We are at the start of December and whilst many have already hung up their rods for the winter, carping legend Ian Chillcott is just getting warmed up...


I knew from the very beginning of my serious carp fishing, way back in the 1980’s, winter was my favourite time. Which may just surprise a few of you, as local gossip, folklore, fashions and trends will say you may as well hang your rods up until spring arrives. Apart from putting on a few pounds around the midriff, eating takeaways and soaking up the soap operas, I cannot see anything which makes that worthwhile; “nothing ventured, nothing gained”, never has a truer sentence been said! Years ago it was the thing to do; put your carp rods in the shed and pick up the pike fishing gear. Which isn’t a bad thing, it’s just that carp are far more plentiful and available to fish for, but more to the point…. just as catchable!A long time ago I learnt that winter carp were just as catchable.

Of course, much depends on the situation you find yourself in, my Army past would be no exception. Things tended to quieten down in the long dark winter periods, which left me a bit more time to go fishing. Way back in the 80’s I had no idea about the carp in winter. There were stories that they never fed, spending all their time submerged in the silt or old weedbeds. Evidently, being able to slow their metabolism, they could stay that way for months on end. I just wasn’t having it, and spent my time on a very difficult syndicate lake just up the road from my barracks. Half a dozen fish a year from this water was something of a result. I had no idea how successful my tactics would be…but time was just about to tell.There could be something at the end of every winter rainbow.