A question I am asked every year is what bait will I be using this winter?
Although still rather mild out there, I thought I would tap these words out to hopefully get you thinking as well as potentially saving a few more from asking.
Well with 2015 passing us by I can’t help but reflect on what an incredible angling year it had been for me and no doubt largely due to the fact that for the first time since starting Quest Baits I’d not spent most of the year wasting rod hours whilst tweaking and playing around with new baits.
Finally for once I was able to fish the whole season with baits that I had already perfected in previous years, I was so happy with the range that I really couldn’t see the point in bringing another bait out for the sake of it and my catches showed that.
I even made a facebook post at the end of the year of 52 of what I considered to be my best fish of the year to represent each week of the year. I don’t think I could have done that in many other years, not without totally scraping the barrel for mediocre sized fish.
So the year ended and joined this one with big fish from 4 different waters falling to my rods within a three week period and multiple captures from 2 of those. One has a real poor track record of producing many winter fish so I was particularly proud of a catch of fish there. The old Magnum Whites with a handful of Fruity Trifle to add some bright colour to the swim encouraged the fish to drop down and have a bit of a feed as they always do. It still amazes me anglers still stick with baits that are going to be an issue for the carp to digest in colder water which then messes the fishing up for everyone else.
It often surprises me the bait choice made by some for the winter months. A lot of baits that are highly effective during the warm water periods of spring, summer and autumn simply do not ooze the same attraction in cold conditions. Cold water affects a lot of baits, sealing in attractors and stimulants that flow freely during the summer. It is little wonder so many seem to struggle to catch winter carp.
Well, it was a rather mixed period for me whilst away from the office for the annual festive break. I started off fishing for the barbel in the mild conditions leading to Christmas day and was fortunate enough to net myself a couple of nice fish but these faded into insignificance by Ron Key’s 14.06 as reported in the last of the 2014 reports. It truly was a pleasure to see and photograph this fish, which fell to the Questrami.
Jimmy Greaves famously said “Football is a funny old game” and those words could so well have been pointed towards carp angling. Winter carping in particular can be a prime example for throwing up unpredictable outcomes during those long dark winter months.
I love my winter angling, always have. I have tried to analyse this on many an occasion when I am sat there with painfully cold toes and fingers that don’t want to set about packing the frosty gear away. Over the years I have justified my winter angling by telling people I love the fact that it is just me against the fish a lot of the time rather than me trying to slot into a decent area amongst lots of other anglers as can be the case during the summer months.
I have written at length in the past regarding re-hydrating boilies, giving them a drink, softening boilies and so on. In fact it is very rare for me to feed dry boilies on any water that has seen any amount of pressure as I know I can improve their effectiveness with just a little bit of extra effort.
This is a subject I never see covered anywhere despite mentioning it in several of my articles in the past, but it is a vitally important issue which can’t in my mind be repeated often enough.
Carp are cold blooded. This means that the carp is the same temperature as the water it is living in. This affects the carp’s metabolism greatly and is the reason your bait choice is so crucial during the winter months but this is another subject for another place. Humans are warm blooded which means we are warmer than our winter surroundings.
With the festive holiday looming and many of us with a few days away from work commitments the thought of escaping to the great outdoors with the carp rods to unwind after possibly over indulging on the food and drink is somehow rather appealing.
As the cooler weather is now starting to set in it is time for my annual Autumn sort out of my tackle and bait but particularly the bait. From past experience I know that some of the baits that catch me a lot of summer fish will now stop working as effectively with the lowering of the water temperature. Yes, the carp will still eat them but certainly not with the same gusto as they did a month back. There are many reasons for this but on the whole they won’t be seeping out anything like same sort of attraction or stimulation to the fish that they did before the drop in temperature.
The prolonged cold, dark and often crisp nights of winter, followed by slippery drive ways and frozen window screens, hardly bring on the urge to go carp fishing do they?
Or do they?
They do to me. I must admit to feeling a relative smugness inside me during the winter months and can easily warm to many memories of winter success over the years. It is a fact that most of my personal best carp over the years have actually fallen during the winter period. The majority of times I have slowly upped my best has been during the winter and I truly believe this is the best time of the year to sort the bigger fish out. Undoubtedly the fish slow up and rest up for much longer periods when the water is cold but the larger fish tend to keep that little bit more active. If everything is active then all well and good, as every winter carp I catch seems to feel just that little more important to me than the same fish in the summer. Winter carp certainly give me a buzz!