Long-time UK carper, Steve Spurgeon, draws on 30+ years of experience to reveal some handy little edges for catching carp as the water temperatures start to drop...
During the winter and early spring periods the water temperatures in most venues will be very cold indeed, quite often hovering around the 4-5 degrees mark. When the water is as cold as this; carp will often become very dormant and sit motionless for hours upon end. In addition the carp will not have anywhere near the same kind of appetite as they do during the warmer months and will often only feed for small periods of time in any given 24-hour period. It is therefore key that we take these factors plus a whole host of others into consideration when setting our stall out to catch a carp during the cold-water conditions. Over the years I have fine-turned my approach to targeting carp in the cold and now have a number of practices that I undertake with confidence that help me to succeed during this tough time. The aim of the article is to share some of these ‘edges’ that will undoubtedly work on all types of venue across not only the UK but also into mainland Europe as well...
Edge One - Spread Your Bets
When it comes to catching carp there is something that is of far more importance than expensive tackle and fancy bait and that thing is location. An angler with £20,000 worth of fishing tackle will still blank if he presents his rigs in areas that are devoid of carp, yet and angler with a single rod and reel costing less than £100 can catch plenty if they present their rig amongst the carp. When water temperatures are at their lowest location becomes even more important than it does in the warmer times as the carp simply will not be covering anywhere near as much ground at this time of year. Therefore when arriving at a venue it is important than your spend lots of time watching the water and looking for signs of fish – this could be tiny bubbles, a subtle ‘head and shoulder’, coloured water or even the surface slightly rocking. If you cannot find any signs of carp then you need to rely on gut instinct and experience and my experience tells me that when the water is cold the carp will often congregate out in the middle of the lake – perhaps because this usually the deepest area? I will therefore pick a swim that is very central and also enables me to see as much of the lake as possible as this will give the best chance of seeing a carp show allowing me to move onto it. Once plotted in my chosen swim I will spread all three of my rods out to cover as much water in my swim as possible. There is no point in fishing all three rods on a tight area unless you know for sure that the carp are feeding in that area. The best bet is to fish all the rods on different spots and then should you get a bite on one look at moving at least one of the other rods to this area to capitalise on the opportunity.
Spread your rods out until you can locate the fish.
Edge Two – Become Invisible
When water is cold during winter and early spring it will often become gin clear, like tap water. This is because not only do things like algae die in the cold water but also all of the fish are hardly feeding and therefore the lakebed is not being disturbed and colouring the water. The lethargic carp in gin clear water will often be very wary and therefore finesse can often be key in fooling them into taking our hook bait. There is no better form of camouflage than invisibility and there is no better invisible main line on the market at present than Fox’s Illusion Trans Khaki fluorocarbon. This stuff simply disappears both on the lakebed and in mid-water and vastly reduces the chances of your quarry knowing that they are being angled for. The Illusion also sinks like a brick and hugs the lakebed contours perfectly ensuring that your camouflage and concealment is as good as it possible can be. In addition to using an invisible main line I will also do away with any leader unless the situation dictates the need for one (in this case I use 30lb Illusion fluorocarbon leader) and I will also use fluorocarbon for my rigs. As long as my target venue is not too snaggy I will often use the same 19lb Trans Khaki Illusion main line to tie my hooklink from, as it is just so good at disappearing.
There is no better camouflage than invisibility!
Fluorocarbon rigs are another edge.