Catching big carp in winter

Catching big carp in winter

 Catching big carp in winter

Catching big carp in the winter Location is paramount in winter as carp often shoal up more tightly and spend less time active and moving around the lake. Keep your eye on the lake at all times for identifying signs of carp showing as just one small show could give them away such as bubbles and the odd head or tail.

Wind direction in the colder months doesn’t really play a part. However, I found that a low pressure does, as the carp go down to the bottom. Carp prefer slightly deeper water where the pressure and temperature are more stable, that doesn’t mean attempt to find the deepest hole in the lake!

One of the biggest problems that we carp anglers have, is time? What I mean by that is you need to locate a swim that you know well and keep the bait going in. That doesn’t mean 10kg to 20kg every time you go; one to two kg is ideal, as 9 times out of 10 the fish will find it. Though you might not be there at the time! Just try to keep them feeding and sooner or later you will be there at the right time.

The woods swim on Kingfisher (Bluebell)

Here’s a top tip for you: Baiting up in the dark is a must on Bluebell and Linear as the birds will eat all your bait in the daylight hours and that’s no joke.

I always try to acquire the largest swim so I control more water; I increase my chances of a fish by spreading the bait over all the rods but just remember the carp are not going to eat a large amount.

PVA bags are a must for two reasons. One its stops your rig getting in a tangle and let’s face it that’s the last thing we need. Also it puts a small amount of bait by the hook and I mean small.

Kingfisher Lake

The venue for me in the winter is Bluebell Lakes at Tansor, Oundle, Peterborough PE8 5HP Tel:01832 226042. (Tony)


One problem that we have at the start of the winter is leaf matter, and this is a big setback because the ph. in the water changes which stops the fish from feeding for about a month. However, you still have to go as you don’t know when they will start feeding again. The best thing when this happens is a lot of rain which will help to get the ph. back to normal. The ph for fish is 6.4 to 8.4 just the same as us.

The rigs I use are simple for one reason easy to tie, I only ever use one company for the hook link and that is Rigmarole as I’m a Consultant for them and I’ve found that the Hydro link is the best for me. A braid hook link material with a removable fluoro carbon inner that you strip back like lead core there is no other hook link on the market where you can make multiple types of rigs like stiff rigs, standard combi`s, stiff/supple hinge rigs, 360 rigs and many more. It has accounted for many big fish in the Uk.

I use Fox long shank size tens as they are very sharp and the right profile for my rigs. I use 4oz leads all year so when a fish picks up the rig the lead falls off. I’ve also found the best lead clip for me is the Rigmarole freefall clips as they drop off easy and don’t snap on the cast. A very clever fish safe product that stops fish deaths due to lead clips tethering fish in snags and weed. The way in which they work means that as soon as the lead hits any obstruction both the clip and lead fall off leaving you with a snag free line which will enhance your catch rate in snaggy areas. The Freefall lead clips are not intended for open water situations, just where the risk of snagging is likely. Although the clips are made of metal they are softer than the plastic equivalent but when tested will cast over 200 Yards without releasing.

It’s all well and good having the information to catch big carp but if they are not in your water you just can’t catch them. So choosing the right location is important; Bluebell to me is the best day ticket water in the UK as I’ve had a lot of thirties from there, more so in the winter than the summer.

This one was 30lb 8oz from Kingfisher Lake. The reason for the gloves is that my hands are much warmer than the fish and they can burn them so look after your catch. Bait for me at the moment is the J H Baits KLF 16mm Black Pepper with 12mm Black Pepper Pinkies combos as a snowman that is the winning combo. One of the biggest problems that the fish have in the winter is they can’t digest fish meal so just one or two baits can stop them from feeding.

Finding out what you are fishing over is not that important. It’s just a case of making sure that the lead and rig hit hard bottom that way you know that it’s clear of dead weed and silt. I found that using a marker in the winter is not a good idea as let’s face it a big red float in your swim can’t help or casting out a spod. However I’m lucky to have a bait boat with an underwater camera on it but this just lets me know what the bottom is made up of and if the bait is still there. The one thing that it has revealed to me that the colour of the leads doesn’t make any difference as the small amount of silt that is all over the bottom will cover it when it hits it and that’s a fact take it from me.

The best way to know your lake is to do all your home work in the summer then you will know what depths you’re fishing in. I only cast once or twice on a 4 night session, not once in the morning and once at night as some do. And just remember sometimes stay at home as your bait just will not get through the ice and down to the fish? lol

Shropshire Mere


I hope this has been helpful to your winter carp fishing. All the best for this winter Ian Thomas

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