Mark Pitchers is one of the most experienced winter carp anglers in the UK, fishing just as much through the harsh colder months as he does during the Spring and Summer periods. Over the years Mark has found 3 hookbaits to stand out above the rest for getting bites in winter...
There really is no beating maggots if the venue you are targeting allows them. At this time the nuisance fish such as bream, tench and roach are less active so you can get away with using maggots, which you wouldn’t be able to do during the warmer period. There isn’t a carp alive that doesn’t love eating maggots and they are very easy to digest as well meaning the fish can eats lots of them without getting full up. You can opt to use just 1 colour of maggot or mix up the colours. My favourite two colous are white and red, just because over the years I have always seemed to do well with this combination.
I am a massive fan of bright hookbaits all year round but I find they really do come into their own during the winter months when the water temperatures are at their lowest. The Northern Special pop-ups are proven winter winners for many years and they are something that I have great faith in. If maggots are not working or the nuisance species are being a pain then a bright Northern will be my next best hookbait option. The bright colour seems to just trigger a bite when the carp aren't really that hungry.
Often in winter the carp will spend a lot of their time up in the water, which means Zig Rigs are the best tactic for catching them. It doesn’t matter how good my maggots or bright pop-ups are if the carp don’t want to be on the lakebed we cannot make them. My preferred hookbait for Zig Rig fishing would have to be a Zig Aligna coupled with some foam, this little invention really has revolutionized the way people fish with Zigs and they hookholds they give are simply awesome. Chop and change colours until you find the combination that works best on the day as carp can be really fussy in winter and it might be that only one colour or combination will trigger a bite!