This piece is primarily pointing towards cold water Carping, but nothing is set in stone for all year round.

Potentially the biggest two factors to be successful in your own angling are timing and location, you can have the best bait and the best rigs in the world, but if you’re not in the correct place at the correct time, you are p*****g in the wind.

Location of carp in the colder months can be hard… There are multiple factors that put the odds into your favour and against your favour. Size of lake, stock, depth, climate, angling pressure, bait restrictions, club or syndicate rules and everyone’s love or hate “time”. All of these factors can swing bites in your favour and also make it a lot harder to get bites. Both have huge plus and minuses.


Trying to keep it as simple as possible is key, I have five basic rules I work off for winter fishing:

*Tight Lines and Angles


It’s key too keep your eyes peeled and stay alert! Even if a small sighting does not lead to a bite on that visit, it all helps build for a bigger picture. Look for the obvious – shows, bubbling, and cleaned off areas that you can view to see if fish are visiting. Also keep your eyes peeled on what others are catching, as the fish seem to stay fairly localised, this means that they won’t move to far if they are happy in that location.



As we come into Autumn and the clocks change, so do the carps patterns in showing. It seems that it gets dark and then the lake comes alive. Although very hard to see the shows in the dark, I believe that the lack of vision increases our hearing and we become in tune with the slightest noises. Sometimes it can be very powerful to not set-up before dark (unless you see obvious evidence), let the carp tell you where they are. By walking round and listening for shows can put you into pole position.


With a bare lead on a braided line rod, you will be able to feel areas of the lakebed that are getting visited regularly by the fish. It’s not about clean, bumpy areas of gravel. It’s about soft, clean non-smelling silty areas that hold a rich picking of naturals.

Once you come across these zones the carp will not be too far away. Also with feeling, when it’s cold and the fish begin to stick together in groups, leading around and using a light lead feeling it drop through the layers is always a great way to locate the carp on higher stocked venues, walk round the lake and a few casts in each swim, you may just bump into one on way down and location is given away.


Tight Lines and Angles:

Fishing a reasonable distance out into the lake with tight lines will offer a chance of a bite, but also give you a heads up on if the carp are moving around. If they are moving around, you will receive liners, then giving you the opportunity to bring you rig in and re cast shorter. If the liners continue then hit repeat until they stop. A very simple old-fashioned method, but the proof is in the pudding!



If all else fails and you want a fail safe to go-to, try and continually bait one or two zones, this always gives you the opportunity to fish areas that have seen bait.

I’m not talking kilos upon kilos, I’m talking about little and often. The birds and fish will tell you all you need to know about your baited area. If the birds are constantly diving on that zone, the bait is still there, and you have had no enquires from the fish. On the other hand, fizzing and change of feel on the spots will be a giveaway that they are getting visited.

I believe after three or four visits you begin to build a picture of the location of where the fish are, if you begin to get regular bites from a certain zone, keep rolling the dice, if it’s not broken don’t fix it! But instinct and confidence is key, for getting the correct location. Once located, the fish can often be catchable.

In January, I had a little campaign on a local club ticket water, which I guess is 6 to 7 acres, a large head of fish, various depths and very pressured. There’s a 45lb plus common in there, which can be like a needle in a haystack. So, location was key. I put all my factors into the mix and witnessed another angler catch it. I was certain due to time of year it would not move far as was happy there. I began to fish in that zone, when I could get in there. And sure enough…. The rest is history…. 45lb 15oz of pristine UK Common.

Enjoy your winter campaigns people, catch a whacker!!!!