Steve Collett, Angler's Mail regular columnist, reveals his top 5 winter fishing tips. Please share this blog with your friends on Facebook and Twitter by clicking the icons above.

Collett

I AM not a great angler, by my own admission, but there is something I can stand up and be counted for nowadays and that’s my cold weather resilience.

I’m a World Champion at it, and as the weather gets worse, my fishing gets better – I don’t think its down to skill, it’s an ability to handle the cold and remain enthusiastic rather than lethargic.

I had a bit of fishing a few days ago with a pal of mine, only a friendly knock up between us, and it was freezing. I knew this and had prepared accordingly, my mate had just “put a few layers on” and come 1pm it showed, not only in our catches but he became close to submission just as my swim began to take off.

I had around 60-80 fish for around 3 kilos, my mate had four for barely a 100g, not down to my prowess as an awesome angler, just my preparation for cold weather fishing, and pleasure fishing in general, as it has to be just that – pleasure.

Next week we decided to try a bit of pike fishing, again a bit of fun. Well it was for me – my mate was shivering uncontrollably by 2.30pm and sat huddled in his chair and wouldn’t move, but most importantly he wouldn’t change rigs.

His reluctance to get out of his chair and make things happen meant that he caught nothing, and I had five pike up to 14-15lb. Nothing massive but it was fun, for me.

So without this blog sounding like a trumpet blowing exercise, there is reason for this ramble – and that’s to help you try and catch more this winter, and make your next outing a pleasure session, not an Arctic expedition.

 

1. Wrap up warm

Start it with a hat, the most important piece of clothing. Obviously it becomes irrelevant if you are fishing in a Borat-style thong, so make sure your noggin is well insulated. Clothing is very important, make sure you layer up, and wear a high quality breathable suit – if you sweat carrying your gear to your peg, you will freeze later on.

 

2. Lighter hooks

It’s time to do away with the super spades and other gaffs that we have been using in the summer, only last week this slight change from a heavy gauge hook to a lighter pattern saved me from a blank and a welcome 2lb fish  graced my net, Always have a few hook lengths ready to save you fiddling around with cold hands.

 

3. Get ahead with a lead

When all else fails this time of year a simple bomb approach can make all the difference, with the fish being a little lethargic, a bomb in the middle seems to spark a bit of interest, and you can keep experimenting with the length of tail, even twitching it all the way back can produce. It also gives you a chance to warm up your hands.

 

4. Keep moving

That doesn’t mean pegs if you’re in a match! Just make sure you are doing something all of the time, as I have fell into the lazy trap myself, and just sat there wishing 3pm would come straight away regardless whether I have caught or not. If you keep moving, feeding, trying something else, you seem to make your swim happen, rather than waiting for it to happen.

 

5. High viz

Making sure a bait is very visible during the winter months can certainly put more fish in your net, it could be a speculative cast into the middle of the lake or river with a single grain of corn, or a pop-up piece of bread that can save a blank. So if all else fails, a high viz bait and a “lucky cast” is sometimes all you need.

 

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