Tommy Pickerings Top 5 Winter Tips

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 1. Wrap up warm.

Nothing improves a day’s fishing more than being warm and comfortable and for me the latest Innovations Celsius Thermal Suit is just about as good as it gets. It’s the lining of this suit that makes all the difference. The ‘hollofil’ material traps body heat, without being too restrictive to wear. I wear the two-piece underwear clothing from underneath the suit, with a microfleece or hoody providing an additional layer where required. Stay warm and dry and you’ll have a great day on the bank. That’s the secret.

2. Get on the Banjo!

The Banjo feeder is my first choice fishing setup for winter fishing, where carp, skimmers and F1s are the target. The small area of soaked pellets is just the right amount of feed and is presented in a more concentrated way than when using a Method feeder. The bait will remain within the confines of the Banjo feeder, before the pellets expand and rise up from within its walls. Soaked 2mm Fin Feed pellets from Sonubaits with a little Tiger Fish groundbait – just a handful – will see the tip going around time after time, whatever the weather.

3. Bomb’s away

When the temperature really drops and the colour drops from the water, it’s time to start thinking about straight bomb fishing. It’s easy to overfeed in cold conditions, but fishing a bomb with a fairly long tail can be a great way of catching fish in desperate conditions. My favourite hookbaits for this style of fishing are sweetcorn and 8mm hard pellets, but experiment with luncheon meat on waters where meat is used a lot in the summer.

4. Cone zone

The new Quick Cone Bait Mould is an excellent alternative to the feeder or straight bomb fishing, offering a concentrated area of soaked pellets right around the hookbait. The smaller size will come into it’s own when winter is upon us, and on pellet-dominated waters could be the answer on tricky days for catching bigger carp. Ideal for open water situations.

5. Choose your hooks carefully

There’s always good reason to scale down in cooler conditions, but don’t do it at the sacrifice of landing big, bonus fish. A PR36 in a size 18 suits my fishing most of the year, but dropping down to a 20 can sometimes provide me with more bites on winter days.  Don’t neglect the finer PR27 when open water fishing, and remember those PR38s when fishing tight to islands or snags, which are always good winter holding spots.