Another day in paradise, let's be honest, fishing in the sunshine has a lot more benifits for enjoyment, the fish certainly are on the feed compared to their slow metabolism in the winter which tends to slow the bites down.
Having said that, the reward on a very cold, wet and windy day, sliding the net under any sized gold bar. You tend to work less in regards to bait ect but mentally you have to be strong and have no regrets.
By having no regrets I mean change when it's not working. Many a time have I stuck to my tactics for hours or even days to leave the bank empty handed wishing I had tried a new approach.
It's all about having the edge.... And that edge is not there if your not catching. Different rigs and baits work well at different times and being active in the winter works well.
All experienced anglers will say, find the fish! All good and well if they are showing but generally when I have been on the bank in the midst of winter, 9 times out of 10 you don't tend to see much action at all!
So the question lies to where to start, watercraft is essential and experience brings this but most of the time I believe amongst angler's, this is a hunch or a past experience to where you may get a fish.
Variables at hand is wind direction, speed, is it a hot or cold wind. Again carp feed differently in different weather types, some hang off the back of a strong wind and some sit in full face of it where the presumption is made that the wind tends to blow food to a certain corner of the lake. If you think of it like this, big lumpy carp like to cruise or chill quietly in the winter and an easy bait will be its first option.
If you can locate the spots where the carp are chilling so to speak, land a bait on its nose, then the chances of a bite are raised quite substantially.
Any carp movement at all can be the indicator to take to a place where a lot of carp are holding up. It's always worth noting if you actually find them as this could be useful for further fishing trips. Why are the carp holding up in that area? Work that out and your beginning to think like a carp.
These are without doubt useful tools that will get more fish on the bank.
Winters can be long and hard and to up your chances is definetly something that has to be considered in these difficult times.
So enough about negative thoughts in the winter season as this time of year for me is the most rewarding. You know you have beat others to the take as too many anglers just don't entertain the winter months which is a real shame and certainly does not help the fishery owners themselves.
At the end of the day, we all love too look after our carp and are at the centre of all decisions made at most fisheries. But these guys and gals do have a business to run and more anglers on the Bank definetly give the owners more va va voom to keep the customers happy.
From my perspective, I take the opportunity to get out and have found myself being the only angler on the lake of all sizes of fisheries. This gives you an advantage from the off as the choice of where your fishing from. If there is noticeable carp movement in one area then one would say, don't pitch up the other end of the lake because its more comfortable!
Make your swim your home, make sure you have the kit to ensure the worst conditions as the British weather being so unpredictable, who knows what you might face- Ciarra or Dennis?
If your bivvied up and ready for an overnighter or a prolonged session, ensure comfort and warmth is high, if not top of your priority list. No-one enjoys catching fish with pneumonia.
Better to be to warm than to be cold, you can't add layers you don't have but you can remove too many. Some may say simple but trust me, I've sat there freezing and it's not nice especially when a blank is on the cards.
Get these basics right and it's just like fishing in the summer, promise.
The last thing I would mention outside rigs and tackle is bait. If you overfeed the lake, 9 times out 10 you will flatten the lake and your chances may be ruined, the match approach works if used effectively with the little and often approach.
Watching guys like Steve ringer who could catch a carp in the height of winter from the sky.... use a little and often approach. The same applies to carp fishing, these fish don't want a lot to eat but enough to keep them interested. The key to this approach is to be consistent and keep repeating what you have done, same timing between feed whether it be 30 seconds or 5 mins? Keep it small, but keep it going, the rewards are there to be seen by all.
Fishing of any kind in the winter can be daunting for some but I would encourage it to the point and say, that when you get home, you will not be sitting there saying I wish I didn't go.
Get out there and send me those winter Carp!