For those of you who aren’t hanging up your rods until Spring, the fishing can be testing over the next few months. However, Tom Maker has a 9 top tips to help keep you catching carp…It might be the most obvious thing to say but my number one tip is to just keep fishing. On the right venue, and with a little bit of effort, the rewards are still there at this time of year and, if anything, they prove even more satisfying. Beyond that though, and presuming that you have a venue that you’re set on fishing through the colder months, I’ve got a few things that you can do to up your chances of a few winter bites.

Tip 1 - Use Bright Hook Baits

There are two definite threads of opinion on this, with some anglers continuing to ‘match the hatch’ at this time of year, but others swearing by bright hook baits. I’m most definitely in the latter camp and feel that a bright one, whether fished as a single or over a bit of bait, can sort ’em out in the colder months.

The carp’s eyesight, already not its strongest sense, wanes a little in the winter and I feel that making the hook bait as visible as possible helps to counter this. With their sight becoming less efficient, they will heighten their other senses as a result, including their sense of taste and smell. A bright hook bait with plenty of flavour levels, often dipped or sprayed for added pulling power, can very often score well. I carry a small selection in terms of types of hook bait, but carry two sizes of most and in pink, yellow and the signature colours.

I know some people will say that bright, high-attract pop-ups might be a bit blatant on low-stocked waters where the carp are really cagey, but are you really going to be fishing waters like this during the colder months? Good luck to you if you are!

Tip 2 - Watch For Signs

There is no doubt that the carp are not as active at this time of year as they are during the warmer months, and very often you may only see one or two shows in an entire session. It’s vital, therefore, that you spot those shows and you’re not going to do that if you’re not watching the water. Very often the carp will be shoaled up together and any show may betray the presence of large numbers of fish.

Out today at Linear for these photographs, we’re getting hammered by the effects of storm Ophilia (as well as the maddest light conditions with the sun being diffused by a huge Saharan sand cloud of all things) and, so, I’ve had to put the brolly behind the trees and with its back to the lake. However, instead of hiding myself away inside I prefer to stand out and keep watching. Fortunately it’s mild today but even when it’s really cold I’d rather stick some layers on and be out there watching.

Big winds like these, especially on gravel pits, can see the fish move in large numbers and they will, at some point, give themselves away. Keep watching and, if you see carp, move on to them.