Angler’s Mail assistant editor / production Richard Holroyd recommends some tips to help you catch in winter.
WINTER is a great time to be on the banks but you have to adapt your tactics in order to find action. There’s no doubt you have to work a lot harder to get bites in winter, but I feel that catching fish at this time of year is far more rewarding than during the warmer months.
Here are some tips to help you…
When conditions are cold, it pays to target species that feed better in lower water temperatures. If your usual quarry aren’t playing ball, then it is worth broadening your horizons and skills to tempt more obliging winter feeding species like grayling, chub, pike, roach or perch.
Little and tight
Fish metabolism is much slower in winter so there’s generally no need to feed too much. When you do feed it is best to do it gradually, rather than piling it in all in one go. It also pays to keep your feed in a very tight area, so you up your chances of a fish taking your hook bait. When pole fishing, a pole cup helps you to achieve this.
Sometimes there’s no need to feed at all, a single hook bait can be all that is require to cajole a fish without overfeeding it with groundbait or free offerings. To increase your hook bait’s appeal try adding a touch of alcohol-based flavour for extra appeal.
When float fishing, rather than sitting it out with the hook bait set to fish the bottom, it can pay to try different depths until you find where the fish are feeding. It doesn’t just have to be when you are float fishing either – carp anglers have incredible success fishing adjustable zig rigs in winter.
Fish are more lethargic in winter and there’s a lot less underwater vegatation, so in many instances you can get away with using lighter tackle. Scale down your line, hook and hook bait to increase your chances of a take.
The warmest part of the day in winter is usually in the afternoons and this is the time when fish are more likely to feed. Don’t ignore the first few hours of darkness either, as many species feed more confidently under the cover of darkness.
To fish effectively you need to be dressed in warm and comfortable clothing. Layer your clothes by starting with thermal undergarments. Build up with a thermal top, trousers, fleece, footwear, hat, scarf, coat and gloves. Remember to take Polaroids to help you spot any signs of fish in bright winter sun.