Now that balmy summer evenings are a distant memory, you can no longer assume your float will bury within seconds of it hitting the surface.
But there are lots of things you can do to keep on catching, according to top matchman Andy May. Swim selection, for example – in summer, the commotion caused by hooking and landing fish barely registers with a shoal of hungry fish, but the same can’t be said at this time of year.
The slightest splash or crash on the surface is likely to result in the fish moving away. You can see why it pays, then, to find a swim with lots of options.
Take the swim Andy is fishing here. Four different lines of attack will cover every cool water scenario in the book…
Silver fish waggler
If the pole line dries up when fishing for silvers, the waggler chucked a little further out will locate them again.
Make sure this line is fished well away from snags, as this is where the silvers will feel most comfortable, some distance away from where the carp are often found.
A 13ft rod is best, as this enables you to pick up the line quickly on the strike, reducing the number of missed bites. Use a size 16 Kamasan B510 baited with a single or double red or white maggot.
Big fish bomb
By Andy’s own admission, firing out a bomb and waiting for the tip to go round is far from his favourite approach, but he is fully aware that it has the potential to result in some seriously large fish.
Two 10mm hair-rigged discs of bread will stand out like a sore thumb in clear water.
The buoyancy of the bait means it will pop up off the bottom, which is ideal because carp rarely sit on the deck for long spells in winter.
6m pole line
You might think that fishing close to the bank would be a waste of time at this time of year, but silvers will happily congregate here.
Carefully plumb up and if you find 4ft-6ft of water, you are on to a winner. Start by fishing on the deck, using a strung-out shotting pattern so that the hookbait drops slowly through the water. This gives any fish off bottom plenty of time to suck it in.
If you start missing bites then it’s time to shallow up. Keep coming up a few inches at a time until you start converting bites to fish.
The days of catching in 12ins of water down the edge are over for another year, but if you find enough depth then the inside line can still be very productive.
If it is extremely shallow tight to the bank, push out a couple of metres and you’ll probably find 3ft of water, which is more than enough to hold fish.
Dripping in four or five grains of sweetcorn every 15 minutes is enough loosefeed. As for rig construction, you can land big fish on a lighter set-up compared to a summer margin rig.