FREE LINE 03 - Page 179



Winter Carp Fishing
(Above) I always like to travel light
even in winter.
(Below left) Cemex’s Blue Pool holds a
good head of carp, and fishes well all
through the winter.
(Below right) I was catching carp from
Yateley South when the lake was
freezing over.
carp spend considerable lengths of
time on the bottom during the winter,
so the closer the bottom is in the first
place, the better. I can’t think of many
deep lakes that constantly produce in
the cold; the best chances on these
lakes seem to occur when we get
these lovely sweeping low pressures
from the south, and only then do I find
these sorts of ponds worth a go. It all
boils down to timing, and selecting
the right venues for the given conditions. As the water begins to warm
carp will seek out those warmer layers as a preference to the cold near
the lakebed.
During periods of consistent high
pressure and low temperatures then I
will nearly always steer clear of the
lake with an average depth of more
than 10ft, much preferring an average
of a nice 4-6ft where possible. Obviously it all changes if you have a fairly
deep lake with large shoals of carp in,
as no two venues fish the same, and
you will need to adapt your approach
accordingly.
Past form should come up in the
process of asking about stocks of venues you are interested in. This is very
important, and it helps to be in touch
with the local grapevine so you can
keep up to date with the goings-on on
the lakes in your area. Even though it
is typical of the modern carp angler to
just follow like sheep, it is hard to
ignore the jungle drums if a venue
you have access to is throwing up fish
regularly.
Like deep lakes, weedy lakes can
also be very tricky in the winter. This
is because after the bulk of the weed
dies away and uproots, it can be
nightmare keeping rods in position
throughout the day, and even worse
at night. This is because these rogue
weed beds are aimlessly drifting
around the lake until they either sink,
or get caught up – a real problem
early on in the winter. Also whatever
weed doesn’t float up can sometimes
collapse and smoother huge areas of
bottom, making presentation very difficult with no clear areas. Often the
carp won’t feed hard enough to clear
this matted weed, often just picking
off the top of the weed for their food.
It is also a well established fact that
carp do lay up in weed during the
winter, not moving for long periods of
time. They seem to just snug up in
their weedy nests and bed down for
the winter, making life extremely hard
for the angler trying to tempt them.
My advice is to try and select weedfree lakes, and if there are areas of
weed in your lake, make these your
areas to keep an eye on, as the carp
won’t be far away from them that’s for
sure.
Exposure to elements is a factor
because ideally you want the surface
of the lake to be as protected from the
prevailing winter northerly and easterly winds, that seem to really kill
most lakes and make life very hard on
the bank. If your lake is fairly sheltered then it will make yours and the
carp’s life more bearable. It will also
have the added benefit of making
your bivvy less susceptible to hard
frost that can make a winter’s night
drag on forever.
To me timing is the key to nearly all
my successful winter trips, and timing encompasses many things. Firstly
if you can pick and choose the times
that you go fishing then you would be
mad not to check the long range
weather so that your trip coincides
FREE LINE 179

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