TOM MAKER makes one or two tweaks to his winter approach but, as he argues succinctly, he doesn’t believe in changing too much just for the sake of it.

Far too many anglers make changes to their carp fishing when the mercury starts to fall, but I question whether this is down to their own experiences and findings or just because they think they should.

I think it originally came from match anglers who are renowned for ‘fining down’ their tackle in the winter, but if you think about it, the way they fish is entirely different to the way we carp anglers do. Compare pole fishing at 12metres for 6lb carp, F1’s or skimmers to fishing at 160 yards range for carp of far bigger proportions and you soon realise that the two couldn’t be much more different.

You may say that carp fishing folklore itself dictates that we too change our approaches, but again those lessons were learned in days gone by, fishing entirely different venues and for entirely different fish compared to carp fishing of today.

So, yes, there are a few things that I change when it gets cold, but they are as much to do with my own comfort. There are just as many which stay exactly how they’ve been all year…


Take Shelter

This, and my next point, may seem almost too obvious but I want to mention them all the same. There are no medals for being a ‘hardcore’ carp angler, struggling through the winter under nothing more than a brolly. No, I’m sorry, but as good as my own brolly is, I will soon be switching to a more substantial bivvy, usually with a winter wrap or inner pod. This not only offers more protection and comfort, but the additional space allows me to take a few more creature comforts along with me. I know my loyal carp hound, Herbie, also appreciates the added protection.

Don’t ‘endure’ a winter under a brolly; use something a little more substantial.


Go Five Season

I’ve been testing a prototype Fox sleep system for the last few weeks and it has already proved an absolute godsend. I’m not plugging it, as you can’t even buy them yet, but it’s reminded me just how important a proper, warm sleeping bag and bedchair are. A luxurious fleece lining and 5+ season rating has kept me toastie warm and, unusually for me, I’ve slept right through a couple of times despite a heavy frost outside. The addition of a good winter bedchair cover can have the same effect if you only have a 3-season bag.A five-season bag is a must

I’m going to say it, even though it should be obvious, but eating a drinking something of substance is even more important now the conditions are turning as well. Remember, a comfortable angler is an efficient angler.


Small Hook Baits

Although I think nothing of using small baits all year round, I think they make balancing rigs a bit easier without having to trim large baits back. This allows for the slightly less aggressive bites to be converted into hooked carp, as a really finely balanced rig is undoubtedly easier to suck in.

Smaller pop-ups often enter into Tom’s winter approach.