go in peg 36 now I said this place is flat but not this end. It's got a ramp which it's just a gentle slope but for me it's quite steep, but with the help of my gaffer I don't have too much trouble.
another very good swim for anyone else but me with pipes out of my reach, they're about 10 or 11 mtr to the left running under the ramp through to peg 60 another good peg also not in reach for me.
It was forecast a nice day so I fancied another day with the pole, fishing at 5 mtr it's a nice 4ft deep with 18" in the margin that can be good in fact I love the margins at this place.
Rigs today then Rizov pencil float .12 line .10 hook length with a B611 16 finished with doubled 4 to 6 elastic for the 5 mtr swim.
A small inline Rizov .2 float .14 line to a .12 hook length a 16 B911 with doubled 6. Bait for both swims micros & 4mm expanders.
I started off with my usual cup of damp micros @ 5 mtr then marked my margin swim with the top 2 + 2 by laying my kit on the reeds to bait by hand, that done I went to the 5 mtr line with expander bait, normal lift & drop tactic first few seconds a small Skimmer 4oz this carried on for a good couple of hours with Skimmers & Ide plus a small Tench about a pound. As the morning got warmer the bites slowed as the fish came up in the water, I'd paid attention to my feeding dumping a large kinder pot of pellet every 4 to 5 fish trying to keep the fish down but it hadn't worked. I had no intention chasing Ide up & down so put the 5 mtr rig down & tried the margin.
I fed a few pellets followed by the rig but it wasn't looking good after 1/2 an hour no signs at all, I tried a JPZ that did nothing to change things. Another wonder bait I have no success or confidence in.
So I had the idea a large 200ml cup of pellet might hold them better than a few at a time, I put down the margin rig & dropped a cup full of micros @ 5 mtr back over the same swim, gave it ten minutes & next drop they seemed to be back I was getting either a Ide or the odd Skimmer,
After the bites dried up I fed a big cup again this is mostly how it went until I went home with Ide Skimmers & a few small Carp 6 to 8 oz. A reasonably good day I though, at a guess I had 15 to 20lb

My third trip at Aston there was a chap in 36, I could have gone in peg 60 but walk up the bank two pegs to 38 there was a chap 41 so I thought here would do.
My plan was to be a carbon copy of my last trip 5 mtr start plus the margin, just to save on bait I've decided not to feed both sides in the margin & only one at 5 mtr as it seems only one side in the edge works for me.
Feeding a big cup at 5 mtr then a big cup in the margin I went to 5 mtr with my expander hook bait after a few minutes I had my first bite but never reacted at all. Next drop another quick bite missed so did my normal add a couple of inch more to the depth, this worked again as it invariably does I had a decent few hours feeding only when bites started to slow, but after a while I thought a change was a good idea even though I was still catching at 5 mtr. It was interesting to me that dumping a big pot of pellet kept them on the bottom where I prefer.
I'd been feeding a few pellets for nearly three hours so was confident. With a expander on the hook I fed micros lowered the pellet over the feed & hooked a Ide. I had an hour of this with a fish almost every drop but it was time for a rest & a sandwich.
After about 40 minutes sat in my chair watching other anglers & feeding my margin I was back on my box first drop back I had a Skimmer 2 1/2 lb then a Carp 2lb it seemed the swim was alive I gave my wife a call about 5 oclock she came & help me finish putting away my gear & we were off home.
A good day by my standards at a guess I had around 30lb.