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Winter Carp fishing

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Winter Carp fishing
 
How to catch Carp in even the coldest months
It wasnít that long ago that there was a wide held belief that Carp all but hibernated in winter and fishing for them was a waste of time. Well times have changed and while we are being told that our winters are getting warmer overall, this warming is measured in a 1 or 2 degrees mean temperature increase over the last 50 year period, we can safely say that the temperature isnít changing enough to make the Carp suddenly think itís summer and keep feeding. Instead what is happening is that people have at last found a way to catch Carp in even the coldest months by changing their approach and actively targeting them.
Carp are cold blooded and therefore the temperature of their environment directly affects their metabolism. As the water temperature lowers, so does the metabolism of the fish and therefore the need to feed reduces. Carp do have to continue to feed though, but unlike in
Winter fishing
summer when Carp will literally gorge themselves on baits, in winters they will become picky eaters often only taking a tiny amount of any available food before turning their nose up at any bait you put their way. This is why successful winter Carp anglers will often tend to put in hardly any free offerings. You can easily kill your swim by putting out too much food. A good friend of mine described it as having the mother of all hangovers, if someone offers you a bacon sandwich you will probably eat it, if they offer you a complete Chinese banquet strangely enough you will probably make a sharp exit.
So if the Carp are feeding, albeit only lightly how do you go about targeting them? A common misconception is that Carp will always head to the deepest water and sit hard on the bottom when it is cold. The thinking behind this does contain a good deal of logic, deeper water will remain
Frozen lakes - winter fishing
at a relatively constant temperature throughout winter, once you are around 6ft down even if there is ice on the service the water should be about 4C. A lot of fish do follow this rule and will head towards the deeper channels, but Carp as with other fish like features and will continue to stay much higher in the water column or nearer the bank if there are features for the fish to find cover in. Target known Carp features in winter and you will be surprised that you may be catching Carp in a few feet of water on very cold days.
As the winter cold kills off a lot of the weed and plant life, your baits should become more visible naturally. The need for bright baits wonít bring around the success that it can in cloudy waters in summer. I have had a lot of success using the fish pellets within winter, the oils within these tend to solidify more in the cold water, but still the smell from
just single hook bait can attract a Carp. Maggots can also come into their own in winter, these small versatile baits are small enough that even a very un-hungry Carp can still manage a couple down and as the cold water will often clear of algae, visibility for the fish can greatly increase making these small morsels stand out.
Thinking more about how your rig looks in the water can help get you the bites you want, remember if the fish are wary and slow biting anything that can spook them should be looked into. Try different approaches depending on the venue and while this may go against conventional thoughts if you arenít catching consider moving. If the fish arenít as active then you might need to be. Try a few different pegs during the day, the chances are the banks arenít as crowded and as you are never going to ďbuild up a swimĒ with bait as in the warmer months you have little to lose and everything to gain.
Finally make sure you are warm, pack the right amount of clothing and hot drinks. If you are cold then you will not enjoy the fishing and will end up spending more time trying to keep warm then actually catching Carp.
So then what are you waiting for, Winter Carp fishing is here so go and enjoy it.

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