Adapting To Catch More Winter Carp
Now I’m not one for sitting behind motionless rods in the winter praying for just one fish, I like to be proactive and get bites, this doesn’t mean you have to go to waters full of really small ones, it just means I pull away from my syndicates that have a lower stock, head over to some day day ticket venues where there is a higher stock and a much better chance of a couple of bites, although campaigning a tricky water throughout the winter can be rewarding at times, it’s just not for me, sometimes I may only get a day session or a quick night if I’m lucky, so I want to know im always in with a chance of getting a bite or two.
Back to Basics
One of the things I really love about fishing throughout the colder months is how simple it can be, now the location side of things will be your biggest challenge, but when I head to those slightly higher stocked lakes something normally gives the game away. You don’t need loads of bait, in fact most of the time I will just use small mesh bags of boilie crumb just to put some attraction around the hookbait, that can often be enough to get a quick bite, Also I’m not planning on being there for days on end so there’s no reason to ‘fill it in’. I try my best to keep everything as simple and effective as possible, that comes to the rig presentation as well, nothing extraordinary just a nice neat little wafter rig with a bit of shrink tube to help the hook turn over in the fish’s mouth.
Build up the swim
If I go to a venue where I feel like I could potentially string a few bites together then I will take a bit of bait with me, but first off, most importantly I need to figure out where they want it, I’ll spread my rods out around the swim casting little bags about until I can pick off a bite, the carp are never alone through the winter, being cold blooded they’re often grouped up making the most of any warmer water they can find, so if you get one, you can bet on it there will be more there to be had.
Once I have located the ‘glory hole’ then I’ll introduce a couple of spods into that area if I feel like I can get a couple of extra bites doing so, you don’t need to go mad, fish for a bite at a time, a little bit of boilie crumb goes a long way. I will use 3 different coloured hookbaits, normally a white, pink & yellow to find out if there is a specific colour they are wanting on the day, if one seems to be outshining others then I’ll change all 3 over to that colour.
A very important factor for this time of year I believe is visibility and attraction, throughout the warmer months my favoured boilies is Pacific Tuna, but as soon as the water temperatures dip below 10 degrees I move over to the Live System, mainly because of the sandy appearance it has. Although it has plenty attraction straight from the bag, I like to go that extra mile to make sure it’s working the swim for me the best it can, The way I jazz it up is by crumbing some up and adding a liquid food to it. Now I love the Roasted Nut Compound but It’s too dense to put straight into the mix for what I want to achieve, so with a bit of love and treatment I will add some warm water to it which will break it down into a milky consistency, this actually means you will get more for your money to as I only use around 30% Roasted Nut to 70% hot water, ill mix that up separately and then add it to my mix once it has been prepped. Due to the consistency of it, it binds the mix together brilliant but more importantly it will create a big milky cloud all throughout the water column and straight down to the spot which any passing carp has to investigate, where hopefully my rig is presented and waiting for them.
Get out of jail card
Now sometimes no matter how many times you move onto fish it just doesn’t happen no matter what bait you put out there, that’s due to the fish being sat up in the water, you could have the most attractive hookbait in the world and if there sat 10ft off the bottom you still won’t get a bite, so the only option is to fish where the fish are feeling comfortable, this is with the use of zig rigs, a lot of people I see now use little pieces of foam to imitate bugs or natural food within the water column, but I feel the reason they take a zig is to investigate what it is, due to them not having hands they have to use their mouth for this and by that time it’s too late, I normally use a trimmed down pop up when zig fishing because it’s a little bit different from the norm nowadays and it is also exerting lots of flavour into the water column. It takes a bit of working out where the fish may be sat within that column, but after a bit of playing when you get it right you really can reap the rewards.
Keep it fresh
One of the most important factors in my angling but even more so throughout the winter is keeping it fresh, what I mean is don’t let your angling get stale and feel like it’s a chore going fishing. You want to be able to enjoy every trip and be excited for every trip that you go on, the way I do that is to keep flitting between lots of different venues, setting myself different challenges along the way, I find when visiting alternate lakes every week or 2 that it prevents the fire from being put out and it keeps me thriving and wanting to go more.
The frosty mornings with the potential of catching a few carp is certainly more appealing to me than sitting behind motionless bobbins for days on end, the way that I look at it is them monsters you’ve been targeting on the syndicates or wherever it may be will still be there come Spring, so enjoy your fishing throughout the Winter because it can be easy to get deflated and burn out.