As we approach the months of winter it’s important to try and prepare for what lies ahead. Short days, long nights and freezing conditions make big carp fishing challenging. Unless there is a big improvement in temperatures, I rarely bother with the big deep low stock pits and instead concentrate on venues that hold a big head of carp. Venues such as Sandhurst are fairly shallow and tend to fish reasonably well, no matter how cold it gets.
Lakes such as these still require a lot of effort and although it’s still hard work, over the years I have found that with a bit of care and fine tuning it can be productive and highly enjoyable. Bait is a key factor for me at this time of year and by that I mean the amount I am feeding and where I am putting it. I will tend to fish single hookbaits until I’m getting bites and I have found an area where the fish are holding and willing to feed on. It can be surprising just how much bait you can get through during a winter once you have worked out where the fish are.
Rigs need fine attention too and for my single hookbait fishing and I always use the chod rig at this time of year. It’s great for trying to locate carp as you can regularly cast around until you get action, without having to lead around each time you want to test a different zone. I do switch to hinge stiff links or simple snowman rigs once I have located the fish, as I think these are better fished over bait in comparison to a chod rig.
The use of high attract hookbaits is also a must in cold conditions. I can’t stress just how important they are in my winter fishing. I always carry a selection of hi-viz high attract pop ups with me. My personal favourites are 16mm red Northern Specials from CC Moore, but as far as food baits you can’t go wrong with the Live System. I’ve had carp to 52Ib 8oz during the winter on this bait and in my opinion it’s simply awesome!
Other little edges with the bait can be to blend or crush them into a fine crumb, add a little flavour and mix matching liquid into it to form a paste to wrap your hookbaits in this lets of plenty of attraction giving you that bit more pulling power and sending food signals through the water column.
Once I have found where the carp are holding I generally start with around thirty baits per rod and ease my way in. A couple of winter’s ago I had worked out that the carp were holding up in a deep, snaggy area of the lake on my chosen venue. Although I was baiting lightly I couldn’t get a bite. It wasn’t until I started introducing more bait that the bites started coming. It was as if the crafty old carp weren’t willing to take the risk for a small amount of bait, so it’s important that you pay attention to what is going on.
Gardner Talon Tip is my number one choice for bottom bait presentations at this time of year.” alt=”A size 8 Covert Wide Gardner Talon Tip is my number one choice for bottom bait presentations at this time of year. ” width=”776″ height=”743″ class=”aligncenter size-full wp-image-12935″ />
When it comes to rigs I use the biggest lead possible combined with a short hook link, which I feel gives me the best hooking potential in cold conditions. I generally use 3.5oz lead with a four inch hooklink as a starting point, but I have gone as short as three inches in the past. Small hooks are a major edge especially when combined with short hooklinks and big leads. A size 8 Covert Wide Gardner Talon Tip is my number one choice for bottom bait presentations at this time of year. These little beauties are deadly sharp, but still seriously strong enough to land huge carp on.
All in all winter carp fishing can be good fun if you’re willing to put in the effort in and choose the right venue. Make sure you get the rods out this winter and I hope these little tips may help you on your way to your best winter’s carp fishing yet!