In all honesty I really didn't fish to the best of my abilities in the time I spent there, and I think I applied far too much bait, which in turn attracted the bream - in fact it became a running joke with a friend that I was a bream fisherman!
The fish that were coming out at this time were very few and far between and were coming to lightly boilie baited areas with single pop-ups, quite often flouro's. In retrospect my particle approach really wasn't the way; especially as it was not something I had tried and tested the previous year.
The other thing that the people braving the conditions seemed to be using was the 'Chod rig' this was really something new to me - although I was aware of helicopter rigs, 'Choddies' didn't exist to my knowledge the last time I was into carp fishing. In my mind I didn't like the thought of not being directly attached to a fish, and the angle that the rig/lead creates was an issue to me.
One thing that I was doing properly in my mind was putting in the time. I think I managed to get at least 10-15 nights on that pit before the end of March, and I had an idea of where the fish were coming out, what times of day were best for a bite, and what the few regulars that were brave enough to fish in the cold were doing. I even managed to catch a Pike at the end of one blank session!
Another thing that was working to my benefit was a side effect of my particle approach and 'bream fishing' I would often return to my old swims and find that the areas I'd been fishing were now hard or silty bottoms, but more importantly weed free! This would turn out to be an important discovery and combined with another revelation and some better weather would play a part in kick starting my season.