In the colder months it can become much harder to catch while fishing. To give you the best possible chance of catching we have gone to Dai Gribble who will reveal the best ways to maximise your fish catches during the cold spell.
For more great tips from top anglers head to this year’s The Big One Show
• Be Prepared
Days are short so you need to make the most of your time on the bank – and that means things like setting rods up at home are a must-do at this time of year.
It’s far easier than trying to thread the eyes of your rod in the half-light of dawn when you should be focusing on getting a bite at what is often the key time for big fish.
By keeping rods set up and ready to go you are also in a better position to take advantage of good conditions.
If everything is in a heap in your garage you may decide it isn’t worth the effort and you won’t benefit – simple!
• Maximise time
Many species feed best at first light and again as light levels begin to fall towards dusk. If you can, plan to fish at one of these times rather than in the middle of the day.
Often you will find one species will feed more at a particular time of day on a particular water. If you fish the same venue regularly you might spot a pattern, such as getting more pike runs between, say, 10am and midday. Make the most of this by ensuring you are set up and ready in advance.
• Be ready for everything
One of the best pieces of advice I can give for all-round anglers looking for specimen fish is to always have the right bait ready to go. This means investing in a bait fridge/freezer.
Maggots and worms will last for weeks in a fridge, while deadbaits for pike will last all season in a freezer.
Having good bait for different species readily available enables you to target the species that is most likely to feed under conditions on the day (or night).
• Use a weather app
Weather can have a big impact on winter fishing, and it makes sense to target a species that is most likely to be feeding.
There are loads of weather apps for phones, and long-range forecasts are easily found on the internet, so use them to your advantage, especially if you’re fishing on stillwaters which are prone to freezing over.
• And river levels...
There are a number of websites and apps that allow you to check river levels, and this is something I tend to do every day.
The ones I use the most are GaugeMap and the Environement Agency’s website. GaugeMap is great, as you can go back more than the past five days to get historic info on the venue.
It’s vital that you don’t just look at the one nearest to where you are planning to fish, though. Look at the ones upstream to get an idea of what is heading your way.
Once you know the likely level you can determine which species is best to target.
• Baiting up
Remember the old adage that you can always put more in, but you can’t take it out – and think about your baiting strategy carefully.
Fish are cold-blooded, so their metabolism gets slower the colder it grows, which means they eat less.
The good news is that most species respond well to a slight rise in temperature... and even the smallest of temperature increases can trigger feeding activity, so make sure you’re ready with the bait.
• Get on the move
It often pays to move swims regularly as then you will almost certainly be presenting your bait to many more fish, and the chances of a bite increase.
On stillwaters, for example, pike can be quite sluggish other than during short feeding spells, but you can often trick them into taking a bait outside their prime feeding times if you cast a bait very close to them.
Be prepared to recast baits around the swim rather than casting out and sitting with baits in one place for a long time.
• Keep warm
Winter fishing isn’t much fun if you’re cold and wet, but these days there’s no excuse for going badly dressed.
There is a lot of really good clothing available from both angling companies and outdoor shops.
Temperatures often plummet when the sun sets, and you don’t want to leave just at prime time because you are cold.
In extreme weather, when the rivers are full of snow-melt and stillwaters are frozen over, then my best advice is to stay at home! This is when you can spend some time gleaning vital info for your next trip. Did I mention I’ve just launched my new Beyond Dreams book…