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Just one of a string of fish caught close to home on short, prebaited sessions.
that the fish may not be searching the
bottom for a food source if they don’t
really want to be down there anyway.
This means that, once identified, a
regularly baited area will be the first
place they go to make the most of the
short time they are able to stay on the
bottom and feed.
In the past I have had great results
from lakes that were close enough to
home to bait every day, or even every
other day, but not with much bait at
all, maybe just a pound a time, but
this will be enough to let the fish
know that there is always a supply
there. Once you have identified the
right area and the right time of day
then the fishing can become
extremely easy and every short trip
you might have has already been
maximised to give you the best possible chance of a result. I do find that
timing is everything though, and it is
best to start prebaiting at the beginning of the winter as, by now, the fish
will be settled into a routine, and, if
When they ain’t on the bottom they
still have to be out there somewhere,
and zigs is the way to find them.
that doesn’t already include your bait,
then it may be very hard to persuade
them to start now.
All the contributors briefly mentioned maggots in their replies but
then moved swiftly on because the
question was about bait. Well, maggots are bait aren’t they? And they
have probably been considered bait a
lot, lot longer than boilies have. Maggots can be devastating in the winter,
and, once introduced, can take over
from everything else. I have been
experimenting over the last two or
three winters with the wrigglers, and
I’ve had, and seen, some amazing
results on them. Yes they can be fiddly, expensive, bloody hard work, and
also require a lot of care and handling,
but the results can outweigh the hassle hands down.
It’s January 12th as I write this, and
I returned from a two-night session
yesterday where I had two mid-twenties, both on a new maggot rig that I
have been mucking about with
recently. Now, two mid-twenties may
not be setting the world alight, but,
during my trip there were five anglers
on the water and I had the only bites,
so as far as I am concerned, I had a
good result, and any January carp is
worth catching, no matter what the
With question 2, about the different
effect of winds on shallow and deep
pits, I do tend to agree with the other
answers regarding undertow, but not
entirely, so let me explain. Obviously
the volume of water that a wind displaces by moving the surface in one
direction must be balanced out by an
undertow of equal volume, otherwise
the lakes would be sloping uphill during a big wind! On a shallow lake it is
likely that the majority of the water is
moving in one direction or another,
meaning that the undertow will in
fact make it to the other end and
affect the bottom of the lake. On
deeper waters however I do not think
this always (or ever) happens. If you
look at a lake in autumn or winter during big winds then you will often see
sticks and branches on the surface – a
few inches will poke out of the water
and maybe a foot or two will be subsurface. I’m sure everyone must have
noticed how the debris can often trot
backwards against the wind, and the
more stick that is under the water the
more pronounced this becomes. This
happens when the top foot (the
waves) is going one way, the next foot
(undertow) is going in the opposing
direction and the remaining body of
water is doing very little at all.
I have been out in boats looking
through glass bottom buckets during
horrendous winds and the bottom of a
deep lake is usually totally serene and
calm in comparison the maelstrom
that is occurring in the upper layers.
Which part of the lake the carp will
find most attractive will depend on so
many variables that it’s impossible to
generalise, but, personally, I always
find the back of the wind in winter to
be far more effective than the teeth of
it, regardless of the depth of the lake.
In answer to Steve Brooks’ question
about the big, named fish becoming a
thing of the past, well, I agree to a certain extent. After all, carp die, and in
fact all things die, so nothing can stay
the same forever. Carp angling has
changed and so will the big target
fish, but I also think that it’s a bit of a
necessity really. You think how many
‘big carp’ anglers there are nowadays
compared to the days when Sir Pete
was fishing Wraysbury for Mary,
Richie McDonald caught Bazil from
Yateley, and places like Savay were
hallowed ground full of dreams that
you could only share through the
pages of Rod’s books. Everyone is at
it nowadays, and we need a realistic
amount of targets to go around, as,
let’s face the truth, some of those old
warriors of which you speak were
hounded to death and fished for
relentlessly 365 days a year.
The future of big carp fishing has
actually never been brighter; it would


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