IT’S MONDAY and that means it’s carp blog time here on the Angler’s Mail magazine website. This week we are pleased to welcome the guys from… Nash. Thanks to Nash man Keith Jones for supplying this round-up. He opens it up and adds contributions from some top names.
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I guess the easiest thing to talk about is bait, rigs and tactics but in all honesty the most important factor of all is actually being there. As I write this, the last 24 hours has seen manic storm conditions battering the UK with most areas suffering.
Me, well a bit of wind and rain wasn’t going to stop me and today saw eight carp grace my rods despite the mud and setting up in pouring rain. What I have tried this year, probably more than any other year, is to keep at it come what may. It’s been a lot harder to do the overnighters but to ensure I fish at least once, preferably twice a week I have used valuable flexi-time up in the week or Sundays.
Fishing on a weekend on ‘day only’ waters has meant competing with others for swims so I have been getting up at silly o’clock to be first in the queue. If it opens at 7am I have been there at 6-30am…hard work but worth it. Setting up and packing up in pouring rain….my poor old Profile brolly. Rigs are tied mid-week and nothing is left to chance so that I know when a window of opportunity arises there is nothing holding me back.
So my advice to all Anglers Mail readers is to get out there and join me…Wrap up warm, have spare clothing just in case but be there…Winter is not too far away and frozen waters can really stop even the keenest of us….My rods are ready after today’s session and if I can get a flyer this week I’m on it…Will you be?
We are well and truly into the heart of autumn now with the coming winter just around the corner. This is my favourite season of the year for several reasons.
The fish are feeding healthily in preparation for the winter and are sporting their fantastic rich, deep colours and it is also time to start laying the foundations for the winter. It is a tricky season the autumn, because it can often be the epitome of your spring and summer campaign, with all the pieces of the puzzle coming together nicely and you reaping the rewards and successes for all that effort you have expended over the previous months.
This rightfully makes one inclined to remain on the task at hand, however, it is also the time to start priming your winter campaign, and if this is on the same venue it can be tricky to coordinate, heavy planning is required. Right now I have moved off of my spring/summer water and onto a new more intimate venue for the winter of about five acres in size. This has allowed me to focus and concentrate my efforts as I can fully devote myself to priming this venue for my winter attack.
The first stage of this was to make the most of the recent weed die off and take to the boat and really map out the lake, using marker floats, prodding sticks and leading around. I have been able to make a detailed map of the lakes topography including both the ‘normal spots’ and also the quiet margins, as I have found that it’s often the little spots that get no attention and everyone walks straight past that are the most productive.
This has allowed me to identify several key areas and spots that I would like to prime over the autumn and winter. I have selected my bait of choice; Nash Baits white Amber Strawberry, as it is a tried and tested proven winter fish catcher on a whole host of waters, and also zigs.
Zig rigs are a big part of my armoury even in the winter. Anglers rarely use zigs in the winter but this is a major mistake, the thermo-cline (the layer of water at the optimum comfort temperature for the fish) is more influential than ever in the winter and will be where the fish reside in the water column for a large proportion of their time, and if you can find it by playing around with the depth of Zigs you’ll heavily reap the rewards.
I like to use a natural looking and natural flavoured Zig Bug for this as the carp are moving slower and less impulsive and will really assess a Zig before taking it. I have over the last few weeks been trickling the bait in on the spots and was rewarded with a couple of cracking old scaly fish on my first few nights.
The fish both fell to a 15mm+10mm white Amber Strawberry snowman from a little margin spot I have been priming with a regular trickle of bait, proving to me that the method is working! Hopefully this is a sign of things to come and I’ll be in for a productive autumn and winter
The location of carp as we all know is one of the most vital parts of success. The importance of this is never more apparent at this time of year. If you are fishing a swim and blanking I promise you that does not mean the carp are not feeding. The carp’s movements throughout the colder months are dramatically reduced as large shoals of fish will search out an area of the lake where the water temperature makes them feel most comfortable. Within these comfort zones are the areas where the fish are most likely to feed.
A great example of this is a 48 hour guest session I fished on a four-acre lake November last year; it was a session that would change my outlook on winter fishing forever, when it would be all too easy to put blanking down to “The fish just aren’t feeding because it’s cold”.
