We had a chat with Dragon Carp Direct recently. Obviously, they're in the business of selling fishing tackle and bait and would like to feature some of their products on our site. Anglers' Net, on the other hand, is an online fishing magazine and we want useful articles for our readers...
...and that's where the idea of these 'Top 10 Tips' came from.
This is the first Dragon Carp Top 10 Tips article – they produced the content. We hope you enjoy it and find the fishing tips useful. There's no obligation to click on any of the product links, but you may find some of them of interest.
Top 10 Winter Fishing Tips
Don’t think that pellets are just a summer bait on commercials. Despite many people writing that they should be put away in the cold months, they will still work in winter but it’s vital to use the right ones for the job.
Low oil pellets are easily digestible; try the light colours which are highly visible in clear water.
By being the only angler on the lake to be persisting with the pellet, albeit in a low oil manner, it can give you a huge advantage over people around you.
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2. CASTERS & CORN
Casters are a great winter bait fed in conjunction with sweetcorn on the pole. The combination has been proven time and time again on well stocked waters. The results are fascinating.
The principle is the caster will draw in quality silver fish such as roach and perch – this activity has a knock on effect and delivers a trigger for carp and the mirror and commons will then get their heads down.
Be cautious how you approach this tactic – be sparing with the corn and view it very much as a ‘little and fairly often’ feed mechanism.
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For straight lead fishing in summer, short hooklengths of 12ins or less can be deadly.
In winter, try much longer hooklengths of around 2-3ft because the water will be clearer and carp follow the hookbait down.
Many anglers wrongly think carp are buried in the silt in the cold, but they often sit in a moribund state well off bottom on the thermaclime – that’s why clever big carp anglers catch winter whackers on long popped-up zig rigs. Short hooklengths bomb the hookbait straight past them, not giving the fish a chance to register it.
One final tip here is to hair-rig the corn and add a piece of yellow foam so the corn sinks at a very slow rate making it visible for longer.
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4. FEEDER ROD LENGTH
A lot of anglers employ rods that are either overgunned or equally underpowered for the type of fishing they are doing.
In Winter, it is rare to require a 13ft heavy feeder rod unless you’re casting to the horizon and the fish are shoaled at range – a scenario you may encounter on a large commercial like Drayton Reservoir. For straight lead work for distances up to 40yds, a rod up to 11 ft will be more than adequate and will help you convert precious bites into fish – the last thing you want to do is lose a carp at the net because your rod is too stiff.
Anything over 40 yards, a 12 ft rod is ideal.
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Accurate casting is important in Winter – fish can be shoaled very tightly. If you’re struggling for bites on the feeder or straight lead, make sure you make plenty of casts – fan it like a clockface – and look for liners on your quivertip. The more water you cover, the more chance you have of finding the fish.
I also make sure I count the turns of a reel handle when I locate the shoal. I then clip up. This means that if I have to unclip when I strike into a big carp I can quickly and accurately re-clip as I know the precise revolutions of my handle.
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Boilies make a great hookbait, but they’re also an excellent attractor, too.
To make the most of them, crumble up and then place in a PVA stocking or bag. This, combined with a hookbait of the same boilie, is a great combination.
Keep those PVA bags small though – in cold water they can be as tiny as a 50 pence piece – this means they’ll also cast further and more accurately.
If you are using small PVA bags attached to your hook, try catapulting identical-sized bags around the same area. The carp will get used to picking up small pockets of bait without sensing danger.
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7. THE RIGHT RIVER NET
A landing net with large diameter holes is preferable to one with smaller mesh when fishing rivers. It prevents resistance building up when the net is submerged – and that can be a hindrance when trying to land fish, especially when your hands are cold!
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Want to make your breadpunch the perfect consistency? Remove the crusts and then place in the microwave for a few seconds. Now roll out with a rolling pin.
Breadpunch is vastly underrated as a Winter bait.
Use tiny punches for small roach and silverfish and then step it up in size for chub and carp.
Breadpunch is deadly in winter on commercials – use it on a slow fall through the water or punch a bit of crust and pop it up!
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You might think predators aren’t that clever but big perch are very cunning – baits like worms and even livebaits can quickly ‘blow’.
Looking for the next edge? Then turn to prawns as they are an outstanding perch bait, particularly on venues where the fish have seen more traditional offerings.
Buy cooked and peeled prawns from the supermarket. You can add extra attraction to your prawns by either soaking them in a bait liquid or by dipping in groundbait to give them a unique ‘coating’.
Also be prepared to fish for perch when the sun goes down – many people think perch only feed in the daylight – not true! Make sure your presentation is very sensitive – a waggler fished bait is excellent and really dot that float tip down.
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10 PIKE LURE CHOICE
There are, literally, thousands of different lures to choose from. Start by using one that is a close replica of the pike’s main source of food in your venue.
These days, many lures are multi-jointed so one tap of the rod tip can make a lure flutter and dive like a dying fish – once your lure looks like a fish in distress it will improve its chances of being hit. Just think of how many times you’ve hooked a small roach and a pike has suddenly pinched it off your hook – that’s because the roach behaved like a fish in distress and different to the rest of the shoal.
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