Wind Direction: This will play a significant factor in fish location. I have used the four most common wind directions as a guide. See maps for a guide to where the fish will hold up for each wind direction. However, please remember, this is only a guide and each venue will vary slightly. Also, as we know well, carp in particular often do the unexpected, keep your eyes peeled and always be prepared to recast, or move if necessary.
There are a number of contributing factors to consider when setting out for Carp during the winter months. Below, I’ve listed a few things I consider important. I have also produced four guidance maps that I hope will help. The lake used in purely as an example and shows the probable position of fish. Hopefully, you will be able to apply these suggestions to your own lake.
Map View 1, wind direction from the North East. A cold wind, can be very strong at times. When it’s over 16mph, fish will be in sheltered deep margins, under trees, along the wind free side of islands and in deep water. They will be tight in and not move much. Feed sparingly, maybe just a PVA bag and wait for a response, especially if you are on a short session. On longer sessions, still feed sparingly, but you can bait a known area with a few halved boilies, perhaps some particle, small pellet etc. Certainly no more than a Kilo in total for a 24 hour session. You can always top it up, but you can’t take it out once it’s in your swim. If the wind is low, 4-6mph, then a similar approach but maybe slightly more feed, spread out a little more. as fish will be more likely to move a little. It’s worth remembering that if you see fish 30/40 yards away in open water, unlike in summer, they probably won’t move to your baited area. This time of year, fish are in certain areas for a reason, normally water temperature, so you may have to move to them. I will talk about water temperature later.
Map View 2, wind direction from the South East. Always check the forecast with this wind, it can be very cold when it’s more easterly, and cool/mild when it’s more southerly. With a cold, more easterly wind, feed sparingly on short sessions and no more than a kilo on long sessions. Issak Walton said “when the winds in the East, the fish feed the least.” And he’s not far off the mark. Again fish will be tight to sheltered areas. With a southerly wind you can increase your feed a little and feed a bigger area, but again remember it’s winter. Fish will still be in sheltered areas but are more likely to move a little. However, as with above, they are not going to come to you, you need to get up and move. This time of year. even on a short session, it really is worth a walk round first looking for any signs. Do look in the margins and close to islands, people tend to scan the open water looking for fish and often that’s the last place they’ll be this time of year.
View 3, wind direction from the South West. This is the best winter wind, often mild, low in speed and can make for a much more enjoyable session. If there have been a couple of days of consistent weather, the fish will be more active, hungry and will move to some degree. That said, it’s still winter and again bait sparingly until you have an idea of how the fish are feeding. You can always add some more offerings later. If there have been a few days of wind from this direction, it will warm certain areas of the lake, often by a couple of degrees, fish will move to these areas, and they can often be right in the wind (with it in your face) especially if that area also gets the most sunlight. With this wind, fish can and will move into shallow areas for brief periods, normally between 12pm and 2pm, so keep your eyes peeled.
View 4, wind direction from the North West, a rare wind direction, often swirling and bitterly cold. Fish will hold up very tight in sheltered areas and deep water. (see map 4). Less said about this the better. Single baits, perhaps a PVA string of 3/4 halves and hope. Best advice, make sure you wrap up warm. If we are going to get 30/40mph winds, it’s often from this direction. Good luck on this one…
Checking the weather: Two sites I trust; Met-check and BBC. Obviously, it’s never nailed on, but if you check for a couple of days before you go and on the day, you will have a reasonable idea of what to expect. Know your venue and understand what direction the wind will be blowing and how this will affect the fish and where they will be. Good tip, get your venue up on google maps and the forecast showing the wind arrows. Remember, on google maps, up is north, so if the arrows on the weather forecast are aiming up, the wind will be blowing towards the top north bank.
I do hope this helps… It’s just my personal view, but the things mentioned have helped me massively. In a couple of days I will follow this up with Winter Carp 2. I will look at; Location, Baits, Sunlight vs. Cloud cover, The Moon and it’s affect, Feeding times, Feeding your swim, and Water Temperatures. Go-Catch, SteveD… Written and compiled by Steve Davis for and on behalf of Stansted Angling Warehouse, incorporating No-Limits bait.