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Winter Carp 2

28 Nov

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On this one, I am going to look at location, baits, sunlight vs. cloud cover, moon cycles, feeding times,  feeding your swim, and water temperatures. Again, this is only my personal opinion, but all these things have helped me in the past. I do hope they help you too. Go-Catch SteveD

Location: Okay, next thing I touched on in the last post was walking and looking. In the winter, this is a must, even on a short session. If you see signs of fish, where there’s one, there’ll be more. As I said before, look around sheltered areas, islands, trees, margins, known deep channels/areas. Don’t expect them crash out in the middle, the best you might get are flat spots, gentle swirls, if you’re really lucky, tails up in shallow margins. I can’t emphasise the importance of walking and watching, especially at first light or last light. I know this is not always possible; however, the more you go fishing in the winter, the better idea you will have of where the fish are likely to be.  Fish location is important all year round, but in the winter this is magnified alarmingly. You can and will often end up with 90% of the fish in 20% of the water.

Baits: Fish have a sweet tooth in the winter, we know this. However, there’s a very good reason for this. In the autumn the last sustainable food source (after shrimps etc have fallen away) are the berries that fall from the trees. Now I am sure you know I can bang on about this all day, I will save your ears. You know you can come and talk to me about this one. In essence, sweet anything…

Sunlight vs. Cloud cover: I prefer cloud cover; however, bright sunlight on a cold day can trigger a short feeding spell, normally between 12pm and 2pm, when the sun is at its warmest. Cloud cover is generally consistent and importantly will keep the frost at bay during the night. So, in essence, a sunny day for a short session, cloud cover for an overnighter. Another contributing factor can be mist/fog. This can give the affect of twilight for as long as it lasts and will elongate that first light feeding spell.

Moon: This is one of the most debated aspects of carp fishing. There are some who swear by a full moon and others who prefer no moon. In my opinion a rising full moon – only on a clear night – can act like sunrise and stimulate the fish into feeding. Similarly, a setting full moon is like twilight. Over all, I have never been aware of any significant difference, although I am sure others have a different view.

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Feeding Times: This can vary massively from one venue to the next. A good guide is an hour either side of sunset, an hour either side of sunrise (good fish spotting time). Also, 1am until 2am when the sky is at its darkest, and midday on a sunny day, when the sun is at its warmest. Obviously, there will be other times, but I’ve found these to be the most productive, especially in winter. In essence, keep your eyes open, look for blowing up, flat spots caused by swirling fish etc.

Feeding your swim; This really is dependent on you to watch how the fish respond on the day. Earlier, I talked about wind direction and a rough guide to feeding. The rule of thumb should be, feed sparingly and top it up once you’ve had some action. If you fill it in at the start, you can’t take it out if the fish are not having it. I would go with light pellet, particle, and crushed, halved and quartered bolies. A good tip is to use something like bloodworm, betaine, or green lipped pellet. These will create a tint of colour and flavour in the water without over feeding the fish. If you drop a few of these pellets in a tub of water you will see the water colour up, this will attract the fish to your baited area. It’s important to remember, no heavy ground-baits such as brown crumb, biscuit, high oil fish meal etc, these will fill the fish up too quickly, and although you may get an initial response, it won’t last. Feel free to come and ask me. Obviously, there are contributing factors, most importantly fish stocks vs. natural food levels in the water. On heavily stocked waters and venues with lots of silvers, you can get away with more feed, but remember, it is winter and the fish don’t need as much to fill them up. Those of you who know me, will know I use alcohol flavours on my bolies and pellets, and there is a good reason for this. When the berries drop in autumn, they have mostly fermented to an alcohol level of around 3/4.5%. Even hemp, sweet corn, maize and most particles all ferment to similar levels. Remembering this is the last sustainable food in the water and give fish their sweet preference in winter, it makes sense to match this as best as possible.  If you get the flavour right, the fish will see your hook-bait as natural food…

Water temps: This is important and is affected mostly by sunlight, air temperatures, and wind direction. A good investment is a water temperature gauge. You can walk 20 yards and the water can be 2/3 degrees different. You know where the fish will be. An example, on a canal such as the Lea/Stort the fish will huddle around bridges simply because the shelter keeps it warmer. If you have ever parked your car in a car port, while everyone else is scrapping frost away, you’re not. It’s that simple. The same applies on lakes; the fish will be under big trees and in deep water. Anything over 8 feet will be 4/5 Fahrenheit higher than the surface water and this is due to thermal levels. Thermal levels go in 4 – 8 – 12 – 16 feet, the deeper, it is the more consistent the temperature. Often, fish such as bream will hold up in massive shoals in the deepest part of the lake. Find the bream and the carp won’t be far away.

I do hope this helps… It’s just my personal view, but the things mentioned have helped me massively. Go-Catch, SteveD…

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2014 in Winter Carp 2

 

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