THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU'RE GOING TO DO Without a doubt winter carp fishing is different from the warmer months. They are not going to show themselves like they did before, it's most certainly harder to locate them down and it could be anywhere on the lake. What I have found is there is windows of opportunity that comes along and if your near enough there you have that chance to get that take. A snaggy tree line or cover or looking out for where the back of a wind is, A sunnier bank or where most of the winter sun catches the lake are good things to start with, I always say; “If it feels good to you then it probably feels better to the fish too”.
Think about how you're going to fish. The fish are cold blooded this means they will certainly be less active than the warmer months meaning for sure they will be eating less in their diet. So I look to use solid bags or small mesh bags containing pellets and crushed boilies if you wish you can add some maggots in the bags for added attraction. Hook baits are small in the bags I opt for a wafter bait or balanced bait tipped with maggots sometimes for extra attention to the pile of bait sitting waiting for action. Using this kind of hook bait the thinking behind it is that it's easy to pick up and move more freely in to the mouth giving the bait and hook a opportunity to catch hold while bites can be far and few between.
THE BUSINESS END
Rigs are straight forward and nothing fancy a simple blow back style setup with a braided hook link, I like to use a short hook link no more than 4 inches so this can be placed nicely in the bag. An inline lead setup with a unleaded leader i find works perfectly for this kind of fishing. PVA bags once made are are around 5 ounces this i find gives enough bait and is perfectly weighted for making a cast. I’ve been using a flavoured PVA that I brought in to my fishing over a year ago and have never looked back since I’ve used it, so many flavours to play around with and match your desired baits.
SMALL AMOUNTS OF BAIT
I've found through the winter months that small amounts of baits works better, and ideally if you have a fish willing to feed in front of you it makes sense that you fish with either a single bait approach or bags of bait. I prefer a bag of bait myself. Why? I have more confidence that theres more attraction being released and with fishing a bright hook bait to in the bag I have best of both worlds sitting in front of me waiting for a take.
Often through the winter it can be a waiting game. They are long cold dark nights out there and short daylight hours. I find there will be some action at some point through your session this could be an hour in the afternoon or a couple of hours in to dark. Getting in tune with the water will start to give you the answers on your quest on pursuing them winter captures. I recently was on a session where at night the lake had frozen but with my rods still in position I waited as I wanted to see if the lake would thaw due to a change of weather was due in, unfortunately the weather stayed cold but I received a take on my right hand rod resulting on a capture of a fish under the ice, so if your happy with your choice then be faithful in your decision.
Without a doubt winter fishing can take it out of you. You will probably get your blank sessions out there and its cold and wet, mud all over your gear and over you and you often think why am i doing this?
But there is something about a carp in the winter. You work your socks off for that one take that turns a dark cold night in to that exciting turn around that only a angler knows about..... When that one bleep turns in to that on toner....When your sitting there with your hands around your warm mug after that winter battle that lives with you forever.