This Angler's Mail match fishing blog comes from Preston Innovations matchman Andy Power - who shares his five winter fishing tips for catching and avoiding blanks. Remember to like and share with your friends by cllicking the icons above.
Fine lines maximise your chances
Dropping down hook sizes and line diameters really does make a difference, fish feed much more delicately in winter.
In fact it often amazes me how a double-figure carp can give the tiniest bite on a light dotted down pole rig.
I believe by fishing finer supple lines you are maximising the chances of a fish taking your hookbait without rejecting it.
Carp in particular seem to fight less this time of year meaning you can get away with going lighter.
Disturbance – it’s a no no
It’s much more noticeable this time of year how fish back off or spook from any disturbance.
When fishing a bomb or feeder, try using the lightest you can get away with, so that it enters the water with the minimal sound.
Another tip when fishing open water is not to cast out before the start, that way any commotion from anglers around you doing so may push fish in front you.
Also with the water generally being clearer this time of year it’s more important to keep backside disturbance to a minimum, try to keep quite and keep away from the waters edge when setting up.
Locating fish is so, so crucial
In winter fish tend be shoaled tighter together, so it’s important to search your peg in order to find them.
For instance if you’re fishing a bomb or waggler and don’t get indications in one spot then keep casting around until you do.
Likewise if your faced with a pole fishing scenario and you have far bank or marginal fish holding features with a reasonable depth of 2 ½-3 ½ ft. Then without feeding try dropping a light strung out 4×10 rig around the peg until you find the fish, sometimes by fishing just off bottom and continuously lifting and dropping you can get an instant response from a fish you otherwise wouldn’t catch.
The best baits for this are bread, maggot or corn skins as they are highly visual and slow sinking giving the fish a time to see and take it.
Sight v Smell
Another of my winter fishing tips is to ake notice of the water clarity when you turn up at a lake as this will often give you a clue to which bait will score best.
If there is still some colour in the water then try smellier hookbaits such as pellets or meat.
Or if the water is clear then visual baits such as bread or corn will often score best.
When fishing with groundbait in clear water, try to match it to the colour to the bottom, roach and skimmers will feed much more confidently over a dark groundbait, such as F1 dark or Supercrumb Black.
Timing your session for success
In my experience this time of year, carp generally feed early and late in the day, especially in a match fishing scenario, so by targeting them specifically in say the first and last hour of a match, you maximise your chances of catching them.
So what about the middle part of the match? Well if carp aren’t feeding during this spell, there’s no point sitting and waiting, by targeting silverfish during this dry spell, you can keep putting fish in your net, boosting your weight, keeping yourself warm!