Dave Coster, main man in the Angler's Mail magazine's hugely popular Q&A section, delivers some terrific winter fishing tips to conjure up fish like you see here. Share this blog by clicking the icons above to help your friends catch more fish too!
AS I write this it’s the depths of winter and the fishing is very hard, but it can still be very rewarding trying to conjure bites out of nothing!
On a recent trip I managed to get the smaller roach feeding spasmodically but the bigger ones didn’t want to know, until that is I remembered an old trick I learnt from none other than the great Bob Nudd – back in my Essex County days.
Bob had this theory that bigger roach in clear water venues tend to hang back off the main feed area, so he advised me, especially later in a session, to try fishing a pole section further out than where I was feeding.
It’s one of those winter fishing tips that’s worked many times but I got a bit of a shock on this occasion.
I tried a segment of worm on my hook, a metre past where I had been catching over light helpings of groundbait and loose fed casters.
The float wasn’t in its new position very long before it dipped under and I was attached to something much bigger – a pristine one pound roach!
This led me to the cunning plan of cupping in just a tiny amount of chopped worm in the same place, while continuing to feed normally on my main line.
I soon got into a rhythm of catching small roach at 10 metres and then every 20 minutes having a look further out at 11 metres on my worm line.
Over the rest of the session I picked off another 1 lb red fin, along with a smashing 1.5 lb fish, and then finally made my day with a cracking 1 lb 12 oz specimen! (pictured at the top of this blog)
I firmly believe a lot of anglers would have missed out on these bonus fish and there have been many occasions when I would have been among them. Just goes to show what a massive difference an extra bit of effort and attention can make!
Winter fishing tips for the pellet waggler
Another area where minimal or no feeding can work wonders, is when pellet fishing with a float.
In the winter I’ve seen anglers bagging massive catches by just using a carp or pellet waggler to attract interest, relying solely on their pellet hook baits to pull bites. Nothing has been fed over the whole session!
I’ve also done similar damage using a fully loaded pellet waggler and just dinking 3 or 4 pellets around it every cast. This very simple fishing keeps you active and warm, plus it’s enjoyable.
Ideal baits for snatching a short session
The other great thing about using pellets and related gear like fishmeal groundbait, is you don’t have to mess around buying maggots, turning casters, or cooking hemp. These convenience baits allow you to go fishing for a few hours at the spur of the moment.
I rarely feed any groundbait when fishing pellets by the way. I mainly use it to dust my sinking feed pellets, so they produce an enticing stream of scented particles as they descend in the water.
Or another good trick is to try some groundbait paste on a bigger hook, over a pellet feed line later in the session. This invariably pulls the biggest fish of the day.