The ever-consistent Adam Clewer takes a look at how you can carry on catching carp through the winter period…
When I first started fishing my tackle was a collection of mixed coarse tackle, sun loungers and limp brolly shelters that were sparsely waterproof and never warm. However, I fished with such enthusiasm, the drive and desire to be fishing meant I spent most weekend by the water side. Fast forward twenty years and the quality of carp fishing tackle has moved on incredibly. Nonetheless, carp anglers are still missing out on what can be some excellent fishing. Oh well, their loss, our gain. If you’re new to winter carp fishing, you might be tempted to carry on with the same tactics and techniques that kept your nets wet during the warmer months. This can work, but in general, a few tweaks will keep the bobbins dancing in the rests and will also make the fishing experience more enjoyable – which is important. My usual spring, summer and autumn approach is largely around boilies.
Keep the bait going in, albeit in lesser amounts.
I’m still using Cell, and rarely go fishing without a generous air dry bag of mixed 15mm and 18mm variety. However, during the colder months’ carp aren’t going to be feasting with such enthusiasm. This is where small 10mm boilies, again Cell, play a big part in my fishing. Mini PVA bags in conjunction with high-attract pop-ups can also be good ‘get out of jail free’ tactics.
Small PVA bags of bait can tempt even the most reluctant of winter carp into a little feed.
One key tactic in regards to winter bait is to keep it going in, albeit in lesser quantities. If the fish on your chosen venue continue to find and eat bait that they are less-likely to find a sheltered tree and lie up for the winter. When considering rigs, unlike many, I don’t down size my end tackle. Coated braid, stiff-hinge pop-up rigs and fluorocarbon mainline continue to serve me well all year through – why change? One element of my tackle that does undergo something of a change is clothing, bedding, and choice of shelter. During the summer months, I travel super-light, sleeping under the stars where possible and never carrying more tackle than is required. However, during the colder months a full bivvy, albeit a compact version, and winter skin is required.
A warm and dry bivvy makes all the difference.
Warm, waterproof clothing is also essential. If you’re warm and dry, you will enjoy yourself so much more, are less likely to go home early and more likely to return. Obvious but super important!
The Fox Chunk Sherpa-Tec suit is essential in winter.
My last winter tip which is seemingly even more critical during the winter months is to watch the water. The slightest sign of fish movement cannot just make your session, but can make your season. Let me explain… Carp will often remain in the same areas during the colder months. If you are fortunate enough to locate them early in the winter, you may well keep with them until spring. Shorter daylight hours make this even more important. The Biblical proverb of ‘seek and you will find’ is especially true in regards to winter watercraft.