As we come into the run up to Christmas, unfortunately with a trip to England for my wife’s mum’s funeral to get through first, I thought it worth jotting down some of my thoughts on winter fishing.
I was walking the lake this morning and saw very little, insert absolutely none, signs of carp feeding or even moving. The water is down to four degrees and the gentle flow through the filter bed has added about three million gallons over the course of the last week or so. During my stroll I got to thinking about the many years in UK that I spent freezing my nuts off but still determined to catch those winter carp, even to the point of switching from my pike gear back to carp gear. Now I don’t have that same drive to sit out in the cold in the hope of a carp making a mistake but it must be more than that. I’m now in the lucky position to be able to put my rods out in front of my house and sit in front of the log fire in the warmth and comfort of our lounge but I don’t very often bother.
Now, to analyze that further I think it amounts to remembering the lessons of the last fifty carp angling winters. In England I was mainly a weekend angler with a high pressure job and a family to look after so every second weekend was the best I could hope for and I needed to make the most of them. However, I remember, on numerous occasions, searching for any sign of fish but having to settle for a swim that I’d previously caught from. I can remember setting up and looking out at the lake thinking “I don’t even know if I’m at the right end of the lake.” Now I did catch a few cracking winter fish but I think the frustrations outnumbered the successes. I’m now in the position where I can “optimize” my fishing and I tend to only put the rods out when I find some moving fish, see some signs of feeding fish or simply feel that conditions are right. I’m no longer limited to that “second weekend” no matter what.
Don’t get me wrong, I still long to catch one of those big carp and I walk the lake at least once every day in order to try to find them. What I don’t do anymore is to just chuck a rod out and hope. There has to be that extra little trigger that makes me keener than yesterday and that is primarily because, if I don’t see any signs of feeding or moving carp, I can’t see them coming to a bait that’s in the wrong place. Over the last two or three years this approach has paid off with two sixties and four fifties in amongst the others that I’ve banked, so it’s an approach that I intend to continue. I will just end by saying that I don’t “Scale down” for winter. I agree with Chilly when he says it’s a load of bollox. I want the best chance, that I can give myself, to land whatever carp I hook so I stick with my trusty size 2 hooks and the same hook link that has done the business all season. The only adjustment might be in the size of the bait but that will also be dictated by the type of feeding that I find, if I find any.
As a footnote, can I just remind everyone that there are still a very small number of spaces left for 2018 and some of those early in the year are likely to produce some very special fish indeed. The bookings for 2019 are also growing nicely so thank you to all of you who have made those already.
I will be sending out the details of our bait ordering availability so all of you who have booked can expect to receive that immediately after Christmas.
Have a great Christmas and most of all BE LUCKY!!!!!