Let's start by remembering that carp metabolism is closely related to water temperature. Which means their temperature will come down and enter a state of torpor. Also their search for food and consequent digestion will slow down, thus increasing the hours after which the fish will come back to feed. By debunking an old theory, the carp will not hibernate but will continue to feed less frequently.
Fishing in the river Po, I can say that there is also a feeding window that opens and closes approximately from dawn to 11.00 or during the night. During these few hours I managed to bring even up to three catches of fish naturally in the coldest period. Which is a great result for big rivers like the Po. In addition, running waters offer us a few more chances of catching because the carp who have to fight the current are forced to move and therefore will have a higher energy need that necessarily have to be filled up by feeding properly.
Since as we said earlier the carp will move less so let's forget that it hibernates, will try to limit its movements and to visit possibly convenient spots to be reached and where it is possible not to waste too much energy. Moderate water speed, big submerged obstacles where our friends find food and shelter, they are all hot-spots. However, it may also happen that they cease to feed themselves for a few days but usually this attitude is related to the permanence of certain atmospheric conditions that, when they evolve, release their state of temporary food apathy. Theoretically it must also be said that in this cold period we will try to present our rigs at greater depths because the temperature remains more constant and maybe we have a few degrees more than the superficial layers. Sometimes it might be useful to look for spots where we have a water jump just one meter from the shore. In natural lakes or in quarries instead, we should also keep in mind the exposure of some spots to different weather conditions, because even if there is little water, the spot in question has been subjected to slightly warmer winds that have reactivated that particular sector.
We will try to diversify the presence of our baits at different depths based on these observations and let's never forget to include at least one snowman presentation among our rigs using the fluoro pop-ups with high visibility. I recommend extensive use of energy mixes and preferably composed of technical pastilles that offer a medium protein content and a lot of energy derived from carbohydrates at the same time with a limited presence of fat and therefore the great digestibility.
If we are not familiar with self-made or otherwise we do not have the time to dedicate ourselves, I could recommend some products and ingredients that I was lucky enough to try during this period. In my long experience of self-made with the intend to produce the boilies between the domestic walls we will choose mixes based on technical pastilles like robin red range, red factor, nec-tarblend, PTX, Sluis CLO are useful for us, their large grain size is good to facilitate the release of substances especially in waters with low temperatures combined with some derivatives of milk such as caseins or sodium caseinate, a very useful ingredient in this period to create the famous batter.
In an aquatic environment like the Po, certainly the natural food is not scarce, so my advice is to offer the fish certainly a bait with high digestibility and that is placed in the water as something different from the real food and that therefore it has a remarkable attractive-gustatory profile. Wide use of spices (thanks to the alkaloids) so that they seem to have an edge more in this season but also consider the choice of fruity boiles and then we will make with alcohol based flavors (strawberry, peach and orange) whose propagation in water is assured even with very low tem-peratures and suitable for classic flash sessions. Better still if we combine our birdfood base with our fishmeal, trying to flavor it with a fruity aroma and a few drops of essential oil with black pepper.
Also, this season I suggest not to rely only on the boilies but to devote two more rigs to the particles choosing the ever faithful corn even if in winter its effectiveness is halved compared to the tiger nut. From which I prefer the black version which is richer in sugars. For the last rod we will use a 20mm pellet in-stead.
Another well known bait used by the fishermen at once is the "larva of carnaria fly" or maggot, who especially in winter when the cold temperatures also block the activity of the small fry (so greedy for larvae) can give us some catches of relief. We will trigger the larva of carnaria fly on a specific hair rig using a particular clip called maggot clip. When we fish in river Po with larvae we will try to place our rigs in under the shore and not in full gully, so we will use them for the classic marginal fishing. Once in fishing, we will lower our primers by accompanying them with PVA bags previously filled with pellets that due to the low water temperature will melt quite slowly creating an intense micro attractive zone around our rig as an alternative we make stringer with a few boilies from 12-14 mm little satiating but very catchy.
I am a big supporter of spicy boilers especially in river and especially when the water drops be-low 15 degrees Celsius. Furthermore, in the liquid part a spicy oil was added in combination with the liquid lecithin. NHDC and butyric acid complete this really performing mix in running waters and especially in Winter. Complete as always a dose of butyric acid which as we know directly acts on the chemoreceptors of the fish attracting it to our rig. This liquid food is truly exceptional and reminds me of the periods in which I made the videos on CarpMagazine.it and on the Youtube channel on self-made, in particular the one relating to the liver bought at the supermarket and made liquid thanks to an immersion blender and l addition of liquid cane sugar plus a percentage of mixed spices.
For the choice of the terminal tackle, I successfully use a blowback rig composed of a braided hook link of 0.45 lb crystal at the which removes the first 2 cm close to the hook to allow greater rotation, a sturdy hook with a thick thread is very good the Nash Fang Twister in the measure proportional to the boilie that I'm using. The second rig is a more recent and evolved multi-rig always made with a braided hook link, easy to make, just create a loop inside which to insert a steel ring and insert the loop inside the eyelet of the hook . You can also use this rig for snow man presentations, this rig I connect to one the leader in mono-fluorocarbon of 0.60mm with excellent quality of friction of the length of about one meter made by creating two loops with swivel closed with steel sleeves using a crimping tool.
Concluding affirming with certainty that the carp are fed for twelve months a year and that only our experience derived from the constant annual frequency on the banks combined with the use of superlative baits from the point of attractive-nutritive view, can take us to make some catch even when the weather conditions seem really prohibitive.