I started the session in my first swim for the first 24 hours without so much as a bleep. I then decided just before it went dark to spend the night in a swim 50 yards further up the bank and once again woke up in the morning having not had a bleep all night. I decided to cut my losses and make one final move another 50 yards up the bank before I was due to leave that evening.
As I cast my third rod into position my second rod that had been cast out no more than three minutes earlier screamed off and after a dogged battle a 27lb pristine common was in the net.
In the last eight hours of the trip I managed to catch seven more carp, all of which were between 18 and 32 lb and it was the best hit of fish to come from that lake in coming months.
In that last swim I used the same bait, rigs and the fishing conditions where identical to the day before. So remember: winter success relies on location, keep mobile, keep looking and stay confident and I promise you they are feeding more than you might think!
As I sit down to write a few words the clocks have recently changed, the trees are shedding their leaves and it is certainly starting to feel a lot cooler. For most anglers including myself this time of the year marks a shift in approach.
This brings a huge number of considerations, including bait and rigs. Whilst these are important, for me the most fundamental considerations are my choice of venue and angling approach.
I have spent many winters on tough low stock waters and it can become sole destroying, fishing long sessions when you can expect to catch at best the odd fish. This in itself can discourage even the most hardened angler from making the effort to get out on the bank regularly.
Whilst I will keep trickling in the bait and keeping an eye out for potential opportunities on such waters, I tend to switch the majority of my attention to focus on those waters that I know have good stock levels and winter form, ultimately with the chance of a bite or two.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean fishing for small fish. From my experience shallow lakes tend to fish better in the colder months as the fish need to feed more to remain comfortable. Every angler’s requirements are different, so my advice is to really think about your venue choice and what you are looking to get from it.
It is also worth noting that from my experience that at this time of year and throughout the winter, fish tend to feed largely in the day when the light levels are at their highest and temperatures are at their warmest. For this reason I tend to switch to day only sessions, which firstly allows me to stay really focused, making the very best of my time on the bank, but just as importantly staying mobile.
Fish will only feed for very short timescales in the colder months so it is critical to instantly move on any occurrences or feeding activity. I have also found the feeding spells are often very predictable and you can tailor your time on the bank to coincide with the best chance of a bite.
I have found that the key to keeping motivated during the colder months is a suitable venue, shorter sessions and top quality clothing that will keep me warm. I am sure if you keep this in mind you will enjoy your fishing right through the colder months.
With the birth of my first child expected in early December, autumn for me this year has been make it or break it, and I’ve found myself arriving in the dark and leaving at first light, just to be able get those valuable hours in on the bank.
Recently I’ve lost count of the amount of time’s I’ve either set up or packed away in heavy rain, but when I’m holding those prized carp up to the camera, all else seems to be forgotten.
This year due to the limited time, quick bites have been the order of the day, so I’ve been using the Nash Bait attractor products to maximum effect, in an effort to draw the fish in sooner rather than later.
For me, the Food Dips have been an essential for many years, and this year has been no different, as I’ve been adding this dense sticky incredibly attractive carp magnet to all my baits. Coating the Monster Carp Pellets has been particularly effective.
Monster Carp Pellets are ideal in cold water, as once broken down they offer maximum attraction and minimum food present, which makes the hook, bait an irresistible option and enhancing the pellets with the dip takes this tactic to another level.
I’m confident that my chosen Scopex Squid boilies will catch me any fish that swims, but there are times, when the fish don’t seem that quick to eat a boilie, and as I simply don’t have the time to wait, a slight change in tactic can sometimes be the answer.
The Nash Mutant range of fake hook baits is very effective at catching spooky or lethargic cold water feeders, so I’ve been using these when times are tough.
Although I should add that, once again I prefer to soak them in the Food Dip, with my preferred choice being the fake corn!
So far the autumn has proved successful and I can honestly say that the extra effort has really paid off for me, this time of year has historically been big fish time for me, and I’m confident that If I keep going and keep putting in the extra effort, then sooner or later I’ll nail one of my target fish!
I’ve been extremely lucky this year and landed a 30lb fish in every month except for June since April, and I’m hoping with a bit of luck I’ll enjoy some more success during November and December!
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