After a few phone calls to check on current water conditions after the recent cold spell, and finding out that the lakes I wanted to fish were frozen, I decided that a bit of angling on a local water was in order. Luckily, my part of the country had remained unseasonably mild and consequently the waters didn’t have ‘a lid’ on them.

Upon arrival there, I had a really long hard look, but there was no real sign of any significant carp activity other than the odd single bubble plinking up to the surface from one particular area of the lake,

At this time of the year I like to fish with tight lines, keeping the lines up a little so I’m fishing for liners. I find that this will tell me if there are any carp in the area and whether or not I should be fishing at a shorter range.

The lake I was fishing has good winter form, but like any water can be tricky at times. The rig I opted for was the ever faithful “Ronnie” rig coupled with a size 2 Mugga, and used in conjunction with the new Stiff Ultra Skin hooklink in the ‘go anywhere’ silt colour.

Considering the cold conditions and the lack of activity I really didn’t want to go piling in the bait, so fished Crafty Catcher ‘King Prawn’ washed out single pop up on each rig – and played it by ear to see whether the fish wanted some bait. Sometimes even just a few is a few to many freebies so I prefer watch other anglers on the lake and basically use them as my guinea pigs. After all, if I notice a fish or two coming out over bait, I can always trickle a little bit in and see how it goes!

During my stay there was nothing caught over bait, so I chose not to put in any myself. My tactic of fishing for liners worked, as I was getting the odd bleep and lift on all the rods regularly throughout the first day of fishing. Over the course of this time I slowly cast each of my rigs at a shorter distance till the liners stopped.

I now knew that I was in the hot zone and within a couple of hours I had my first take; which only confirmed my findings, It’s all about being proactive rather than being lazy as I’m there to catch carp and not just camp it up!

Anyway, the session went really well from that point on and after pinning down the fish I proceeded to catch eight carp in total and lost two as well. They were nothing big, mainly doubles with a couple of twenties finding their way into the net, but at this time of the year I was really happy that my rigs, bait and tactics had worked so well.

It goes to show that a bit of careful observation and watercraft can catch you carp even in the direst of conditions and ultimately I had an incredibly interesting and exciting winter trip!