Colin Mitchell, the popular Angler's Mail website blogger, advises the two key areas to focus on when trying to catch in the colder months. Read AM print magazine this week for all major angling news and tips.
THE nights have got a lot colder over the past week and with some areas suffering their first frosts of winter fishing is going to get that bit more difficult.
But don’t go packing away all your gear in the belief that it’s not worth getting to the waterside. All you need to consider is a change of approach and you could still keep fish hitting the back of the net.
Most anglers know that as the weather gets colder and colour drops out of the water it’s usually time to scale down the size of the hook and use thinner diameter line.
Think about the species you are after!
There are two other vital areas to look at – and one very obvious one that is often overlooked… what species of fish are you trying to catch?
I wonder how many pleasure anglers turn up on the bank and decide to just fish for what comes along (something I admit I often do so myself).
But have a think about what species might feed, target them and you might just have a much better day.
When it is bright and sunny after a cold night not many species will have a chew on your baits and some will most certainly keep their mouths shut.
Bream (like I am holding above) tend to feed in many different weathers but a ripple on the water always helps your cause.
Perch have a distinct dislike for bright weather and to a lesser extent so do roach.
Carp will feed in most conditions but do tend to change their feeding depths a lot more than most other fish.
Chub can be spooked more easily in bright weather but don’t worry so much about the cold, similar in fact to their river pals dace.
Contrary to popular belief tench do not shut up shop once the cold weather starts. In fact I’ve caught them in the middle of winter with ice forming in my rod rings.
The keys to cooler weather success
Don’t worry if you can’t get onto the bank until later in the day as once that sun drops or a bit of cloud cover arrives that could just be when the fish start to feed.
Don’t worry if you have sat for ages without a bite – there will almost certainly be one period in a day when you will get a chance of hooking a fish.
It could just be that darker period before dusk or it might be in the middle of the day when the temperature rises just enough to inspire some feeding.
They key is to keep chopping and changing your presentation a little, how much you feed – very sparingly until you get a response – and staying alert for the bites you do get.
And step up your feeding if you start to catch regularly – fish can really get a case of the munchies in winter when they do click into feeding mode.
Remember bites will be much shyer than when fish are feeding well – keep an eye open for just small indication and shot floats down until you can just see a fraction of the tip.
Many of the above species will prefer static baits once it gets a bit colder – but imparting a bit of movement in your bait every now and then with a slight lift of the pole or a part turn of the reel handle can get an unwilling fish to pounce on your hookbait.
And that’s the next important thing to consider – what you are putting on your hook!
- Want to know what the most effective baits are in colder weather? Check back next week and I’ll give you three baits that can work when all else fail in winter…