How to keep catching down the margins in the winter

Even in colder, clearer water a more refined approach will still catch you bonus big carp from the edge…

How to keep catching down the margins in the winter

by Angling Times |

Go deeper in cold weather

In summer, you want to be fishing in the shallowest water possible, but come December, the opposite applies. Most margins slope down quite quickly, and if you come out a metre more from the bank you’ll often find around 3ft of water. On mild days, you may find carp here, but a more reliable spot is where you can find 4ft of water or more. This depth will hold fish, no matter how cold it gets, even if there has been a frost.

Go deeper in cold weather
Go deeper in cold weather

Set a trap with your feeding

AT this time of year you need to think differently about your feeding strategy and piling in a big bed of bait can be a disaster. A more cautious approach is best with just a sprinkling of micro pellets and corn fed via a small pot. This means that, when a carp arrives, there’s not much for it to eat and so a far greater chance of it taking your hookbait. This is known as setting a trap, feeding just enough to attract and catch a fish at a time.

Set a trap with your feeding
Set a trap with your feeding

Scale down your kit

In the cold, even big carp don’t have the energy that they did in summer, which means you can scale back on hooks, lines and elastics. A 0.12mm hooklength to a

size 18 hook may sound too undergunned for a 10lb carp, but provided you match this to a light and soft hollow elastic you won’t have too many problems. Look at a hollow that equates to a grade 8 or 10 in old money.

Scale down your kit
Scale down your kit

Fish small baits

It’s easy to be tempted to fish a big, highly visible bait that the fish will find without difficulty, but that’s not always right. Instead, give the fish something that they can pick up confidently and slurp down with the minimum of effort – two dead red maggots or a small grain of corn make excellent baits in cold, clear water.

Fish small baits
Fish small baits

Use a long line

A great tip regarding edge fishing as the water goes clear is to fish a longer line between pole float and pole-tip. As the water clears, carp can be easily spooked by the pole waving about over the water, but keeping the pole that bit higher helps reduce this. To help control the rig, pop a string of back shot on the line above the float, say a No9 fixed every 3ins-4ins apart. This will then let you keep the rig still, even in windy weather, while ensuring you stay tight on the float to hit more bites.

Use a long line
Use a long line
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