reveals his winter secrets to help you catch more carp when the weather is cold!
Getting ready to go fishing in winter can feel like a bit of a chore at times, but it can be extremely rewarding when you return home with a match win under your belt and an envelope with your winnings!
Winter fishing can really get on your nerves, especially when the fish aren’t active, you get frozen by a freak snowstorm or even worse, finish the match with the dreaded dry net. It also makes you think much more about how to catch the fish, where they will be in your peg and how to feed. Here are my TOP TIPS on how to catch more carp and F1’s in the winter months.
Where to start?
A common question often asked is where to start fishing in winter? It can differ on many lakes, but as a rule I look for deeper water on the long pole. 13 metres is a good starting point, being comfortable to hold. In the spring and summer I like to start short and work my way out, but its the total opposite in winter. I prefer to fish further out away from the bankside noise. The water clears up a lot more in winter and the fish will back away from the margins and bankside disturbance and as the fish won’t be moving much you’ll have to follow them!
I’ll plumb up with two lines at 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock. This allows me to feed two lines and hopefully keep fish coming through the match.
Sometimes you can get away with using the same rig for both lines if the depth is the same which is convenient as you can switch between the two lines. Make sure you spend plenty of time plumbing up in your swim. You want to find the deepest water that you can, there may be one part of your peg that is only 6” deeper than the rest, but this little change in depth can be an underwater feature and naturally hold fish. Any change in depth or feature you find is where you want to be fishing.
One very important part of winter fishing is marking your pole. This simple, but extremely important tip is often overlooked by anglers, it can really improve your catch rate. If you are fishing on the end of one of your sections it is easy to know the distance, but should you be fishing half way along a pole section it is an essential tip. Mark your section with either Tippex or electrical tape, this means you're fishing in the same place every time which is the most important thing when targeting carp and F1's.
You need to be fishing BANG on your feed in winter!
Getting the right rigs can mean the difference between a good day’s fishing, or a bad day’s blanking! The fish won’t be moving much in the cold weather, you’ll often find that the bites will be extremely finicky, therefore dotting down your float and using thinner, more supple line drastically increases your catch rate.
My rigs are extremely simple, for the rig line I use 0.12mm Precision Power
, coming down to a 0.3g PB Inter 3
. This float has a wire stem to make it more stable in the deeper water. Directly underneath the float is a small No.10 shot, this helps to cock the float, allowing me to read what is happening as the rig drops through the water.
The small shot under the float is a great depth marker too!
12 inches above the hook is a spread out bulk of No.9 Super Soft Shot
. The spread bulk provides a slower, more natural fall through the water, but still gets the bait down where you want it. Underneath the bulk is a 6” hooklength of 0.10mm Precision Power
down to a size 18 PR 490
hook. This fine wire hook is perfect for a soft pellet
or piece of corn
on the hook.
A soft 4mm expander or a piece of corn is Ed's go to hookbait!
Dotting your float down as low as possible will help you to connect with more fish and see more delicate indications. The bites from carp and F1’s can be easily missed if you’ve got a lot of bristle showing above the water.
Bait and Feeding
Although I won’t need to feed a lot in winter, I like to take a wide range of baits. It gives me lots of options to use when I’m fishing, which is great in winter when the fish can be picky! When fishing two swims at 10 and 2, I will often feed one swim with natural baits such as maggots
and the other with 2mm Fin Perfect Feed Pellets
and a few grains of F1 corn
. This allows me to change baits without the risk of ruining a swim by introducing more of another type of bait.
Don't overcomplicate things, but give yourself different options
I’ll kick off one swim with a pinch of 2mm pellets
and three or four grains of F1 Corn
. In winter this is enough to kick off a swim, because the fish won’t want much bait. On the other line, I will feed a few maggots and casters to see what the fish want on the day and give me another option.. For hookbaits I can use Super Expander Pellets
, F1 Corn
, maggots or casters, allowing me to chop and change until I find something that the fish want to eat.
By using a Soft Cad Pot
on the end of my pole I can introduce small amounts of bait into the swim when I ship out. The sprinkle cap on the top comes in handy, it slows down the release of pellets and give me a few chances to feed the peg in one cast. Somedays trickling in a few pellets into the swim can spur the fish on the feed.
Feeding little and often is essential in winter!
These winter tips are sure to help you to bigger and better winter catches.
Don’t stay at home just because you won’t put 100lb in your net each time you go. Get out there and work at your fishing, search for the fish and win more matches!